Questions for the Council

Lewisham Council have kindly granted Brockley Central an interview tomorrow about planning issues relevant to Brockley residents - in particular, the Local Development Framework that's currently subject to consultation.

If you have any questions which you think we should ask (only constructive ones, please!) then please feel free to suggest them here and we will put the best ones to the Council on your behalf as part of the interview.


Jon said...

Which people are you seeing at the Council, Nick?

I'd like to ask (and this will be popular with you, Lee!) if they have any plans for an incentive scheme to get shop-owners to tidy up their shop-fronts - apart from the guide available on their website, which is useful, but doesn't seem to be enforced or encouraged in any way.

What has happened to the plan for a market down Coulgate Street? The farmer's market is great, but it always seems quiet. I think you'd get quite a few more people if it was down by the train station.

I'd also like to know what other plans Sarah Pfeiffer might have for the 'high street'.

James said...

Following on from Jon.

I'd like to know why Planning Enforcement seems to be so scant in the area. Having worked in the field for 3 years, it shocks me how many flagrant abuses are going unpunished (even by Greenwich Council standards). They have a dedicated Planning Enforcement team but seem to focus most of their energy in Catford.

The installation of horrid UPVC windows and satellite dishes in flats and houses dotted around the Conservation Area is easily enforced yet only one notice -halfway down Tyrwhitt Road - has been served...erratic or what?!?!

The solid steel roller shutters and ineffective high level projecting signs on commercial properties are also easily enforced against and whilst the Council won't want to be seen to be picking on local businesses, it's ultimately for their own benefit.

Also, with the Tesco only months away from Lewisham Way, I'd be interested to know if the council are intending to implement a proactive retail strategy in the surrounding area to encourage that local business aren't driven out or if they are (and that may well be preferred by many in the council), that incentives are available for prospective new business). At the moment, I think a lot of us have got this image of Tesco standing there in 2 years with nothing but vacant units and Ladbrokes for company.

Anonymous said...

In the spirit of community involvment, it might be useful to ask them what sort of input they want or expect from the community - or more specifically a community like Brockley, or Brockley Central. I know its easy to get cynical about the Council and its responsiveness, but its conceivable that the problem is at least partly due our assumptions about how when and where we ought to be listened to. What's their ideal level and form of involvement from the community?

You could use examples from the blog - things that have sparked debate here - we have some great examples. For instance, the Ladywell Pool people are clearly very motivated and persistant and involved in their campaign; when it comes to trees, we care about them, but do we have to wait for trees to come down before registering that with the Council? And Tesco Metro seems to flout what Lewisham Council is trying to achieve (see p34 of the 'Spacial (Core) Strategy), but appears to be a fait accompli. Likewise Brockley Cross... Where have we gone wrong in putting these issues to the Council?

Darren said...


I too would like to know what the Planning Department enforcement team do within the Conservation Area. I live on Tressillian Road and note a number of really poorly sited satellite dishes that realy detract from the overall quality of the area.

About a year or so ago the planning department put an article four direction, removing permitted development rights, on properties within the Conservation Area. What is the point in having this if it is not enforced??

News of some form of LDF strategy for the local shopping centre would also be useful in light of the Homeview debarcle. This is both in relation to the uses and also the quality of the shopfronts. i cannot beleive that the shops down by Moonbow Jakes are in the Conservation Area.

Anonymous said...

I too echo what has been said about Lewisham's attitude to the Conservation Area. They seem to make life hard for those who make proper applications and genuinely wish to preserve/enhance the area but apparently do nothing about those who flout the conservation area rules/guidlines.

I live in Manor Avenue and enquired recently about restoring period iron railings to my front garden. I was told I would need to research whether these were installed originally, find old photos etc before making an application.

In the meantime, other people in Manor Avenue and elsewhere, concrete over their front gardens, build cheap/crap walls/fences, cut down trees etc without any apparent impunity or penalty from the Council.

leenewham said...

yes, you are right Jon...:-)

I'd like to know the following:
The same as Jons' Question" why do Lewisham NOT enforce planning. It' seems as if anyone can get away with anything in this borough!

Why do Lewisham ont encourage shops to follow their guidelines, why does it not publicise its guidelines and why does it not enforce them?

What happened to the market?

Why has lewisham Council not fixed the pavements along the parade, Upper Brockley road like it said it would.

Why does lewisham Council keep removing our recycling bins and ignoring requests for a new one?

Monkeyboy said...

Malpas road is used by heavy traffic it's not so much the volume of cars, this is London after all, but the BIG lorries, tankers, coaches etc. My poor old Victorian terrace has withstood the Luftwaffe but is now being regularly shaken to the core every time some hefty item of traffic hits a speed bump. Noisy, but perhaps more worryingly it maybe causing structural damage?

Can anything be dome to limit the volume or type of traffic in Malpas road?

Oh, and I’ve lost two wing mirrors.

(Quiet a specific selfish question I admit, I live on Malpas Road)

John S said...

Ok, another Malpas Road one then. In the three months that I have had the pleasure of living on this road not once have I walked down it and not encountered at least a couple of mattresses, broken tv, half a chair etc. etc. I would be interested to know what the council's policy on clearing pavements of this stuff is - it often hangs around for weeks.

Anonymous said...

John S, do you report the dumped stuff or just walk past it...?

Jon said...

Yes, it's easy to report fly tipping and general crap on Love Lewisham...

Brockley Nick said...

Good point re: Love Lewisham - I'll create a permanent link at the side.

Richard Elliot said...

Why with so many empty and run down shops on Lewisham Way did they reject the planning application to expand Meze Mangal? I know there are quite heavy restrictions about change of use on A1 units, but with so many empty shops I don't understand the logic of the decision.

James - you mention Lewisham Way Tesco's is months away. Do you know the opening date? I haven't been able to find it anywhere...

max said...

I have a few questions:

1) Why have they fed into the Leisure Needs Analysis the data on population growth of the GLA forecast when that is not a realistic forecast for the centre of Lewisham given the large amount of high density housing to be built there that will bring much more new population to live within the very small area between Thurston Road and the shopping centre than what the GLA projection forecast for the sum of Ladywell Ward and Lewisham Central Ward.

2) Do they have an idea, any idea, about the impact on the forecast leisure centre of the future residents of the Town Centre?

3) Do they have an idea of the amount of population that will come to live there?

4) How much affordable accomodation will be built in each of the different developments to be built there?

5) Why haven't they made a study of the cumulative impact on the traffic of all the various developments to be built at the Town Centre?

6) Will they produce one and if now, why not?

Anonymous said...

planning question-
what are the progress on Brockley Cross masterplan Regeneration, will it ever become a reality?

Andrew Brown said...

On planning enforcement. My understanding is that there is only one planning enforcement officer for the whole borough.

If that's right it'd explain why so little is done in this area.

Brockley Nick said...

Thanks for all your comments - the interview was with John Miller, Head of Planning for Lewisham. A very nice bloke, who gave me over an hour of his time to answer as many questions as possible. Obviously a lot of the highly localised questions were best dealt with by other people in the Council and I personally didn't have time to cover everything I would have liked, however he's going to take up all the points raised here internally and send me some follow-up contacts for other people to speak to in future. I will write the interview up in sections over the next few days.

Anonymous said...

I am so annoyed with myself for not reading this earlier and posting a question - however the shop fronts issue is my primary concern as well as the 'Malpas Rd' issue of needlessly noisey traffic (i.e. blaring music selfishly etc...) which also inflicts my house on Adelaide Avenue - maybe those metal width restrictions are the answer and a noise restriction when entering the conservation area? But good initiative, glad you are making the Council aware of local concerns...

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