Birds' threatened conversion opposed

Renovation work has begun on-site at 253-255 Malpas Road, the buildings that were once home to Birds Dress Agency. The developers are seeking to convert the building to residential use, a plan strongly opposed by the Brockley Cross Action Group and the Brockley Society.

A planning application has been submitted to the Council the alteration and conversion of the site to use as two dwelling houses, incorporating extensions to the rear as well as the roof. This application is invalid however and the Council has informed the agent that any work carried out prior to planning approval is at the risk of the owner and may be subject to enforcement action. The building has use class 1A, which means it can be converted from retail into a "dwelling house" with relative ease.

Birds is a well-preserved Victorian shop, and although a number of units in Brockley Cross have lain empty for some time, recent developments have shown that commercial space in this spot is viable: an estate agent recently moved into The Tea Factory, while the former newsagent is reopening shortly as a deli (more on that story soon). The Broca Food Market also came close to moving to Birds earlier this year.

With thanks to Robert for the information.


terrencetrentderby said...

Did anyone ever buy anything from Birds?

JPM said...

I wrote to the council about this. I urge other residents to do the same.
Although it's not usually a problem to move through the same use class certain misunderstandings of the new legislation have moved some developers to believe that this allows a carte blanche move to change if use; business tor residential without planning permission.

Additional change of use permitted development rights applying in
England from 6 April 2014. So we are going to see much more of this type of behaviour.
Let's though, to be fair, call it a misunderstanding. Retail to residential - new class IA allows change of use and some associated physical works from a small shop (A1 and A2 uses) to residential use (C3). However... this still requires 'prior approval’. Planners can consider the impacts of the proposed change and say NO. As indeed I think they should do in this case.
Up to 150 square metres of retail space will be able to change to residential use. This new right though does not apply to land protected by article 1(5) of the General Permitted Development Order.
I don't know what the retail space is, but if it's beyond that above then the developer has to apply for change of use anyway. I haven't yet studied the GPDO and leave it for those well versed to comment. But I will look into the actual retails size and get back.

JPM said...

This is the first blow in any defence:

Retail Zone A

Retail Zone B

Internal Storage

Total area:

JPM said...

Last piece of the puzzle...
The best challenge to this is by an article 4 direction. This is in place in the Conservation Area, which this development borders, but may also apply.

“The use of Article 4 directions to remove national permitted development rights should be limited to situations where this is necessary to protect local amenity…”

Of course the fly in the ointment, as indeed we have discovered at Ashby Mews constantly, is that an article 4 can be side-lined. Article 4 directions cannot prevent development ‘which has commenced, or which has already been carried out‘.

Could this be the reason why so many developers now start works without any planning permission in place?
Over to you.

Transpontine said...

See also in New Cross Road

Monkeyboy said...

former newsagent at Brockley Cross? do you mean the convenience store opposite the timber merchants?

Brockley Nick said...

that's the one

Joe said...

I don't see the big issue with this development. There is definitely an oversupply of commercial space in Brockley Cross and this conversion prevents an unsightly void.

Ladybelle said...

I worked in an office overlooking Brockley Cross ( where D&M Vans used to be); the building is also due to be turned into flats ( planning went through last summer apparently) although it doesn't look like anything is being done at the moment. It's a perfect space for offices and such a shame it'll all be gutted inside

guest said...

The enforcement dept. has the power to stop them but they probably won't bother as usual.

It's a shame, it was a very nice Victorian shop, probably the nicest in the area.

ashley said...

Having just bought on upper brockley road, I am (just) swayed by this residential conversion. My sense is that BC isn't the most suitable venue for commerce and that this would be turned into a low quality unit (just look at some of the shops on BC that look like they are falling down) for the foreseeable future.

Robert said...

Joe. The big issue is that Brockley is an area with comparatively few retail units. Despite this, our little shopping stretch around the station is doing very well, and there is no reason this success cannot extend to Brockley Cross. These two units would be ideal for many new or expanding businesses. I don't know about you, but I have no interest in living in an area that doesn't have a busy and diverse centre with lots of good shops, cafes or bars. That's the point of living in a big city isn't it? The few buildings like this that we have left need protecting, so that Brockley has the opportunity to thrive. Once they become residential, they can never be reclaimed.

Robert said...

I am honestly amazed that anyone who lives around the corner from a building that could offer them a potential shop, or cafe, or whatever - would be happy to see that converted to a flat. Especially one that has such character.

Robert said...

Actually, I have been informed that Lewisham Enforcement are meeting with the applicant this week. They are on the ball. Though enforcement is a tricky avenue, which can often take a long time to get results.

Tim said...

"Doing very well"!!

Yeah, the chicken shop, cost cutters and convenience store might get footfall, but I wonder how some of those businesses stay open.

If there was demand for units they would get filled. The fact that they don't is telling.

It's incredibly hypocritical for any of those that purport to care about the residential housing shortage in this city to complain about more residential housing being developed.

I'm in favour.

Robert said...

Tim. There is a place for residential development. And it is NEVER appropriate to replace a local shop that could offer amenity use. With the cost of residential buildings so high in London, and the relaxation of the use class in the recent amendments to planning law, there is a perfect storm brewing. We are in danger of having our retail centres broken up.

Brockley Nick said...

Have you ever been to the area around Brockley Station? Thriving cafes, shops, restaurants and takeaways serving Caribbean, Vietnamese, French and Thai, Indian and Turkish food, a children's shoes and gifts shop, a couple of bar/restaurants, a massive pub, a beauty salon, etc, etc.

By all means make your case for conversion, but if you have to rely on such obvious distortion, you undermine the credibility of your own argument.

Tim said...

Are we talking about the same place? Walk past the Indian and Turkish and Caribbean place tonight and count the number of customers. I bet it aggregates less than 5. Thriving, you say?

Gift shop? Hobby business at best. Will be crushed by online.

The only place I spend money is Browns and cost cutters when I forget to buy something on Ocado. Oh yeah - and the French place (which is being sold). Some empty shop is no loss to me and I don't see queues of young entrepreneurs queuing up. Coulgate street redevelopment (If done) will provide new retail space.

Robert said...

Tim. You seem to be keen on bashing local businesses. Afterall, you clearly don't need them, as everything you need is a finger click away, and someone in a van will bring it to you. That's not a criticism, it's your choice. Other people choose to shop locally, and I happen to be one of them. I also like to eat locally, and drink locally - and get to know the people in my area, make friends with people etc. etc. London is a big city, it can accommodate a range of different lifestyles. That's the joy of big cities. But if you actively support an action by a cynical developer that is likely to infringe on mine, and people like me - then you are going to get a strong rebuttal. And you'll keep getting them.

Tim said...

Rebutt away, my friend.

I would make the serious point that if we are to solve the housing supply problem in this country, then we all need to make sacrifices. I don't see an empty shop as a big one. You strike me as an urban NIMBY as bad as the suburbanite who doesn't want the view of green fields from their garden spoilt by new housing.

Robert said...

Firstly - this shop was not empty. It has been occupied by generations of the same family for decades. A very good offer was made by a local market to buy the building - though they were trumped by someone else who thought they could extract more money by conversion to residential. All retail units in London are now subject to the same pressure thanks to the governments new planning changes.

Secondly - I couldn't care a less how I strike you, though I don't see myself as a Nimby at all. I want things in my back yard - lots of them, varied and diverse. This to me is what city living is about. If I wanted peace, tranquility, and an arcadian view from my window - I'd move to the countryside.

urbansurgery said...

Not "never appropriate" hence the IA legislation, but certainly true that is a one-way conversion virtually forever.

The Thinker said...

I'm for shop conversion to residential, where it's appropriate, and it's long overdue in response to the current housing issues we currently face. A recentish prime example would be Upper Brockley Road, where by all but one shop was converted to residential over the years, thus it made sense to allow the last remaining shop, that had clearly seen better days, to be converted.

However, in regard to birds, I think it should definitely stay as a shop. The facade is quite beautiful and it should be preserved or could be renovated sympathetically. It's clearly part of a parade of shops and is the only older style left in that particular area and a really gem that's in need of a polish, as Brockley continues to regenerate and develop more and more.

If the council fail to act, I fear the developer will rip out all the features, like some of the other local developments, where the council has failed to enforce.

It increasingly seems that developers can and do what they like these days.

The Thinker said...

You must be able to see, that sometimes it is... surely?

Robert said...

You are right. Never say never. But there would have to be a pretty convincing reason to make that move. Urban areas can only be given the chance to thrive if these spaces are ring-fenced at comparatively lower ground rents. The alternative is finding ourselves in a city where it is only big business and chains that can afford to trade. It's actually quite a good thing economically for some units to lay dormant for a while. It keeps rents low - offering anyone with a good entrepreneurial idea to give it a go. And in the meantime spaces can be given over to artists, pop-ups, or whatever. There are lots of other places in the city that make for very successful residential conversions, or new builds - without causing as much social, or economic damage to communities. I notice your post above. I am old enough to remember when most of that row on Upper Brockley Road were still shops. It was a wonderful little parade, with some really odd little businesses. Think how bustling that would be now - forecourts ideal for cafes and restaurants. That can never be now - as it is commercially impossible to revert back to retail/leisure from residential.

The Thinker said...

You old romantic, nostalgia tripper, I remember when all this was fields ;) and... north kent.

I don't think Cafe culture, Restaurants and the Wickham Arms particular lend them selves to create a wonderful aspirational residential street... but others will differ.

However, residential development, not just in London, we desperately need to convert former retail to residential and make effective use of brown and greyfield sites, especially where those industries have been replaced, out grown or have fallen and there is positive wider implications and regeneration prospects.

Economics will always play the lead, but it's the old adage, location, location, location and birds of a feather flock together that can kick start and regenerate an area.

Robert said...

Yawn. Nothing like debunking someone's critical argument with accusations of nostalgia. I actually think I'm pretty progressive, but others might disagree. Also - the idea that residential streets must be quiet and protected from urban activity is a peculiarly British trait. One that I have never agreed with.

terrencetrentderby said...

"Thriving" is a strong word for BC although a handful prob make good money. The takeaways in BC are exceptionally poor and most of the units are always empty including the ethic array you mentioned.

ashley said...

I agree with Nick that the area around the station is doing nicely. And I can also agree with Robert that its a shame that the shops on Upper Brockley Road will never have the opportunity to be nice cafes (although I do have a vested interest as I now live in one!) But c'mon guys, Brockley Cross is a bit of a crap location that is going (in general) to struggle to attract decent businesses and cafe's. The takeaways around there are absolutely dire (anyone fancy a bagel with some curried goat? - and that is one of the better ones) and there have been vacant offices spaces at 7-9 Brockley Cross for donkeys years that meant conversion to residential was permitted. A shame to lose this attractive shop, but overall, in my view, the need for (decent) housing should take priority.

JPM said...

We lived around the corner from an ironmonger and a group of artists from Goldsmiths. All happily ensconced in Ashby Mews - until you supported - and campaigned - for a planning application for change of use to 'residential'. The only difference being that that developer called it 'live-work'.
This actually drove established businesses out of the mews in order to create what - an oasis for the rich? So please don't be such a hypocrite.
I do though think the shop should remain a shop, and that the strategy of working to retain these at or near the cross is vital to Brockley's growth. Unfortunately, due to the way you and some Brockley Society members have pushed for 'live work' that is the only strategy this developer need follow to obtain planning permission. The nail in the proverbial coffin.

The Thinker said...

You were clearly being nostalgic and a tad sentimental. So let's leave it at that, shall we.

As for you being progressive, I'm not convinced yet...
However you clearly hold yourself and your head in the highest regard, which could be both a blessing and a curse for you. Good luck with that one.

As for quiet residential street being 'peculiarly British', we are in Britain and cafe culture doesn't necessarily make you exclusively continental, cultured, bohemian, hip or unquestionably desirable.

No matter what spin people try to put on it.

JPM said...

The Thinker, I don't agree. If there's one remaining shop all the more reason why it should stay. How about the old English corner shop? Or pub for that matter?
As with Birds shop. Due to the creative whims of the boy scout above and his handful of mates, these developers now see gold in shop frontages.

terrencetrentderby said...

Any comment on this one Robert?

birdsnest said...

Yes ... lots of stuff, over several years.

The Thinker said...

JPM, please read my comments again. I think the shop unit currently know as birds should absolutely stay.
I also think @Robert wishes the same? But he should really clarify his opinion on this.

The other development you speak of, I see as being in a completely different context, although being on a similar vein.
I feel is very much a different discussion in my mind, although @Robert support for this was clear, it shouldn't be seen as a representation of all.

The previously mentioned shop on Upper Brockley Road, which i did use, really needed to go, as they had there day.
That is a different discussion and a little too late. I think you led an unsuccessful charge on that one. But it's time was clearly up.

The pub (The Wickham Arms) however did stay and is currently still here and I think should stay, but could operate a more cafe bar, bistro business, to satisfy the likes of the in continental @Robert in the future.

Having a appropriate balanced approach, both in context with supply, demand, location and timing we can achieve, great improvements to the area, we just have to work a little harder for it, to get something that both sympathetic, respectful and appropriate and something people generally want.

The 'gold' as you put it, has already been spotted, some time ago. Where people are licensed to pan and profit is a totally another matter and I feel licenses should really only be granted on merit and not as a general rule.
Obviously the whole thing is open to abuse and when it is abused, enforcement needs to act, if this is the case with birds? Lewisham Council enforce away!

Other examples of local shop conversions are on the Blackheath Rd and the Junction with Greenwich South Street and Lewisham Road. A couple I think work well and a the rest are still really questionable in my mind and eye. But if you really want to live there? Good luck to you. There are also the ones on Tanner's Hill.

Clearly there needs to be a tighter grip by the local authority, there should never be just one rule fit all, that's far too simples and totally fraught. As I said earlier, 'It increasingly seems that developers can and do what they like these days'

Please do bare in mind... refusal often offends ;)

propertymania said...

I am sure there is are a fair number of people living in Brockley, for which living in this area means very little to them except a place to sleep. Maybe they work hard building a career in central London and do all their socialising there, returning to Brockley to watch their big TV and sleep. They may venture into takeaways when they return drunk and may need to the odd grocery from a convenience store for the things they forgot to order online.

Do such people care for the local area? Most don't really give a damn, their engagement is marginal.

But, hey, converting cheap flats to get on the housing ladder? A stepping stone like that would be useful. Who cares if the area becomes a sterile dormitory? In any case they will move on as soon as they have made enough out the property bubble.

Pillorying people who intend to live in the area long term and are concerned about the community and the local economy as NIMBYs is a cheap shot....and this, I guess, is another.

We have a housing crisis in London. Simply allowing developers to cannibalise our remaining pockets of non-residential property to create more flats is not going to fix that problem.

Brockley Nick said...

One or two of them are not very good or seemingly popular. But there are no empty units.

Headhunter said...

If this is true, I too am alarmed that Broc Soc is encouraging residential development on the mews under the guise of "live/work".... How is live work going to impact the lives of people living on the main streets in the cons area any less than good old residential?

terrencetrentderby said...

Sad to see Brockley Society's regressive middle class Nimbyism backfire spectacularly. The NIMBY Trojan horse for residential conversion.

Their summer fair is quite good though.

JPM said...

Thinker, it's on the shop to residential conversion that we differ. I actually agree with the boy scout (for once) that we need to retain these. It's vitally important to the community.
I also agree wholeheartedly with everything else that you haves stated above.

JPM said...

So what are the facts?
The developer at Ashby Mews is now on the Brocsoc board as a 'planning' representative.

Brockley Society holds its meetings at the developer's Unit Three; also known as "Ashby Space".
The developer is presented at such meetings

This space was granted permission by the council some time back as a gallery/storage space. Curiously it is recorded at the Valuations Office Agency (VOA) as "DELETED" for business rate purposes, and similarly for council tax too.
Both the VOA and council claim the building has been demolished. This is why it is not rated.
In short the owner, who runs a former light industrial unit as his personal gallery, pays nothing to the public purse for its use.

So Brockley Society meets in a property developer's 'gallery' - deleted from the business rates and recorded as demolished? - and regularly partakes in freebie wines, whilst the developer himself listens to planning argument for and against - what?

Well, for those minded to research further he happens to have a planning appeal submitted for change of use from storage to 'live work' (residential) at the bottom of my garden and those of neighbours. This was turned down by both the planning officers and committee, but due to the support of Brocsoc to gentrify the mews, the developer feels he is in with a chance.
Rob Park has been a champion of this whilst not declaring an interest in live- work. (Think residential in the mews and shops at Brockley Cross and beyond.)Although the boy scout has claimed that these will not be residential, having resided at Harefield Mews himself in a property that was a 'live-work' unit - he did not reveal that it had been changed to full residential by the developer and council. The former who then claimed that live work did not in fact work, and as the mews was now residential due to the live work changes fell it may well work as 'residential'. And so another work unit for local people was lost forever.
Sick, isn't it?

JPM said...

TTD. Quite regressive, when you consider Brocsoc is chaired by a former Troskyist.

terrencetrentderby said...

Ahh the champagne socialist elite strike again.

JPM said...

TTD you may have something there.

In October 1985, the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) general secretary, Gerry Healy, was ousted.

Some suspected the CIA or MI6. But the truth was of a more mundane nature….

A few ‘long time’ women members of the party had secretly engineered Healy's downfall.

Ursula ‘Clare’ Cowen (she of Brockley Society fame), takes up the story in the book referenced below.

In Ms Cowen’s words: “When it was decided Healy had to go, three possible means were considered. The first was to take up a political struggle... The second was to carry out an exposure of the crazy autocratic methods of running the party companies and finances. The third was the exposure of the sexual abuse of a large number of women comrades."

The first was rejected because Healy was extremely skilled at political manoeuvres and knew how to rally the party; the second because this would have pointed the finger at a female co-worker who had responsibility for the accounts; and the third option, was eventually adopted and was catastrophic to the Party. By October 1985, Healy was expelled, and the Workers Revolutionary Party fell apart within weeks. Destroyed not by the country’s security services - was it? - but seemingly from within.

In his old age Healy would believe that the disintegration of the WRP was due to the intervention of MI5. He died at the age of 76 from natural causes, none the wiser, never realising that anyone, no matter who, can be felled from within.

Brockley Society members with dissenting voices please note.


Tim said...

Well I knew I lived in a left wing borough but I didn't know it was THIS left wing.

I'm becoming more and more interesting in attending some of these Brockley Society meetings.

Danja said...

The freakier thing is the J Edgar Hoovers, tbh.

The Thinker said...

If what your saying is true @JPM it's clear hypocrisy and a blatant conflict of interests, that surely cant be allowed to continue?

How can a charity that claims to represent the residents of the Brockley Conservation Area, have a property developer on the board? Who is developing in the same area he is supposedly representing?

The financial implications alone of such a development, must raise questions. As for holding meetings and the unit not being rated, we all have to pay our taxes.

I hope the council rectifies this very quickly.

As for Mr Parks, personal interest in live-work becoming residential, I think it really should have been declared as it only asks the question 'is there anything else to declare?' which I hope not.

Are the member of the Brockley Society, aware of the conflict of interest? It's quite damming and brings the society as a whole into disrepute.

Surely a bias of this kind cannot continued to be entertained by the council at any planning meeting or indeed continued to be supported as representation by the Brockey Society Members.

The mind boggles at the sheer gall of this... If it's not illegal, it's certainly morally indefensible.

I'm totally astonished by all of this.

terrencetrentderby said...

These residential pressure groups are ostensibly there for all, but really they are just thinly guised self interest groups for the property owning elite.

As with any lobby group influence can be bought and morals are forgotten without so much as a blush.

JPM said...

"J Edgar Hoovers" "tbh" - please provide the key that allows for a translation.i

JPM said...

Ttd. ‘Morals are forgotten without so much as a blush.’ The built environment brigade - the bilderbergers - rewrite their morals to suit their own interests and need not blush. No strangers themselves to employing a touch of the “Hoovers” when those interests are threatened, they often write (anonymously) about the freakier things but do not like it one bit when a mirror is held up to reveal hypocrisy and their greedy self interests. Then they write through the mouthpiece of the wealthy litigant, of which the above is one.

Just received yet another lawyer’s email? warning me that my trees are undermining yet another one of the developer’s mews buildings at the back of me. But, hold on, no evidence..? Just more 'legal' threats used as a scare tactic. Must cut the trees down quickly and thereby allow more light and more opportunity for the developer to raise a roof. Pathetic really.

I have said it before and I shall say it again: gentrification is ethnic cleansing by wealth, whether it's change if use in the mews or in the high street.

But, as the Swedes’ say: not too little, not too much

JEdgar said...

These fringe political groups have something in common with similar groups that infest state institutions.

While they all lust for power, they often lust for each other as well and have dark secrets.

J Edgar Hoover was head of the FBI and insisted on the smart disciplined appearance and behaviour of its operatives. But the fact was, in his private life he was gay and liked to cross dress. A fact that could have seriously prejudiced his career. Sadly the Mafia had the photos and blackmailed him to lay off their activities and chase communists and civil rights people instead. He survived by getting his spies to collect dirt on every political threat and clever media management. In the UK we had the Cambridge Ring of fellow travellers and bedfellows who ran M15 for the benefit of the Soviets. All pretty freaky and very serious given the power they wielded.

The Swampies, like many fringe groups were no more than a pimple on the backside of the establishment. They spent most of their time undermining each other rather than changing the world. Not quite as bad that Brixton Maoist slave cult, now that was a weird story.

I wonder if there any of them around Brockley?

Brockley Nick said...

That'll do please. Stick to facts, rather than flights of fancy.

Monkeyboy said...


terrencetrentderby said...

Would @Robert care to slither out of his hole for comment?

And @Brockley Nick?

Brockley Nick said...


Tim said...

"Gentrification is ethnic cleansing by wealth".

That's a little strong. Are you sure it isn't just people from a different demographic deciding they like a particular area?

terrencetrentderby said...

What do your little birds in Broc Soc tell you Varys?

JPM said...

I must admit Brockley does have its cults, there's the BSocs, the Brothers of the Beard and the Sisters Wot Follow Em. As for the much-maligned J-Edgar... I'm going all cross-dresser myself, having been invited to my Scottish friend's wedding. Anyone know where I can get a kilt? Since Birds Dress Agency went under the Bilderberg hammer I cannae find one.
Oh... and a heavy sporran.

The Thinker said...

That depends if they integrate or impose themselves.

Tim said...

Define "integrate" and "impose"

JPM said...

Tim, I did not mean to insult but to shake the smug complacency. Although “gentrification” may have its plus points it should also be seen as an opportunity of any regenerating community to protect those less wealthy. Section 106 that is immovable, and so on. The use of gentrification should be challenged from time to time, not because it‘s wrong. But because it is often hides the stark facts. Good things do come from gentrification but not all good things. An influx of wealthier residents should not necessitate poorer residents being squeezed out; that’s what I mean by cleansing. I may though have said ‘those less economically viable’. Ultimately any community that muscles the poor out soon faces even greater challenges and becomes less viable; in my humbly sixpence worth.

Willbetch said...

should be a pub

Monkeyboy said...

if it is converted please do a better job than the awful job next door (with appologies to whoever lives there)

Oli said...

Wot on earth are you lot going on about?

Fluff said...

Since there are two very good sized one bed flats above the shop, one renovated and one in need of renovation and both with their own front doors, parking and gardens accessed from Shardeloes Rd there seems no reason why the premises can't be both residential and retail. In fact two shops as there are two doors and each side of the shop has it own kitchen and bathroom and an extra couple of rooms. The flats are not accessed from the shop.

Jeff Lowe said...

I was recently advised by several people to read some recent posts on Brockley Central by JPM. He claims that I am avoiding paying business rates on Unit 3 Ashby Mews. This is a lie. JPM who claims to be an ’investigative journalist’ should learn the importance of getting his facts straight if he intends to make this into a successful career. I will take this opportunity to try to correct some of the lies which JPM has perpetuated over the last two years but I do not intend to waste any more of my time responding further. I was advised over the last two years by many people who know of JPM to ignore him. I moved into Unit 1 Ashby Mews in June 2010 and have paid business rates since then. I received planning permission for Unit 3 Ashby Mews in early 2013 and the property was completed in October 2013. The property was deleted from the rating list during construction. The business rates R.V was set and agreed to be paid from November 2013

JPM claims that the Brockley society meets with a ‘developer’ in his ‘developer’s gallery’ at Unit 3 Ashby Space and does not pay rates. I repeat this is a lie intended not only to libel me but also to reflect badly on the Brockley Society who JPM fell out with a long time ago. Jeff Lowe

I have been a full time sculptor for over forty years
and my purchase and intended use of the buildings in Ashby Mews has not changed since purchase. I have worked in Unit 1 (which is a 5000 sq ft workshop) on a daily basis for over four years Unit 3 has been completed as a gallery for displaying my work and house the archives to my sculpture. This building will be open during the Brockley Open Studios (as will my studio). The suggestion by JPM that these buildings are part of some secret plan to turn them into a residential development is ludicrous. The small single storey section of Unit 1 and unit 2 are currently in appeal for planning to create storage space for my sculpture and a residential section at first floor level.

My first dealing with JPM was when he visited me in June 2011 and tried to buy into my purchase of Ashby Mews. He claimed that if I ‘cut him in’ he could make my planning applications with Lewisham go much more smoothly. I declined politely and told him that I had a specific use for the buildings and needed all of the space. His next step was to telephone my son and advise him that he intended to ‘make my life a misery’ Over the last two years he has threatened my architect, surveyor, solicitors firm, planning consultant and recently has threatened to sue the Brockley society.

My plans and use of Ashby Mews has always been completely open and I welcome anyone who would like to view or discuss what I, my son (Unit 5) and Eryka Isaacs and Sam Djavit (Unit 4) are trying to do.

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