Jean Halden – Christ Church East Dulwich / Breathe Easy Choir
Lilian Bartholomew – Southwark Pensioners Action Group (SPAG)
Wendy Jackson – Civic Glue
Cllr Jane Lyons – Village Ward Councillor
Francis Bernstein – Crystal Palace Neighbourhood Forum
Giles Gibson – Herne Hill Forum
Marianne Kavanagh – Dulwich Village Neighbourhood Forum
Ian McInnes – Dulwich Society
H Dowling – SE21 Resident
Fitzroy Lewis – Community Council Officer for Dulwich
Ruth Gripper – SE22 Resident
Sue Badman – Dulwich Society
Jim Davidson – Herne Hill Traders Association
Rev. Rob May- Herne Hill Baptist Church
Network Rail allowed this block of properties at the Railton Road junction in Herne Hill to get into a bad state of disrepair. When the value of property in Herne Hill started to rise and led on by re-development taking place in Brixton, Network Rail served notice to the tenants and began plans to redevelop the building.
Herne Hill Forum campaigned heavily to stress the importance of maintaining a diverse economy. Network Rail agreed not to let any shops to Chains and the community was assured that existing tenants would be given first refusal once the redevelopment was complete.
The new rents, however, will be 2 – 4 times the previous rents, justified as a way to keep rail fares low! The new build has not provided the same configuration of space for some of the previous tenants and so they may not return. Additionally, there is one very large unit in the new development which is 2500 square feet. It is unlikely that this unit will be able to be rented by an independent.
New tenants will supposedly be moving in to this space in 3-6 months’ time. The first to open will be another café.
Herne Hill Forum carried out a survey asking local people which shops they would like to see in the new units and submitted this study to Network Rail. We wait to see if this piece of work has been taken into account.
Herne Hill suffers at the hands of landlords who are solely focussed on short-term gain. Neither Network Rail nor the Dulwich estates have a strategy of how to support traders and the creation of zombie traders (Traders that are barely turning a profit and have no funds to reinvest in the business or local area).
The building work has been delayed, and trading conditions have suffered terribly as a result. Customers change their shopping patterns and those are very difficult to change back. Footfall has dropped considerably which coupled with the floods have had a major impact in local businesses.
This project, run by Wendy Jackson, is current recruiting local mystery shoppers to visit some of the traders in Herne Hill to provide feedback on their products, customer service, the cleanliness of the property, process, variety of stock etc.
For more information about Civic Glue please see:
- Civic Glue Flyer
- Mystery Shopper flyer for more information.
Neighbourhood planning in Herne Hill
The benefit of neighbourhood planning is in registering the vision of the community of the area they want to live in, and providing something to measure against. It is unlikely to be able to stop redevelopment, however communities become stronger when they know what they do and don’t want to happen locally and have strong networks able to comment.
In order to develop a Neighbourhood Forum you must first define your boundary. It has been a long process of delicate negotiation to draw the boundary of the Herne Hill neighbourhood forum.
This process highlighted that there were 8 other groups nearby thinking about a Neighbourhood Plan.
The Forum consulted widely with residents in order to create an area boundary that made sense to everyone. They simply asked people:
“What neighbourhood do you live in?”
Post Code: _____________
This process also enabled the development of a skills audit in the community. People may not have been able to commit to being a committee member for the Neighbourhood Forum (21 people are required to be on a Neighbourhood Forum committee) but many people offered time to flyer, or print information, or make tea at a meeting etc.
The boundary was submitted and Herne Hill Forum are now awaiting formal designation by Southwark Council:
Once designated, the tough work really starts because they will start work to develop a neighbourhood plan. This will involve creating a vision for what they want Herne Hill to be and will consult widely with residents, local groups, churches, people at school gates, via social media etc. It will be a very collaborative affair. Once the plan is designed and has been agreed by the Council, a referendum will be held and every resident in the bubble will vote yes or no to accepting the neighbourhood plan.
The benefit of all this is the process of meeting and consulting as a community and the strength developed through the networks created.
The Sunday market
The Sunday market in Herne Hill is no longer run by the Herne Hill Forum. Following its success, the contract was controversially given to a private contractor by Lambeth Council.
Initially some of the shop owners on Railton Road were concerned that the market would divert business from their shops, however, the market has proved only to benefit the local area, bringing 3000 people to the area. Local Traders need to developed their offer to suit the new clientele that the Sunday Market is attracting.
There is a community stall at the market coordinated by Herne Hill Forum. It is free to use and they welcome requests from organisations that want to take advantage of this.
Neighbourhood Planning in Dulwich Village
Dulwich Village is in the early stages of developing a Neighbourhood Plan. They have now set up the Dulwich Village Forum (comprising members from 8 local residents associations).
DVF are setting up a working group before Christmas and will then hold a public meeting next year. Meetings so far have been useful for developing a contacts database for local residents through which to communicate.
There have been setbacks to the work of the Forum mainly due to traffic, transport and road works in local roads. There is work going on at the Dulwich Junction that the community were vehemently opposed to.
DVF have had some success in getting the contractor working on the junction to retain the parking spaces as they were previously and to agree to review this after the junction work has concluded. The roadworks have considerably impeded access to the shops in Dulwich Village due to the physical barriers in place.
One of the good things that has developed from this is a strong Traders Association in the village, set up to protect the independent shops.
Defining the Dulwich Village Neighbourhood boundary will be tricky.
People in this area have consultation fatigue. The wealth of information contributed through consultations are not drawn upon when the next consultation comes in. There needs to be a more joined up process when asking for local comment. People feel that their comments are ignored so what’s the point. “You cannot call something a consultation if you do not pay any attention to the results”.
We must protect our local community council and lobby to ensure that meetings are still minuted.
Giles Gibson commented: We need to lead at a Community level. To come up with ideas, get them approved by the council and then have 2 years to raise the money. The Highways team are driven by who is going to pay them. You just need to look where the cranes are to know where the money is going to be.
• Local businesses have been hit by increases of up to 500% in their business rates
• This will change the face of our local shopping areas – our independent shops may not survive this
• We are campaigning to change the way business rates are calculated
Jim Davidson commented:
• Always look at your valuation and always argue the valuation rate – it could be based on inaccurate data
• Rows of shops need to come together if they have no Traders Association and ensure that there is a point of contact for any planning applications and that any change of use is monitored to prevent shops from becoming residential use
New Southwark Plan
The New Southwark Plan sets out how the Council will deliver further regeneration in the years to come. Planning decisions must be made in accordance with the development plan, unless other material considerations indicate otherwise.
The proposed final version of the plan is now available to view on the Council’s website. This is the version the Council intends to adopt. The Plan will first be taken to the Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday 31 October 2017. The Plan will then be taken to full Council Assembly on 29 November 2017.
Subject to the approval of Council Assembly the Council will begin formal consultation on the New Southwark Plan from 1 December 2017 to 12 January 2018. Following the consultation, the Plan will be submitted to Government for an independent examination where an inspector will consider any comments submitted to the Council during the consultation period.
You can view the Cabinet Report and supporting documents, including the New Southwark Plan, on the Council’s website here and find out more information about the consultation here.
Francis asked: What is the Council’s engagement strategy to enable information about the New Southwark Plan consultation to reach every resident that will be affected by the content of this document for the next 20 years.
Community Southwark and Southwark Law Centre have each submitted a letter to Southwark Council requesting an extension to the NSP formal consultation deadline, to enable wider comment. The informal consultation period (25/10/17 – 01/12/17) is not the full 6 weeks laid out in the Statement of Community Involvement, and the formal 6-week consultation period takes place over Christmas and New year.
Southwark Planning Network Meeting Monday 4th December 6.30pm-9.30pm
The next SPN meeting is Monday 4th December 6.30pm-9.30pm. Please put the date in your diary so there will be a good attendance for this important meeting.
The event will enable us to get up to date with the consultation on the final Submission Version of the New Southwark Plan (NSP) and the preparations for comments and objections which will lay the basis for the Public Hearings in later 2018. This meeting will also be in the form of a workshop with a visiting contribution from two council officers – one on the New Southwark Plan, and one on the new Social Regeneration policy.