New houses proposed

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TredownMan
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Location: Sydenham

New houses proposed

Post by TredownMan »

On the railway cutting by the bridge - four new 4-bedroom houses.

Plans were lodged before Christmas.

Summary document with pictures here:

http://planning.lewisham.gov.uk/online- ... 638578.pdf

and more detailed ones with internal plans here

http://planning.lewisham.gov.uk/online- ... CAPR_93028

really handsome-looking and spacious family houses - a clever modern twist on the sixties semi. And a good use of waste land! It's really positive that people want to build high quality homes in the area.

I've sent a quick email to the council to express my support - planning@lewisham.gov.uk .
OnCrestOfHill
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by OnCrestOfHill »

Had a look at the plans to see what you were so enthusiastic about. I guess tastes differ.

And a shame we still have to build right up against the railway line - though perhaps residents will sleep better than on some of our busier A roads - amazes me that we still encourage new residential build on busy main roads and against railway lines - having experience of living where traffic means you can't have your windows open at night if you want to sleep; and the wearing effects of long term constant rumble outside. But it looks like they plan minimal openings on the back. Germany used to have much better sound proofing standards in new build than the UK - is there any pressure out there for us to catch up?

Doesn't look like it'll do anything for affordable housing - just had a look at the policy and seems developments of less than 10 units don't have to contribute. Anyone know if that's right/ how that works locally?
rustya
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by rustya »

i have objected. This is a right eye sore, and hope this fails.
TredownMan
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by TredownMan »

@oncrestofhill Building next to railway lines is what you get when planning policy locks down all other options.

Building on green belt? Nope.

Building next to existing houses? Nope. Might “overlook” people who already have homes.

Build next to a park, or on a high street? Nope. Might change the “character of the area”, or create “light pollution”.

Build on a hill? Sorry, will affect a “protected view”.

Perhaps on a deserted gas plant? Sorry, that steel work is listed.

Until some courage is shown to take on that attitude people will be driven to building houses on railway embankments.
OnCrestOfHill
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by OnCrestOfHill »

A bit out of date now probably, but the 2013 Lewishamsite allocations local plan (https://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/ ... option.pdf
talks of land for just short of 10,000 dwellings being identified in the Core Strategy, over 3,500 in the site allocations local plan itself and the balance of over 18,000 homes then planned for Lewisham to 2026 being identified in local plans for Lewisham and Catford. Perhaps someone out there knows the current position.

Locally there doesn't seem to me to be much shortage of building. Look at what's happened to our park in Catford. Take a trip to Deptford. Walk down the side of Crystal Palace Park.

In my immediate vicinity, we have:
* community centre: development opportunity site
* kid's football pitches: development opportunity site
* residents' garages: development opportunity site - instead let's ring the central green with a new car park - the cars will be more 'integrated'.
* estate green: unfortunate domination by grass (perhaps we can stick stuff there to help justify loss of football pitches)
* 'overgrown woodland' needs attention - though it is a site of local nature conservation importance so sadly we can't build on it

We do need to be creative about getting the most of the land we are going to build on, but let's stop pretending it's not at a cost in quality of life for those affected. I don't see those living in the least dense privately owned areas giving up their gardens to 'densification' as an ’improvement' if they don't have to. But those of us who rely on the local authority and social landlords to protect our environs aren't always so lucky. Of course they'll pay lip service to the idea of getting people involved in sport and the value of public open space, till they need a building site they own already and don't have to pay for.

Appreciate it's hard for small developers to come up with sites where they can make quick windfall profits. But maybe we should treat undeveloped land as a valuable commodity too.

Brownfield sites are obviously generally going to be better - But there are probably plenty of less profitable land uses that can find a home alongside our railways.
TredownMan
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by TredownMan »

I agree with a lot of you on that. No one should have to give up their gardens, communal green spaces or football pitches for houses. Particularly if they already live in high density housing such as a local authority scheme.

But - to make sure that doesn’t happen, and houses we need get built, it means people being more realistic about giving up the land we can use, even if that means people having to accept a change of appearance, or seeing a building from their bedroom window that wasn’t there before. For example - putting two or three storeys above a shop on the high street, putting to use unused car parks, or building on unlovely spaces like Bell Green or O Rourkes.
gerispringer
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by gerispringer »

These plans seem to be suddenly unavailable, any idea why? As I understand, no gardens or parking for these houses, more clogging up of adjacent streets.
stuart
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by stuart »

gerispringer wrote:As I understand, no gardens or parking for these houses, more clogging up of adjacent streets.
Is it possible to clog them up even more?

The problem is the existing residents and incoming commuters to Zone 3. To say this bars further development in the road/Sydenham/Inner London is condenming thousands or hundred of thousands to a poor or non-existent home situation. Surely no one wants that?

It follows the parking problem needs alternate mitigation to make way for raising the density of population (which can have other benefits). So, perhaps we should be looking more positively and welcoming to developments like this and looking to imaginative ways such as dead hour CPZs to make the street more usable to both new and existing residents so we are all winners.

It would be good if our councillors and SydSoc had some proposals for sorting the parking problem rather than using it as a reason to block development. Do they?

Stuart

PS - I can't see the plans either ...
TredownMan
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by TredownMan »

I agree with you Stuart. Surely we can’t say that storage for cars is more important than homes for people.

Call me naive but why must people always obsess on the so-called “problems” that new developments bring? Isn’t having new neighbours, new customers for the high street shops, more people involved in community groups something to be excited about? We should be pleased that people want to come to live here.
Tim Lund
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by Tim Lund »

First off - well done TredownMan for luring me back to the Sydenham Town Forum!

On this:
OnCrestOfHill wrote: We do need to be creative about getting the most of the land we are going to build on, but let's stop pretending it's not at a cost in quality of life for those affected.
I prefer to say "let's stop pretending it's not often? / sometimes? at a cost in quality of life". I suspect we could all identify sites in the area which could be redeveloped at higher densities and improve quality of life. If we want this to happen - and I certainly do - we need to understand where the opportunities are, and the extent to which they are happening. That's a big task, which is not made easier by the general assumption that densification will always cause a loss in quality of life.
OnCrestOfHill wrote: I don't see those living in the least dense privately owned areas giving up their gardens to 'densification' as an ’improvement' if they don't have to.
Actually, it's not hard to find such people - search for cases where neighbours are protesting about garden grabbing and overlooking when applications go in for additional storeys. Owners wouldn't be doing this if they didn't feel it was an improvement. The problem is that the pressure for such improvement isn't co-ordinated, or planned so that residents can see how an entire street can improve. Instead, our planning system seems to have a default position that developed areas should retain their character, and neighbours who want things to stay as they are can easily use it to object to individual initiatives. So easily, in fact, that law abiding citizens won't even try, leaving the impression that everyone living in these areas is happy with things as they are. It would be great if someone could come up with a sort of mini Masterplan for streets in these least dense privately owned areas, which would define a revised character for the street, and better, thanks to specified design standards, and give all the street's home owners permitted development rights according to the mini Masterplan. It would need to include some capture of the increase in value of the housing, which would come from both having more habitable space, but also from being part of a thought through long term plan. It would also help get homeowners working together, rather than against each other, and bring down costs.
OnCrestOfHill wrote: But those of us who rely on the local authority and social landlords to protect our environs aren't always so lucky.
Well, yes, although I'd say local authorities and social landlords aren't inevitably going to be bad developers. But for sure, the situation we have now is that development doesn't happen enough in the lower density, leafier suburbs, reinforcing the siege mentality of some of their residents, preventing any change in the character of their streets, and ending with a London which is yet more socially divided between owner occupiers and tenants, old and young.
gerispringer
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by gerispringer »

Of course housing is more important than cars, but shoehorning people into ever more cramped spaces is not what people want either, if a developer is planning four bedroomed family houses it might be circumspect to factor in some parking space /outside space in the design if I you are interested in people’s quality of life. But no, developers not worried about that, they are more interested in maximising their profits.
OnCrestOfHill
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by OnCrestOfHill »

When looking for the plans, I found the first link Tredown Man gave didn't work but the second one did and the planning file was there.

Tim Lund, I agree I overstepped the case with 'always' a cost - I am prone to overgeneralisation when upset. 'Usually' or 'often' would probably have done. But I also think building up -or increasing your own living space - is a bit different from having someone else's home in your garden. Do know people who have done that but usually for family/ when strapped for cash/ with an intention to cash in and move on out/ funding redevelopment of their own home, or even paying off other family members after a death. Can't think of anyone who's done it because they wanted less space, but doubtless there are counterexamples.

I am far from opposed to all development but do like space, privacy, greenery, quiet streets to live on. I think most people do. One of the things Sydenham does have going for it is green space, so I suspect that may have drawn many of us here.

Increasingly housing is on smaller footprints, less private, less spacious. And communities need more than housing and shops. But for some reason, we don't seem able to afford the amenities we could 50 years ago.

I also think denser development does require more joined up area planning to be done successfully. Difficult though to redevelop whole existing residential areas in ways that aren't oppressive, or to retrofit community infrastructure into an area. Removing community infrastructure to permit more homes seems kind of backward. (Of course some needs do change - but do the basics of places to get together, to exercise, play, rest, for cultural exchange? - obviously I have community centres and football pitches on the brain.)

As a teenager, I spent time in some densely populated, fairly industrial German towns. The infrastructure, including simple things like green space, play areas, areas between blocks, public transport, civic facilities - were (in my memory at least) so much pleasanter than what we seem to end up with here. i also remember by contrast reading an account from the 60s comparing the facilities and living conditions in certain American housing projects with those available to the prison population. Don't know what processes or value systems make the difference. Of course Germany doesn't have the same capital-centric development pattern we do. (And my memories may not be representative.)

Is part of the problem a the lack of openness and the misleading way these conversations get framed?

Developers aren't often quick to be upfront about the problems development will bring, or the full scope of their plans. Consultation processes can seem pro forma. We get pretty pictures that don't reflect real topography. Detailed appraisals and options aren't necessarily shared. The financial costs (development on public estates can - I suspect - entail costs for long leaseholders) aren't discussed. Difficult to have genuine public consultation if you don't cultivate relationships where stakeholders feel trusted and valued, and if you husband information flows. Enabling people to frame the agenda, identify the scope of debate, understand relevant possibilities is also important.

Public sector developers obviously need to strike a balance between the interests of competing groups (eg current and possibly future residents) and pretending that everything is all for the best for everyone doesn't inspire confidence. Can we gave open assessments of the pros and the cons, have a frank discussion about how priorities are being weighed? We probably still won't all be happy with the outcomes - but some of us may feel less alienated.

I also think that if design standards were higher, it would help. Is one reason why people wanted the gasholders listed that they fear yet another bland, unimaginative, homogeneous block of ugliness? For some reason, bad design seems to come cheaper than good.

Oh and re Gerispringers point on cars, interesting that the private dwelling cash cow for our local development is to have 2 parking spaces. It's to replace the garages of - is it 8? - houses that will be left to hunt for what they can find. (True there is a plan to mitigate parking pressure the road, but a long way from those particular 8 houses, and not in itself uncontroversial).
TredownMan
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by TredownMan »

To be fair - I think the “private dwelling cash cow” you mention is going to cross-subsidise all the new social housing, which seems sensible.

And private garages are a terrible way of providing parking in a large development! They take up about twice the space of an individual parking spot and are inflexible, so sit as dead space that others can’t use while the own is out driving. Plus improvements in build and security in past 40 years means cars really don’t need to be kept in little buildings at night.
Tim Lund
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by Tim Lund »

OnCrestOfHill wrote:I am far from opposed to all development but do like space, privacy, greenery, quiet streets to live on. I think most people do. One of the things Sydenham does have going for it is green space, so I suspect that may have drawn many of us here.
Of course - as long as we have a free enough housing market, people will tend to move to the sort of area they like. I think everyone likes the opportunity of privacy, but the areas which are most attractive end up attracting a lot of people, with plenty of people out and about on their streets. Such streets may also be quiet, in a literal sense, because they are not through routes for cars. The challenge we have is how we adapt as others chose to live in the same area. Will we insist that its character stays exactly the same, or are we prepared to live with others?

Re the opportunity of privacy, this is where good architecture should come in, but in London it is not unreasonable that when you are outside, even in parts of a garden, if you are fortunate enough to have one, other people might be able to see you.
leenewham
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by leenewham »

These buildings look good, I hope they go ahead uninhibited.
bjc
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by bjc »

Bananas - Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.

From a related thread: https://twitter.com/bengoldacre/status/ ... 2147718149
OnCrestOfHill
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by OnCrestOfHill »

I do seem to be out on a limb here, don't I?

In my first post, I referred to sites for c20,000 dwelling sites having already been found through the local planning process for Lewisham a few years back to cover the period to 2016. That's not a process for building nothing nowhere. We do have a consultative process for identifying local development sites. It could provide SPG around local areas such as Tim Lund was calling for that genuinely reflected the preferences of locals. It has often tried to.

How healthy and representative that process is locally, I don't know, not having been involved with it. I imagine it takes a lot of effort to make it work in a way that doesn't preference the repeat players and vested interests. and it's always hard for individuals to find the time and information needed to participate effectively. A friend has been involved in Citizens' Juries in her part of London looking in part I think at homelessness and possibly housing supply. I haven't noticed anything similar locally.

Not a problem cross-subsidising social housing with open market housing. Just pointing out the irony that the new private house appears to get (if I am correct) 2 protected parking spaces while the existing residents lose theirs.

I know 3 people affected in the last 6 months by their separate neighbours' extensions or development, none blocked by the planning process. 2 of them raised no planning objection, but they all rue the loss of privacy and are looking to move because their homes are not the same as they were. The suggestion that one person's gain does not affect their neighbours doesn't seem to me to hold water. This may in many cases be fair, but I think there are hard and difficult balances being drawn all the time in individual cases.

I wouldn't even go so far as saying you couldn't have some further infill on our estate, to add to what there has already been over the years . I do though object to a decision-making process that glosses over the hard choices being made about the kind of facilities - and so society - we end up with.

I think, for example, community centre buildings and sports pitches are a necessary condition for healthy, engaged neighbourhoods. But land and buildings on their own aren't enough to get people together to use them - it also takes community development work and connections - the old social capital. Taking these things away (and once gone in an age of austerity, we won't get them back later) - all without recognising their value and the opportunities that go with them, presenting all this as straightforward improvement - strikes me as sad.
Nigel
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by Nigel »

Very well put OnCrestofHill .
This post seems to have got very dominated by one or two dogmatic voices .
I would say a homeowner or Tennant doing everything they can to stop their garden being overlooked /overshadowed or having someone’s lounge suddenly peering into theirs - is not unreasonable .
I don’t accept that housing supply is everyone’s responsibility- certainly not to give up anything for - I think endangered species are everyone’s responsibility but I wouldn’t deride someone if they didn’t want to give money or time to save whales .

I don’t begin to see why we should view higher population density as an opportunity - surely it’s like goats cheese , if it’s not something you like it’s a pain , if you do like it’s an opportunity for you personally - I however dislike and calling it Chèvre won’t make me like it .

Where do some people get off calling others nimbys or bananas just because they hold a different view ?

Town Planning is NOT a synonym for building houses - sometimes it is meant to mean not building houses or building smaller houses or importantly only well designed houses .

Lastly , and I await the usual accusations ,
Housing policy is the only supply/demand social issue where demand is never mentioned . To see people getting excited about 4 houses built when demand probably grew by 20,000 in the same week illustrates this clearly .

Some people moved to Sydenham for its fairly open , spacious feel - I for one don’t want to see that bad-mouthed by the self-appointed as a kind of love they dare not speak its name .

A very good afternoon
Nigel
TredownMan
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by TredownMan »

I completely understand your point Nigel. Of course people would like things to stay beautiful round here, and like to have gardens and leafy open spaces.

The question is not whether people have a right to dislike development, or have a preference about how the area should look, and have your views listened to and taken into account. Of course they do.

I don’t want to be dogmatic, but for me the issue really is whether the preferences of people who already live in an area – and in a minority of cases, the people who already own houses, in some cases very large ones with nice gardens – is the only deciding factor in cases.

Or whether those preferences have to be seriously weighed against other factors – like the fact that there’s not enough houses for people. Not just in the planning process itself, but in the contributions individuals and civic societies make to the planning process.

The fact is that renters in London now outstrip homeowners. In more and more cases, families are stuck in houses too small to have children, or with insecure rents – something a generation before did not have to put up with, and which is the product of a failure to build enough houses. It’s causing real human harm, and a great deal of anger among the under 40s. Even if they earn huge amounts of money, they can’t dream of owning spacious family houses like the equivalents a generation ago, because of a lack of supply, and the subsequent effect that has on prices.

Yet at the same time measures that will help fix the mess without seriously impacting anyone else’s life, or spoiling the look of the area – building on waste land near main stations, building at four storeys on a high street instead of one – get resisted on aesthetic grounds by people who are already in a very comfortable position.

To return to the analogy: no one is asking you to like goat’s cheese.

But if you’ve got enough food to eat, then it’s not always fair to stand in the way of those who don’t getting a fairer share. For that reason i wish that, even if people may not be 100 per cent keen on a new development, they maybe pause for a second before lodging an objection to it.
stuart
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Re: New houses proposed

Post by stuart »

Well said Treedownman.

I think it speaks ill of us generation who bought (truly) affordable property in London during the golden age of house ownership and whose consequent wealth (=pension) is greater than we saved working for forty odd years to deny the next generation the same opportunity. Except we have - in spades! This is the tiniest of schemes and been derided because it doesn't offer 20,000 homes and is therefore so unimportant that we can afford to dismiss it.

Well its four families. Not just them but four more families for each cascade down the chain who will lead better lives. Not to mention right at the bottom (the poorest) who will get a home that otherwise they wouldn't.

If that doesn't appeal to both your heart and your head then I really worry about you.

Stuart
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