Wednesday, 16 December 2009

LDF Representation

Representation made on behalf of Kennington Association
on 14 December 2009, objecting to the draft
Local Development Framework Core Strategy
as "unsound",
because it fails to deal comprehensively with Lambeth's neighbourhoods,
and because it omits reference to Kennington.

Who we are
The Kennington Association is a voluntary membership association of upwards of 430 members drawn from the wider Kennington area, in the north of the Borough of Lambeth, whose aim is to promote and maintain the Kennington area as a good place to live and work. The Kennington Association Planning Forum is a group of Association members with interest in and experience of planning and development issues, that develops planning policies and makes planning representations on behalf of the wider Association. The Association made representations about the previous draft Core Strategy in the consultation round that closed in May 2009, and the Forum meeting on 8 December 2009 authorised me as its Chair to make this representation on its behalf.
Why we make this representation
PPS12 states:
4.1 Every local planning authority should produce a core strategy which includes:
(1) an overall vision which sets out how the area and the places within it should develop; [our emphasis]
Lambeth Council, on its website recognises the variety of neighbourhoods and communities within its area:
“Lambeth by local area
Lambeth is made up of 21 wards. However there are many neighbourhoods and 'urban villages' in the borough, each with its own distinct character.
· Kennington and Oval
· South Bank
· Vauxhall
· Waterloo
Central Lambeth
· Herne Hill
South Lambeth
But in Section 5 of the Draft Core Strategy, the Council makes plain that it does not propose to deal comprehensively with the “people and neighbourhoods” of Lambeth, choosing instead to concentrate on areas of significant growth and change:
The policies in this section are not intended to cover every part of the borough, focussing instead on areas of significant growth or change. Other parts of the borough not covered by the policies in this section are covered by the strategic policies in section 7.
This is reflected also in its response to May representations, that the Strategy should be made more comprehensive by including coverage of Kennington in this section:
“A separate neighbourhood section for Kennington is not considered necessary. The policies for places and neighbourhoods are not intended to cover every part of the borough but focus on areas of significant change or growth.” [Response to Rep 143 and similarly to Reps 120 and 150].
We say that this “Swiss Cheese” approach to place shaping, in a core strategy intended to have a 15 year time frame is an inadequate response to the challenge of PPS12.
· It privileges growth and change as opposed to conservation (cf the two headed approach to area action plans envisaged in PPS12:
5.4 Area action plans should be used when there is a need to provide the planning framework for areas where significant change or conservation is needed. Area action plans should:
· deliver planned growth areas;
· stimulate regeneration;
· protect areas particularly sensitive to change;
· resolve conflicting objectives in areas subject to development pressures; or
· focus the delivery of area based regeneration initiatives.
[our emphasis])
· And it leaves “Black Holes” where a plan should be.
This is particularly evident when comparing the approach of Lambeth with that of Southwark, which identifies in its draft Core Strategy all the constituent neighbourhoods which cover its area, and succinctly addresses their character and needs. (Section 4, page 36 of the draft Southwark Core Strategy, attached) By contrast, the Lambeth approach covers perhaps half the area of the borough with its “Peoples and Neighbourhoods” plans, leaving large areas of the borough with no vision or strategy to address its “own distinct character”, save as part of borough wide policies. Kennington is the first black hole from the top! See Lambeth Core Strategy Annotated Key Diagram attached.
The rubric to PPS12 says:
Planning shapes the places where people live and work and the country we live in. It plays a key role in supporting the Government’s wider social, environmental and economic objectives and for sustainable communities.
Try shaping a black hole...
For these reasons we say that the People and Neighbourhoods section of the Strategy is unsound because
· Unjustified – there is ample evidence to sustain and illustrate a comprehensive approach which has not been used
· Ineffective – by omitting a comprehensive neighbourhood analysis Lambeth fails to provide a vision for perhaps half its area, and fails to provide a strategy in those areas for how the needs of development and conservation are to be reconciled
· Contrary to national policy, namely
o PPS12 para 2.1 first bullet
(Spatial planning is a process of place shaping and delivery. It aims to:
§ produce a vision for the future of places that responds to the local challenges and opportunities, and is based on evidence, a sense of local distinctiveness and community derived objectives, within the overall framework of national policy and regional strategies;)
o PPS12 para 4.1
( 4.1 Every local planning authority should produce a core strategy which includes:
(1) an overall vision which sets out how the area and the places within it should develop;
(2) strategic objectives for the area focussing on the key issues to be addressed;
(3) a delivery strategy for achieving these objectives. This should set out how much development is intended to happen where, when, and by what means it will be delivered. Locations for strategic development should be indicated on a key diagram; and
(4) clear arrangements for managing and monitoring the delivery of the strategy.)
o PPS12 para 4.2
(4.2 The vision should be informed by an analysis of the characteristics of the area and its constituent parts and the key issues and challenges facing them. The vision should be in general conformity with the RSS and it should closely relate to any Sustainable Community Strategy for the area )
[our emphasis]
What should be done instead?
Ideally, Lambeth Council should revisit Section 5 with a comprehensive analysis of its constituent communities and their needs, and review the area wide strategies in the rest of the document in the light of the new insights gained. We do not regard policy PN10 as an adequate stopgap until this is done, and with that in mind, for Kennington, we propose an additional policy PN11:
“Given the need to balance conservation and development needs in the wider Kennington area, the Council will develop an Area Action Plan for the area, in consultation with local community interests, that will
§ Analyse the demographics, tenure and employment patterns
§ Address the need to revitalise local shopping areas, cf existing UDP policy 68 for Kennington Cross
§ Address the need for a major improvement in sports and leisure facilities, as contemplated by the “Future Kennington” section of the Lambeth Council website
“Future Kennington – Our vision is to create a community hub at the former Lilian Baylis school site that is inter-generational and inclusive with activities based around sports, health, arts and culture, economic activity community activities, education, childcare and the environment from morning to night. “
§ Give guidance on how the balance should be struck between the needs of conservation, employment, skills improvement and development in the area, and on how there may be maintained a democratic share of amenities, eg
· pedestrian access along the river bank,
· views across the river from the interior of Kennington, not completely screened by riverside tall building development
· integration of affordable housing into adjacent development, rather than the creation of separate “affordable” communities, at the back, in the dark, without the views, with separate entrances”
As a contribution to such a plan, the Kennington Association intends to develop its own vision for the area, as contemplated by PPS12 para 6.2

Sunday, 13 December 2009

‘U-turn on church’s plan for school site’

As a follow up to our open letter to

Jo Negrini

Divisional Director of Enterprise & Regeneration

Lambeth Council


Monday, 29th June 2009

Link here:
there is an article in Tuesday’s South London Press

‘U-turn on church’s plan for school site’

It does not appear to be available on their website, so I have copy typed it below.

Best wishes

Cathy Preece

KA Administrative Assistant

‘U-turn on church’s plan for school site’

By Chief Reporter


A TOWN HALL has U-turned over controversial plans to sell a former school site to a church.

Labour-run Lambeth had planned to sell the former Lilian Baylis School grounds in Kennington to All Nations Church (ANC).

Lambeth’s Labour leaders had selected the Kennington-based church as its ‘lead partner’ to run the site – which provides sports facilities to young people, a nursery and children’s centre.

But after long negotiations it has emerged that the council now intends to ‘decommission’ the project.

In a report to the borough’s cabinet, a council officer has stated that the proposed offer from the ANC was too low.

It states: ‘The offer proposed by ANC entailed a substantial discount below market value, which the council could not justify through demonstration of public benefit.’

The report states that the council will continue to run the site at an annual cost of £380,000 until a suitable new buyer is found who will agree to keep the community facilities of the site.

It has been estimated that investment of up to £10million is required to bring the buildings – close to the Ethelred Estate – back into full use.

The proposed council and ANC partnership had been the subject of criticism from some groups.

Earlier this year chairwoman of community group the Kennington Association Anna Tapsell wrote to the council urging them not to enter into an agreement with the church.

She said: “The stated beliefs of All Nations are based on a very literal ready of the Bible and include the statement, ‘We believe in the utter depravity of human nature, the necessity of repentance and regeneration and the eternal doom of the finally impenitent’.

“These beliefs will not lead them to engender a sense of worth amongst young people who are disaffected and need to feel encouraged and loved, not ‘evil’ and ‘sinful’.

“And we are concerned about potential intolerance to minorities, such as gays and lesbians.”

An ANC spokeswoman said no one was available to comment.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Representation on draft Kennington Conservation Area Statement


1 This is a representation by David Boardman on behalf of the Kennington Association Planning Forum (KAPF) in relation to the draft Kennington Conservation Area Statement, issued for consultation on 26 October 2009. It amplifies oral representations made by David Boardman at the Statutory Consultation Meeting on 9 November 2009. This representation will be published on the Association’s website, and may in its turn be republished by Lambeth Council.


2 The draft Statement asks for comments by 23 November 2009.

The Forum

3 The Kennington Association is a voluntary membership association of upwards of 430 members drawn from the wider Kennington area, whose aim is to promote and maintain the Kennington area as a good place to live and work. KAPF is a group of Association members with interest in and experience of planning and development issues, that develops planning policies and makes planning representations on behalf of the wider Association.

General impression of the draft Statement

4 There is much to commend in the draft, with its helpful history, detailed and informed commentary street by street, and its willingness to take a robust view of buildings not making a positive contribution to the conservation area, revealing where, at least in the planners view, there is scope for more "sympathetic" replacements.

The Proposed Measures

5 In order to “preserve or enhance” the “character or appearance” of the conservation area, the draft proposes

  • A number of extensions to the conservation area, at the margins
  • A “local listing” of buildings of local historical and architectural interest which do not currently qualify to be, or have not so far been, Grade II listed
  • A list of buildings making a positive contribution to the conservation area, consisting of
    • all its Grade II listed buildings,
    • the “local list” of other buildings of local historical or architectural interest, not qualifying to be, or not yet, Grade II listed, and
    • other buildings making a positive contribution

This follows PPG15 para 4.4 “The assessment should always note those [statutorily] unlisted buildings which make a positive contribution to the special interest of the area” , and UDP Policy 46, that says that the Council will establish local lists of “buildings and structures of local historic or architectural interest", to be done in accordance with the advice of PPG 15 - Planning and the Historic Environment.

  • A list of buildings making a “Neutral” contribution to the area, combining under a confusing heading some buildings merely described, and others expressly labelled as “unattractive”

And it gives non-statutory guidance on a range of topics including signage, trees, railing replacement, shop front replacement and satellite dish concealment.

6 A conservation area is defined as an area of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance, and the adopted UDP for Lambeth says, at para 4.16.16 that "The main threat to most of Lambeth's conservation areas is not the threatened loss of buildings but the gradual erosion and alteration of individual elevational features that together, give the conservation areas their special character. This is particularly the case with rendering/painting, roofing replacements, and replacement of original windows. "

We now assess the draft statement in the light of these perceived challenges, and our local experience.


7 These seem something of a mixed bag:

  • we do not find the North Lambeth Area Housing Office at 31 Kennington Lane “attractive”, nor affecting the setting of the existing conservation area. Indeed, we do not consider the existing boundary, extending along Kennington Road beyond Cottington Street as enclosing properties important to the preservation or enhancement of the conservation area, or its setting, [see photos attached] and would prefer to see the boundary brought back to Cottington Street
  • given the proximity of Moran’s yard, it is going to be hard to make anything particularly positive out of the Stannary St warehouse area, but we are prepared to go along with the proposed extension
  • the Kennings Way change is a modest technicality,
  • the Sancroft St change seems sensible
  • embracing the telephone exchange creates a more rational boundary, and may in future decades provide modest leverage for improvement, and
  • we certainly support the inclusion of the Beefeater Gin site, which is bounded on 3 sides by Grade II listed buildings, with a view to encouraging sensitive solutions on this Major Development Opportunity site.

Local Listing

8 Given UDP Policy 46, we understand why Lambeth feel they have to establish a local listing, but we think it is a somewhat cosmetic exercise in a conservation area. Just as the UDP was being adopted, PPG15 was amended, from April 2007, to delete all reference to local listing, and the latest draft replacement, PPS15, does not reinstate the concept. The compilation of a local list may have some merit outside a conservation area, as a watch list in case of proposals for demolition or unsympathetic alteration. But as is acknowledged in the draft statement, local listing has no statutory effect, over and above the normal effects of location in a conservation area, which we understand to be:

  • Conservation area consent required for part or whole demolition,
  • some diminution of permitted development rights for houses, (eg planning permission required for cladding, anything more than modest extensions, most roof and visible chimney alterations, and installation of visible satellite dishes)
  • decisions on developments that do require planning permission to give a high priority to the objective of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of the conservation area (sadly, “preserving” includes changing it to be no worse!).

9 The UDP policy says, as regards buildings on the local listThe Council will use development control procedures to resist proposals for the demolition or inappropriate alteration of buildings or structures on the local list.... Proposals for the alteration or extension of buildings on the local list will be expected to relate sensitively to the building or structure, and respect its architectural or historic interest. The Council will seek to preserve features of such buildings which contribute to that interest. “

But this is hardly different from the rubric applying to all the positive contribution buildings in the conservation area: “Buildings that make a positive contribution are therefore worthy of retention although some may require restoration or refurbishment. There is a presumption in favour of their sympathetic retention. Demolition or unsympathetic alteration will be resisted.”

10 Nor does local listing address the main threats to conservation areas identified by the UDP for buildings not Grade II listed:

  • rendering – already requires planning permission in a conservation area
  • exterior painting –as a minor operation, allowed without planning permission as a permitted development for all dwellings, unless permitted development rights withdrawn by an Article 4(2) direction (in this connection, note the spread of whitewashed basement approaches in Methley Street) [see photo]
  • roofing replacements – most roof and visible chimney alterations already require planning permission in a conservation area, roof replacement (eg with non conforming slate rather than eg existing tiles, or vice versa) probably not controlled short of withdrawing permitted development rights
  • replacement of original windows – probably requires planning permission for flats unless the new windows do not materially affect the external appearance of the building, and for houses unless the windows are of a similar appearance to the originals (which sounds like a lawyers benefit). Wherever the boundary lies, local listing makes no odds.

For these reasons we regard local listing as cosmetic. If conscientious exercise of existing planning controls and diligent enforcement are insufficient to tackle real problems (and it’s a big if), then it would seem to us to require some curtailment of permitted development rights by means of an Article 4(2) direction, which can be tailored to the parts of the conservation area, and the relevant rights concerned. [see also comments on the scope of Article 4(2) directions below]

11 The schedule of listed buildings in the conservation area, at Appendix 3, is incomplete, and they are not shown on the attached maps, while the proposed locally listed buildings are. As nearly half the dwellings in the area are already Grade 2 listed, this gives an incomplete impression, and we have identified both sorts on our attached plan. In addition, by limiting its mapping to the Lambeth borough, the Statement mapping of conservation areas omits the contiguous conservation areas in Southwark, notably at Kennington Park Road and West Square, which also contribute to the context. We think that the “Conservation Areas Context” map should show both these areas, appropriately labelled, and the map of proposed locally listed buildings should show the Grade II listed buildings in the Conservation Area as well.

12 In this context, we then see that a number of "local list" proposals are filling in gaps in, or adding on to, runs of statutorily listed buildings, eg in Kennington Park Road, Kennington Road, Montford Place, Cleaver Square, Kennington Lane and Denny Street. Indeed, looking at the statutory listings, the question is more, why are the properties in the gaps not Grade II listed, especially in Cleaver Square, where a number of existing listings are already justified in terms of group value.

13 While in our view most of those locally listed buildings make a positive contribution to the conservation area (though there must be a question mark over the proposals for the shops on Kennington Road), there are others equally worthy (eg Tresco House, even if it is a late 20th century pastiche, most of Chester Way, the Methley Street/Ravensdon Street/ Milverton Street/Radcot Street rectangle, and the windmill triangle of shops), If the planners apprehend threats to the character of eg Cleaver Square, they should either go for full Grade II listing of the gap properties, or, if not justified (and we would not want to visit listed building controls on interior changes, like change of fireplace or moving a partition wall, unnecessarily), they should go for Article 4(2) directions designed to mimic the exterior controls of listed building consent.

The Kennington Road Shops

14 The Kennington Road shops, particularly those on the east side, are under stress, as trade leaches away to Tesco, and the centre generally is squeezed between the major developments planned for Elephant and Castle and Vauxhall. Already, three former shops have boarded up frontages, [see photos attached] and local listing, predicated largely on the residential properties behind, is unlikely to assist bringing these frontages back into active and less visually blank uses. The Council should explore other measures, such as shop front grants, and business rate abatements, to attract appropriate service, charitable and public benefit uses that can withstand the convenience shopping squeeze.

Negative and Neutral Contributors

15 The rubric to Appendix 2 is confused, and the description as “unattractive” has been criticised as being merely an expression of contemporary taste (cf 134 Kennington Park Road, now described as unattractive, built in a “modern” style, insisted on by the then planners, with a set back building line, in anticipation of demolition of the entire adjacent terrace, now Grade II listed, for an aborted road widening). Given that so many of the properties in the conservation area are considered to make a positive contribution, it might be sufficient to identify those highlighted in Appendix 2 as “not regarded as making a positive contribution to the conservation area”, or as “properties whose redevelopment would offer the opportunity to improve the conservation area”.

Street Lighting

16 It appears that through an oversight in the PFI procurement processes, heritage lampposts were procured for Methley Street, but not for other deserving streets in the conservation area. The Statement should record that fact, and make its rectification, over time, a target for management of the area, alongside reduction in street furniture clutter.

Replacement Windows

17 The planners have a thing about uPVC replacement windows, which we think overstates the case, certainly as regards visual effect. We are going to be increasingly concerned about energy conservation in dwellings over the next 20 years, and making the improvement of existing buildings compulsory in future years is quite possible. Most of our buildings are built from solid, rather than cavity walls, and interior cladding is expensive and reduces floor area. So reducing heat loss through windows is important for us. Secondary double glazing, the solution towards which the planners steer us is better than nothing, but arguably still second best in energy terms. In these energy conscious times it behoves the planners to demonstrate a case against uPVC, rather than assert it without evidence, and it is notable that only now is the Building Research Station undertaking like for like trials, with the results for the uPVC comparator still awaited. Furthermore, the statement overstates the effect of mixing uPVC and traditional frames – see for example the unlisted Courtney Street properties [see photo attached] where uPVC and traditional are side by side and do not detract from the overall street character. Provided the glazing bar pattern is maintained, there is a lot to be said for uPVC, with its low maintenance cost. And in places like Methley Street, even variation in glazing bar pattern seems less detrimental to character than security screens and barred windows, or painted frontages. While we recognise that properties like the listed buildings in Chester Way, with their flat frontages, need to have a uniform solution for all their windows, we await, in these increasingly energy conscious times, an argued and justified case from the planners against uPVC.

Planning Oversight

18 There is a contrast between the detailed planning oversight to which the planning system aspires in relation to conservation areas and listed buildings, and the resources available to planners to monitor and review the resulting developments. We think the Council should establish an Advisory Committee for the Kennington Conservation Area, involving members of the resident community, who are likely to identify issues much more rapidly than the four yearly review cycle otherwise in prospect. And where the Statement identifies concerns, like the need for sensitive replacement of railings, or screening of litter bins in front gardens [see photo attached], it would be helpful to the wider willing public to give express examples of good practice for emulation, rather than mere exhortation against casual thoughtlessness.

Permitted Development Rights

19 We have identified two apparent anomalies in the scope of permitted development rights

· absent an express extension of the definition of “dwelling house” to include a flat in Article 4(5) of the General Permitted Development Order (SI 1995 No 418, as amended), it would appear to be impossible for an Article 4(2) order to withdraw permitted development rights under Schedule 2 Part 2 Class C (external painting) from a flat

· if the mere re-roofing of a dwelling house in a conservation area falls within the permitted development rights of Schedule 2 Part 1 Class C (See SI 2008 No 2362), it would appear to escape the “similar appearance” condition of Condition A3(a), allowing slate to replace tile or vice versa

Do you agree?

David Boardman

23 November 2009