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Redevelopment of West Norwood Tennis Club Site


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#91 Dutch Cow

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 08:57 PM

Apologies, No offence intended.

#92 Casewicker

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 09:46 AM

Hi all

I received a letter from Lambeth Planning yesterday in response to my comments regarding the proposed development at the West Norwood Tennis Club on Knight's Hill, and they have confirmed that planning permission has been refused on 11 separate points. I've paraphrased them below:

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1. Would result in the loss of open space and out door sports facilities, to the detriment of the landscape, historical character of Lambeth and the quality-of-life opportunities of the local community

2. Until such time as a comprehensive survey has been undertaken to ascertain whether the three sycamore trees identified in the Ecology Survey provide roosting habitats for bats including suitable migration measures as may be appropriate, the Council is unable to assess whether the development would have an acceptable impact upon the bat population that may roost at the site

3. Application fails to demonstrate that the development will not create or exacerbate an existing shortgage of community facilities (eg. primary health care facilities, libraries and education provision) in the vicinity [full impact of development cannot be assessed in terms opf its effect on the local infrastructure and the potential requirements for migration]

4. Application fails to demonstrate how it will contribute positively to sustainable design and construction objectives and to the requisite on-site provision of renewable energy

5. The development, by reason of its scale and massing and layout, will appear incongruous and overbearing in this location to the detriment of the adjacent townscape and the character and appearance of the local area

6. Application has failed to demonstrate that the incongrous height and massing of the development would not have an unaccepatable impact upon the views from Knights Hill of the Grade II listed St. Lukes Church, to the potential detriment of the setting of that building

7. Application fails to demonstrate that the development, by reason of its scale, massing and layout, would not cause unacceptable harm to the long term health of the trees on site subject to a Tree Preservation Order, which currently contribute positively to the character and appearance of the street scene and the amenities of the area

8. The development, by reason of its incongruous scale and massing, its bulk and its proximity to neighbouring properties, will appear oppresive and overbearing when viewed from neighbouring residential properties to the detriment of the amenity of existing and future occupiers of those properties

9. The application fails to demonstrate that the development would not create opportunities for crime or result in an increased risk of public disorder, in the Local community

10. The Transport Assessment is inaccurate, of insufficient detail and contains inappropriate assessments. In the circumstances the Council are unable to full assess the application in respect to its implications for the surrounding highway network and highway safety

11. The proposal fails to provide sufficient and suitable cycle parking to serve the development so as to discourage the use of the private motor car and encourage more sustainable modes of transport

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Again, the above points are paraphrased, so there is more detail that notes the specific rules and guidelines that support each of the council's claims.

I personally agree with points 5, 6, 8 and 10. But that's my own opinion, and I know how heated this thread has become!

I find it very interesting that this proposal for quite an extensive redevelopment is going on at the same time as consultation for MD049. The tennis court redevelopment seems to me as if it has been imposed upon the community, while MD049 brings together neighbours and developers in a unified vision for how we would like to see our neighbourhood. This is just my opinion, but the 'vision' for the tennis court is simply to pack as much housing per square foot as possible into a space, in order to make the developers some money, but at the detriment of the look and feel of the area. While MD049 is a ground-up approach, whereby developers work hand in hand with a community to make something that will last for hundreds of years to come.

This is an optimistic statement, I know, since we are just in the early stages of MD049, but I think it highlights why there has been a lot of resentment around the redevelopment of the tennis court.

What does everyone else think about the council's decision?

#93 Urma

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 12:28 PM

Well, the whole thing just makes me cross. How much time and effort did local groups and people spend fighting (or supporting!) an application that now looks as if it had a snowflakes chance in *** of getting permission all along?

1. I don't think any of us will cry ourselves to sleep at night now that a 9-storey tower block isn't going to happen.

2. I look forward to NAG and councillor assertions that they can revive the tennis club into a viable concern, along with local residents, coming to pass. It's time to step up to the plate guys, before the next application goes in!

3. Why does this application fail to demonstrate that it won't affect pressure on local amenities (which it clearly would, assuming anyone was actually going to live there), but every other application in Norwood seems to get through without this consideration?

4. Too big, too tall, too dense, too overbearing - OK. Bats? Cycle parking? Public disorder? Wow, the planners have really stuck the boot in here. I thought there was supposed to be some kind of ongoing dialogue between planners and developers to sort this stuff out before final applications are submitted. I wonder when 'such time' might arise that 'suitable migration measures' for the bats are ascertained? Surely someone moderately well-informed could look in the trees and figure out if there are bats there or not? Or whether the trees would be affected? And isn't it a legal requirement that the police do their 'designing out crime' bit before an application is submitted, so either the application wasn't compliant and shouldn't have been accepted, or the planners are implying that the police were wrong?

5. Basically, it looks to me as if the developers have tried to ride roughshod over the planners and/or the planners are so nervous that, unsure if any one of their objections will stand up to a Planning Inspector, have thrown every angle in the book at it. Whichever, if not both, it doesn't look as though a constructive relationship exists between planner and developer, which cannot be good for the 'public health' of regular Norwoodians.

6. Now can we have a gym built within the site alongside the tennis courts, contributing to its viability and opening up the facility to more of the community???


Urma

#94 HeadGardener

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 08:42 PM

Too many issues here to respond to them all, but my initial thoughts are
  • Hurrah! This scheme was too big for the site and I'm heartened that the planning department recognised that.
  • It does look as if the planners have used every conceivable reason to turn the application down, so it might be difficult for the developers to win an appeal.
  • I agree that citing the effect on bats at first looks a bit far-fetched when there are more obvious problems to do with size and scale of the proposed development, but they are a protected species so I guess it's as valid as any other reason for refusal.
  • I'm glad that planners have (it seems) realised that the impact on local amenities (health, education etc) needs to be considered. It may be that this impact has been neglected or overlooked when considering other applications in the past, but that isn't (in my view) an argument for continuing to neglect them now.
  • I'd happily join a tennis club that offered other things such as a gym, coaching for adults or children etc. Like earlier contributors, I have lived in WN for over a decade, been a regular user of WN station, library and local shops but have never seen any evidence of the tennis club's previous recruitment drives.

Edited by HeadGardener, 17 July 2007 - 08:43 PM.


#95 Bosie

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 11:15 AM

Has this site already been sold to Milford or was it subject to the planning application being submitted? There is no new information on the Milford website, since the application was rejected. I wonder what the next step will be.

If Lambeth said that the development "would result in the loss of open space and out door sports facilities, to the detriment of the landscape, historical character of Lambeth and the quality-of-life opportunities of the local community" what is being done to preserve this open space and outdoor sports facilites so that residents can use them?

If the Tennis Club still own the land it seems such a waste that this has closed and there are unused tennis courts just sitting there. I currently travel to Brockwell park most weekends to play tennis and would love to be able to just walk 5 mins to use a court, particularly now Lambeth are charging for the courts in Brockwell park. Couldn't they just open them at weekends for people to pay and play? If Milford do own it now, it is just going to sit empty for ages until they can get something built on it. Such a shame!
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#96 HeadGardener

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 09:00 PM

Bosie

The following may have been overtaken by more recent events, but here goes ....

In the spring, when I heard what was afoot (or might be afoot), I rang the land registry, because it wasn't clear to me whether the developers already owned the site. I didn't obtain copies of the land registry documents, although they are publicly available (for a fee), and I've since lost my notes. I forget the precise terminology, but there was some sort of legal agreement or contract in place between the developers and the tennis club, which stated that if planning consent was granted, then the developers would buy the site. The sale was conditional on the planning consent and if that consent was not granted before a specified date (sadly I've lost this, too) there would be no sale. So I guess the sale's off, unless the developers have made an appeal - and I haven't heard that they have - and unless there's any chance that they might win it before the contract deadline.

The land registry documents did not say what the sale price was likely to be. I spoke to a contact in the commercial property business who estimated that a plot with planning consent for the number of dwellings which the developers hoped to erect could fetch about 2million. I think I can understand why club members' commitment to tennis might begin to waver!

I think Norwood Action Group are still planning a campaign to preserve and revive the tennis club as a viable community facility, but I don't know any more than that ...

Edited by HeadGardener, 21 August 2007 - 09:03 PM.


#97 Bosie

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 09:29 AM

Thanks for that HeadGardener. That's interesting then, so supposedly the Tennis Club have no mortgage to pay on the site, otherwise how are they managing it if they have no income from the club? It just seems such a waste of an amenity. However, I really don't see how the Norwood Action Group will be able to do anything - it is not like they will be able to come up with money to buy them out and re-open it. It's a business and I suppose it's the owner's perogative to shut it down. The tennis club will probably just hold out for another offer from a developer.
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#98 HeadGardener

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 09:09 PM

I'm out of my depth here, Bosie, but I'm guessing that as the tennis club has been around since at least the 1930s - to judge by the authentically art deco sign that was visible above the gate on Knight's Hill before they hid it behind a boring bit of hardboard - the mortgage was paid off long ago. I imagine its overheads are paid via the subscriptions of howver many members it still has.

I dare say that the club may hope for an approach from another developer, but I assume that any serious developer would research the history of the site and would see how comprehensively Lambeth dismissed the previous application and might take fright. I gathered too from the land registry that the sort of conditional sale that was agreed with the last developer is quite common, so any other developer would probably not actually buy the site until it had planning consent. And as I understand it from my contact in the business, the price of the site is proportional to the number of dwellings to be built, so a site which was only going to have a few houses built on it would be worth very much less. If it's true that the site is classed as metropolitan open land (although I'm now wondering whether it is, as I would have expected that to be amongst the first of the reasons for the planning refusal and I don't think it was mentioned) any proposal to develop it is presumably a non-starter anyway.

As for Norwood Action Group, I think they were hoping to find sources of funding and support, to secure the club's future. Perhaps we should go along to a NAG meeting to find out?

Edited by HeadGardener, 23 August 2007 - 09:13 PM.


#99 benpark

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 06:23 PM

I see that the Milford group are appealing the council's decision to deny planning permission. Does anybody have any further info? What's the likelihood of them overturning the original decision?

#100 dlox

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 06:56 PM

Hi benpark - according to a letter I got from Jackie Meldrum, the reason for the appeal is cited as "tennis is not a popular sport locally making the tennis club an underused facility" and "there are ample tennis facilities within the immediate area". No idea what the liklihood is of this appeal winning, but I've been in touch with NAG and the LTA to try and ensure this appeal doesn't succeed. I'm sure we'll be hearing more on this from NAG soon.

#101 HeadGardener

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 10:03 AM

Fascinating .... as so much time has gone by and as the application was refused on no less than 11 counts, I had assumed that the developers had given up. As for the chances of the appeal succeeding, I would doubt it. Again, I am just speculating, but I'm pretty sure that, if they want to win the appeal, the developers are going to have to rebut most (perhaps even all) of the 11 grounds for refusal.

Arguing that tennis is unpopular hardly addresses the issues at all; the first ground for refusal (as Casewicker summarised them) was that the development would lead to the loss of open land and space for outdoor sport. We've already had some discussion here about whether tennis really is unpopular or whether club membership dwindled because they made it so hard for new members to join but, setting that aside, I don't really see how the developers can deny that there would be a loss of open land. I guess their argument will be that that doesn't matter. Well, in my view, it does.

I wonder what progress NAG and others made in securing support for the site's future as a tennis club?