Wednesday, June 14, 2006
That Block on Dog Kennel Hill!
Southwark's Planning Committee met last night to consider a report on the block of flats which is being built on Dog Kennel Hill above Sainsburys and the Adventure Playground. The Report was extremely critical of the way in which the decision to grant planning permission for the block came about, saying that the reasons behind officer's support for the application was 'unconvincing' and that there had been clear breaches of the Council's own policies. One of the breaches concerned the amount of money which the developer was required to pay to the Council as a Section 106 payment or 'planning gain' towards building affordable housing in the borough. The Council's mistake means that the developer is paying over £100,000 less than they should be!!
The contextual drawings which were relied upon by developers in an application to the Council were misleading - showing the block as being only slightly higher than the existing houses on DKH, when in fact the drawing should have shown the block as nearly twice the height of the houses.
The Committee dealt with the Report extremely thoroughly, and the Chair, Cllr James Gurling added a recommendation that the complaints which had given rise to the Report should be taken further in order that the issue of compensation for the residents of Birdsall House might be considered. It is clear that the Planning Department is anxious that lessons are learned from this episode.
But at the end of the day the Report cannot remove the building - which is inappropriate for its position on Dog Kennel Hill, and which sets a terrible precedent for other developers anxious to cash in on this prime area in Southwark. I am afraid that this really might be an example of developers getting rich whilst the residents of South Camberwell suffer.