THE SITE of a planned development at Spinney Gardens is “simply too constrained to accommodate development” an informal planning hearing has been told..
Southwark Cllr Helen Hayes (Lab, College ward) told the informal hearing into plans to build four maisonettes on the site off Farquhar Road that the Spinney itself – on which the development was planned – was a part of the architects’ original design for Spinney Gardens.
“It isn’t a piece of left-over land. “It isn’t a neighbouring site – it’s an integral part of the community that was designed to be left as it was.”
She also responded to criticism by Anthony Shamash, managing director of the applicants, who challenged Southwark council at the hearing. Mr Shamash, of Covent Garden Ltd, asked the hearing: “You originally supported it and recommended this for approval – what’s changed since then?”
Planning officer Vicki Lewis responded that council members were not bound by the officers. “Regardless of that we’re here to defend the decision to refuse planning permission. “We considered this and concurred the decision should be refused.” said Vicki Lewis.
Cllr Hayes told the hearing: “What added to the decision making process was our intimate knowledge of the area itself and the impact on the community itself – which I don’t think was fully understood by the officers.
“There’s absolutely no reason why this development should take place. “It’s a very constrained site into which the developer is trying to force some units from which he can profit.”
Cllr Hayes, who added she had very serious concerns about the impact of the proposed development both on parking and amenity, told the inspector at the hearing – held in Southwark council offices at Tooley Street close to London Bridge station: “Tooley Street is not very accessible. “Around 27 per cent of the 66 households in the area (of the proposed development) are attending the hearing. “Residents have shown their strength of feeling about the site.”
Among those residents attending the hearing was Morag Cameron of Burntwood View who said she walked through a path adjoining Spinney Gardens with her dog. “That’s part of the beauty. “Houses on the right-hand side will diminish our experience. “It’s going to be disrupted by putting buildings there.”
Paul Jenkins of Spinney Gardens said that in the morning the sun would be in the east walking along that path where “a state of dappled shadows” come through the leaves.
And Mee Ling of Burntwood View said: “The ground flora, the woodland and the piece of land (where the homes were proposed) was also home to English bluebells “Not your horrible nasty Spanish bluebells. “With the development that would be extremely disturbed and take years to recover.”