At the end of August the Lambeth Council Planning Committee issued a decision notice on the application to build a new resource centre on Coburg Crescent. As expected, permission was granted, subject to conditions.
There are many important conditions, but a key condition for us, in terms of being able to use the new building, is number 22:
Prior to the occupation of the development hereby permitted a Community Use Agreement shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority confirming that the community space will be made available for hire and use by the local community and community groups, subject to the normal operational constraints of the day centre service and with due consideration given to the need to safeguard the users and residents of the Resource Centre. The development hereby permitted shall thereafte be operated in accordance with the approved details.
Given that this new development was only made possible by demolishing our community hall, we have argued strongly that we should be able to use the communal facilities in the new building (café and community space) freely and without charge.
We have received a statement from the council about the preparatory works for the new building on Coburg Crescent:
“In May 2018, following concerns about existing soil conditions at the Coburg Crescent site, a further round of soil investigations were commissioned. The resulting survey has now been received by Farrans, our preferred contractor.
The apparent presence of ground water within the soil profile assumed by the previous survey findings necessitated a very robust design response from the structural engineer, meaning deeper piles below ground and the need to utilise waterproof concrete. This in turn generated concerns around the cost of the project and negative impact on length of the construction period.
The locations for the trial pit and boreholes for the new survey were carefully considered, given the perceived higher water table level around the southern/ Palace Road boundary.
Very positively the latest set of results indicate that the moisture encountered higher up in the soil profile is not present at lower depths, where the piled foundations will be formed.
The main contractor will now review this latest set of results and develop their design for the building structure accordingly.
We believe that this will result in a less robust approach to sub-structure design, without the need for waterproofing, which in turn should, reduce the time needed for delivery of the works, thereby lessening any disruption to local residents and also having a positive cost impact.
Further information will therefore be available in August once the design has been revised.”
On 15 June, representatives from PRERA met with the Lambeth Council’s new Cabinet Member for Housing – Cllr Paul Gadsby. Also present were our local councillor Liz Atkins and several senior officers responsible for the council’s housing stock. At the meeting we discussed four key areas:
We felt that the meeting was a significant milestone in our campaign to get a better service from the council in these areas. Signs of progress include:
An acknowledgement from the council that Palace Road Estate has not been receiving the service it should from housing management.
A restructuring of the housing management service next month, with reallocation of housing officers to estates.
A written description of the service that we should expect from estate housing officers.
Recent surveys of the structural condition of the blocks of flats. This will inform future prioritisation of works across Lambeth.
The scheduling of an inspection of the estate by the incoming manager responsible for housing across the whole of Lambeth [carried out on 22 June].
A commitment that leaseholders would not be charged [directly] for work to rectify problems with the poorly constructed cladding for the water pipes that were installed in 2013.
An acknowledgment that water distribution around the site is failing and needs replacement. This was proposed to be included in the 2019/20 capital works programme.
A commitment to develop a policy for bulky waste disposal on council estates.
Prioritisation of Palace Road Estate in the placement of the council’s stock of mobile CCTV cameras (after Tulse Hill Estate), to deter fly-tipping.
Support from Cllr Gadsby for residents to have access to the community space within the new resource centre on Coburg Crescent.
An acknowledgement that the council needs to better engage with PRERA in future.
A contractor has now been appointed for the building of the new resource centre – Farrans. They were due to start work this month, but, we are told, unexpected adverse ground conditions have been discovered, which will delay the start. The plan is to do more soil testing this week, followed by a couple months work on any changes required to the building design. More details can be found in this letter.
The committee will continue to monitor developments and pass on information through this blog.
The Planning Application Committee meeting relating to the new Resource Centre on Coburg Crescent takes place this coming Tuesday, 23rd January. Details of the meeting can be found here. Both our chair, Rob, and our local Councillor, Liz Atkins, will be speaking at the meeting. They will be requesting that the community space within the new building is available for the use of PRERA, free of charge. This would be partial compensation for the destruction of our tenants’ hall.
If anyone can spare the time to come along to the meeting to support Rob and Liz, that would be much appreciated and may improve the chances of succes.
We have just received confirmation that our local MP Chuka Umunna will be visiting the estate this Friday. He is coming to meet residents of the estate to find out about our concerns. Representatives of the PRERA committee will be there, but all residents are welcome, so do come along. We will be walking around the estate, starting at the childrens’ play area at 2pm.
Following a query to the planning department, notices of the planning application for the new building on Coburg Crescent have now been posted on site. This has extended the deadline for comments on the application until the 11th October. To make comments, visit the planning website here or email email@example.com, quoting 17/03981/RG3.
A planning application has finally been filed for the new building on Coburg Crescent. It can be viewed on the council’s planning website here. The closing date for comments or objections is Friday 22nd September 2017.
The existing demolition site is 3, 5 and 7 Coburg Crescent, but the application also includes 8, 9, 10 and 11 Coburg Crescent – the shop and adjoining flats. There is a replacement shop in the new building, but, as the application stands, the estate will have no shop during the construction. The application mentions the possibility of a temporary shop, but states that the provision of such a shop will need to be the subject of another planning application.
Have you noticed banging noises coming from the building site on Coburg Crescent recently? This was the sound of soil samples being collected for testing, in preparation for the construction of the new building.
We hope to get an update on progress with the planning application at our AGM on 19th September, so do come along! In the meantime, we have been assured that the much-graffitied hoarding will be smartened up. Watch this space…