Streatham Soapbox - Issue 10

Few things generate more heat and less light in Streatham than opinions surrounding building developments. This is ironic considering 3/4ths of built-up Streatham didn't exist 150 years ago but it's especially toxic when some feel developers have got one over on the council and/or the local community.

The old adage goes “once is happenstance, twice coincidence but three times is enemy action” and sure enough three separate, unrelated developments appear to have “sprung up overnight” which seem to have been sent out for consultation in “creative” ways. For example, in Issue 8 we covered the LED billboards somehow erected inside the Streatham Common Conservation area. After searching the paper trail we found that neither Streatham Action nor Friends of Streatham Common were consulted but the Friends of Unigate Woods, not nearby but almost a mile away, were. The application was filed at the end of July when local councillors were on their holidays and nearby residents claim not to have been written to as required.

We've since spoken to residents on Natal Road where a developer building a basement without planning consent almost brought down both neighbouring houses. Apparently the council gave him retrospective planning consent to allow him to rebuild it properly (which still has yet to be done). The moral hazard created will shout to the world that Lambeth is a soft touch.

Only recently we've been made aware of the Wyatt Park Road development in which 6 luxury flats were given consent to be built mere feet from their neighbours with first story balconies looking into their gardens and directly into childrens' bedroom windows. The neighbours claim planning procedures were not followed by Lambeth council as the law requires.

We've seen the council leader speak at overseas developers conferences in recent days which has increased the suspicion locally that the council is too close to developers. We're a bit old fashioned and think the council should work for us, and for our interests so we're asking for your help. Do you know of local developments with plans or which seem to have been given consent without due process? Please write us at [email protected] or email us anonymously at http://www.heartstreatham.co.uk/contact.

Streatham Action, the local civic forum, is setting up a group to scrutinise all planning applications like this and co-ordinate responses. If you really want to make a difference and make changes for the better, get in touch: [email protected]. The powerful can ignore any of us as an individual but not when we're united.