Difficult time for the Council as they receive a damning report

Author: Cyril Richert

Wandsworth Council has just received a damning report from Ofsted saying that vulnerable young people are being put at risk by “serious failings” in children’s services (read article from the Evening Standard HERE). But the worse might be that the Council’s self-assessment last June found most services as good.

That could be the most worrying, wrote a former Tory councillor, as showing a “cultural problem in which the belief that Wandsworth is a top-performing council overrides evidence to the contrary“.

And indeed, this seems to be the norm as the Tory-led council is so sure of their rightdoing that they ignore any evidence showing the opposite and dismiss any criticism without consideration.

For many years in the past we have been saying that Wandsworth Planning policies were ineffective. The Council has always denied it and went up to calling us Nimbies (choosing to hurl false and groundless allegations around…. yes they said it!) because we dare highlight facts. And yes, they are not our own fantasy, but those allegations were actually confirmed by a government inspector in charge of reviewing Wandsworth Local Plan: “the documents as a whole are ineffective” he wrote at the end of July. We were right. Is the Council going to apologise?

In the same way, we complained many times that so-called consultations were only box-ticking exercises for the Council. In December 2014 we wrote to the Council:

“As usual, we noticed (and regret) that most of the comments made by the residents, groups and societies have been rejected or ignored in your responses to the 2013 consultation; it questions, once more, the purpose of the full process, other than ticking the right box at the right time.”

Recent debates within the Council chamber have once again proven us correct. When the Council decided to run its own poll on its website and was eventually displeased by the result, they decided it was irrelevant regarding the entire population of the borough. Cllr Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, made this cynical remark:

“62% of the 1,366 respondents to the Council’s survey expressed this view – not 62% of residents. That equates to 847 people. As a percentage of the Borough’s population of around 310,000, that is 0.27%”.

The leader of Wandsworth Council, Cllr Govindia, explained that objections to Council’s plans should be reported to the entire borough population, assuming that everyone not objecting is fully supporting the Council!

Following Mr Govindia reasoning, only 21 representations were received regarding the examination of the Council’s planning documents. Which is 0.0068% of the borough’s population. Even Mr Govindia was only elected as a Councillor last May 2014 by only 2134 voters, which mean “as a percentage of the Borough’s population of around 310,000, that is” 0.69%.

Let’s be honest. We will never reach 160000 representations of residents (including new born babies according to Mr Govindia’s calculation!). What’s the point of consultation?

Once again it is a very clear example of the level of consideration that the Conservative majority of Wandsworth Council is giving to consultation and democracy.

Filed under: Miscellaneous Difficult time for the Council as they receive a damning report

Wyatt Park People’s Fight For Justice For their Families

Planning outrage doesn’t happen only in Wandsworth, and here is an example of developers’ cow-boys hand-in-glove with Lambeth Council and the fight of local residents and their call for help (Donation link in the article)

Author: Wyatt Park Residents Group

Wyatt Park People’s Fight For Justice For their Families

Buildings erected on immediate back garden walls belonging to a small Streatham Hill

On Friday 29th of January 2016 we – Wyatt Park Residents Group – took Michael and James Overton owners of Hambridge Homes to court for failing to notify us they were digging 30 foot deep excavations inches away from our Edwardian brick walls. Neither did they tell us they intended to erect 3 storey prefab-like concrete blocks with HUGE windows looking sinisterly improperly directly into our children’s bedrooms.

Hambridge Homes’ construction caused 3 garden walls that had previously stood for over one hundred years to collapse and large deep crater-like sink holes to form. Though this was bad enough things could have been a great deal worse, people could easily have died! We’re thankful this didn’t happen but wonder what their buddies Lambeth would have done if it had?

The collapse of walls meant families were afraid to go into their gardens, fearful of what would happen next. So OUR gardens became no go areas?!

> Read previous article:Bully builders hand-in-glove with Lambeth Council

Our Day in Court

About a dozen of us were at court but father and son building duo – Michael and James Overton did not attend. They’d sent along a barrister to argue we’d completed the legal forms incorrectly.

Our hearing was scheduled for 2pm but we didn’t get in front of the judge until 3:30. At 2pm Hambridge Homes barrister handed us their bundle, paperwork they’re legally obliged to give us at least 3 days before the hearing…  The judge was given his bundle at 3:30… He was not happy about this and said so.

Hambridge Homes barrister ignored all the laws the Overtons had breached, highlighted in our legal bundle but chose instead to fixate on the technicalities of the legal forms we non lawyers aka Litigants in Person had completed. He solely argued about us having completed part 7 instead of part 8.

Hambridge Homes’ barrister also made no mention of the intimidation, bullying and distress we’d experienced for over two years also stated in our case against Hambridge Homes.

Our bundle contained photographs and footage of the breaches which included:

1- Sinister Porta Cabins: They raised their portacabins to the top of our garden walls, placing them so that the doors faced into and looked directly into our garden.
When one of our members asked Michael Overton to turn his portacabin round 180 degrees to allow us some privacy we were aggressively told to ‘get lost’, that they could do exactly as they pleased…

2 – Gestapo Style Lights: We were itching to tell the judge about the Gestapo style blazing lights the Overtons beamed aggressively into our bedrooms ALL night EVERY night?!
We wanted to tell the judge about regularly coming home to find Hambridge Homes builders sat on our garden walls with their legs swinging nonchalantly over on our side of the walls. When we asked them to get off our garden walls, we were told to shut up and go into our houses.

3 – Ugly Concrete Slabs Forcibly Stuck on Our Edwardian Brick Walls: We were keen to tell the judge to force Hambridge Homes to explain why they ignored planning laws (party walls) and stuck ugly prefab-like slabs of concrete on top of our brick Edwardian walls against our expressed wishes.
When one of our members went out to tell them to desist from concreting ugly concrete slabs onto their wall, the builders told them to get back into their house and out of their garden that they ought not to be home during the day…

4 – Deep Internal & External Cracks: Since the erection of Hambridge Homes illegal buildings many of our properties now have ugly deep internal and external cracks caused by the earthquake like vibrations the Overtons deep excavations caused.

Please help us get justice for all the injustice and wrong doings of Lambeth and their development partner Hambridge Homes.

They both know that literally the only way for us to take them to task and force them to rectify ALL the problems they’ve caused it to take them to court and this costs money.

Michael & James Overton’s Barrister: Hambridge Homes barrister tried to get the judge to throw our case out and ban us from ever taking Michael and James Overton to court again over ‘incorrect form filling’ but the judge refused to agree. The judge granted us more time to get our legal case together. He chastised Hambridge Homes legal team for failing to submit their legal bundle until the very second the hearing was due to begin. The judge adjourned our case and asked us to seek further advice re: completing the legal forms correctly.

We’re ordinary folk not schooled in legal jargon, but we’re categorically certain numerous planning laws have been broken and our rights have been disregarded, for which we deserve & demand justice.

With Your Help/People Power BOTH Lambeth & Hambridge Homes Can Be Beaten

Cressingham Gardens took Lambeth to court and won. Those against the Garden Bridge took Lambeth council to court and won. Neither defeat would have happened had they not taken Lambeth to court and exposed their illegal behaviour. Please help us do the same. Had both this cases not gone to court Lambeth would have got away once again with ‘cosying’ up to property developers against the needs of its residents…?

Please help us get justice for our families, for our community, go to our link and donate to our Legal Fight Fund. Once you’ve donated please share, share and share with literally EVERYONE you know. People Power is literally the ONLY way forward.

>> DONATION: https://www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/streatham/

Filed under: Miscellaneous Wyatt Park People’s Fight For Justice For their Families

Council voted for 2 more years of Formula E in Battersea Park

Author: Susan Lofthouse (26 Nov. 2016)

Formula E racingCouncillors on the community services scrutiny committee voted, at the end of November, in favour of its return for two more years.

Following Tuesday’s demo and Committee Meeting, I left some breathing space before writing, although thank you to the dozens of people who not only emailed me with their appreciation of all the work done by all of you, but who have already started writing letters and thinking about the next step.

The demo was fantastic – so many beautiful banners  and hats – thank you to Gertie and Debbie and to all of those many creative people out there. Like others, I was amused by the police presence – unnecessary, but it probably showed how nervous the councillors were. As you may know we had coverage on TV and local Radio. More tomorrow, I gather.

Council voted for 2 more years of Formula E in Battersea Park

Credit: Wandsworth Guardian

Council voted for 2 more years of Formula E in Battersea Park

Credit: Wandsworth Guardian

The result was not unexpected,   as most of us long term campaigners on various issues knew from experience it would be, but it is worth noting that there was a Tory abstention. If they had had the courage of their convictions, the result would have been 7:5. James Cousins spoke to another Tory [1] who said he was with us, but then “what can you do?”.  As James said, you vote against it. That would have made it 6 all.

We understand that there will be a “call-in” so the matter will be debated in full council meeting on 9th December. Seats available in the Public Gallery. It will also be posted in video form some days later. If the Labour Councillors and the Indies. stick to their guns, we should see a result of  37:22. Maybe more Tories will show some guts and be like James Cousins and the other two who voted against it last time.

Whatever happens, we are not going away

Our actions in the next few months will depend on the outcome of December 9th. We shall, of course, have another meeting; we may have to discuss tactics for the “set-up”. The council seems to believe there will be a rolling set-up, which could mean that 40% of the park would be unavailable to the public at any one time. We shall continue to challenge the sponsors.

Some time ago we suggested we should do a head count of people in the park – easily done, as you just count them in. Why the council should consider it impossible, I do not know. I spoke to Frances Radcliffe on Tuesday, and she is all for setting up people from FBP to do this. I shall be calling on volunteers. It would involve a person on each gate, with a clip board, and possibly having separate columns for adult, child, buggy, dog, bike. These figures will be used to show that FE keeps out more people than attend than FE.

The meeting, in many ways, was surreal. Most notable was Cllr. Ian Hart of Tooting – so lives near the leafy common – who first accused us of faking the petition signatures. It took quite a while before it was made clear that what he had been looking at was a Council website with various comments from the public. He failed to respond to John Fox’s challenge as to whether he was being accused of dishonesty, and nobody heard an apology. He later suggested that during the 3 ½ week disruption period, people could go elsewhere. Had he not noticed that at some point during the presentations a blind man and a woman who needs a stick to help her get around had been sitting across the table to him? Small wonder that Jamie shouted out “I’m blind”.

Then there was Cllr. Torrington, a resident of leafy Putney, who declared that parks were a luxury. Does she have a garden, I wonder?

Cllr. Cook made insulting remarks in the press, implying that people living on the edge of the park were nimbies, and that they would not have objected had they lived in leafy Hampstead. Still trying to get our heads round that one. However, unwittingly, there is a truth in what he said. If we believe that the Park is everyone’s back yard then, yes, we are all nimbies. Wear the badge with pride.

Just over six months ago I received an unexpected breakfast visitor, who had seen my name on the Council website when I had objected to FE in the Park. We now have nearly 2800 signatories on the petition, a large database of addresses, and a core group of some 70 activists. The beauty of it is that the majority of these have worked  on their own or in groups to write letters, create banners, challenge councilors in the Saturday Surgeries, research , advise and create reports on Health and Safety, Tree damage, wildlife licences, finance, send in Freedom of Information Requests, operate a Media and Press group, build and maintain our wonderful website,  deliver leaflets and cards –  to date around 11,000.  The list is endless. I never fail to be amazed at the expertise and energy out there. There is no way anyone could be singled out for special mention – you all deserve medals.

Comments from CJAG

[1] Cllr Cousins (a former Tory councillor, now Independent) made an (excellent) description of the evening on his blog. A few parts are particularly worth mentioning:

“Imagine having organised the largest campaign in recent (and no-so-recent) memory in Wandsworth and, at the end, you attend the relevant council committee: the opportunity for you to have your say. You’ve filled the public gallery, the overspill room is standing room only and, for the first time ever, the public are filling the council chamber to listen to a council meeting. And after the first resident deputation what is the Tory approach?

To accuse the organisers of lying and inflating their support. […]

Despite one hint it would be a free vote (the hinter being one of those who stayed silent throughout [Cllr Lescott]) the decision had been made behind closed doors long before it got to committee. The Conservatives followed the whip and voted as a block, recommending renewal by seven votes to four.”

On Wednesday 9th December, Wandsworth full Council voted in favour of Formula E returning to Battersea Park, for the next two summers in an agreement including payment to Wandsworth of £200,000/year.

In a response to a question asked by Councillor Osborn to the Leader of the Council, Cllr Govindia said:

“I note in his question that Councillor Osborn repeats disinformation from the local Labour website, that ‘after the event, 62% of local residents said they were opposed to future Formula E races in the park’. But let’s be quite clear about the maths: 62% of the 1,366 respondents to the Council’s survey expressed this view – not 62% of residents. That equates to 847 people. As a percentage of the Borough’s population of around 310,000, that is 0.27%, somewhat distant from Councillor Osborn’s claim of 62%.”

That is is very strange comment made by a Councillors. Shall we say that Mr Govindia was elected as a Councillor last May 2014 by only 2134 voters, which mean “as a percentage of the Borough’s population of around 310,000, that is” 0.69%? Wow, the leader of Wandsworth Council is only approved by 0.69% of the Borough’s population?

Once again it is a very clear example of the level of consideration that the Conservative majority of Wandsworth Council is giving to consultation and democracy.

Filed under: Miscellaneous Council voted for 2 more years of Formula E in Battersea Park

Public Meeting: 1st November 2015

Author: Cyril Richert

The Clapham Junction Action Group is organising a public meeting on

Sunday 1st November 2015

Venue: York Gardens Library 34 Lavender Road SW11 2UG

Public Meeting: 1st November 2015Discussion will be held about planning applications approved by the Council, the proposed developments, the planning policy documents (including their use by Wandsworth Council), the recent directions given by the local authority throughout the borough, and of course the community involvement and views of local residents.

A panel of speakers will first talk about the recent outcomes in the area. The second hour of the meeting will be open to comments made from the audience.

Speakers will include: Philip Whyte (Wandsworth Society), Cyril Richert (Clapham Junction Action group), Tony Belton (Councillor Latchmere Ward), Resident Members Committee of The Candlemakers Apartments. Coucnillors of St Mary’s Park ward have been invited but we have received no confirmation yet.

Come along, find out, and let the Council know what YOU think!


Filed under: Miscellaneous Public Meeting: 1st November 2015

Battersea Park to be severely damaged due to Formula E

Battersea Park Formula E Action Group

Battersea Park to be severely damaged due to Formula E

Park notice

Back in early summer 2013 the Council was in correspondence with City Hall about a proposal for Formula E racing in Battersea Park.  One should add that, according to news items, the venues under consideration had included Wembley; Battersea Park was not even on the agenda

Battersea’s connection with ex-Council Leader Sir Edward Lister

Why, then, did they suddenly decide that a small beautiful Victorian Park was a better bet? Possibly because of Battersea’s connection with ex-Council Leader Sir Edward Lister, Deputy to Boris Johnson.

Edward Lister put the proposal to Wandworth on May 1st 2013, and introduced Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E. Lister’s email makes it plain that he was seeking a decision within the month. The Council was at first against the idea; as Cllr. Ravi Govindia put it in his email of 5 July 2013:

“There was, however, a decisive weight of opinion among my colleagues that in light of the length and scale of disruption in the park, there was distinct potential to undermine the current fine balance between the income-earning events that are staged in the park and its use as a peaceful ‘oasis of calm’ in the city.”… I fear that local negative impact would outweigh wider approval and acceptance”.

But they soon changed their minds. Could it have had anything to do with this letter from Mr. Agag:

…. “would be for us to  consider to increase (sic) significantly the fee we could offer the Council for the use of the Park, by this allowing the reduction of other revenue-generating events.”

Anyone looking at the latest events list for which Planning Permission has been requested will see that it not only includes Formula E 2016 and 2017, but also the Motor Show. No reduction that we can see.

Following discussions FBP, Battersea Society and others had much to say about it. Heritage Lottery Fund also had to be consulted.

As Cllr. Jonathan Cook wrote in his email of 31st July:

“Fair to say HLF didn’t seem overjoyed at the proposal.”

Lister made announcement before formal decision

As early as 30th June 2014, before supposedly any decision had been made a news item said:

“Battersea Park has been revealed as the preferred venue for the Formula E London ePrix which hosts the season finale on June 27 2015. The Deputy Mayor of London Sir Edward Lister made the announcement together with Alejandro Agag….”

There was a public meeting in November 2014.  But the Council only told FBP, Battersea Society and some residents’ associations about it.  The remaining thousands of residents knew nothing. In December a Planning Letter was sent to those living on the periphery of the Park. We have yet to find someone who actually had that letter. The Chair of one Mansion Block certainly did not, either personally or in her official capacity.

The very detailed Heritage Impact Report had a few things to say. You may read the whole thing on the link HERE, first item, posted 28th May 2015, but for the moment here is one small extract:

“Experience of other events large-scale in Battersea and other Major London Parks shows wear and tear can be significant and require up to one year to recover…. But if event held annually for five years will be difficult to achieve reinstatement”.

Yet in spite of comments such as this, Jon-Paul Graham, Major Events and Partnership Manager in the Mayor’s Office, wrote:

“Reading the HIA report I am comfortable that the event does not permanently compromise the park.”

Paul McCue wrote to Jon-Paul:

“….”which (HIA Report) I don’t see as too bad. In which case the EH (English Heritage) response to it is disappointing”

Any monies received will not all go to Battersea Park, as it will be used for the other 31 green spaces, as well as for other things – we were told it would help pay off Council debts. The planning application was granted in mid-February 2015.

Battersea Park is already severely damaged by preparation works

Damage has already been done to the park to change it permanently to form a race track.

[As shown on the images below, the Council has widened carriageways, added extra tarmac, removed mature trees, removed hedges, branches which can spread over the road are being shredded…

Battersea MP (and Health Minister) Jane Ellison has said that as long as no damage is done, she is in support, and refused to intervene so far. – note from CJAG]

Battersea Park to be severely damaged due to Formula E

Diggers enlarging track

Battersea Park to be severely damaged due to Formula E

More tarmac is being laid

Battersea Park to be severely damaged due to Formula E

Mature tree removed

Battersea Park to be severely damaged due to Formula E

Branches over the track shredded

Petition from the Battersea Park Formula E Action Group

The story does not stop there, however.  Recently The Battersea Park Formula E Action Group was formed by like-minded individuals who strongly opposed the use of a listed park environment for car racing. After some detailed investigation the Action Group has made some very interesting but worrying discoveries on how the consultation and planning process has been handled. In order to gain support for the removal of this event from the Park calendar by effecting the one year break clause the Group has set up an on-line Petition.

>>> SIGN the online petition HERE

John Fox, a member of the Battersea Park Formula E Action Group has produced a time line of the whole sorry business, together with links to various material. Download the time line HERE.

Also, check out the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/saveBattPark

Tweet your support: @saveBattPark

Filed under: Miscellaneous Battersea Park to be severely damaged due to Formula E

With Google Earth Pro we can model and visualise developers’ scheme

Author: Cyril Richert

After 10 years, Google has decided to make Google Earth Pro available for free. The Pro version has much more robust geospatial tools that are especially useful to architects.

More specifically the Pro version can measure and draw distances/areas using lines, paths, polygons, circles, and more. We can now simulate any building to get a “real” view of what it would look like in a specific are (and not rely on so called “verified” view provided by the developers).

You can see an example with the video below:

Thanks to Google Earth, it is now easier to visualise some planning applications in breach of Wandsworth planning documents around Clapham Junction but already approved, recommended for approval or considered favourably by Wandsworth Council.

With Google Earth Pro we can model and visualise developers’ scheme

In red, towers approved, recommended for approval or considered appropriate by Wandsworth Council

Filed under: Miscellaneous With Google Earth Pro we can model and visualise developers’ scheme

Bully builders hand-in-glove with Lambeth Council

Planning outrage doesn’t happen only in Wandsworth, and here is an example of developers’ cow-boys hand-in-glove with Lambeth Council .

Author: WPR Residents Group

Bully builders hand-in-glove with Lambeth Council

Buildings erected on immediate back garden walls belonging to a small Streatham Hill

How would you feel if you were violently SHAKEN awake at 06:30 one cold December morning to find your home trembling uncontrollably?!

“We thought we were in the middle of an earthquake… My whole body was shaking right through to my teeth… the constant movement of our houses and pneumatic drilling sounds made it too unbearable for us to stay home during the day”.
[Homeowners whose garden backs onto the site.]

It wasn’t an earthquake but large monstrous diggers furiously tunnelling 12 foot deep trenches inches away from their back garden walls belonging to a small Streatham Hill community.

Bully builders hand-in-glove with Lambeth Council

Site Shortly After Demolition

Bully builders hand-in-glove with Lambeth Council

Extremely close Excavations Clearly Evident

Hambridge Homes aka Greennow owned by father and son duo Michael and James Overton hadn’t bothered serving party wall notices, claiming they weren’t building close enough to our homes to warrant this. A complete untruth as the complete collapse of 3 brick garden walls showed as well as the photographs we took.

Lambeth Council disregarded right to information

“Many of us contacted Lambeth, who point blank refused to give us any information about what was going on. Unfortunately for them this is friendly community and most of us speak to each other. We quickly found that Lambeth were telling each resident that called in that no one else had complained, this despite us knowing for a fact that 11 people had called the council. We decided to pool our resources and formed Wyatt Park Road Residents Group and act as a unit.” [WRP Residents]

And things got progressively worse. Both Hambridge Homes and Lambeth council continually disregarded their legal statutory rights and treated them with disdain, disrespect, quite frankly like something they’d stepped in by accident. The most recent SMACK in the face delivered to them by the Overtons came a few weeks ago.

“The Overtons don’t give an FF about the Party Wall Act or any other planning laws for that matter… They seem to believe their relationship with Lambeth gives them carte blanche to do whatever they please?!”

Bully builders hand-in-glove with Lambeth Council

Pictures of rendering capping the Following Morning Totally Unauthorised

A few weeks ago – March 2015 – without prior notification and despite residents expressly telling them to leave their walls alone Hambridge Homes bricked up ALL their back garden wall doorways and placed brutally ugly grey concrete blocks capping on top of their walls.

No development notification given

Not one of us on Wyatt Park Road, Daysbrook Road or Wavertree Road were contacted about Hambridge Homes plans. No notices were put up, no one received a letter and nothing was placed in the South London Press. Although as a result of our complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman some ‘shady’ photos magically appeared.

Bully builders hand-in-glove with Lambeth CouncilPrior to the Ombudsman enquiry Lambeth had been unable to produce any photographic evidence of lamp post notifications. (Chuka Umunna told us that ALL lamp posts locations can be identified by the numbers on them). Lambeth couldn’t provide any proof to us, or to the BBC investigation and we’ve even seen an email between 2 Lambeth planning employees stating they had no clue where such evidence might be found and yet miraculously an out of focus, without context, without date or time non-digital photo was ‘found’ for the ombudsman.

Strange Lambeth couldn’t provide digital evidence as each year they issue over 200, 000 digital photos for the parking tickets they hand out. Just where did Lambeth find a non-digital camera as literally every single PCN has an accompanying digital photograph? Are Lambeth even allowed to take non digital photos as evidence and how would they be stored?

Lambeth council and Hambridge Homes appear to be close allies

Hambridge Homes currently have at least 46 ongoing developments in Lambeth alone. We say at least because 2 weeks ago we discovered Fawcett Close, an additional development i.e. one left off the list given to us in response to our FOI (Freedom Of Information) request asking how many other developments the Overtons had in Lambeth.

Lambeth ignored legislation and guidelines

We feel this to be the reason Lambeth illegally bulldozed planning permission through, plunge us into darkness, removed their children’s privacy, denied them their rights and knocked £50k off the price of their homes.

We believe Lambeth did not inform us of their plans because they feared we’d oppose them, so instead opted to ignore legislation and guidelines and sneak things through and then lie about it. None of us were not informed so we did not get the opportunity to fully scrutinise the planned development.

Do Lambeth really expect people to believe that we were ALL asleep at the wheel, that we ALL missed notices on lamp posts, would have ignored letters written to them by Lambeth council proposing a plan turning their homes into a dark prison and knocking £50k off their house value…?

This is not a communist country where governments move people around, flatten villages and impose concrete blocks as they please. This is England, where we have rights! Lambeth illegally stripped us of our right to challenge their decision when they decided against making us aware of Hambridge Homes development plans.

This is the very first time I’ve heard anything about this says local MP

We contacted our local MP Chuka Umunna, who though happily traipses along to TV studios all over the country to seemingly speak on every political programme who asks. It took dozens of phonecalls, emails and constant badgering to persuade Mr. Umunna to walk a few metres down the road from his office to attend one of our meetings or visit the abhorrent site….? When he arrived he was visibly shocked at what we were expected to live with?

“If constituents had known about a development this intense beforehand I would have expected a deluge of complaints… This is the very first time I’ve heard anything about this…”

We contacted Eric Pickles, Jeremy Clyne our then local councillor and Lambeth’s chief Executive Derick Anderson. We also contacted the newly elected councillors, Iain Simpson, Rezina Chowdhury and Liz Atkins, who made all the right noises prior to gaining office but once in ignored our emails.

After an extremely protracted period of time we managed to get an extraordinarily incomplete response to our FOI. Literally no one is helping us. We are legally entitled to light under British law and privacy under European Human Rights legislation.

Lambeth claims to have sent notices that nobody has seen

1 – Lambeth claimed to have sent 325 letters to people in the surrounding flats. Yet not one person in any of the houses on the roads surrounding the site received any notification. We know this for a fact because we literally knocked on EVERY SINGLE door on Daysbrook Road, Wyatt Park Road, Wavertree Road as well as the affected flats/houses on Streatham Hill. Not one person was notified via letter or saw any of the six notices Lambeth claim – retrospectively to have posted on lamp posts. There should be a mail merge available for inspection but ….no…?

These roads comprise of a number of retired professionals and those raising families.  Definitely not the sort of people to ignore something this significant that would so negatively impact on their lives.

2 – Lambeth claim to have posted 6 notices in the area. Again not one person in any of the roads surrounding the development saw literally any of the notices they say they posted. Extremely odd, because as a community we make a point of talking about all the notices we see put up and have been quite alarmed at the fact that Lambeth have got into the habit of posting ‘retrospective’ notices. We’ve asked Lambeth for copies of the notices and to identify exactly where these notices were placed, they’ve declined to answer.

3 – Lambeth claim to have put a notification in the local press. We’ve asked the council to identify the date and the newspaper it was placed in. We’re still waiting for them to respond directly to this question.

The development is a Health & Safety hazard

The development is a Health & Safety hazard in that the local fire brigade found that should there be a fire, there is not enough space for their engines to attend as there’s no way they can turn in the allotted space. Lambeth’s way around this is to say it’s up to the developer to sort out…

The unbearable noise from the Wavertree building site! This makes it impossible for anyone to be in their homes during the day. They’ve undoubtedly caused permanent structural damage to our houses. We’re literally centimetres away from the site and feel the foundations of our homes shake right through to our bones daily. We can feel our entire houses shaking in an extremely unnerving way – and possible permanent damage to the foundations of OUR homes?!

Unfortunately for reasons best known to Hambridge Homes and Lambeth Borough council both parties have steadfastly failed to make full complete plans of any description available to us. We need full structural plans so that we can make the necessary calculations re: our right to light, to determine whether the developer has stuck to the plans agreed in 2011* or made substantial changes without informing us i.e. residents with properties on adjoining land; and thirdly so we know exactly what will be on the other side of our garden walls once Hambridge Homes depart from the site. They’ve had 13 companies in the last 3 years. They dissolve the limited companies associated with the builds once they’ve sold the properties and move on…

We are not willing to accept this THREE STOREY HIGH development in our back gardens, with windows looking directly into the bedrooms of OUR children and overlooking balconies and completely block ALL our natural light..? It will also take away all our privacy…

The case is before the Royal Courts of Justice

Well enough’s enough on the 9th of April 2015 we took our grievances to the Royal Courts of Justice and as litigants in person submitted papers for a Judicial Review. The judge has got back to us saying she needs more information from Lambeth before deciding whether our case warrants a full Judicial review.

Help and support our right to fight

Our situation could end up at the European Court of Human Rights!

YOUR donations will enable us to fight this in court. If this can happen to us YOU might be next?!

Watch our short film by cutting and pasting or typing this link into your subject bar and hitting return https://vimeo.com/119912061

Please, please, please donate ideally at least £10 to our Fighting Council Corruption Fund. Councillors, MPs and the government has let us down. We’re hoping you’ll help right a Disgraceful Wrong!

Filed under: Miscellaneous Bully builders hand-in-glove with Lambeth Council

Battersea Park to become… a local Silverstone?

Author: Julia Matcham

Battersea Park to become… a local Silverstone?

Wandsworth Council is proposing to use Battersea Park for Formula E electric cars motor racing in June 2015, and repeat that for the next five years.

Surely the Council have taken enough commercial advantage of our public park?

There is always something going on and most of it not affordable by many Battersea residents. Obviously this does underwrite some of our taxes and some flexibility is reasonable providing it doesn’t disturb the peace or seriously interrupt the citizens use of what is after all a public park and which might be said to belong to all of us.

Now we have the prospect of a local Silverstone. It is our park. Do we really want this ‘exciting event’???

I quote from the Council’s own document on the subject but to read the full paper on the subject http://batterseasociety.org.uk/docs/formulae.pdf

The following two extracts from the above cut to the chase:

‘In summary, the proposal involves 20 cars in total (10 being on the track at any one time) on a circuit using all the park’s carriage drives, with the British Genius events site housing the pits and the boules area being temporarily turned into a chicane. It is accepted that there will be some temporary disruption to the Park’s normal activities, but given that this impact will be minimised, and that there will be no permanent impact on the Park’s heritage features, it is proposed that, in light of the generally-positive findings of the Heritage Impact Assessment, ‘in principle’ approval is given to hosting the event, subject to the views of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and planning permission’ [….]

‘The Overview and Scrutiny Committee are asked to support recommendations. The recommendations in this Paper enable the Council to proceed with consideration of bringing an exciting event to the Borough, with attendant income, which would place the Council at the forefront of promoting electric vehicles in the urban environment and supporting its work on improvements to air quality. The global Formula E programme (of ten events in the first 2014/15 season) has now started, with the first race having been successfully held in Beijing on 13th September 2014’.

 More information comes from The Battersea Society which is, to quote them:

“opposing plans to use the Carriage Drive of Battersea Park for motor racing in June 2015, and repeat that for the next five years.  The races would be between Formula E electric cars.  Some people may have seen coverage of the recent race in Beijing, using what was clearly a proper motor racing circuit.”

A YouTube video of the highlights of this event can be seen here:

Races in Battersea Park would be for one or possibly two days, during which the whole of the park would be closed to the public and 30,000 people would be expected to attend.

Constructing and dismantling safety barriers, pit stops, enclosures and a chicane would also disrupt use of the park for several weeks before and after the event.

The Battersea Society said:

“[We] believes all this is directly contrary to the purpose of the park and the extensive use local people make of it.  If the plans go ahead there will be a planning application (probably in November), but we fear this will then be treated as a formality.”

If you want your views to be taken into account, please contact your local councillors by email before Monday October 6 evening (the date of the next Council Executive meeting). You can find their details here.

Alternatively you can email the Leader of Wandsworth Council, Ravi Govindia.

Filed under: Miscellaneous Battersea Park to become… a local Silverstone?

Judicial review planned on Council decision to grant permission despite objections

Author: Cyril Richert

Judicial review planned on Council decision to grant permission despite objections

83b Nightingale Lane

A residential extension (p.a 2014/3230 & 2014/3430) was granted last August to build a basement extension under a Grade II listed building, garden and outbuilding to provide additional level of living accommodation.

The owner said:

“My motivation for the project is quite simply to create space. I have a young growing family and small dog and require more space for what seems to be a never ending supply of toys and nappies!”

It is assume that the excavation would be dug using a mini digger on site, and then transported to a skip using a handheld or driven mini dumper.

The owner said that the idea came from the successful basement application next door (p.a. 2013/2583). However that application was related to a single-storey rear extension and described in the officer’s report as a “modest projection”, a “proportionate addition to the property” and a small cellar refurbished. Nothing to compare therefore with the above proposal for a huge basement, underneath all the house, the garden and its additional building.

While 12 neighbours objected to the proposal (no supports), they were ignored by Wandsworth Council which decided to grant planning permission.

One of the objector has now decided to file a judicial review, in order to contest the decision. The important points raised by the objector in a letter addressed to the members of the Planning Committee are:

  1. Officer’s failed to identify that 83b Nightingale Lane is a listed building, and mistakenly believe that only 83 Nightingale Lane is a listed building;
  2. The officers confuse the building as being within the curtilage, and fail to differentiate between the curtilage and setting of the listed building – two lawfully different entities;
  3. By failing to identify the building of 83b Nightingale Lane as being listed, Officers have therefore not assessed any part of the work to the listed building in their entirety;
  4. Officer’s have inexplicably and without any credible justification, labelled this Grade II listed building as:
    … not considered to be a heritage asset of particularly high significance with many similar examples of such buildings in immediate locality (the entire adjacent terrace) and throughout the borough.

In addition, it is noted that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF, para 129) says:

“Local planning authorities should identify and assess the particular  significance of any heritage asset that may be affected by a proposal  (including by development affecting the setting of a heritage asset) taking  account of the available evidence and any necessary expertise. They should  take this assessment into account when considering the impact of a proposal  on a heritage asset, to avoid or minimise conflict between the heritage asset’s  conservation and any aspect of the proposal.”

And it appears that the officer recommendation omits the internal arrangement of buildings, the demolition and rebuilding of the garden wall and the impact on significance through the connection between the 2 dwellings though the basement.

David Andrews, previous Wandsworth Conservation Officer, raised an objection to the same scheme in a previous application, but his comments were omitted in the report presented before the Planning Committee.

We will look forward to the outcome of this Judicial Review. Two years ago a pre-action protocol letter (first stage of the Judicial Review) against Wandsworth Council lead the Council to squash their planning permission.

Filed under: Miscellaneous Judicial review planned on Council decision to grant permission despite objections

Wandsworth Radio soon in Battersea

Author: Cyril Richert

Wandsworth Radio is a community online radio station in Battersea, run by volunteers from across the London Borough of Wandsworth.

In order to gather the few thousand pounds needed for its launch, the radio successfully used crowdfunding to help launch the station’s studio. Over £3,800 have been raised so far but you can still support the initiative and donate until Friday 8th August 2014: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/WandsworthRadio

You can listen to some shows on their website: http://www.wandsworthradio.com

And we hope they will have soon a show on Clapham Junction! 🙂

Filed under: Miscellaneous Wandsworth Radio soon in Battersea