Planning Forum meeting 14th July 2021

Author: Cyril Richert

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Planning Forum on Team Meeting – 14/07/2021

The biannual planning forum, the informal information sharing group organised by the Council for community representatives, was organised on video-call a few days ago (for the third time since July 2020). Continue reading

Homeless Nature and Theatre of the Absurd

Author: Charlie Wiseman

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The saving of the elm trees in 1851: they were included in the Crystal Palace project

Battersea has been woke as long as the Elms that were left to grow inside the Great Exhibition’s Crystal Palace of 1851…In fact it was because of protests about three elm trees at Prince’s Gate Entrance that the shape of the barrel-vaulted transept of the giant glass building was conceived of.

In  Edinburgh, I met Jeremy Weller of Grassmarket Project, who made a new theatre that embraces the best performance we can give: being ourselves. Everyone from the street to those in young offender institutions were given a chance to be themselves.

More recently Thomas McCrudden did this most obviously by telling the story of his life in Doubting Thomas that led to Ken Loach’s scriptwriter describing how he wanted to see “everything Grassmarket has ever produced“. I, Daniel Blake, had been the film that won the highest prize of French film, the Palm D’Ors at Cannes. Now he saw something that astounded him: ordinary people portraying themselves. If life is performance, by contrast you should try being yourself.

Protesting and being oneself

McCrudden experienced being himself by standing on stage, and now like Rachida, Dimitri and Sophie and others in York Gardens, I found I was being myself, by protesting, something I hadn’t conceived of before.

Ros Coward, a Guardian journalist, described how she also had received a deluge of emails, after describing the assault on the countryside, by developers. With so many in a state of disorientation at what climate and disease could inflict, I found myself reflecting on the biblical plagues of insects, which are shown to have human faces and eat only human objects and garments. I could well imagine these locusts or beetles swarming out of the Supreme Courts of Westminster today, or the Hague, as the judges’ wigs or Lords’ and politicians’ robes were eaten and they ran away stark naked! Continue reading

As a response to community protest, Wandsworth Council hire security guards to assault residents

Author: Cyril Richert

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BML security guard using the knee-on-neck technique on protester – Credit: XR video screenshot

This is the story of a large old tree that local people wanted to protect from felling. This is a story of a massive regeneration project lead by a Council with plans in total opposition with the consultation they held 8 years ago. This is the story of violent security guards hired by Wandsworth Council assaulting tree protectors. This is the story of Dmitri, Emma, Ella, Pip, Marcus, Bradley, Tina, Rachida, Glyn, Annie, Phoebe, Rollie and many others who tried their best to defend a large garden, with massive trees and wildlife to be bulldozed without proper dialogue.

This is the story of a local community fighting to preserve the environment that matters to them. Continue reading

Nine Elms: hubris and complacent Council leads to obscenity

Author: Cyril RIchert

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A visualisation of the 10th-storey Sky Pool at Embassy Gardens – Photograph: Ballymore/Rex/Shutterstock

The idea looked like a April fool joke but as we were April 28th, it was most likely one of the latest idiocy that architects have been experimenting in Nine Elms, which has become for some years (thanks to Wandsworth Council) a play field for their ego. The Wandsworth Guardian reported that the world’s first floating sky pool was set to open in south west London very soon:

“The pool, located between two blocks of flats in Nine Elms, is transparent and offers views of London’s skyline. […] The 25-metre long pool will allow exclusive Embassy Garden members to swim between the two blocks of apartments. “

Continue reading

Parma Crescent: Councillors complacent to developers’ tactics

Author: Cyril Richert

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We wrote to each individual person and sent the simple summary to arrive in their inbox on Friday to try to reduce the risk of them taking a lazy political group decision. All in vain” was the reaction of one of the Parma Crescent’s resident after the decision from Wandsworth Planning Application Committee to grant planning permission by 8 votes in favour (including 2 Labour Councillors) to two against.

Following a good introductory five minutes speech from the local ward councillor, Jonathan Cook, explaining the residents’ concerns, it was quickly obvious that the Conservatives Councillors were in favour of the developer’s tactic to maximise their profit and ignore the local residents. What was more surprising is that two Labour Councillors joined the Tory supporters in this shameful decision. Continue reading

What is the future of video meetings in Wandsworth?

Author: Cyril Richert

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One year ago started the first lockdown in England due to the spread of Covid cases. From that date, the usage of video-conference tools exploded: Zoom meetings for home schooling, Microsoft Teams to maintain communication in companies, Google Meet, but also Houseparty and many other similar tools to keep in touch with friends and love ones. All around the country, Councils had to adapt in an unprecedent move to not only continue functioning on a day-to-day basis, but allow the necessity scrutiny that forms part of the local democracy, with online committee meetings, publicly accessible.

In this unprecedented event, the government gave permission to hold such meetings in virtual mode. Unfortunately, the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 runs out on 6 May 2021, and the government has decided not to extend the emergency permission (arguing that it would require primary legislation, and the parliament has other priorities in the context). Indoor meetings will be permitted from 17 May, as per Government’s roadmap. Continue reading

Peabody scheme to change again for phase 3

Authors: Cyril Richert & Jacqui Bowers

20210418_174640More than ten years after the initial scheme was approved by Wandsworth Council (with a lot of controversy, as officers mislead the committee and the vast majority of the local community was totally opposed to what was considered as too massive, bulky and over-development!), Peabody might be thinking about starting the third and final phase of their redevelopment. But that won’t happen before a revision of the current approved scheme as a new partner has come onboard. Continue reading

Proposal for a new extension for Lidl

Author: Cyril Richert

Lidl_2020Lidl is planning an extension of its current store in Clapham Junction, with a part extension of the roof and changes in the car park, with new electric charging points.

Planning Application 2021/0859 has been submitted last months to apply for an extension of the current store. This is a minor extension, with the main purpose of adding a single storey on most of the roof and include the current outside area with trolleys to the inside of the sales area. The alteration will redesign the current roof, with most of the current height being used as the new first floor. Further back close to the railway will be located a block with a second floor. The current proposal include the car park reconfiguration with cycle storage along the Falcon Lane façade of the building and two electric vehicle charging points. Continue reading