There was moderate attendance at the Bellingham Ward assembly on 13 February where the principal agenda item was the allocation of NCIL monies.JGD in another post wrote: ↑13 Sep 2019 11:23
It's time for change SydSoc. The Society has not displayed sufficient expertise or adequate resources to make meaningful progress. The failure to invite joint leadership or to offer to stand down as the "sole" body leading on a project and let those communities who live next to the site appoint a Project Board that can run the project is also a sign of a failing body.
Our three elected members attended, as did a council planning officer. There was an opportunity for updates to be given to the meeting on local news and issues.
It was a pleasant surprise to have JRW make a short presentation.
At first it appeared that an update to SydSoc's Masterplan for the Bell Green Urban Renewal project was about to be made.
However Julia announced that a fresh initiative was required to form a new civic group to lead on Bell Green development matters.
Of course, this is not the first time this proposed formation of a new group has been articulated in public.
Annabel McLaren made the same proposal to form a new group at two meetings in the first quarter of 2019. One at the Railway Tavern at which there was less than half-a-dozen Bellingham and Perry Vale residents present and at the Bellingham Ward assembly where she described how such a group could be constituted but forgot to invite the assembly attendees to sign-up for it. It was not made clear whether an equivalent presentation was ever made to the Perry Vale ward assembly.
A third such announcement and appeal was made by Cllr Liam Curran at the Livesey Hall on September 12 where the first draft of Discourse Architecture's Master Plan was publicly presented. Once more because of a communications problem where no direct approaches had been made to Perry Vale or Bellingham residents and thereby very few residents attended from those wards. And once more two key parts of the target audience were not present.
This proposed formation of this new group is necessary so that Lewisham planners can validly accept proposals for consideration for inclusion in the draft Local Plan from a properly constituted local group. This requires that 26 local people sign up for the new group and Julia advised that 18 signatories had been secured so far.
And that would appear to be the sum total of progress in forming such a group in the passing of a year.
Julia made a number of key points:
On questioning from the floor, Julia advised that this was not a SydSoc led proposal. SydSoc's position with regard to their aspirations and stated objectives of setting the agenda for future development and their intention to lead and consult with Lewisham and Bromley councils went unexplained. Interestingly it became clear that whilst Lewisham's drafting of the Local Plan was still in its early stages, SydSoc, despite its alluding to directly feeding into it, had not done so.
There is no funding available to support the formation of a new group or setting of its objectives or to reach out to appropriate residents in substantial numbers in the different wards.
Julia is offering to lead this group.
Julia proposes that the rejection of a Travis Perkins development be a key part of the new group's activities.
It is now unclear what view SydSoc and Discourse Architecture have on this revised proposal. It could be held (and is so by residents of the other wards) that SydSoc failed to make any meaningful contact with Bellingham and Perry Vale ward electorate. SydSoc failed to meaningfully invite or secure people who could engage in a cross-ward leadership of a properly constituted Project Team or Board.
Have SydSoc and Discourse learned the lesson that a project team, borne of public consultations cannot pre-determine what matters be included or excluded from the scope of the project now that the gas-holders are gone. It would seem Julia has not, given the prominence of her rejection of any Travis Perkins development before her new group has deliberated on what its objectives should be.
These failures aside, the positions require clarification.
Has the Discourse Master Plan led by SydSoc been abandoned in favour of a project lead by a newly-formed civic group ? Has the Master Plan been revised to reflect developments for the vacant portion of the site where the gas-holders were located ?
Is the Discourse and SydSoc project leadership to be transferred to the new group or is it to be run in parallel to it or indeed in competition with it?
Is there any other possible combination that has any measure of success attached to it ?
A week has passed and no comments have appeared. Can anyone make a commentary or provide detailed explanation ?