68 Wickham Road

The residents of 68 Wickham Road - a huge house in the convervation area - have launched a petition in a bid to prevent the building's owner from redeveloping the basement.

The basement has been used as an artist studio and party venue for many years (Brockley Jon can vouch for the quality of its parties) and its redevelopment as flats would obviously put an end to that. The petitioners claim that the development would damage the structure and character of the property. They say:

The house has a special history and quality of its own, which would be destroyed if this proposed development were to be allowed. This would be a great loss and sadness to the residents, our friends and to the area.

The Brockley Society have considered the proposal and say that although the proposal would not really affect the external appearance of the building:

We have written to Lewisham Planning to ensure that they are aware of the potential complications to the building programme, as the information in the application from the builder paints a slightly different picture.

So the Council has to consider whether the desire to preserve the eccentric character of the house outweighs the wish of the owners to realise the full value of their property and the need to create new homes in the area.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not just new homes but additional funding for public services through the New Homes Bonus and Council Tax income.

Anonymous said...

This seems very petty. It's the owners house and making a basement into a flat is hardly uncommon practice round here.

Based on other threads the building nuisance of the flat would probably be bad, but nowhere near the nuisance of a party (which is its current use)!

Anonymous said...

Surely this petition is a more worthwhile cause, potentially causing far greater damage to the local area:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/planning-6mantleroad/

Brockley Nick said...

Already devoted a whole article to that petition. Click on Mantle Road.

mk said...

12:01 anon - The current use of the basement as an artist studio and party venue is something of cultural value, so what is petty about wanting to preserve it?

Anonymous said...

Noisy parties without asking the neighbours. Not popular.

Anonymous said...

Yes why do people have to play loud music?

M said...

How do you know they didn't ask the neighbours?

Brockley Nick said...

Oh, I see, what you've done there is confuse a party in public, held by people who don't live there and which generated lots of complaints, with private parties, held by residents, which don't generate lots of complaints.

Easily done, happy to clear up the confusion.

Anonymous said...

Brockley is a beautifully artistic, tolerant and eccentric area and that's what is so likeable about the place - the 'vibe'. Anyone who has visited or been involved in the house knows how much it and it's inhabitants help contribute to this. I worry that this will be another step towards Brockley losing it's magic, before you know it it'll just be another overpriced area with little unique to offer, like the rest of South London is becoming.

I do recognise the owners right to do as they wish, but I hope they can consider just how important their wonderful property is to the Brockley community right now as it stands.

Anonymous said...

I always thought the 'professor' owned the house?

Anonymous said...

I don't think the wording of the petition will sway the decision. Saying that it will be a bit noisy for a while while the building work happens is absolutely irrelevant to the planners.

Sally said...

It's not clear from the plans whether there's adequate private garden provision -- the council would usually expect 9m depth of garden. I don't know whether it's different because this is changing an existing development though.

Seems a shame that for the project to be "financially viable" they're turning one 2-bed flat into two smaller 2-bed flats. One of the great things about Brockley housing stock, especially on Wickham Road, is the proportions of the houses. Squeezing two flats into a space currently occupied by one sounds crazy.

Anonymous said...

Notice how Nick sides with the upper class, white party so easily.

urbansurgery said...

Lewisham can choose to condition a considerate builders programme or other stipulations, but i don't see this ever being refused.

How the space has been used is largely irrelevant as the house is a house. Any refusal on the grounds set out in the petition would instantly leave Lewisham open for almost certain successful appeal.

The only other aspect which may legitimately lead to refusal is the conversion of 1 flat into 2 but that almost never happens – even the conservation area matters not in this regard as the house is already subdivided.

Tressilliana said...

@anon 13.08: what are you on about? I don't think Nick has taken sides on this issue but even if he had, how do you make out that people renting small flats are upper class? And how do you know their ethnicity?

kolp said...

I have to say it unsurprising that a compare and contrast is made on the two issues.
Racial politics in this area seem to be more toxic than i imagined.

Lep Recorn said...

Yup that is the professor :

http://www.palmermoff.com

Loved the Jivin' Instructors :-)

Anonymous said...

I think some people are just desperate to think of themselves as 'edgy' and sticking it to the white man, yeah!. They're probably about 15 (and also white).

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon1308 - I'm pointing out the obvious differences between the two situations, not siding with anyone, nor even expressing support for this petition. As the article suggests, I don't think there is a "right" answer.

Anonymous said...

Kolp, attitudes like yours are as much to blame for the tribalism and knee jerk reactions that you proport to be horrified about. You strike me as someone who likes easy, superfical conclusions. Tell me, are you book shelves straining under the weight of faddy self-help books.

Anonymous said...

Honestly kolp I really don't think it's as dramatic as some would like to make out. It generally only kicks off when somebody conflates certain kinds of behaviour with a particular skin colour or cultural background, and always entirely innaccurately. For example, that white people dislike loud music and by extension have an issue with the 'black community' (but clearly one's predilection for loud music, or one's choice of supermarket, choice of pub, political stance, or whatever... they all have absolutely zilch to do with skin colour). None of these discussions really have anything to do with race until somebody decides to look at them through that lens.

With the exception of the 'Furious' poster on that other thread - who, admittedly is either a twit or somebody trying to pose as a twit (which probably qualifies for twit status anyway) - I can't think of anything especially toxic.

Anonymous said...

so anyway, I hear there's a cool new bar opening tonight ... who's going? :-)

Michael said...

@sally 12:52
9 metre gardens only apply to units with 3 or more bedrooms (from HSG7). Two 2 bed don't necessarily need more than shared communal garden.

Assuming there is adequate daylight for the new units, I can't see on what grounds the council would refuse permission.

Anonymous said...

So Brockley Society will start dictating what people can and can't do with their own property?
I'm a big supporter of the arts, but building owners should be able to do what they want, within reason, to their own properties.

If their art was any good then I'm sure they would be able to make a reasonable offer to buy the property or rent the newly renovated flats and keep it as an art studio.
If their art is crap, well...

Anonymous said...

A house owner wants to sell part of his house as living accommodation. It'd be laughable if this was prevented because people currently use his property for parties/studio space. I can't believe it's even an issue - surely it would set an unsustainable precedent?

Brockley Nick said...

Re: BrocSoc - no, they are not dictating anything, as the quote says, they are just advising the Council of their concerns about some of the aspects of the build. That's absolutely core to their remit, which is to help to maintain the conservation area. Their quote was perfectly measured.

Anonymous said...

According to the Heritage statement it's Wyckam Road.

Anonymous said...

the objections seem to be from a bunch of selfish self centered people who want to keep their ability to hold parties and an art studio in a free space. the only reason their complaining is that they see this free facility go. the property owner has the right to do what he wants with his property and if your so upset by it my sweeties group together and buy the place.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, I can't believe this is an article.

Oh, they're middle class and probably called Mungo.

Room Temperature IQ said...

"Oh, they're middle class and probably called Mungo."

Mummy! I haz dun a joke!

Anonymous said...

68 is an amazing house, ungentrified and full of 'original features', including a a wonderful verandah across the rear. The people are nice and welcoming too.

mintness said...

What are the circumstances of its current use as a party/art space? Who allows that to happen? If it's the owner, then....

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with the argument that this really is a non-story. The owner is entitled to choose what he lawfully does with his property.

The 'art' community can be so infuriatingly self-centred. As if their desire to express themselves on someone else's bankroll is unquestionably more important than the of creatiom new homes for people who merely want to spend their hard earned cash on a roof over their heads (it matters not a jot how nice this roof is or how much it costs!)

And I suspect some people wanting to preserve this as an art/party venue wouldn't be quite so keen if they lived right next door.

I love Brockley but what's wrong with you people?!!!

Anonymous said...

M - "How do you know they didn't ask the neighbours?" -

I know because I AM one of the neighbours, they never bothered to ask permission when they had one of their very loud garden parties, or give us prior warning (or, dare I suggest, even *invite* us, as some other Brockley denizens appear to have been invited! But not the neighbours ... )
So I don't have much sympathy I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm a neighbour and they invited our entire building to the last party. We've lived here for three years and I can honestly say there have been no more than half a dozen parties in that time. Having said that, it's totally up to the owner what he/she does with the property

Headhunter said...

Yeah I very much doubt very much that Lewisham planners can refuse a planning application purely on the basis that it deprives a bunch of students of their party space.... Unless this is somehow guaranteed in their rental agreement. If you don't own the building there's not a lot you can do, trying buying your own place or move somewhere else if you don't like what the owner is doing...

brockleymaxmc said...

Hey, that place and the people who have occupied the place over the years have.practically raised me both as a musician and a person and one thing I learned is that malice is not in their vocabulary..
It's a musical and artistic staple of SE4 and without that place, I wouldn't have done all the things I am doing now... (Someone mentioned palnermoff? He's a BIG contribution to my testament)...

Anonymous said...
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