255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

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Ronski
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255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by Ronski » 24 Jun 2011 00:10

I found a planning application for 17 houses/flats for the buildings at 255-269 Sydenham Rd (between Highclere and Sunnydene Street) that people should be aware of.

While its great something is going to be done with the derelict buildings but it's a shame they couldn't renovate the old buildings. After a quick look I'm not sure the design and impact has been thought out as well as it could be. I think people should take a look as it will dramatically effect the look of the local area!

All of the application is here...
http://acolnet.lewisham.gov.uk/LEWIS-XS ... mkey=63113

Main summary document is here...
http://acolnet.lewisham.gov.uk/ACOLLATE ... 593_17.pdf

Pretty uninspiring ugly design here. Note balconies at the front next to the bus stop and others overlooking the rear gardens of Highclere and Sunnydene Street.
http://acolnet.lewisham.gov.uk/ACOLLATEDOCS/76593_9.pdf

There is a lot of information to digest in these documents, one concern I have is about the residential parking impact on the surrounding streets.

The document states (rather patronisingly) "4.2 It should be noted that the car ownership levels of tenants for these social housing units is likely to be low.". That sounds unlikely to me, what do people think? The document also states there should be "no significant local area parking demand as this is likely to be considerably less than the previous site may have generated", previously I think they were nearly all one bed flats not family housing.

There will also be 2 new disabled only parking bays to be created but no other parking provision provided.

Also this document says "Once the applications has been validated the applicant proposes to hold a public exhibition on site to provide the opportunity for local residents and other parties to view and comment upon the proposals"
http://acolnet.lewisham.gov.uk/ACOLLATE ... 593_21.pdf

What does "Once the applications has been validated" mean?

Has anyone been asked about it as I'd not heard anything about this?

leenewham
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by leenewham » 24 Jun 2011 11:44

Image

Image

It's not a great quality building. It looks far better in the drawing than it will in reality, as they nearly always do. I'd prefer the current facade to be retained, restored and build behind.

I'm not sure if having balconies over a busy road overlooking a children's playground will go down with the school opposite. If they softened it with vertical wall gardens etc then I can see it being an asset to Lower Sydenham, but as it is it looks like more high density housing that doesn't consider it's locality, cram as many people as possible into boxes and make a bit of money.

Very disappointing. Can we REALLY not do any better than this? Compared to what's planned in Bell green this is sub standard, ordinary, boring, grey, bland and dull.

Eagle
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by Eagle » 24 Jun 2011 11:58

Not bad but hardly matching the local housing stock. The Poster mentions two points.

1. Parking. Why cannot they insist purchasers do not have cars. Plenty of buses down the road.

2. Seems to object to Balconies. Not ideal over main road but surely better than no balcony at all.
Not sure what they are implying about childrens playground. I assume they think the children will make too much noise , but that will only be some days mainly when the occupants would at employment.

Tim Lund
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by Tim Lund » 24 Jun 2011 12:16

It's worth thinking about how this sort of application might get dealt with in the future, if the Coalition's Localism Bill gets enacted, and which seems to be eagerly anticipated by the Sydenham Society, and also Chris Best, in remarks at the recent Sydenham Assembly.

The key quote is this:
To discourage nimbyism, neighbourhoods will benefit directly from extra money for their locality (know as a Community Infrastructure Levy in the jargon) coming from any sizeable planning application which they approve.
and the key question is what is a neighbourhood, because there is the potential for poor developments such as this - for the sake of the argument I'm going along with previous posters' views - in less attractive areas within a 'neighbourhood' to get approved, so generating extra money, which can then fund a 'neighbour forum' which will continue to behave as perfect nimbies for the more attractive parts of the neigbhourhood - e.g. The Thorpes.

parklife
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by parklife » 24 Jun 2011 12:34

I know this is slightly off topic , but can anyone explain to me why so many flats/houses are being built in sydenham at a time when housing market is stagnent/falling.

There are the flats being built in kirkdale, the greyhound redevelopment, flats behind the golden lion, the big bell green development,flats in kenthouse road and now this one .

I really don't understand it.

Eagle
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by Eagle » 24 Jun 2011 12:57

I have mentioned this before and got shot down in flames. There is not the employment round here .

ALIB
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by ALIB » 24 Jun 2011 13:06

My own view/ experience (as a consultant for developers)is that the housing market is indeed stagnent at the moment. Particularly at the top end of the market.
As such land and labour are still relatively cheap to build houses, particularly at the 'cheap end' of the market. This is where the market stimulation is expected to come from, as banks start to lend money to first-time-buyers. So the hope is that once the cheap affordable houses are built, the market will start to become more active and prices will rise.
A lot of small developers are gradually acquiring small plots of land for between 2-10 units of affordable units, just to keep their business turning over.

The larger developers (who have larger projects) still seem to have many stalled projects, due to lack of funding or lack of 'top-end' purchasers.

maestro
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by maestro » 24 Jun 2011 13:17

This isn't a situation that's unique to Sydenham. There's a large block of flats went up just three or four years ago on Southend Lane where Redjeps Garage used to be. There's another huge development nearing completion at the top end of Southend Lane on the site where the Tiger's Head pub was.

This is a situation I see all over London and indeed in towns and cities all over the country. Whenever any large building comes down in a suburban area, a block of flats, usually labelled 'affordable housing' promptly appears. They just don't seem to want to build anything else today. And as already mentioned, each flat occupied will usually have one or two cars belonging to those occupants. This puts immense pressure on parking in those areas. But you simply can't dictate that "you can only buy one if you don't own a car", because how on earth are you going to enforce that rule? If you discover they've bought a property but own a car, are you going to seize their car or turf them out of their property? Totally impossible to enforce and therefore senseless to demand it in the first place.

Dorian
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by Dorian » 24 Jun 2011 13:24

Its probably worth noting that every single one of these devlopments are being carried out entirley by Housing Associations, therefore providing housing for the most needy and easing Lewishams Housing waiting list !

All the flats at the Greyhound are by Hexagon Housing, Bell Green is by Circle Housing and this latest application is Amicus Horizon ( previously South London Family H.A. )

The reason the buildings are bland and unimaginative is because they will be built from public funds and there is no money for any finery and the Architects are briefed to design modular easy to construct buildings.

I am very surprised that the Amicus did not carry out any public consulation prior to submitting the application.

stuart
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by stuart » 24 Jun 2011 13:33

maestro wrote:But you simply can't dictate that "you can only buy one if you don't own a car", because how on earth are you going to enforce that rule?
The practical way is to make the area a CPZ. Nice to see Eagle may be a fan.

However why we should forgo 10 sq m of our public highway for somebody's sole personal use for no charge has always appeared strange to me. When I was young the streets belonged to us as a playground from marbles to football. It was not by chance that they spawned our last team to win the World Cup.

Now they are ugly, dangerous and crowded out by almost permanently parked cars. Indeed the cause of so much congestion that irks other motorists. And largely unneccessary where we have public transport and streetcar.

Nope the true ugliness is in the street, not in the buildings, though this one could be much. much better. Let's hope Lewisham's Planners have got some backbone. Good design doesn't cost and poor (sorry, affordable) people deserve it as much as anyone else.

Stuart

Ronski
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by Ronski » 24 Jun 2011 13:45

Eagle wrote:1. Parking. Why cannot they insist purchasers do not have cars. Plenty of buses down the road.

2. Seems to object to Balconies. Not ideal over main road but surely better than no balcony at all.
Not sure what they are implying about childrens playground. I assume they think the children will make too much noise , but that will only be some days mainly when the occupants would at employment.
I've never heard of any tenancy insisting you cant have a car? It's more the fact the developers say it wont have any impact on the local streets because its social housing which seems like nonsense to me. Highclere is already packed with cars as it is anyway. The reason I'm sure they don't want to provide parking to the new residents is cost, plus they can build more flats instead.

There's some more info on the parking regulations at the site in this document at page 22
http://acolnet.lewisham.gov.uk/ACOLLATEDOCS/77083_3.pdf

I don't really object to balconies, anything to get more greenery there is a good thing. Having them at the front just seems odd because they will be at the eye level of a double decker bus (plus they leave out the bus stop from the drawings) but perhaps more of an issue are the ones a the rear because they would over look residents of both streets due to the rise of the road.

Looking at the design though you think about how it will look in 10 years all grubby from all the traffic, it will be an eyesore I think. Keeping the facade is a nice idea Lee or at least softening the lines with greenery or wood etc.

Can you object to planning applications for bland design?

Eagle
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by Eagle » 24 Jun 2011 14:15

CPZ's in all neighbouring streets and double yellows on the main roads will ensure most people will not own cars.
If these houses are indeed meant for the needy and are subsidised then would not thought the occupants could afford to buy and run cars.
Areas like Sydenham have far to many cars and drastic measures need to be taken soon.
I have pictures of both Homecroft and Venner in the late 50's , at most one car in sight.Look at them now.

Dorian
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by Dorian » 24 Jun 2011 14:22

Ronski wrote:Can you object to planning applications for bland design?
You could but generally design in planning terms is seen as subjective. " Incongruous in the street scene" is a popular phrase with Planning Inspectors.

Lots of developments like this propose a residents Car sharing scheme to be implemented and enforced by Condition of the Planning permission , perhaps this could be suggested here ?

maestro
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by maestro » 24 Jun 2011 14:40

Eagle wrote: If these houses are indeed meant for the needy and are subsidised then would not thought the occupants could afford to buy and run cars.
Well I live very near such a development, they certainly can afford to buy and run cars and indeed they do. Lots of them.

Eagle wrote: I have pictures of both Homecroft and Venner in the late 50's , at most one car in sight.Look at them now.
You could say that of almost any street in any borough/town/city anywhere in the country.

love-sydenham
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by love-sydenham » 24 Jun 2011 14:48

Hello, everyone,
I hope to find you all in a good health, but maybe not in a such a great mood as it could be by looking at what happening to our local area and mainly the High Street!
Yes, there are a lot of developments being carried out on both sides of our High Street, with some of them, making you feel positive about (like Greyhound for example, or the Bell Green area).
Personally, I love period buildings, and I could or would never understand why a nicer designed period building/properties should be demolised in favour of something new, but less tastefull, when they could be restored to their previous glory, well, at lest from the front/facade side and builed behind?! So, therefore, again, I am totally with you on this one, Lee!
I'd prefer the current facade to be retained, restored and build behind.
Don't you think, that by doing this, it will help to keep the uniformed character of the entire street, and of course it will preserve it's history, which is in my opinion, much more atractive and historicly richer looking than the modern (affordable housing) designs?... Would it be much more expensive, to keep the existing original facade and buid behind, than just to build a whole new thing from scratch???
Just think for a second, If we'd keep allowing to build what ever comes to the developer's mind where ever they like, especially on the High Street, what a total 'MISH-MASH' of buildings that would be!!!
I understand, that this my not be the area where you'll find Abramovich hunting for his new pad, BUT, why make our area look less atractive and less desirable to live in? Actually, we should try to do complitely the opposite! (i.e. if somebody finds that this area - Sydenham is less atractive than others, then why make it even less atractive by building houses of this kind)?
Last edited by love-sydenham on 26 Jun 2011 17:37, edited 4 times in total.

bigbadwolf
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by bigbadwolf » 24 Jun 2011 14:48

parklife wrote:I know this is slightly off topic , but can anyone explain to me why so many flats/houses are being built in sydenham at a time when housing market is stagnent/falling?
Hi, Parklife.

Your question can, in some way, be explained by the increase in business rates covering empty properties under Gordon Brown - which was temporarily suspended in 2008 (it's since been reinstated) to provide relief to beleaguered landlords and commercial property owners. Basically, after the bill was passed, the business rates on empty property increased, creating another stealth tax. Rather than pay the increased rate, landlords and property owners alike were eager to pull down any empty, rate-incurring structures on land belonging to them. This created a surplus of brownfield sites all over the country, with owners eager to agree to a quick sale to cover their losses, given the choppy financial climate. The success developers enjoy is entirely down to how well they research the area they're building on and the likelihood of anyone being interested in buying or letting their properties, not to mention financial and legal forecasting. Like any other industry, construction and development is incredibly fickle: dependent mainly on money, innovation and responsibility. If one of these factors are lacking from the equation, then the project is likely to fail or be mothballed. For instance, I oversaw the demolition of one of Hampshire's most sought after elderly care homes in Southampton. After we'd removed the buildings and laid new foundations we handed the project over to another contractor. This contractor had expressed concern over the project's budget, in that on the plans the living and bedrooms were too small to accomodate their target tenants. In short, they'd committed to building on an inadequate budget, and prospective customers were put off by the cramped flats on offer. The last I'd heard it had been gutted out, pulled down and the land is now vacant. The moral of the story is that a valued local asset was bulldozed to make way for a project that hadn't been properly thought out. The developers screwed up, and their negligence made a negative impact on the community.

Another problem is that small-scale development is seen by some as a quick way make some decent money. The truth couldn't be further from the truth. To be a successful developer you have to dedicate an enormous amount of time and effort into a property to turn a viable profit. Some, however, have some small success tarting up and cheaply fitting out otherwise bland properties, but them get over-ambitious and bite off more than they can chew by building a four-storey building and falling foul of all the hidden costs that come as part and parcel in more ambitious - thus increasingly lucrative - projects. They then either go bankrupt or manage to sell off the doomed project. Are you noticing a possibly vicious cirlce forming from this attitude to development?

parklife
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by parklife » 24 Jun 2011 14:57

Thanks everyone for explanations, I understand it now.
The only explanation I could think of before was the ELL - which didn't make any sense

Reading your replies social/affordable housing comes up a lot.

Is it housing provided for low paid public sector workers , eg,nurses just starting out

or is it for familys who can't afford the huge private landlord rents and have difficulty getting the banks to give them a mortage ?

Please don't tell me it's for the long term unemployed who live off benefit and have absolutely no intention of ever getting a job (and we all know that realistically these people do exist).

And before anyone says anything, I don't read the Daily Mail !

bigbadwolf
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by bigbadwolf » 24 Jun 2011 15:10

parklife wrote:Reading your replies social/affordable housing comes up a lot.
Applying for planning permission under the pious banner of "social and affordable housing" is often a false veneer. Developers will build these bland housing complex under the quite reasonable assumption that they will fail to attract reliable, lower income tenants, thus giving them an excuse to re-develop the properties to appeal to the kind of tenants who they wanted to attract all along. It's often a case of building mediocre projects simply to secure the land they're built on. When you think about it it's actually quite a reasonable arrangement. The developer has, to all intents and purposes, built affordable housing. After a period of time has passed that it's obvious that no-one's moving in, they can then apply for further permission to develop the housing complex to attract more affluent tenants. They are, after all, there to make a profit.

leenewham
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by leenewham » 24 Jun 2011 15:39

How expensive a building is isn't relative to how much it costs.

Where I used to live in Ilfracombe they tried to pull down a Victorian building in the high street to make way for affordable housing. They said they couldn't keep the facade. It was impossible. The locals dug their heels in and said it has to stay.

It stayed, it looks great, there is affordable housing behind in modern flats.

Same with the Forest Hill Pools. You can't keep the frontage they said. What happened, local people dug their heels in and it stayed.

The Greyhound site is also being developed (as previously stated), by a housing association. Just like this one is. They are keeping the facade of one of the buildings behind The Greyhound.

Just as an aside, my point earlier about the balconies was that I imagine that the school will object. They grow creepers up the fence and cover the gates so you can't see into the school playground (not that I've tried, I pass it every day...just want to make that 100% clear!!) :-)

Eagle
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Re: 255-269 Sydenham Road - Planning Application

Post by Eagle » 24 Jun 2011 15:51

Parklife
I do very much agree with your penultimate paragraph. I also do not read The Daily Mail

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