Sydenham Society

The place for serious discussion, announcements and breaking news about Sydenham

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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby JayB » 13 Mar 2018 17:11

But some other areas of the SS get it right.So what is the reason for discrepancy ? Eg Someone called Ben, i think, posted up on here and FH the Southern Rail consultation to alter services. He gave a short explanation as to why the SS would be objecting- then posted the link to Southern's questionnaire so that anyone, regardless of their views on the matter , could comment easily . He has also explained what is going on re transport at public meetings.

That is all people would like to see- why can't the SS do that for planning also? They don't have to use this forum if they don't want just their own website.Their PR and community links with some parts of Sydenham are in my view disastrous, but clearly what do they care?Just as long as the mortar around the architrave at some address in in the thorpes gets the fullest possible attention. As for the comments saying we "should use them" rather than suggest changes, how, exactly are we to do that, given their own members don't seem to know what they are doing?
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby Larky » 14 Mar 2018 08:28

I think the lack of any reply from Sydenham Society, really says it all.
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby chrisj1948 » 14 Mar 2018 09:58

Larky wrote:I think the lack of any reply from Sydenham Society, really says it all.

They may not be reading this Forum. Many of the Great and the Good were alienated by the discussions, particularly in the Pub, at the time when Big Bad Wolf had his reign of terror, and stopped reading. Things are a lot less abrasive nowadays but readership by the more genteel elements may not have resumed.

Regards
Chris
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby Pally » 14 Mar 2018 15:39

Er Who is the Big Bad Wolf?
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby Larky » 14 Mar 2018 15:48

Off course they are watching and just treating us with contempt
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby Robin Orton » 14 Mar 2018 18:39

I am a long-standing member of SydSoc, although a largely non-active one. One of the reasons I joined was because I liked the idea of an amenity society - a group that worked for the common good rather than for individual interests, by making representations about things like planning applications, transport proposals etc, with view to stopping ugly and inappropriate developments, and preserving or enhancing those features of Sydenham that made it a good and physically attractive place to live for everyone. .

I still think there is a role for this sort of body. Anyone can join (£5 a year) and make their voice heard, ask questions about policy etc, I don't see why SydSoc should feel itself in any way accountable to members of this forum, which I guess is a lot less representative of the people of Sydenham than SydSoc itself.

And, yes, I live in upper Sydenham (or Dulwich Borders, as we prefer to call it.) Why is that relevant?

(BigBadWolf was a clever, amusing but often offensive troll who used to haunt this forum in the good old days.)
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby JGD » 14 Mar 2018 21:25

Robin Orton wrote:
I am a long-standing member of SydSoc, although a largely non-active one. One of the reasons I joined was because I liked the idea of an amenity society - a group that worked for the common good rather than for individual interests, by making representations about things like planning applications, transport proposals etc, with view to stopping ugly and inappropriate developments, and preserving or enhancing those features of Sydenham that made it a good and physically attractive place to live for everyone. .

I still think there is a role for this sort of body. Anyone can join (£5 a year) and make their voice heard, ask questions about policy etc, I don't see why SydSoc should feel itself in any way accountable to members of this forum, which I guess is a lot less representative of the people of Sydenham than SydSoc itself.



Robin

There is a large portion of your commentary with which I can freely and fully agree.

There are significant benefits that a civic society can deliver and the commitment of members to engage in their delivery is both significant and admirable.

However both our local civic societies have a significant deficit in their ability to deliver any balanced critique of a submitted planning application.

Responses are almost always negative without any consideration or acknowledgement given to delivered benefits.

This position is evident even before we see SydSoc's commentaries published by TredownMan. He refers to their provenance as being their continued existence on our local authority's planning portal.

The comments are prejudicial, seemingly pernicious and made without any sense of accountability which borders on having an air of superiority and invulnerability. This, in addition to the absence of a published constitution, makes it seem that forum members and possibly SydSoc members find this unsatisfactory.

So never mind the Groucho Marx maxim, how does it feel to be a member of a society that is doing this in your name.

So not for me the option of membership of SydSoc - even my presence on this forum is a balance of desire to avoid repetition of the perverse errors of the type made in the Bell Green Gasholder matter and a desire to ensure there is an understanding that an absence of the presence of a Bellingham Civic Society gives no licence to any party to intrude thereon without consultation of residents of that ward.

I referred to Groucho earlier - how can one elect to join a society that as yet seems not to have published its constitution - how can you possibly know what you are signing up for ?

Better that we all have dialogue on these points.
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby Sydenham » 15 Mar 2018 10:15

I was there only for the first 10 minutes or so. Good turnout at that time but I'm afraid I can't give any update on any discussions (if there were any) in Any Questions to the Councillors on this subject.

Looked a packed agenda with lots of news about what's going on in Sydenham.
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby Robin Orton » 15 Mar 2018 10:39

JGD wrote: - how can one elect to join a society that as yet seems not to have published its constitution - how can you possibly know what you are signing up for ?.


There is plenty about SydSoc's aims and objectives on their website. I doubt whether many organisations of this kind put their actual constitution on their website - too boring - but I am sure that if you sent a polite email to the chair, Annabel McLaren ( chair@sydenhamsociety.com) she would try to help.
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby JGD » 15 Mar 2018 11:06

Thank you for that advice Robin.

FOHSoc publish their constitution on their web-site - and that makes for an interesting read. It additionally demonstrates that civic bodies need to achieve a higher level of conformity to their own constitutions. At risk of repetition - SydSoc do not publish their constitution.

It is almost certain that there are no clauses in any constitutions that state, "we are permitted to traduce our neighbours" or "we have a get out of jail card because of who we are".

Aims and objectives can be seen to be obvious but rules and procedures are not so obvious.

It is undeniably the case that no civic society or its members sets out to behave in a negative and non-transparent fashion. But who endorsed these planning commentaries that have been published in SydSoc's name and if these commentaries were not endorsed, which officers of SydSoc have taken corrective action to ensure there is no repetition. Let them publish - and/or be damned.
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby sparticus » 15 Mar 2018 11:51

This reminds me of the Monty Python sketch- our friends in Longton Avenue (Upper Sydenham) look down on us in the Thorpes(er....Middle Sydenham) and we look down on the benighted denizens scurrying around in the festering wen that is Lower Sydenham. Yes, I've said it, I live in the Thorpes, that citadel of middle-class privilege, complacency and appropriate architraves. I'm also one of the entitled hipsters that loved Beer Rebellion (though I have become an avid fan of the Poodle Club) and I think Lewisham Council does a pretty good job in very difficult circumstances. I also think that the St Phillip Neri school building is fine and that the Bell Green gasometers have little architectural merit. (There. Ducks and runs for the door)

Seriously, I think Robin has it about right. There is a real problem with Syd Soc in not publishing their planning submissions but one that could be easily remedied. It's a pity that they have not replied to comments on this forum but OTOH I don't really blame them given the tone of some of the comments. Overall, I think the balance is very much in Syd Soc's favour and their representations on our behalf have been generally beneficial. My membership has lapsed but I will certainly be joining again.
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby JGD » 15 Mar 2018 12:32

And thus it ever was - and is.

First broadcast on The Frost Report on 7 April 1966. It has been described as a "genuinely timeless sketch, ingeniously satirising the British class system" It was written by Marty Feldman and John Law, and features John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Class_sketch#/media/File:FrostReportClassSketch.jpg

Corbett's small-in-stature character's line where he, "finally looks up at the others and says "I get a pain in the back of my neck."", rings a bell.

SydSoc cannot get enough good people - please re-join at the earliest.
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby Robin Orton » 15 Mar 2018 14:52

sparticus wrote:- our friends in Longton Avenue (Upper Sydenham) look down on us in the Thorpes(er....Middle Sydenham) and we look down on the benighted denizens scurrying around in the festering wen that is Lower Sydenham. .

I should have made it clear that we live in the slummy end of upper Sydenham. We certainly wouldn't aspire to Longton Avenue, which I do not believe is for the likes of us. Or even Hall Drive. We know our place.
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby JGD » 15 Mar 2018 14:55

Thank you decchips

Glad you feel that - in your humble opinion.
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby KPR » 15 Mar 2018 18:53

It matters where Syd Soc members live because they don’t live next to or even anywhere near the consequences of their objections/interventions. So I live next to a bomb site because a bunch of Nimbies from up the hill object to a development that isn’t for the most part even visible from the main road (though the half demolished building certainly is). The gas holders will stand there until hey go rusty and fall down, because some far away people like industrial heritage that they see very occasionally.

As for Philip Neri - pull the other one. The size of the building may be unavoidable given the needs of the school (so fine) but there was a choice as to what cladding to put on the outside, and the wrong choice has been made. Did SS say anything about that?
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby Robin Orton » 15 Mar 2018 20:46

KPR wrote:. So I live next to a bomb site because a bunch of Nimbies from up the hill object to a development...


If they're from up the hill, they must be Nitebies - Not Even In Their Back Yards.
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby Pally » 15 Mar 2018 21:50

Its not about the Sydenham Society being beholden to this forum. Its about the Sydenham Society having the opportunity to use a local resource as a potentially useful tool in communicating with the local community ...and not taking that opportunity, which is a great shame!
I was disappointed that I was unable to attend the Assembly last night as I am away at the moment. I attend as many as I can! They are very telling on a lot of levels!!
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby Growsydenham » 17 Mar 2018 16:53

In light of the ongoing discussion here, I asked the Lewisham planning department if they could clear up the status of civic societies such as Sydenham Society within the planning system. Not to make any particular point, but just to establish facts.

This was the reply, which said that the council is looking at adjusting the rules slightly. I did not know this. Proposed new criteria would have the effect of tidying up the role of a civic society for complaints outside its own area, and encourage officers of the society to go along to planning meetings to give their views in person.

Overall, the reason for the consultation on how to treat public views in planning is "drawing on the Council’s experience and reflecting new methods of public involvement and engagement, such as the greater use of electronic forms of communication and social media." That sounds like an acknowledgement that such societies aren't necessarily the only means of identifying the views of the community these days, which I think the council already knew.

This is the reply in full:

The current process is that planning applications are determined at Planning Committee where a civic society sends in a single letter of objection.

The Council has prepared a Draft Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) http://councilmeetings.lewisham.gov.uk/ ... vement.pdf
At Mayor and Cabinet in January 2018, the Draft SCI was approved to go out for public consultation, which will take place in May/June.

There are couple of specific parts of the SCI that might interest you:

See Section 4.1 on public consultation and in particular the section on responses received from Amenity Societies, which states:

“An objection from an amenity society group will only trigger the planning application being heard at a planning committee if the case falls within their amenity group area. If not, it will be treated as if it were a standard objection response. If a case does go to committee, as a result of the amenity group objection, a representative from that amenity group will be expected to attend the committee to verbalise their views”.

Appendix 2 identifies the types of development/applications where groups such as civic societies will be notified by email.



I will keep an eye out for the consultation, in case anyone on here is interested in offering their views.

In my view, the ideal outcome would be one where the system is calibrated so that the Sydenham Society feels free to campaign on the issues they feel are important, and for everyone else to feel confident that council is giving those views the right amount of weight in context of the wider community. That such a proposal has been tabled suggests there's an awareness in the council of some of the criticisms raised on here.
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby Growsydenham » 17 Mar 2018 17:14

In the meantime I would add:

If people feel frustrated that proposed developments risk getting stopped because of objections from civic societies or anyone else, the best remedy by far is to send an email to planning at lewisham.gov.uk. It takes only a minute and every submission gets logged and represented in the planning officials' report to elected members.

Usually there are so few respondents - only a handful - that one or two positive voices can make a difference in shaping the picture the council has of local opinion towards a scheme.
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Re: Sydenham Society

Postby mosy » 18 Mar 2018 14:27

Thank you Growsydenham. It looks like it could take a while before any change comes about from e-system changes, but you do raise a good point i.e. that if people apathetically don't bother to submit anything before a planning committee meeting takes place thinking their voice will be ignored or overridden then their view isn't on the table to be considered. At council meetings (the few I've attended) audiences aren't normally allowed to speak at all.

By that token, and re the suggested proposal that a society will be expected to explain its position via a society spokesperson present at a planning committee meeting, hopefully an equal opportunity to speak would be given to any counter view representative. Otherwise "the last voice heard" will be what sticks (human nature) and earlier written representations, however many and ostensibly equal in weight, will fade into distant memory. Perhaps a point to be clarified during the consultation stage?
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