Sydenham Society

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KPR
Posts: 87
Joined: 4 Apr 2016 21:06
Location: Sydenham

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by KPR »

In relation to the proposed development opposite Kwik Fit, mentioned above, I am one of those who hopes it goes ahead (and I live just round the corner). The alternative would appear to be keeping the site looking like something out of The Wire. If the objections are around ‘character’ then where were the Sydenham Society when Kwik Fit was built or the nursing home next to it? If it’s about the residents behind complaining about noise then give me a break - there’s a lorry park next to it. I admit I have no evidence for this, but I rather suspect that the majority of the SS membership lives in Upper Sydenham (happy to be contradicted) and has some fantasy of Sydenham consisting only of Georgian and Victorian type housing. They’re not going to put a small number a large detached houses on a site like that - it doesn’t add up - so kindly shut up and let them get on with it as you don’t live next to a building that looks like a bomb has hit it.

JGD
Posts: 879
Joined: 5 Feb 2018 11:39
Location: Perry Hill, SE6 (yup - that's Bellingham Ward and includes Bell Green which is NOT in Sydenham)
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by JGD »

In the UK, Civic society organisations are deemed to be essential components to the planning system and as such are given recognition by planning authorities in their rather opaque processes.

This recognition is not insignificant and any submission by a civic society is often given more weight by planning authorities over those of individual residents and their representations.

I do not think you will find any AoP that states this should be so - but authorities will deploy such policies as to make this the de-facto position.

It is almost always the case that a planning authority will not interrogate a civic society's representation in regard to what processes the civic society deployed to produce their submission and will never ask about what proportion of membership supports it, or that of the the wider community that it claims to represent.

This fact alone significantly diminishes any claim that civic societies represent a "third leg" of the planning process by virtue of civic societies potentially producing submissions that in fact do not represent their membership's nor their community's wider views.

Looking at SydSoc and FOHSoc, they both feel entitled to make detailed representations to local authorities about planning issues outside their own geographic domains. There are significant examples where this has been done without consultation of residents who will be most affected by any outcome. Frequently issues (beneficial and non-beneficial) that are key to local residents are not even understood by these two bodies or at worst are ignored.

I have searched both societies' web-sites to seek details of what their individual constitutions state about their objectives, their geographic reach, procedures and how committees and sub-committees are appointed and operate.

FOHSoc publishes a constitution on their web-site. It would seem SydSoc does not.

Whilst recognising that it is over-onerous to expect civic societies to publish comment on every planning application, it is imperative that both societies publish details of every application upon which they intend to make representation. This must include the scope of consideration (for and against) and how the representation's conclusions were reached including any voting record.

Only then will the transparency that is essential be achieved.

Larky
Posts: 86
Joined: 1 Jan 2017 22:14
Location: Sydenahm

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Larky »

154-158 Sydenham Road, yes to the new development. It may just start a regeneration of the bottom end of Sydenham which is so badly needed

Tim Lund
Posts: 6714
Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Tim Lund »

JGD wrote:I do not think you will find any AoP that states this should be so - but authorities will deploy such policies as to make this the de-facto position.
AoP?

JGD
Posts: 879
Joined: 5 Feb 2018 11:39
Location: Perry Hill, SE6 (yup - that's Bellingham Ward and includes Bell Green which is NOT in Sydenham)
Contact:

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by JGD »

AoP - Act of Parliament - excuse my laziness.

Regards

JMLF
Posts: 600
Joined: 12 Dec 2013 19:41
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by JMLF »

This timely and related article just popped up on my “news feed”:

'Nimby' councils face new sanctions for failing to meet home building targets - Evening Standard

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politic ... 80851.html

bensonby
Posts: 1650
Joined: 18 Jun 2008 12:28
Location: Kent

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by bensonby »

JMLF wrote:This timely and related article just popped up on my “news feed”:

'Nimby' councils face new sanctions for failing to meet home building targets - Evening Standard

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politic ... 80851.html
The reason I am something of a NIMBY in these sorts of cases is that I am highly sceptical of large numbers of houses/flats being built in my local area without corresponding improvements in infrastructure. It’s already a nightmare to get a GP appointment, schools are over subscribed and transport is creaking. I’m not against new homes per se. I am, however, against any new development without tangible commitments to improve infrastructure to cater for them. Such commitments are often lacking.

KPR
Posts: 87
Joined: 4 Apr 2016 21:06
Location: Sydenham

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by KPR »

Re: infrastructure, I agree to some extent, though I think the main pressure locally is on GP services (it’s impossible to get an appointment, though that’s true in many places). Schools have been expanded significantly, at primary level at least - the ‘Outstanding’ ones are oversubscribed but that isn’t the same as saying there’s an absolute shortage of places. Transport creaking? The roads are jammed in the mornings - but notice the big difference when the schools are closed? If there were more people who walked their kids to school then things would be a lot better. Trains - busy but not an issue getting on one at Sydenham (further towards the centre, yes, but that’s your lookout if you want to live in Brockley or New Cross Gate). Main issue that bothers me is parking - that could be fixed with residents’ permits as the critical difference is made by shoppers (for whom there is a car park available), commuters who drive in to Sydenham and get the train, and workers at local businesses (like Hexagon, which has a car park, but oddly many of the staff don’t use it). The proposed development on Sydenham Road will have parking though, so (as above) I hope the SS will shut up and let them get on with it.

prince
Posts: 227
Joined: 23 Mar 2016 17:57
Location: London

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by prince »

Hi

Lewisham charge a community infrastructure levy on new development and the purpose of this is to help pay for infrastructure.

More information can be found here:

https://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/ ... fault.aspx

TredownMan
Posts: 157
Joined: 28 Sep 2017 15:38
Location: Sydenham

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by TredownMan »

If SydSoc want to campaign for more GPs and school places, tied to increase in housing stock, then I’m sure they’ll find enthusiastic support.

But I don’t think that an argument that we should fail to build the houses we need because we are failing to provide the services we need works, at all. In effect you’re playing two crises off each other.

Instead: demand answers to both!

JayB
Posts: 88
Joined: 27 Dec 2016 16:01
Location: bell green

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by JayB »

KPR wrote:Re: infrastructure, I agree to some extent, though I think the main pressure locally is on GP services (it’s impossible to get an appointment, though that’s true in many places). Schools have been expanded significantly, at primary level at least - the ‘Outstanding’ ones are oversubscribed but that isn’t the same as saying there’s an absolute shortage of places. Transport creaking? The roads are jammed in the mornings - but notice the big difference when the schools are closed? If there were more people who walked their kids to school then things would be a lot better. Trains - busy but not an issue getting on one at Sydenham (further towards the centre, yes, but that’s your lookout if you want to live in Brockley or New Cross Gate). Main issue that bothers me is parking - that could be fixed with residents’ permits as the critical difference is made by shoppers (for whom there is a car park available), commuters who drive in to Sydenham and get the train, and workers at local businesses (like Hexagon, which has a car park, but oddly many of the staff don’t use it). The proposed development on Sydenham Road will have parking though, so (as above) I hope the SS will shut up and let them get on with it.
No.Transport is definitely an issue for those of us who live in Perry Vale, Bellingham and Bell Green.We have a 30 min journey before we get to the station allowing for hanging around bus stops and sani's pace progress up Sydenham Road.with spasmodic and overcrowded bus services. It is often very difficult to squeeze onto the trains at Forest Hill or Lower Sydenham at morning rush hour and more people in the area would make it certain that a queueing system for the next train would begin to operate. So, increase our transport capacity.

ALIB
Posts: 1548
Joined: 12 Oct 2006 21:34
Location: East Sussex

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by ALIB »

Almost all Local Authorities have a Planning Portal to view Applications and comment on them (see link)
https://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/ ... fault.aspx

or go to The Sydenham Society website, or join them
http://www.sydenhamsociety.com/

KPR
Posts: 87
Joined: 4 Apr 2016 21:06
Location: Sydenham

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by KPR »

Ok, point taken re: buses from Lower Sydenham up, but Bell Green to Sydenham station is 20 mins walk max, so assuming you’re reasonably able bodied that might be a better bet? (From where I am I will pretty much always walk to the station faster than the bus at peak rush hour time.) As above though, that isn’t really about transport capacity unless you mean the capacity of the road, which isn’t really something they can do anything about without knocking down a lot of houses and shops. It’s about the number of road users - and the key users who really jam the roads up are parents driving their kids to school. Sydenham Road is a lot less busy in the school holidays. Forest Hill station - surprised you can’t get on there, as have never seen it that busy. Loads of people get off there on the way back though, so could be I miss the really peak bit in the morning. Certainly true that those in Brockley and NCG have no chance, but not sure how they could fix this - could the line hold any more services? Maybe - I certainly think the Overground trains that go to and from New Cross are a waste of time - always empty coming through Canada Water.

Tim Lund
Posts: 6714
Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Tim Lund »

ALIB wrote:Almost all Local Authorities have a Planning Portal to view Applications and comment on them (see link)
https://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/ ... fault.aspx

or go to The Sydenham Society website, or join them
http://www.sydenhamsociety.com/
Ali - we can all go there - this link gets you right to the application - but although when you are make a comment it says
You may make a comment supporting or objecting to this application. Your comments will be submitted and in due course made available online. We will not display your personal data online.
in practice, nothing appears, for anyone making comments, including any from SydSoc, who is there as one of the standard consultees, because it has this status as a representative of local opinion. So no one knows what SydSoc is saying, even during the consultation period, not even its members, of whom I am one. This is not a satisfactory situation.

mosy
Posts: 4032
Joined: 21 Sep 2007 20:28
Location: London

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by mosy »

Tim Lund wrote:...[clip]...
...because it has this status as a representative of local opinion. ...
Forgive my ignorance of how it all works.

Are you suggesting that individual submissions re council planning applications might be (or are) seen as irrelevant if Syd Soc has made a submission purportedly on behalf of the community's views? I hope I'm misreading, since it can't be right if Syd Soc doesn't consult widely and it's not even generally known what submissions are being made by them. Surely that would be a breach of a privileged position if it is the case that such societies have one.

Blushingsnail
Posts: 73
Joined: 20 Jul 2006 10:38
Location: Forest Hill

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Blushingsnail »

JGD wrote: Looking at SydSoc and FOHSoc, they both feel entitled to make detailed representations to local authorities about planning issues outside their own geographic domains. There are significant examples where this has been done without consultation of residents who will be most affected by any outcome. Frequently issues (beneficial and non-beneficial) that are key to local residents are not even understood by these two bodies or at worst are ignored.
Would you care to elaborate on the "significant examples" where SydSoc and FHSoc have made representations outside their geographic domains? Bell Green springs to mind. Crystal Palace? The only others I can think of in relation to FH might be Camberwell New Cemetery at HOP and Willow Way in Kirkdale when it was proposed to move FH pools there. Everyone (amenity societies and the public) has the right to comment on applications that affect them, regardless of ward boundaries. Bell Green is a prime example: it's location is pretty much on the cusp of 3 Lewisham wards.

Yes, I think submissions should be published. FHSoc tend to put theirs on their website. http://www.foresthillsociety.com/ There are a couple on there from late 2017. Has anyone asked SydSoc why they don't publish their submissions?

If people are so interested in local planning issues why don't they approach SydSoc and ask to join the planning committee?

RJM
Posts: 123
Joined: 2 Jan 2016 15:30
Location: Sydenham

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by RJM »

KPR wrote:Ok, point taken re: buses from Lower Sydenham up, but Bell Green to Sydenham station is 20 mins walk max, so assuming you’re reasonably able bodied that might be a better bet? (From where I am I will pretty much always walk to the station faster than the bus at peak rush hour time.) As above though, that isn’t really about transport capacity unless you mean the capacity of the road, which isn’t really something they can do anything about without knocking down a lot of houses and shops. It’s about the number of road users - and the key users who really jam the roads up are parents driving their kids to school. Sydenham Road is a lot less busy in the school holidays. Forest Hill station - surprised you can’t get on there, as have never seen it that busy. Loads of people get off there on the way back though, so could be I miss the really peak bit in the morning. Certainly true that those in Brockley and NCG have no chance, but not sure how they could fix this - could the line hold any more services? Maybe - I certainly think the Overground trains that go to and from New Cross are a waste of time - always empty coming through Canada Water.
I can walk from my house just off Perry Rise to Sydenham station in just under 15 minutes, and generally choose that over the bus (exception is if I'm coming home late), but I'm both able-bodied and fairly fit - lots of people aren't. Forest Hill is busy between 8/8.30am though - Sydenham is often the last station with seats available and everyone getting on from FH onwards has to stand. The new timetable coming in May will have more trains to London Bridge in the morning peak though, so it's not all bad news!

Tim Lund
Posts: 6714
Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Tim Lund »

Blushingsnail wrote: Yes, I think submissions should be published. FHSoc tend to put theirs on their website. http://www.foresthillsociety.com/ There are a couple on there from late 2017. Has anyone asked SydSoc why they don't publish their submissions?

If people are so interested in local planning issues why don't they approach SydSoc and ask to join the planning committee?
I don't know if FHSoc publish all their planning submissions. If they do, good on them, but if they don't, I could understand. Amenity societies are entirely voluntary, and keeping a web site up to date is something which easily slides.

I think there's a standing invitation here to SydSoc to say why they don't publish their submissions, but I've explained recently that some years ago Annabel attracted a whole lot of flak for one she did publish, and it rather put her off doing any more.

Approaching SydSoc to join their planning committee sounds reasonable, but from their point of view, it might feel like opening up their discussions to someone coming in with an agenda to take pot shots at them.

The principle that everyone's comments on planning applications should be published is a good one, going back to the Town & Country Planning Acts of the 1940s, I think. It's long struck me as a fine example of openness in local decision making, but the way to see everyone's comments - going down to the planning office, and asking for the physical file - is stuck in the technology of the era. Today it should be possible to see comments on line ... but for now I'll save further thoughts on the challenges this creates

KPR
Posts: 87
Joined: 4 Apr 2016 21:06
Location: Sydenham

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by KPR »

RJM wrote:
I can walk from my house just off Perry Rise to Sydenham station in just under 15 minutes, and generally choose that over the bus (exception is if I'm coming home late), but I'm both able-bodied and fairly fit - lots of people aren't. Forest Hill is busy between 8/8.30am though - Sydenham is often the last station with seats available and everyone getting on from FH onwards has to stand. The new timetable coming in May will have more trains to London Bridge in the morning peak though, so it's not all bad news!
Ah OK - you mean get a seat on the train? No seats at Sydenham in rush hour either in my experience in the Overground trains (Southern may be different) and expecting them on a five car train isn’t that realistic in my view. I thought you were referring to being able to get on a train at all. I think people at Brockley and NCG struggle to get on the Overground. I hope the extra Southern trains aren’t at the expense of the Overground - Southern trains are often late (because they are possibly the worst run company in Britain) which has a knock on effect on the Overground.

Tim Lund
Posts: 6714
Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Tim Lund »

mosy wrote:
Tim Lund wrote:...[clip]...
...because it has this status as a representative of local opinion. ...
Forgive my ignorance of how it all works.

Are you suggesting that individual submissions re council planning applications might be (or are) seen as irrelevant if Syd Soc has made a submission purportedly on behalf of the community's views? I hope I'm misreading, since it can't be right if Syd Soc doesn't consult widely and it's not even generally known what submissions are being made by them. Surely that would be a breach of a privileged position if it is the case that such societies have one.
TBH, I'm not entirely sure of how it all works. Planners are supposed to follow various established guidelines, and there is no reason to think that in general they do not. Biscuitman1978, who is a planning professional, is able to quote relevant guidelines, such as this
This is an application for 'prior approval' to convert the office space to residential.

The principle of change of use isn't at issue here, as change of use from office to residential is 'permitted development', provided that the local planning authority is content that:
- The development would not have an unacceptable impact on the transport or highways network
- There are no contamination risks
- There is no risk of flooding
- There would be no unacceptable noise impacts on the intended residential occupants
https://sydenham.org.uk/forum/viewtopic ... 63#p143669

and one role for anyone commenting on a planning application is to draw the planning officer's attention to facts about a development which such guidelines address - so whether people are going to be affected by noise, in this case. Some considerations which people often raise aren't relevant, e.g. whether a change of use is economically viable. We can all make representations, but it helps to know the guidelines so we can make our points more effectively. SydSoc, and FH Soc, have picked up a lot of experience along the way, even though they are not professional planners, so are good at batter at making planning arguments than most. That's why, if you want to object to a planning application, it's well worth contacting SydSoc, and if they agree with you, and can see a way to argue against it, your objection is likely to work.

Separately, SydSoc have a special status as local consultees, so will be alerted to planning applications, and asked for their input. That in itself gives them more power, which it's possible to justify on the basis that planning officers have a duty to consult - that's why their procedures include posting those yellow notices. If there is a group such as SydSoc whose members can be taken as representing the local community, and are able to give useful input to the planners, it makes sense for them to have this special status.

FWIW, I think that does create a duty on SydSoc to say what it does more systematically, rather than just edited highlights.

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