St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

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JRW
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St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by JRW »

STOP PRESS: Meeting organised by Lewisham on the St Philip Neri planning enforcement problems now on
Thursday 19 July at 7pm, Sydenham Library.

Lewisham Council are holding a neighbourhood meeting at Sydenham Library on Thursday 19th July at 7pm. This is to discuss the problems arising from the St Philip Neri school redevelopment.

Everyone welcome; come and have your say. If you are shy, or want to get your question in first, contact the SydSoc with a brief question by email at sydenhamplanning@gmail.com, or tweet it #sydenhamplanning #stphilipneri.

The meeting will be chaired by Liam Curran, and Planning will answer questions. Representatives are being invited from the Archdiocese, the school, builders and architects.

The councillor leading on this issue is Tom Copley; unfortunately he has a prior engagement at another planning meeting, but we are very grateful that Liam Curran has agreed to chair this meeting.

In case you wish to contact a councillor direct, Tom's contact details are:
Cllr_Tom.Copley@lewisham.gov.uk
0208 31 48224 or tweet him on @tomcopley

Hope to see you all there,so we can try to sort out the monstrosity.....
JRW

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JRW
Posts: 347
Joined: 18 Jun 2015 15:01

Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by JRW »

STOP PRESS: Public Meeting about the St Philip Neri planning enforcement problems TODAY at 7pm,
Thursday 19 July at Sydenham Library.


Everyone welcome; come and have your say. If you are shy, or want to get your question in first, contact the SydSoc with a brief question by email at sydenhamplanning@gmail.com, or tweet it #sydenhamplanning #stphilipneri.

The meeting will now be chaired by Tom Copley, and Lewisham's Head of Planning will answer questions. Representatives have been invited from the Archdiocese and the school

Hope to see you all there,so we can try to sort out the monstrosity....

JGD
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by JGD »

Thank you to everyone involved in last night's meeting.

It was extremely informative. Cllr Tom Copley did a good job chairing the meeting and Viv Evans, only two weeks into in his new role as Head of Planning for Lewisham, was very clear in his description of how enforcement works (and some of its constraints) and provided real insight into what he will have his department do in the next few weeks.

Major disappointment that no representatives attended to make representation for the Diocese, the architect or the contractor. Given the scope and extent of the issues reported at the meeting and given the propensity for these parties not to consult, perhaps this will prove to be the norm for any future meetings.

There was reports of dangerous occurrences around the re-construction of a wall/fence to the rear of residents' gardens and Viv was clear about what his department could and could not do.

However the HSE will be more than interested to hear from the residents affected - particularly as it was reported that separation measures were failing and that possible temporary fencing had collapsed. Both the failure and the collapse would be occurences that HSE can delegate to LB Lewisham (as local H&S agent) to investigate and ijnstruct the contractor to cease and desist until these problems have been resolved.

The occurrences can be reported online at:

https://webcommunities.hse.gov.uk/conne ... qid=594147

This will mean that the reports are formally recorded and a unique reference will be provided.

Good luck with that.

Sydenham Syd
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by Sydenham Syd »

Good update, but what did they say about the actual building and the aesthetics? I thought the main point was whether they felt they contravened the original approved plans and that they were going to, in the first instance, get the cladding changed?

JGD
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by JGD »

I did not make contemporaneous notes and do not want to intrude on Julia's patch.

However. There was general agreement that the actual building and the aesthetics did not conform to the approved plans and that Enforcement Notice(s) would be issued by Lewisham once the full scope of the non-confomities had been established by the Planning Department. Viv Evans reported that his officers would continue their site investigations and these works would be conducted by officers from the planning division and from the enforcement division. The meeting was informed that the council had received advice that a submission of a revised planning application was expected imminently. Imminently could not be defined as being tomorrow, this week or whenever.

SydSoc reported verbally from a qualified architect's commentary on what early perceptions of some of these non-conformities were and expressed the view that the architect felt that Lewisham would be compelled to issue enforcement notices. Emailed questions had been compiled and presented to Viv Evans and he provided commentary on the questions raised.

In no particular order and certainly with no priority I recall the following:
  • the elevations and cladding did not conform to the approved plans. Modulation of panels and installed materials were different and an application to have this retrospectively approved had failed
    one neighbour had complained that the reflective qualities of the selected cladding meant that he had to endure un-natural and excessive light reflection
    another neighbour who worked in the emergency services questioned the resilience of the building and its capability to resist a vehicle strike
    the window design and installation did not conform. The material finishes were different and types of windows and reveal designs as-built presented bland and featureless elevations
    the roof as built was substantially different from the approved plans.
    whilst the overall height of the building was felt to be higher than the approved plan, Lewishams's planners were investigating precise details next week
    fencing and soft landscaping at boundaries were different from proposals
    a new shed that was not on plans had been erected
    work being carried out adjacent to neighbours' curtilages appeared not to be approved and was not being executed in a safe fashion
    a question was raised about the protection of an existing tree (maple?) on site and whether it was subject to a TPO
    a question was raised about the installation of a mini-roundabout - this may be rumoured and as yet could not be substantiated
    overall consensus and dis-satisfaction at the sense of blandness and the erection of a featureless industrial class building
This cannot be exhaustive please amend/add to it as you see fit.

A governor from the school advised that the school had only received consent to occupy two floors of the portion of the building that is complete. This is understood to be on safety grounds in that it was felt that evacuation of pupils and staff from the third floor can only be achieved safely when a second stairwell in the as yet incomplete second phase becomes available. Materials are being stored on the third floor.

JRW
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by JRW »

JGD, this is not about me, it has never been 'my patch', and everyone is welcome on the thread.

Over 40 residents attended, and the meeting was brilliantly chaired by Tom Copley. Viv Evans was very impressive, and took a lot in. He has been dropped into a real mess, two weeks in the job, but it certainly looks as if he intends to take charge. There was a really constructive feel to the meeting, and everyone had a chance to speak. Another meeting will be held in a few weeks to update us, and if anyone forgot to leave their contact details, & would like to be on the mailing list, please email us at sydenhamplanning@gmail.com, or write to the Sydenham Society.

Viv wasn't able to give a comprehensive list of infringements yet, as the building is going to be measured carefully on Monday. He definitely considered that the incorrect placing, fitting, and type of windows installed was wrong, and had a serious aesthetic impact on the building. Cladding was also recognised as a breach, and also the roofline. Full details will be given to us soon, and the next meeting should be important.

I think it is quite shocking that the Archdiocese of Southwark refused to send a representative, or to co-operate in any way with the planning department. They don't appear to believe they are subject to civil authorities, and ignore all attempts to contact them. They have not acknowledged or processed a Freedom of Information request I submitted, which is an offence in itself. Not very edifying, considering the Church's role in teaching morality to the schoolchildren.

In my personal opinion, a decision needs to be made to decant the school to another site for September. The decision to keep the children on site was a mistake, and they need a settled, secure venue for their next term's education, without the noise, dust and distractions of learning on a building site. Rectifying the building's problems will be a long, messy and disruptive affair, and parents need reassurance that their child's place is both safe and secure.

Overall, I felt very positive about the meeting, and it was great to see so many neighbours, old and new. It is good to gather and realise that we are not alone in our frustration with the situation, and can act together to make a difference. We owe huge thanks to the Library team who hosted the meeting, and to everyone who helped make the meeting happen.

JGD
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by JGD »

Julia

Was trying to be polite - with a light touch.

Clear failure on my part.

Pally
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by Pally »

JGD wrote:Julia

Was trying to be polite - with a light touch.
.
That is how I read it JGD

JGD
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by JGD »

It is for the school team to apply its expertise and manage the school through this problem. They will want to ensure their primary duty of ensuring the safety of pupils is discharged and that their education is not disrupted beyond the absolute minimum.

They have been caught in this dilemma with, as far as has been seen to this point, not having created or significantly contributed to the problem.

There is no advantage in rushing to decant the school now.

It is my recall that Viv Evans made it clear that an Enforcement exercise can be a protracted affair and as it stands at this point the authority is not yet ready to initiate the process formally as it has not yet established what the potential scope of an enforcement notice should contain. I further recall that a time frame of years was mentioned - it is to be hoped that a compromise can be reached to shorten this period and that this extended time-frame is a worst case scenario.

It should be the case that decisions made in this regrettable project should be driven by hard facts proven and tested by professionals who understand the implications.

The authority, through Viv has a clear picture of what has yet to be established.

SydSoc has had a good opportunity along with other interested parties to list their concerns and questions and put them to Viv Evans and his team..

Let the authority now complete its initial work un-fettered and with an absolute minimum of background noise and speculation..

Sydenham
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by Sydenham »

Interesting that new head of planning Viv Evans described his position as interim. That suggests he is on temporary assignment and this is backed up when one looks at his cv and past extensive experience available online (easy search) - I recall he has himself been a CEO of a local authority, not just head of planning and he runs / has run his own consultancy.

So for how long has he been appointed? Hopefully he will feel empowered to act and be decisive rather than just "holding the fort" until a permanent appointment is made - if one is needed. I don't know Emma Talbot's situation - she is still showing as head of planning Lewisham. Maybe Emma is on leave of absence for a while. I wish I had asked Viv how long he was going to be in position for last night.

But agree that first impressions of Viv Evans were positive - maybe as an interim he will feel able to do the right thing.

Pally
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by Pally »

Decanting or not decanting the school is a decision for the school leaders/governors/ local authority and Diocese to make and should not, in my view, be discussed as part of a campaign about the building! It is for them to decide the arrangements re the children, not the community!

syd
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by syd »

Well done all. This is great and a warning to future developers.

bensonby
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by bensonby »

JRW wrote:
I think it is quite shocking that the Archdiocese of Southwark refused to send a representative, or to co-operate in any way with the planning department. They don't appear to believe they are subject to civil authorities, and ignore all attempts to contact them. They have not acknowledged or processed a Freedom of Information request I submitted, which is an offence in itself. Not very edifying, considering the Church's role in teaching morality to the schoolchildren.
The Freedom of Information Act only applies to public authorities. The diocese/Catholic Church is not a public authority, therefore is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

JRW
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by JRW »

Schools are included, and OLSPN is a publicly funded school. If you are correct that they are exempt, that would be a good reason to not comply. What shocked me was that they didn't acknowledge my application, and state their reasons for not sending the information. That is just rude.
Not sending anyone to speak to the community affected, at the request of the planning authority, and not even sending a message or apologies is an interesting stance for a church.

Robin Orton
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by Robin Orton »

I wonder to whom in the archdiocese the request to attend was sent? The Education Commission (http://www.educationcommission.org.uk/) is based at St Paul's Cray, and, according to the current Southwark Catholic Directory, the lead building officer is Mike Baldwin. I wonder if anyone tried to speak to him?

I know from my own experience that the diocesan bureaucracy is pretty creaking and impenetrable, and I'm not surprised to hear that messages are not acknowledged. A new diocesan communications strategy is, I know, being developed - let's hope that may improve things in future.

JRW
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by JRW »

O yes. Mike Baldwin has been contacted, as has the director of the Education Commission and its administration. No response.

JRW
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by JRW »

"The Education Commission’s communications with people and organisations display clearly our spiritual and religious dimensions. How we communicate is important in the spiritual quest of the Education Commission. Education Commission’s communication proclaims the Glory of God in such a way that it is applicable to the world in which we work."

Excellence: An Introduction - Education ...
PDFwww.educationcommission.org.uk › Site...

TredownMan
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by TredownMan »

I think it would be better to keep this planning dispute civil and factual.

JRW
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by JRW »

Ooo :D

TredownMan
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Re: St Philip Neri Meeting - Thursday 19 July 7pm

Post by TredownMan »

Naming officials (who may or may not have anything to do with it - who knows?), accusing people of religious hypocrisy, making up stories about children being endangered, throwing around terms like “monstrosity”... none of this will help whatever case there may be on building design.

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