Local Plan: Suggestions from the Community expertise

Author: Cyril Richert

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Workshop to discuss the future Local Plan – January 2020

As we said in previous articles (HERE and THERE) Wandsworth Council has done an appalling job in drafting the latest Local Plan. Not only the document is disorganised and filled with meaningless concepts and lack of structure, but this is a huge miss-opportunity to work with the community groups.

In January 2021, Andrea Kitzberger-Smith (Planning Policy and Design Team Manager)  said: “It is the opportunity to say if we got it wrong“, as she explained that due to Covid, they have drafted the document mostly internally, without the possibility to go out and visit sites. Have they taken this opportunity to dedicate time liaising with local group and community activists who know really well their area and could provide useful feedback in advance? Not at all!

As a result, the document attracted huge criticism from societies and community groups. They commented saying “the Plan as currently drafted is poorly structured, inconsistent and incoherent“, it “does not represent a proper basis on which to determine policies and strategies for the next fifteen years” or “there is no attempt to relate the 23 policies for the area to the fourteen principles and themes set out in the overall Placemaking Strategy [and] there is huge overlap and repetition across the 23 policies“; CJAG said that it “appears to be a mix of political agenda and wishful thinking“. The Wandsworth Society has not even bothered to respond to the consultation!

However, at the Planning Forum meeting in July, Jenifer Jackson, Assistant Director for Planning & Transport Strategy in Wandsworth, denied any wrong doing, commenting that “nothing significant” came out of the comments. This straight forward judgement is not only a lot of contempt on the comments done by the community group and Societies, but also showing a very poor consideration of the work done.

CJAG is helping to fill the gaps in the policies

A local resident said “It looks like the site specific sections of the local plans were redacted by some intern over the summer, with poor knowledge of the area and no review“. Fortunately, the Battersea Society, Lavender Hill For Me community forum and CJAG have sent detailed comments to make the policies more robust.

As we wrote in our submission, the Area Strategy section for Clapham Junction “should be read in conjunction with Lavender Hill For Me community group suggestions and the Battersea Society submission, which have both produced a detailed analysis of the area“.

We have compiled those different contributions and present below sections of information that should be included into the Local Plan for more robust guidelines (obviously we focused around Clapham Junction only).

With the following links, you will have direct access to the different sites (all articles accessible on CJAG.org):

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