Sydenham Society

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Larky
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Sydenham Society

Post by Larky » 7 Feb 2018 13:06

Reading various threads on here, a call for The Sydenham Society to be open and clear in how they manage planning consultations for them too speak on behalf off 'all sydenham' seems to be a common vein.

Why do don't they have a section on here where they can post details of a current planning proposals where we can all have our say and put our views across?

Tim Lund
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Tim Lund » 7 Feb 2018 14:14

Larky wrote:Reading various threads on here, a call for The Sydenham Society to be open and clear in how they manage planning consultations for them too speak on behalf off 'all sydenham' seems to be a common vein.

Why do don't they have a section on here where they can post details of a current planning proposals where we can all have our say and put our views across?
That would be quite an ask for them, but if anyone else in interested in developing a local planning bot, get in touch

admin
Site Admin
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by admin » 7 Feb 2018 15:03

what do others thing about this idea?

Robin Orton
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Robin Orton » 7 Feb 2018 15:28

What's a 'local planning bot'?

Larky
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Larky » 7 Feb 2018 15:37

Am just suggesting a section on here, not sure what a planning bot is !

Tim Lund
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Tim Lund » 7 Feb 2018 15:56

As in a web bot - something to automate the process of looking through planning applications in an area, of a particular type, so that everyone can be alerted to what is happening

Larky
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Larky » 7 Feb 2018 16:13

Just a section where SS can post what current planning applications they are involved in so we can all add our voice

Tim Lund
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Tim Lund » 7 Feb 2018 16:59

Larky wrote:Just a section where SS can post what current planning applications they are involved in so we can all add our voice
Sounds like a nice idea, but I don't think they would have the time, let alone the inclination. SydSoc is entirely voluntary, and you can hardly expect them to spend time publishing a complete list of the planning applications coming up which others, maybe critical of them, think they might or might not be commenting on.

In any case, expecting them to do this just reinforces the idea that nothing can be done without them. As long as people believe it, it will have an element of truth to it.

TredownMan
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by TredownMan » 7 Feb 2018 17:11

Ultimately it's the Society's own decision. But i do struggle to accept the formal status the council grants them within the planning process, and the informal clout they have, with so much secrecy.

The Syd Soc publishes nothing about its submissions in its newsletter or on its website. It would only take two minutes to publicise what they've submitted. These aren't just for shops and houses (which affects us all); often it's to oppose changes to private individuals' own homes. (As if the Syd Soc exec members have never had an extension built).

So I think it would be polite, at least, to let people know what their stance is.

But as Tim says, noone is beholden to them. I try to flag up new developments round here - if people like them, and wouldnt agree with them being halted, then it takes 2 minutes to ping the council a supportive email.

Tim Lund
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Tim Lund » 7 Feb 2018 17:38

TredownMan wrote:i do struggle to accept the formal status the council grants them within the planning process
For the sake of clarity, can you say what you mean by this? What formal status do they have?

JMLF
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by JMLF » 7 Feb 2018 17:56

I appreciate that the Sydenham society is made up of volunteers and everything no matter how small or big takes time.

I’m a man who likes facts (and wasting too much time checking stuff - look at the Nando’s thread!) and scrolled through the SydSoc’s twitter account which currently has about 2750 followers and has “tweeted” 1290 times or so. That is a huge pool of people, a large proportion I imagine live in Sydenham or have some link with Sydenham/the society and the community. I scrolled through exactly 1 year of tweets (it actually only took a little over 10 mins but by god my eyes hurt) and discovered this:
- 1 x tweet re: planning meeting 2 days before the event (the recent 154-158 syd road consultation at Lovely Gallery)
- 2 x tweets re: 2 seperate Sydsoc meetings, 1 on the day itself (September) the other 2 months before the meeting date (April)
- Zero mention of any other planning permissions re: shops/houses that may have occurred over the past year that Sydsoc were involved with
- Promotion of save the bell green gas holders and save the post office (assume/hope this stance was voted on rather than taken as a given - some people may have opposed these for whatever reason)
- Many promotional messages of local events/businesses etc

Purely from an objective standpoint (I have nothing against the Sydenham Society), it is understandable why people feel the way they do when two of the appeared main routes for engaging with the public (forum/s and twitter) are being used generally but not being used to inform people/get people involved.

To tweet or to copy a link to the forum literally takes a minute and, again assuming, (maybe incorrectly!) many of the things that people are concerned aren’t being shared are online in some form, whether it be the council planning website, Sydsoc website or other (e.g: word - copy all, paste all, done).

I understand that using the forum as a forum (!) for sydsoc chat would probably be very difficult, messy and time consuming but if Sydsoc could/were able to just paste linked information, then those on the forum could give opinions/debate and go to the society/society meetings to give their voice rather than have no idea what’s going on and complain/have views that to some extent are maybe borne out of a lack of knowledge and information about not only what is going on but how Sydsoc work, what things they do for the area etc..

Larky
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Larky » 7 Feb 2018 18:05

Or put a separate section on the SS web site.

I know that I just dont have the time to trawl through the Lewisham planning web site so a heads up from SS as to what is going on in the area, good or bad, would help.

Steveofsyd
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Steveofsyd » 17 Feb 2018 09:45

Well said JMLF

prince
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by prince » 2 Mar 2018 09:35

I have read numerous threads on the Forum and done common threads that keep coming up that people want to understand the Society’s decision making process, have a say, want more transparency and want to ensure that they are representational.

I’ve given it some thoughts myself and I would like to suggest the following which are truly meant to be constructive:

1. Publish all written representations on planning applications on a dedicated page on the Sydenham Society web site. This should include both objections and support.

2. Publish dates of The Society’s Planning and Conservation Committee meetings and the applications to be discussed, allowing Sydenham Society members to attend and make comment.

3. On major planning applications that specialist meetings are convened where Sydenham Society members are all invited to provide input, to help shape the formal response. These meetings to be facilitated and organised by someone independent like Planning for London.

4. Publish information about the membership of the Sydenham Society. Obviously this needs to be in accordance with data protection, however a simple list of numbers of members living in each road.

As I say this is intended to be constructive food for thought.

TredownMan
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Location: Sydenham

Re: Sydenham Society

Post by TredownMan » 2 Mar 2018 11:29

i think it's a good idea.

Ultimately, it's a private society of volunteers doing what they think best for our community, and often do great things. I dont want anyone to feel bullied or hounded. They can't be forced to change their approach if they dont want to.

But: we can't have a situation where the Council assumes that their submissions on any process "speak for Sydenham", if they only reflect private views.

JRW
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by JRW » 2 Mar 2018 11:59

This is all getting rather over-complex. Why not simply have a thread on which current planning issues are listed? Then anyone can check it out in good time, amd anyone with an issue coil's let the Syd Soc know their feelings about it. There is no need to duplicate info available on Lewisham's planning portal when a hyperlink will do.

Pally
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Pally » 2 Mar 2018 16:14

prince wrote:I have read numerous threads on the Forum and done common threads that keep coming up that people want to understand the Society’s decision making process, have a say, want more transparency and want to ensure that they are representational.

I’ve given it some thoughts myself and I would like to suggest the following which are truly meant to be constructive:

1. Publish all written representations on planning applications on a dedicated page on the Sydenham Society web site. This should include both objections and support.

2. Publish dates of The Society’s Planning and Conservation Committee meetings and the applications to be discussed, allowing Sydenham Society members to attend and make comment.

3. On major planning applications that specialist meetings are convened where Sydenham Society members are all invited to provide input, to help shape the formal response. These meetings to be facilitated and organised by someone independent like Planning for London.

4. Publish information about the membership of the Sydenham Society. Obviously this needs to be in accordance with data protection, however a simple list of numbers of members living in each road.

As I say this is intended to be constructive food for thought.
Sounds good ...Pat, you seem to read the forum regularly. Would you be able to take these suggestions to the Committees for consideration/discussion/comment/to give feedback. It would be so good if apparently broken realtionships between the Sydenham Society and this Forum/possibly wider Sydenham Society membership (no specifric evidence of that, but In suspect many Forum members are Syd Soc members) could be moved forward positively.

Mayowthorpe
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Mayowthorpe » 2 Mar 2018 17:44

Tim Lund wrote:
Larky wrote:Just a section where SS can post what current planning applications they are involved in so we can all add our voice
Sounds like a nice idea, but I don't think they would have the time, let alone the inclination. SydSoc is entirely voluntary, and you can hardly expect them to spend time publishing a complete list of the planning applications coming up which others, maybe critical of them, think they might or might not be commenting on.

In any case, expecting them to do this just reinforces the idea that nothing can be done without them. As long as people believe it, it will have an element of truth to it.
Believe me, from my experience, Sydenham Society has far too much time on its hands.

Tim Lund
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by Tim Lund » 3 Mar 2018 11:00

I think posters on this thread are saying they want a local amenity society which is more open to inward investment in Sydenham. I sympathise, but there are a few problems with just saying it. First is knowing how volunteer groups work. You cannot expect the same level of professionalism and consistency as can more reasonably be expected of people being paid for what they do, and with their performance monitored according to the processes of a well run, professional HR department. Our problem may be not so much with SydSoc, as with the combination of an over complex planning system and under resourced planning departments.

I think there *could* be something to do about it, if we could find some more volunteers to set up systems to monitor applications and record comments on them. In doing so there would be an unavoidable implied criticism of both SydSoc and LB Lewisham planners, and any such volunteers shouldn't imagine they wouldn't also struggle to be consistent and professional. Recognising all this, and with a determination on all sides to get beyond the side swipes, things could improve. But I only say could.

TredownMan
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Re: Sydenham Society

Post by TredownMan » 3 Mar 2018 11:40

Well we have a live test case here:

The proposed new terraces on 154-158 Sydenham Road, on the derelict builders' site opposite the KwikFit.

We know the Syd Soc has taken an interest before and continues to do so.

We know that local opinion is mixed - between people who welcome the proposed family houses and think the design is good (and actually are hoping to buy one), versus those who don't.

Is this not the exact type of case where we deserve to know what, if any, submission the Syd Soc is planning to make as "the voice for Sydenham" to the process?

I've asked on here several times before to know their position, and I ask again now.

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