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.
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”.
- 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?
- 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”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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……..
- 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”.
- 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?
- 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.
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)
Email us at – email@example.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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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