Author: Cyril Richert
On the 28th of January, we organised a Public Meeting, with the help of the Battersea Society, in order to talk about the Clapham Junction redevelopment proposal submitted by Metro Shopping Fund. I already told here that several people were invited to the platform to speak and explain their views, including the developers, but they declined to come (Delancey said that “public meeting forums are not the best way to discuss elements of the scheme“!). However we had a fantastic audience, 3 great speakers with Tony Tuck, Kate Williams and Martin Linton and I already reported about the meeting at the end of January here.
Now (after a few issues) you will be able to watch again those great moments of local democracy in action with the entire video of the meeting published below. If you missed it, this is the occasion for you to catch up and have a taste of the event. If you have friends interested but did not have the chance to attend, feel free to forward the link.
Public meeting Part 1: Introduction
More information about speakers and invitations here.
Public meeting Part 2: Speaker = Tony Tuck, chairman of the Battersea Society
Public meeting Part 3: Speaker = Kate Williams, one of the founders of the Clapham Junction Action Group
If you want more details about the number of representations received by the council and the issue with certain support messages, read here.
Public meeting Part 4: Speaker = Martin Linton, MP for Battersea
Public meeting Part 5: Questions/Statements from the public
The first speaker from the floor is Shirley Passmore, from the Wandsworth Society. She underlined the failure of the campaign against the Ram Brewery development due to the poor involvement of the local residents and that “it does really matter to get all of you to write“.
Not intending to make any publicity (we are not related), I am just linking for those interested by the topic raised. At 4:23, the book the lady is talking about is called London Heritage Pubs, An inside story (Jane Jephcote is co-writer) and you will find details of the The Windsor Castle, which is subject to demolition in the development proposal.
There was a comment about the Battersea Power Station scheme. You can find our article about the planning proposal here.
At the end of this video, the Councillor talking is Tony Belton, Councillor for Latchmere ward, leader of the opposition Labour Group and member of the Planning Applications Committee. Answering to a question from the public, he confirmed that “the number does not matter (as even 1 objection should be considered) but clearly if there are 500 objections, that is considered with greater weight. So the more people who write in, the better” and he advised to write to the Chairman of the committee, Councillor Leslie McDonnell, or to the Secretary of the Planning Committee, Martin Newton, asking that the letter be circulated amongst the members (he added that he thinks this is more powerful than the objections on the Council’s website). He also highlighted the number of Putney locals attending the Planning Committee meeting, the day of the decision, and said “it is actually quite difficult to do something unpopular when surrounded by 100 people who don’t like what you are doing. It’s much easier to do something like that if you are surrounded, as you were in the Ram Brewery case, by 20 or 10 people.”
So for those who have not written yet, it is still time to do it. Information about where and who to write to (and copy as many people as possible) are on our website here.
Martin D. Johnson (also a member of the Planning Applications Committee) told us that the Borough planner was still waiting for some very important information from the developers before they can start writing their report and their recommendations (we will publish a full article on that), therefore the date of March, 12th for the meeting was the earliest (indeed we have heard since then that it was not going to happen before April, maybe even later). He was also questioning whether these towers are the right way of securing improvements for the station. Although he highlighted that the planning is not just about the towers and hope that when people write about the application, they include comments on other issues, as “there is not point for the Council to turn down this scheme only to face a similar one only a little bit smaller” (job losses, such as PCS, lack of affordable housing, station facilities and, especially with the current economic time, whether it is sensible to have more shops when you have still empty units in Northcote road and around).
Philip Beddows talked about the environment, the necessity to have “somewhere where you actually love to be and can be proud of, rather than an environment that can be replicated anywhere” (he mentioned that he co-chair with Tony Belton a campaign called “SW11 tch Back to Battersea”). He rightly said that the decision from the Planning committee is going to affect the long term of Battersea and “we need to consider the legacy that the decision will leave on the people who will be leaving here beyond us“. He also talked about buses and car parking and said that such a development should not even have 1 car space as it is already congested. Eventually he suggested to have a look to the work of Peter Deakins displayed on the other side of the room.
and Peter Dawson made a point about their call for people to write to the Council and let them know their view on the different issues of the proposal. He suggested that people “do look at the decision about the refusal of the towers in Putney. It makes very interesting reading; it uses planning words; it uses planning terminology“.
Special mention to Councillor Paul Ellis (Shaftesbury ward), as apparently he did not notice my statement regarding Shaftesbury ward and wrote to me. Right at the beginning of the video above, I say: “For the last 4 months of the campaign, I emailed several times the Councillors and I’ve never had any answer from the 3 councillors of Shaftesbury. However, the councillors of Northcote road have been quite responsive.“
Public meeting Part 6: Conclusion
Again, big thanks to everybody attending.