Action at the Strategic Development Committee Meeting held 13 May 2009 at the Town Hall
Three residents (Ané, Lene and Mark) spoke against EastendHomes’ planning application. Two of the prepared speeches can be viewed below; they only changed slightly on the night mainly because we were cut off time-wise. Do check back for further speeches.
We would welcome Steve Inkpen’s speech in support of the plans. Please get in touch for publication.
Lene from Ennerdale House:
We have a list of objections, they have all been e-mailed to members earlier this morning.
We are not against regeneration – we acknowledge that more housing is needed, especially social housing, and improvements to the estates are required – but we feel these plans would not benefit the local community.
1. Housing mix
In the plans there is no 4-bedroomed housing but that size is in high demand on the housing waiting list and low in availability.[44% studio and 1 bedroom flats, 27% 3 and 5 bedroom homes]
How does this comply with local housing needs, as required by Planning Policy Statement – PPS3 (Housing)?
“Developers should bring forward proposals for market housing which reflect demand and the profile of households requiring market housing, in order to sustain mixed communities. Proposals for affordable housing should reflect the size and type of affordable housing required”.
PPS3 (Housing) – Page 10, para 23
We ask: Do these (proposals)?
2. Loss of open space
Where is the replacement of larger open space? A number of small green areas are proposed on corners and narrow strips of land here and there which in practice is not really anything. The only ‘large’ area gained – according to the drawings – is already open and green (site 8 – behind site 2A along Derwent House/footbridge).
The plans propose high buildings right out to both pavements in Hamlets Way which will create a claustrophobic feel on the ground. At the moment Hamlets Way has an open feel.
Suggestion: Remove site 2A from the plans, redevelop it as green space with some parking spaces, but only as many as are required by residents.
3. Commercial space
What guarantees do the Council have that the commercial space at site 8 will be let when 30% of mixed use developments in the borough are vacant?
Would the 85sqm not be put to better use as a 4-bed home?
4. Viability of the whole project
50% of EastendHomes’ projected revenue depends on selling property – is that a sustainable plan? What assurance does the Council have that the properties will be sold in the current market?
Mark from Ennerdale House:
I am sure the committee has read the Statement of Community Involvement along with the Design Access and Landscape Statement which are the main documents giving details of consultation for this application.
From the statement of involvement…….Quote….
“Central to the ethos has been to take on board comments made by residents.”
“The design teams have sought various forms of consultation – walking tours – open days – fun days – and newsletters.”
If residents comments have been on taken board how is it that in Ennerdale House alone we managed to contact 70 housholds out of 90 – 67 objected to the current plans.
Myself and two other residents from Ennerdale spent 18 hours knocking on doors and managed to hear the views of over 70 people. It would appear that the results of the consultation alluded to in the Statement of Community Involvement does not reflect the true opinions of residents. And that an effective consultation has not taken place due to the ineffective methods used and a clear inability to engage with residents in an open and transparent manner.
In Ennerdale alone over 70% do not approve – we found same situation in other blocks.
We ask that this application decision be pospond so an effective transparent consultation that truly engages with residents can be carried out. With the feedback we have heard we would be happy to assist in this process with the goal of providing best value for money tenant involvement that involves all residents and will help dispel the current general opinion of disempowerment.