Monthly Archives: May 2015

Roehampton Forum Tuesday 12th May meeting

The following is a high level overview of some of the discussions that took place at the Roehampton Forum on the 12th May 2015. Hopefully you’ll find it of interest.

Revision to the Minutes of 6th March 2015

Comments had been received which needed reviewing though the Chair had not been able to review the comments for this evening’s meeting. Instead this will be set aside for the next meeting which is the 9th June 2015.

Roehampton Festival update

This is apparently going ahead on the 22nd and 23rd August this year. Hopefully we will hear more about this in due course……

Ibstock school theatre

This topic rumbles on. Apparently a “statement of community involvement” needs to be agreed with Wandsworth Council before the theatre is in use. The theatre should be finished in August or September.

A member of the Forum asked whether the Ibstock school wanted to be part of the community.

This could be one to keep an eye on to see how this develops………

Team Roehampton and the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)

The following are various aspects of what was discussed regarding the SPD. For any of the following information regarding the “Alton Estate” regeneration please refer to Team Roehampton for confirmation or their interpretation of what was discussed.

  1. Consultations

It was interesting that the slides produced by Team Roehampton mentioned three consultations. A “Baseline/Pre-consultation”, “Options Consultation” and the “Preferred Options Consultation”.

Why is this interesting? As apparently there was a consultation in October/November which was not mentioned in the presentation, and it is wondered how many of you on the Estate, or even locally, were aware of this presentation?

The following text is from the Council (though if you weren’t aware how do you comment?).

“The SPD boundary is set out in the Area Spatial Strategy for Roehampton in the Council’s Site Specific Allocations Document (SSAD).  As stated previously, this document was subject to consultation as part of the Local Plan Review in October/November 2014 and was submitted to the Secretary of State for Examination on 12 March 2015.  No one who made a representation on the SSAD commented on the boundary of the area which was drawn to reflect the area of study of the Alton Area Masterplan”.

  1. Wandsworth Guardian

Team Roehampton mentioned that an advert regarding the SPD was in the Wandsworth Guardian. This is the third Forum meeting in a row, not including the constitution meeting, that has mentioned the Wandsworth Guardian and yet it has not been mentioned in the Minutes of the first two meetings mentioned. When will this paper make its way to the Alton Estate…um, no, sorry, Roehampton?

  1. Freeholders, again missing

Interesting to note that for the resident’s offer, the presentation mentioned ‘resident leaseholders’ and ‘non-resident leaseholders’. So, the poor folks of Kingsclere Close are once again forgotten. To be fair, ‘freeholders’ were mentioned verbally by Team Roehampton……though why not in the presentation?

Please see the text below that was sent to the Chair of the Roehampton Partnership after the meeting of the 25th March 2015 which was along the same lines;

“5. Council as the landowner

Team Roehampton also mentioned that the choice of SPD was because the Council as ‘landowner’ has ‘more say’. Whilst Kingsclere Close was mentioned during the Roehampton Partnership, though for different purposes, how many at the Partnership would have picked up that there are freehold properties being demolished that are not owned by the Council. No Partnership member corrected this, and it is doubtful that many around table are aware of the freehold situation at all. Of the 28 properties, 23 are sold freeholds. This represents circa 7% of the properties that are to be demolished, which is not insignificant”

  1. Community facilities and infrastructure

One member of the Forum asked when will the community have a say on community facilities and infrastructure. It appears that this will not happen, and sliding panels between community groups in the new building was highlighted as not being good enough.

The Forum voted on writing to the Council regarding this topic.

  1. What makes the community so ‘unmixed’ and ‘unbalanced!?

A member of the Forum asked about SPD comments regarding for the need to make the ‘community’ ‘mixed’ and ‘balanced’ by asking what makes the current community so ‘unmixed’ and ‘unbalanced’? The question went largely unanswered.

  1. How can student housing be in the Town Centre when there is no support from residents at all?

This was a question posed to Team Roehampton and encouraged some debate.

Team Roehampton mentioned that it is difficult to reach the landlord when repairs are required. One has to go through the agent to the landlord. Well, this could happen with any property, whether or not it is rented by students. Also, my understanding is that the University rents many properties for its students from two landlords in the area, so I can’t imagine how difficult it is to raise this directly with them. Also, I wonder what these landlords think of the University’s lack of a challenge to this point by Team Roehampton?

One Forum attendee said that student housing will not prevent pepper potting of students on the estate. How will this be prevented? The Council has used this pepper potting comment a few times now, though there is no guarantee of pepper potting being stopped, how can this be enforced? Also, what is going to happen when the student cap is lifted?

There was some nervousness expressed by a University member when this went to the vote as to whether the Forum would write to the Council regarding this. There was a keenness not to have this go to a vote, supported by a comment along the lines of “success of the university will be a success for Roehampton”. So, not a success for the “Alton Estate”? Have a read of the Alton Regeneration Watch articles ‘A Distrust of Alton Questionnaires’ and ‘The Studentification of Roehampton’ which are within the ‘links of interest section’.

The university commented that 1,500 beds were required. So that means, the local community has to bear the brunt of this? Why not build more housing on its own land?

We may as well put up the Alton Estate “for sale” sign now……..

  1. What’s in it for the community and the people?

This question was raised at the Forum by a Labour Councillor, though a good question, this is being asked with little movement forward. This was raised at the December 3rd 2015 Roehampton Partnership and some six months later, this is still being discussed.

The basis of this is regarding the health, strength and education of the community and the need for an organisation which will represent this. One attendee mentioned that the Roehampton Partnership would be the place for this to happen, which is pie in the sky as this group barely advises on anything, rather it seems to be a good event for tea and biscuits and as one member of the public once referred to it as “a middle class back slapping exercise”.

  1. Barriers – in or out of the regeneration?

Well, Team Roehampton indicated that Danebury Avenue barrier seems to be left alone (well, at least for the time being) and that Highcliffe Drive barrier was still being looked into. So, folks in the Highcliffe Drive area, what do you think about that?

  1. Overall comment on the SPD

Whilst the presentation given by Team Roehampton was about the SPD and the core principles it consumed much of the allotted time and as a result did not leave much time for discussion about the content, and could have lead to more issues being voted on rather than two. This was an opportunity for the Forum to make a more valuable contribution regarding the SPD than what had been achieved.

Cornerstone discussion

Well, this was something……..and what a way to end the evening.

The topic of the Cornerstone was discussed and involved a discussion around its contribution to the community. Background was provided as to the sale or lease of it. Some background was that apparently it costs £7,000 a year in insurance, there was a nursery which walked away with six months of rent owing, and there was a look at sharing the space with Roehampton University.

Offers have been received for all three options which are (1) sell conditionally, (2) sell unconditionally and (3) lease. What needs to be considered is what Charity law describes as “best asset value”.

Now, the kicker, it was raised in the Forum that this building be a “locally listed building”. That seemed to come as a bit of a shock to the folk trying to sell or lease the Cornerstone, and then led to a discussion. At one point, one of the attendees was labelled as “rabble rousing”, which did not seem not justified, rather the views that were being expressed were representative of many in attendance and if that individual was “rabble rousing” then this would apply to all others that agreed with the listing???

There was little bit of to and fro with regards to the timings of whom informed whom of what and when, as there was a time lag in between when the Cornerstone was first raised as potentially being sold compared to when residents were finding out about this sale or lease.

So, we will see how this progresses over time though one thing to consider, when was the last time you saw an advert for the Cornerstone offering its services?

Links of interest (click the sentence below for the article)

Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Peter Carpenter – pcarpenter@wandsworth.gov.uk

Jeremy Ambache – JAmbache@wandsworth.gov.uk

Sue McKinney – SMcKinney@wandsworth.gov.uk

Or email the Wandsworth Council team managing the ‘regeneration’

Team Roehampton – Roehampton@wandsworth.gov.uk

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SPD Paragraph 2.9 Community safety

2.9 Community safety v1.1

[Click on this sentence for a better view of the crime figures]

Confused by all the colours in the diagram above?

Let’s try and explain it. Yellow refers to the which of the three areas (Roehampton, Wandsworth or Met Police Area) has the lowest price figures over the period, orange refers to the highest figures, and purple to the middle figure.

Where did the figures from?

The 2013 figures taken from the Alton Area Masterplan Baseline Report September 2013. (Table 17 page 137) with the 2014 and 2015 figures coming from the Alton Regeneration Watch article ‘Crime Written’.

Please note that the Council’s figures are covering a 12 month period to May whilst the other two cover the 12 months to March.

Can the figures vary greatly from one year to the next?

Certainly can, Roehampton seems to have had the lowest (2014), highest (2013) and middle figure (2015) for ‘Theft and Handling’.

Didn’t the Council just publish a figure for one year in its Baseline report?

Apparently so…..which leads to the question of how can this snapshot of figures be used as a justification for demolition when the figures can vary so widely from one year to the next?

Criminal damage

This is one of the two “offences” which the Council has highlighted in the SPD. Well, from the 2015 figures this seems to just lower than the Met Police Area figure. In fact, this is lower than Wandsworth’s 2013 figure of 7.2 which, at that time, was the lowest figure!

Violence Against the person

This is the other “offence” listed, and the year after the Council’s figures it had dropped greatly from 23.8 to 16.5, now back up to 27.8. That’s a bit of a yoyo! Why is this?

Does Table 17 in the Baseline report of much value on its own, does it highlight this yoyo of figures?

Without understanding what is causing this figures and providing a series of years to compare, the figures in the Baseline report would seem to be nothing more than a set of figures at a certain time.

For instance, how much of this up and down of figures could be caused by the reduction in police  force for the Roehampton area? Let’s not forget that one of Councillors, in only March 2014, presented a petition to restore the amount of police officers to 7 from the current 2. The picture below highlights this. Ironically, on page 21, photograph 4, does the photo includes a picture of the former police station, that being the corner maisonette?

201403 Bring back the Bobbies petition - update

In summary

The figures provided in the Baseline report don’t seem to justify demolition  of  existing buildings.

What do you think?

Related information

Alton Regeneration Watch article ‘Crime Written’

Area Masterplan Baseline Report September 2013

Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Peter Carpenter – pcarpenter@wandsworth.gov.uk

Jeremy Ambache – JAmbache@wandsworth.gov.uk

Sue McKinney – SMcKinney@wandsworth.gov.uk

Or email the Wandsworth Council team managing the ‘regeneration’

Team Roehampton – Roehampton@wandsworth.gov.uk

Labour February-March newsletter

20150505 00.00 lab - Roehampton News Feb-Mar 2015

Have you seen the latest Labour newsletter?  It’s dated February and March though we received this on the 5th May!

There are a couple of interesting comments in it.

One states – “As your Labour Councillors we will be pressing the Council to protect the rights of existing residents” – though what have they done to “protect” these rights? And, what “rights” are they protecting? At the Alton Regeneration Watch meeting of 6th May it didn’t seem that they are doing much of a job of this.

Have a read about “Improving our Local Environment”, for if our Councillors have to be involved in “replace broken street light bulbs”, “provide more litter bins and bins for dog mess” and “ensure that trees over-hanging the foot path are cut back”, then the question could be asked – “Is the Council looking after the Alton Estate if our Councillors have to involved in these issues?”.

Related documents

Labour February-March 2015 newsletter

Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Peter Carpenter – pcarpenter@wandsworth.gov.uk

Jeremy Ambache – JAmbache@wandsworth.gov.uk

Sue McKinney – SMcKinney@wandsworth.gov.uk

Or email the Wandsworth Council team managing the ‘regeneration’

Team Roehampton – Roehampton@wandsworth.gov.uk

Allbrook House and the library – why demolish them?

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At the recent Alton Regeneration Watch meeting of 6th May, a question was asked as to the progress of the listing of Allbrook House and the library. Since this has been raised it was thought the following background information to these buildings might be interest.

Once you’ve read the following, maybe the question of the Council and our Councillors should be – “Why are these buildings being demolished?” and “How many times will the same question be asked of the residents?”.

Wandsworth Council Paper 12-463

“Allbrook House contains 45 residential units ((3 x1 bed , 42 x2 bed) of which nine have been sold. Beneath the block is Roehampton Library with a well-used car park at the rear. The block is structurally sound but there is scope for redevelopment around the site either by additions to the block or by demolition and redevelopment”.

[Source: Wandsworth Council Paper 12-463 ]

Twentieth Century Society

“Among the buildings earmarked for removal are the Allbrook House slab block and the estate’s library – both of which the Twentieth Century Society said it would seek to protect. Parts of the estate are already contained in the Alton Conservation Area, which includes grade I and grade II* listed 18th Century houses as well as 10 grade II-listed point blocks and five grade II* listed slab blocks.

The Twentieth Century Society said it supported the general aim of regenerating the estate, but believed Wandsworth’s approach was wrong. Case officer Clare Price said the majority of the estate’s problems were due to neglect rather than its buildings: ‘We think that a sensitive refurbishment that carefully conserves the heritage of the buildings on site should be enough to achieve what Wandsworth wants.”

[Source: Listing bid on cards to stop Alton Estate demoltion, Jim Dunton, 27 October 2014, Architects Journal ]

The Putney Society

“6. The Society played its part in the review, three years ago, of the Alton Estate conservation area. One conclusion of that review was that the boundary of the conservation area should be extended to take in Roehampton Library and Allbrook House above it, together with the green space and established trees between these buildings and Roehampton Lane. We believe that this view is shared by many in Roehampton. These buildings are, we consider, worthy of being added to the council’s local list of buildings of architectural and historic interest: they are a distinctive composition enhancing the entrance to the Alton Estate at this point. If the five slab blocks adjoining Clarence Lane are worthy of being listed Grade II*, then the similarly detailed Allbrook House should be considered for listing by English Heritage. It is equally distinguished”.

[Source: The Putney Society response to the Council regarding the regeneration, 19 September 2012]

The Labour Party

“The whole council plan rests on the demolition of Allbrook House, the “landmark” block above Roehampton Library. This is the one question where there was no majority opposition to the council plan, but a clear plurality – 45% – don’t want the block demolished. Barely a third – 34% – supported demolition and a sizeable number – 21% – didn’t feel able to give a view. We had 21 surveys back from the parts of Danebury Avenue, including Allbrook House, under threat of demolition. Of these, 4 supported demolition and 14 opposed it.

It’s a great shame that the Council never even considered improving Allbrook House, which contains some large properties within it with spectacular views of Roehampton. Recladding or even more radical remodelling of Allbrook House could transform this block – the gateway to the Alton estate”.

[Source: Stuart King’s Roehampton redevelopment survey results 2008]

Related documents/articles

Listing bid on cards to stop Alton Estate demolition

Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Peter Carpenter – pcarpenter@wandsworth.gov.uk

Jeremy Ambache – JAmbache@wandsworth.gov.uk

Sue McKinney – SMcKinney@wandsworth.gov.uk

Or email the Wandsworth Council team managing the ‘regeneration’

Team Roehampton – Roehampton@wandsworth.gov.uk

Alton Regeneration Watch meeting 6th May 2015

The latest meeting by the Alton Regeneration Watch (ARW) was on the 6th May at the DARA. There was a very good turn out from the local resident and many topics regarding the regeneration were discussed, such as;

> student housing in the Town Centre,
> leaseholders and freeholders not keen on the Council’s explanation of what is to happen under the regeneration,
> some background for Council tenants as to what they should consider under the Council’s housing offer,
> highlighting that even leaseholders that are not having their homes demolished will be impacted as there is an “estate charge” in addition to the “block charge” and the impacts of this will not be known until the “procurement” stage,
> a brief summary of the comparison of the Labour 2008 survey “What Roehampton Wants” regarding the previous regeneration attempt and this regeneration,
> maintenance of the estate,
> some history was shared as to what the ARW have been up to on various other topics such as trying to find out what benefits the proposed “modern GP surgeries” would bring,
> the progress of the 20th Century progress on the listing of the library and Allbrook house, and
> some discussion about the current Supplementary Planning Documentation consultation and what is in it, such as the new library being a “may” be included in the development and not a “will” be included (section 4.3B).

One point that was clear, there is no general feeling of this regeneration being reflective of local opinion.

Another point that was raised, the Council seems to prefer to handle residents individually rather than as a group. One comment was made that it seems that to have anything done on the estate one must email the Council copying in lots of local residents, citing the example of the bollards just put up in the Ibsley Garden neighbourhood.

Watch this space as this had a lot of interest and many new members were signed up.

Contact ARW for more information at – info@altonwatch.org.uk

Keep an eye on their website for details of the next meeting – http://www.altonwatch.org.uk

Labour’s 2008 Roehampton redevelopment consultation – what’s changed?

Labour's 2008 Roehampton Consultation

Background

For those of you that may remember, the last time the regeneration was being touted in the Alton Estate there was a survey that was undertaken by Stuart King, the Labour MP candidate at the time. This was back in 2008. It’s worth a read, as it raises some questions about, the views of Labour at the time, and the Labour of now.

Choice quotes from the survey

Well, have a read of the following choice quotes that were in the survey and have a think about how these views compare with the current regeneration. Do any of these quotes from 2008 still ring true for today?

2008 What’s happening now
“And though the council says publicly it wants to help local people buy some of the new homes, in council committee reports it talks about creating a “balanced community” – political speak  for getting more outsiders into Roehampton”. (page 2) “Create a more mixed and balanced community with new and improved high quality housing that will raise the living conditions and widen housing choice”. (SPD page 28).   

Roeregeneration: Notice that “balance community” has been revisited?

“The Conservatives claim that “there will be no overall loss of open space” but they haven’t shown where the open space they’re taking will be reclaimed elsewhere”. (page 2) The view has been the same for this regeneration.Roeregeneration: so far, two for two as being the same.
“I’m not sure why the Tories feel Roehampton needs a new library. Is there much wrong with our current library?” (page 2) “It is envisaged that the facilities may include:A new library facility in Roehampton Local Centre”. (SPD page 35) 

Roeregeneration: So, there’s no need for a new library, the current one is being demolished, and we “may” have a “new library”.

“All deliveries, shoppers and staff will get to the store via Danebury Avenue. The council isn’t planning to widen Danebury Avenue, though it does want to widen Harbridge Avenue so theLorries can go down it”. (page 3) Roeregeneration: Harbridge Avenue is possibly still in the plans, though this time around, Labour seems more interested in Danebury Avenue rather than Highcliffe Drive?
“While shopping choice is good, the Tories’ plan seems to be to build a major supermarket that will bring even more traffic into Roehampton. The Tories seem to be trying to attract expensivestores aimed at commuters and not local shoppers”. (page 3) “2.13 There are shops and services within the area which benefit existing residents, however the quality of the offer fails to cater forthe daily convenience needs of the catchment population”. (SPD page 22) 

Roeregeneration: So nothing’s changed then?

“And closing the Alton Club in Dilton Gardens is the exact opposite of what we should be doing: young people need more to do to getthem off the streets, not less”. (page 3) Roeregeneration: The Alton Club is to become possibly become – “Potential for 4 new family homes on Alton Youth Club site”. (page 10 of the Preferred Options Consultation presentation board) 

Roeregeneration: Labour, what do you have to say about this?

“The buildings the Tories want to build will be too high. While Allbrook House is 9 storeys, all the surrounding buildings are of a human scale: 3 or 4 storeys along Danebury Avenue. Havingall but a couple of buildings 5 or 6 storeys high will make Danebury Avenue darker, more like a canyon and could make the area bleak and windswept”. (page 4) Roehampton Partnership comment by the Vice Chair in that the amount of new buildings is equal to 18 tower blocks and the more the merrier. (25th March 2015) 

Roeregeneration: These tower blocks are 11 stories tall. Again, Labour, what are you doing about this?

Any thoughts?

Let’s not forget that our Labour Councillors campaigned on the current regeneration being ‘farce’ in no less than three of their campaign leaflets at around the time of the local election in 2014.

How can residents put their faith in elected Council representatives if they can change their minds so much and not explain themselves as to how these changes have come about?

Sources of information that may be of interest:

Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Peter Carpenter – pcarpenter@wandsworth.gov.uk

Jeremy Ambache – JAmbache@wandsworth.gov.uk

Sue McKinney – SMcKinney@wandsworth.gov.uk

Or email the Wandsworth Council team managing the ‘regeneration’

Team Roehampton – Roehampton@wandsworth.gov.uk