What about an automatic planning report generator?

Author: Cyril Richert

Yes, as many of you spotted, yesterday’s publication was of course specific to April fool’s day (the clue was in the date!)

However, independently of Wandsworth Council, we have analysed dozen of planning reports on major schemes and found many similarities used to dismiss objections. Words such as “on balance“, “landmark“, “benefits outweigh harm” seem to have been used, without moderation, to justify any possible scheme. Continue reading

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Wandsworth’s cash machine: the Council is collecting as much as all the adjoining boroughs together!

Author: Cyril Richert

With all the new developments in Clapham Junction, but also in other parts of the borough (Nine Elms of course) you may wonder if there is an incentive for the borough. No need to keep in suspense, the answer is yes. We have carried out a thorough comparison with neighbouring boroughs and Wandsworth is actually crushing the competition! Continue reading

Consultation on draft Local Plan: response from Societies and CJAG

Author: Cyril Richert

You’re joking. NOT ANOTHER ONE?! Oh for God’s sake, I can’t, honestly – I can’t stand this” could have been the response when Wandsworth Council asked again for Societies and Community groups to take part of one of their global planning consultations. However, only 1 month after the Consultation on community involvement submitted in January, we responded again.

The Council has consulted on its draft Local Plan issues for eight weeks starting at the beginning of December (ending February 6th 2019). As expressed by many other groups and Societies at the Planning Forum meeting on January 23rd, it was a very tight deadline for such consultation. However the Battersea Society and  the Putney Society managed to submit their contribution at the beginning of February, and CJAG submitted on February 15th.

Both CJAG and the Battersea Society said that it was particularly difficult to be requested to comment with only a digital copy of a complex 76-page document (click HERE to download), without receiving a hard copy that could be more easily flipped through and annotated before drafting a response. The Battersea Society said:

“The lack of hard copies for civic societies who now, and in the past, have spent a considerable amount of time providing input to Wandsworth Council on these and many other documents is an added minor irritant”

and CJAG wrote:

“It is obvious that this process, with the apparent aim of saving little money, is not encouraging a democratic consultation.”

The Local Plan submitted for consultation was made of 98 questions that the Council wished to receive input on. We are displaying some of the comments from the Community groups below, with a link to download the full response each time. Continue reading

Planning Forum meeting 23rd January 2019

Author: Cyril Richert

Planning Applications Committee – Room 123

This is now the third time that we experiment the new format of the Planning Forum meeting, since the changed decided by the Chair, Cllr Will Sweet (change in which CJAG was instrumental).

Instead of spending most of the time being updated on planning policies with little time for attendee’s questions, only 20 minutes was dedicated to officer’s topics with the rest of the 90 minutes dedicated to items raised (submitted in advance) by Forum members.

Continue reading

Consultation on community involvement: great principles but in practice no improvement

Author: Cyril Richert

Wandsworth Council has consulted on its draft Statement of Community Involvement (SCI), which is a document that describes how to get involved in planning decision-making process. The first Wandsworth SCI was adopted in 2007 and was last revised in 2012.

Comments were to be submitted before mid-December, and we have been a bit slow in producing a response. However, in view of our current efforts to get improvement in the planning process and our call for planning reform, we thought it was important to submit a detailed analysis of the draft paper.

You can read below the summary of our comment. To get more information, you can view/download the documents:

  1. Statement of Community Involvement 2018 draft for consultation
  2. CJAG Representation in response to consultation on the draft Statement of Community Involvement
  3. Clapham Junction Action Group: Draft Paper on Planning decision reforms

Continue reading

Planning Forum meeting 4th July 2018: discussion on planning reforms

Author: Cyril Richert

Planning Applications Committee – Room 123

The new format of the Planning Forum meeting, instigated by Cllr Will Sweet (who is also chair of the Planning Application Committee) last January, allowed once again to dedicate a large part of the time to items raised by Forum members. The main discussion, based on CJAG’s suggestion, was about planning reforms. Continue reading

‘Because you are choosing to live in London, you have no right to sunlight’, the London Assembly hears

Author: Cyril Richert

London Assembly – Planning Committee – 27-06-2018

The London Assembly Planning Committee was discussing tall buildings this Wednesday 27 June at 11 10 am. As the meeting is open to the public, it was an occasion to attend (but it was also possible to watch online).

The purpose was to debate on the recommendations set out in a report of the Executive Director of Secretariat relating to the growth of applications for tall buildings and their implications for draft London Plan policy.

It is interesting to quote the Committee position (in the report 3.4-):

The Committee has consistently recommended that Mayoral planning policy is strengthened to restrict the location of London’s tall buildings and improve their design and scrutiny of potential alternative design configuration. Moreover, the Committee agrees that tall residential buildings are not an answer to London’s real housing needs and as such should not be encouraged outside of a few designated and carefully managed areas of London.”

In a nutshell, more or less what CJAG (and Societies in Wandsworth borough) has said for a long time already, unfortunately without any consideration (except maybe when the Council’s spokesperson saying we were nimbyes!). Continue reading