St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

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JRW
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St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by JRW »

The Archdiocese of Southwark’s appeal against Lewisham's planning enforcement order is formally launched, after a long delay caused by covid shutdown.

The developer requested a full planning inquiry, lasting 4 days. The date is not yet scheduled, but there is a strict deadline of the 1st September 2020 for any new comments to be submitted. That gives you just over a week.

Lewisham has submitted their documents, and seem to have included redacted public comments submitted in 2019 and 2020. I am unsure if this is comprehensive, so you might want to check your previous comments are shown. To see them, go to the Lewisham planning website, and search for case DC/19/111793.

If you have new comments to make, you can submit them to the planning inspectorate at
https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk ... 363&CoID=0

JGD
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by JGD »

Further to developments around the Planning Inspectorate front, This PDF has been created by Lewisham Council and is marked as a “Presentation for Information Only” – so its precise and current status is uncertain.

http://councilmeetings.lewisham.gov.uk/ ... tation.pdf

On page 9 it has this informative extract:
Some ‘out-of-compliance’ elements to be retained

• Building Heights
• Windows
• UKPN Cabinets
• Various lights, ventilation grills and brickwork
If this IS representative of the council’s view, it would seem to be going a long way to saying that the height of the building (built significantly over the approved height) is now deemed to be acceptable. It might also be viewed as a major concession made by the council in an effort by them to reach a compromise.

In all likelihood this would be a pointer that the council would choose to avoid forcing the Diocese to make major structural alterations to what already has been built (and certainly not demolish and rebuild - in part or otherwise). It would seem the remainder of issues are all in the detail of the architecture. It should also be noted that not all of the issues raised at public meetings are addressed here.

Is this an up-to-date view of the council's position?

If it is - what does the Diocese hope to achieve by appealing to the Planning Inspectorate?

Isn't there some prudence in simply getting on with a negotiation culminating in agreement about what must be altered.

JRW
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by JRW »

Thanks JGD, that is really useful.

However, the quote you made seems to come from the applicant - it is their proposal. The council officers opinion is that

"Officer Assessment – Materials

Some ‘Retained’ Elements Acceptable
• Heights judged acceptable – principle of 3 storey building approved
• UKPN power cabinet – Permitted Development rights available
• Flat roof not visible from the public realm


Other ‘Retained’ Elements Unacceptable
• Window glazing bars, various lighting, vents, grills, rain goods and
other elements detract from visual appearance of building"

I should also point out that the presentation dates from September 2019, so it may not reflect the exact positions today.

JRW
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by JRW »

Close neighbours of OLSPN school who are interested in getting improvements made, email fairlawnparkplanning@gmail.com

We can participate in the Archdiocese’s appeal to the planning inspectorate, and have a say in the outcome.


JRW
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by JRW »

Update: The Sydenham Society have just confirmed that they don’t feel able to pay for a barrister, so are relying on Lewisham Council to represent neighbours at the forthcoming planning inquiry.

Frankly, given that Lewisham has spectacularly failed to keep the development under control, I don’t feel terribly confident about their commitment to the task. So much easier to compromise by agreeing minimal changes, and bury their own failures.

Fortunately, I had already applied before the deadline, and have been granted Rule 6 status, to represent neighbours who want a positive outcome for the school development. Rule 6 allows me standing to cross-examine Council and developers on oath.

I have no legal support, but will do my best to put on record the way that Lewisham Council failed all our communities. The development carried on despite Lewisham’s notifications of planning breach, but the council repeatedly failed to act on their own ultimatums. That is why sorting things out is now stressful and disruptive for the school, families, pupils and neighbours alike.

If you are a close neighbour, and want to add yourself to the list of dissatisfied neighbours, email fairlawnparkplanning@gmail.com. Not just for Fairlawn Park residents; all immediate neighbours of the school are welcome.

prince
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by prince »

Hello JRW

Have you considered approaching planning aid for London some help in this? They may also be able to provide advice on probono legal support?

Best

JRW
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by JRW »

That sounds brilliant, thanks Prince. I will try and find them and give it a go. Currently, Lewisham are still refusing to hand over appeal documents, and the planning inspectorate at has ordered them to comply. This is why I'm not going to trust Lewisham to deal with it themselves.

prince
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by prince »

I hope they will provide the docs. However if they are not provided you may wish to make a freedom of information request. This takes time and as such you may wish to make this application immediately.

If you decide to do this be very careful in your wording of your request so that you are absolutely clear what you are requesting. Lack of clarity in foi requests causes delays and may not get the information you require.

Planning aid for London link

http://www.planningaidforlondon.org.uk/

I

JGD
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by JGD »

JRW wrote:
9 Sep 2020 19:33
That sounds brilliant, thanks Prince. I will try and find them and give it a go. Currently, Lewisham are still refusing to hand over appeal documents, and the planning inspectorate at has ordered them to comply. This is why I'm not going to trust Lewisham to deal with it themselves.
The pro-bono advice is probably very sound.

Some points that may be relevant however.

The Council has not got a good reputation for responding to FOI requests and is frequently subject of criticism and admonishment from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for the Council's failures to make timely or meaningful responses.

Council Officers will be required to place advice and recommendations received from legal counsel before the Mayor and Council who will have to endorse, in turn, the adoption of the advice and recommendations. Until this endorsement has been recorded, Officers might have a natural reluctance to furnish evidence that does not represent the Councils's approved position.

This process was well-trodden on the Kier's proposed Bell Green Redevelopment. A rejection resulted in an appeal submitted to the Planning Inspectorate (subsequently withdrawn) by Kier. Counsel's formal advice to the Council was that two out of the four reasons for rejection in the Planning Rejection Notice were un-supportable and thereby invalid. The Council had no option but to endorse that unpalatable outcome. Kier's withdrawal of the Appeal got the Council off the hook.

Planning officers were later criticised in public by Members for allegedly "chastising" elected members about the consequences of not following recommendations contained in Officer's Planning reports more precisely and endeavouring to prevent Members from introducing un-supportable reasons for rejection at Committee Stage.

Do you know whether that key step has been completed yet? Has the Council formally endorsed Counsel's Advice about its position in regards to the Appeal?

The Council's position is invidious. It is presented with a construction near to completion that does not conform with the approved plans. As the Planning Authority, it has an imperative to make certain that any breach of planning law is policed and by enforcement if necessary and will have a strong need to ensure that precedent is not set where they are seen to fail to address a planning breach.

It is worth repeating observations on the position of the respective bodies made before:
Previously, JGD wrote:A contractor with a track record of failed projects – some of them (not this one) conducted under the auspices of LB Lewisham. Establishments were left without any knowledge of what was complete or had been done in their buildings. Their failures were marked by a consistent absence of liaison or co-ordination with their clients or planning authority. Often in the absence of compunction about being detected. Culminating in the worst outcome possible at OLSPN, a building so far departed from the design that was approved as to make it unacceptable in planning conformance terms.

A school itself, that on the face of it has not done much wrong. Having been presented with an incomplete building the headteacher, the school governors and the staff made substantial efforts to transition into part of the school and deliver their statutory obligations. They moved to provide education for their pupils in a safe environment that provided security, guaranteed their safeguarding and utilised the facilities, such as the existed at that time, to the full.
Previously, JGD wrote:The Archdiocese perhaps had only one significant failing at this stage. Either it did not have adequate expertise on board to perform an Asset Protection role or it was entirely ineffective. Had there been an effective presence it could have conducted oversight of the tendering process, the design development team and the out-sourced building control function. The historic failures of the successful tenderer would have been evident and might have resulted in their disqualification. The detection of the departure from the approved design would have happened at an earlier and more appropriate stage.

The facts that the building is of poor design, poor build quality and subject of an Enforcement Notice are not disputed.

This position needs resolution that on the face of it, will require Herculean effort.

Compromise is inevitable.
Previously, JGD wrote:There is evidence the planning authority has moved substantially towards consultation as a mitigation route to resolving this matter. As I understand events, they have rejected the revised planning application submitted by the Archdiocese’s new planning consultants.

The school is caught in the middle and has the weakest hand in terms of what it can contribute to resolve the problem.

The Archdiocese perhaps inevitably will have the greater financial price to pay. Its early key failures must not now be compounded by intransigence.
So parties to the Appeal will have an equally herculean effort to establish any accurate view of who did what and when.

How the Archdiocese has concluded that an Appeal is appropriate might appear weak at best.

Especially when the Council probably has not made any significant mis-step in planning procedure terms (including the issue of an Enforcement Notice) and the Archdiocese had contracted with a party who appeared to be displaying every tendency to prevent their client and the planning authority from being able to detect or having visibility on departure from the design and over whom in turn, the Archdiocese exercised no substantive or evident control.

The building in its current manifestation is the outcome.

All parties need to continue to strive to reach a compromise. It is worth repeating - isn't there some prudence in simply getting on with a negotiation culminating in agreement about what must be altered.

OLSPN School, the Headteacher, his staff, pupils and parents deserve as good an outcome as can be achieved. As quickly as is possible.

And Planning Inspectors can be notoriously unpredictable.

JRW
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by JRW »

I couldn't agree with you more, JGD, compromise is vital to producing a swift resolution for everybody's sake.

The trouble is the Archdiocese has refused to even discuss having discussions, let alone agree to start them. They haven't been willing to consider anything other than doing exactly as they wish. They have not cooperated with the council planning team, and they have been completely unwilling to talk with any neighbours or objectors.

How can objectors make compromises when there is no discussion, and no willingness to talk from the Archdiocese?

JGD
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by JGD »

JRW wrote:
9 Sep 2020 23:13
I couldn't agree with you more, JGD, compromise is vital to producing a swift resolution for everybody's sake.

The trouble is the Archdiocese has refused to even discuss having discussions, let alone agree to start them. They haven't been willing to consider anything other than doing exactly as they wish. They have not cooperated with the council planning team, and they have been completely unwilling to talk with any neighbours or objectors.

How can objectors make compromises when there is no discussion, and no willingness to talk from the Archdiocese?
I have no insight into the Archdiocese's inaction or otherwise.

Here is a harsh reality though.

Objectors don't get to make or decide on compromises.

Only the principal parties can achieve compromise.

In these roles as cast in this sorry matter the Council and the Archdiocese must use dialogue to move towards whatever must be agreed. Some would see it as being essential before the Appeal formally commences.

If I may depart a little from you what say - wasn't there a publication of a part compromise on agreement about alterations to the roof-line and other architectural issues? There must have been some level of discussions to achieve that much surely.

The Planning Inspector will make decisions. And not necessarily based on compromise either. Hard facts and interpretation of whether there was conformance to process.

What benefits from that course ?

Planning Law will have been seen to be upheld.

Perhaps little else.

JRW
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by JRW »

Hi Prince,

Thanks so much for your advice; I contacted Planning Aid for London, and they are currently organising legal advice for the case. The Planning Inspectorate has instructed Lewisham to provide me with documents, and I await their response with interest. Legal advice will make a huge difference, as my Rule 6 status allows me to call evidence, and cross-examine witnesses if necessary.

JGD
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by JGD »

This is a valuable commitment from Planning Aid for London and represents a hugely important step, Julia.
JRW wrote:
11 Sep 2020 10:17
I contacted Planning Aid for London, and they are currently organising legal advice for the case.
This outcome, combined with your status for the purposes of the Inquiry places a very onerous responsibility upon you and the actions you elect to take.
JRW wrote:
9 Sep 2020 23:13
I couldn't agree with you more, JGD, compromise is vital to producing a swift resolution for everybody's sake.
Some will feel it is incumbent upon you to consider what a swift resolution looks and feels like.

Have you worked up a detailed understanding of what it is that all the parties in the locations around the school want to be included in any resolution - swift or not? Have you developed a sense of what the priorities are for each of the individual matters? Have you identified what outcome is preferred in circumstances where there is no agreement within or between these parties on what changes have to be made or where the possible outcomes may be in conflict with one another? Put simply, what is acceptable and what is not acceptable?

You may find that the majority of people will agree that the OLSPN School deserves to see closure on this matter and avoid what has the susceptibility and potential to go beyond this Planning Inspector Inquiry and become an interminable round of Appeal and goodness knows what number of judicial processes.

I do not know to what extent Planning Aid for London has committed to provide assistance on the matter or whether you plan to publish what that is.

It can be anticipated that the organisation will ask some of the questions raised here and primarily seek to establish what decisions and outcomes you would want to see delivered. It is also possible you will receive advice that does not accord with what you would want to hear or see happen - for example what kind of issues can be raised at the Inquiry and perhaps with more difficulty, restrict what kind of evidence and activities are deemed valid and permissible for presentation to an Inquiry.

An old axiom is particularly relevant for the school and the invidious position they find themselves in here.

If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

Please understand how important all of these considerations are in the wider scheme of things. Please select your course of action carefully.

Give some consideration to where, how and when you publish your proposals and when you plan to make formal submissions to the Inquiry. Do not be tempted to adopt "ambush" techniques in the presentation of evidence. It will not be received well at an Inquiry.

One final appeal to you.

Please desist from criticising the parties who must reach compromise. Some of the criticisms may have some validity. Some of the wilder ones in the past have not proven to be accurate, look speculative and do not serve your cause at all well.

If this matter goes to Inquiry, it is for the Inspector to adjudicate on factual matters and to report on where the weight of evidence takes that Inspector.

Paraphrasing another poster on another matter, persuasion may be more successful than condemnation.

prince
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by prince »

JGD wrote:
11 Sep 2020 11:49
This is a valuable commitment from Planning Aid for London and represents a hugely important step, Julia.
JRW wrote:
11 Sep 2020 10:17
I contacted Planning Aid for London, and they are currently organising legal advice for the case.
This outcome, combined with your status for the purposes of the Inquiry places a very onerous responsibility upon you and the actions you elect to take.
JRW wrote:
9 Sep 2020 23:13
I couldn't agree with you more, JGD, compromise is vital to producing a swift resolution for everybody's sake.
Some will feel it is incumbent upon you to consider what a swift resolution looks and feels like.

Have you worked up a detailed understanding of what it is that all the parties in the locations around the school want to be included in any resolution - swift or not? Have you developed a sense of what the priorities are for each of the individual matters? Have you identified what outcome is preferred in circumstances where there is no agreement within or between these parties on what changes have to be made or where the possible outcomes may be in conflict with one another? Put simply, what is acceptable and what is not acceptable?

You may find that the majority of people will agree that the OLSPN School deserves to see closure on this matter and avoid what has the susceptibility and potential to go beyond this Planning Inspector Inquiry and become an interminable round of Appeal and goodness knows what number of judicial processes.

I do not know to what extent Planning Aid for London has committed to provide assistance on the matter or whether you plan to publish what that is.

It can be anticipated that the organisation will ask some of the questions raised here and primarily seek to establish what decisions and outcomes you would want to see delivered. It is also possible you will receive advice that does not accord with what you would want to hear or see happen - for example what kind of issues can be raised at the Inquiry and perhaps with more difficulty, restrict what kind of evidence and activities are deemed valid and permissible for presentation to an Inquiry.

An old axiom is particularly relevant for the school and the invidious position they find themselves in here.

If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

Please understand how important all of these considerations are in the wider scheme of things. Please select your course of action carefully.

Give some consideration to where, how and when you publish your proposals and when you plan to make formal submissions to the Inquiry. Do not be tempted to adopt "ambush" techniques in the presentation of evidence. It will not be received well at an Inquiry.

One final appeal to you.

Please desist from criticising the parties who must reach compromise. Some of the criticisms may have some validity. Some of the wilder ones in the past have not proven to be accurate, look speculative and do not serve your cause at all well.

If this matter goes to Inquiry, it is for the Inspector to adjudicate on factual matters and to report on where the weight of evidence takes that Inspector.

Paraphrasing another poster on another matter, persuasion may be more successful than condemnation.
I feel your post has a rather condescending tone to it.

Planning aid for London will guide and advise Julia through the process.

Does it really matter on whether it is a swift resolution? We have all been waiting for too long with this hideous monstrosity.

I for one would rather wait a little longer to get a better outcome, otherwise we will all be living with this for years.

Regards

JGD
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by JGD »

prince wrote:
11 Sep 2020 12:55
I feel your post has a rather condescending tone to it.
Advisory and respectfully made requests perhaps - but each to their own.
prince wrote:
11 Sep 2020 12:55
Does it really matter on whether it is a swift resolution? We have all been waiting for too long with this hideous monstrosity.

I for one would rather wait a little longer to get a better outcome, otherwise we will all be living with this for years.
Few will disagree with your narrative about a hideous monstrosity. The swift resolution comment also reflects Julia's expressed view.

It was also a strongly stated desire from the floor of the last public meeting, made firmly by speakers who included staff members and parents amongst others.

You had to be there to have witnessed it, understand it and grasp that absolute need to make complete a building that needs to function fully as a school to meet the needs of pupils. Perhaps you will advise us of whether you were present or not and if you were, do you disagree with the pleas made from the floor to get on with it.

As of recently, parts of the external cladding were incomplete and it still had parts of its innards exposed to our weather and climate which is entirely unacceptable in visual terms and impairs the durability of the existing structure.

Why does a speedy compromise tax you so?

Jollylolly
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by Jollylolly »

I personally do not find JGD’s tone condescending. A swift response and resolution to this is very much needed for the children who go to the school. A long drawn out process means many children will not benefit from a lovely learning space. I have been to all meetings and know that drawing this out any longer will further damage community relations (JRW does not speak for all of Fairlawn Park). Using language like monstrosity doesn’t help either.

JGD
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by JGD »

Jollylolly wrote:
11 Sep 2020 13:45
I have been to all meetings and know that drawing this out any longer will further damage community relations (JRW does not speak for all of Fairlawn Park). Using language like monstrosity doesn’t help either.
JGD wrote:
11 Sep 2020 13:24
Few will disagree with your narrative about a hideous monstrosity.
Mea culpa - guilty with it.

Will not repeat the word again - it is overly emotive and contributes nothing.

prince
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by prince »

JGD wrote:
11 Sep 2020 13:24
prince wrote:
11 Sep 2020 12:55
I feel your post has a rather condescending tone to it.
Advisory and respectfully made requests perhaps - but each to their own.
prince wrote:
11 Sep 2020 12:55
Does it really matter on whether it is a swift resolution? We have all been waiting for too long with this hideous monstrosity.

I for one would rather wait a little longer to get a better outcome, otherwise we will all be living with this for years.
Few will disagree with your narrative about a hideous monstrosity. The swift resolution comment also reflects Julia's expressed view.

It was also a strongly stated desire from the floor of the last public meeting, made firmly by speakers who included staff members and parents amongst others.

You had to be there to have witnessed it, understand it and grasp that absolute need to make complete a building that needs to function fully as a school to meet the needs of pupils. Perhaps you will advise us of whether you were present or not and if you were, do you disagree with the pleas made from the floor to get on with it.

As of recently, parts of the external cladding were incomplete and it still had parts of its innards exposed to our weather and climate which is entirely unacceptable in visual terms and impairs the durability of the existing structure.

Why does a speedy compromise tax you so?
I have been to a public meeting about the school however I do not know to which you are referring.

Of course students and staff will be keen that this is rectified as soon as possible. I don’t think anyone disagrees that we all want this.

However I don’t see how and why you think Julia will delay the process. The inspector will make their decision in their own time and it will be down to the Diocese to then get on with it.

To be absolutely clear why the building is not finished is entirely down to the Archdiocese who has decided to implement a scheme that is absolutely contrary to the planning consent. As such this is completely of their making. It is not down to people like Julia who have been just trying to hold them and the local planning authority to account.

While I have every sympathy for staff and children the fact is that this is entirely the Archdiocese fault.

Why should we all live with this monstrosity for years to come? And yes I will refer to it as such.

If major works need to be done, so be it. Depending on what works need to be done, they might be able to do the works while the school is open, or maybe during school holidays. Alternatively if necessary the building may have to close and children provided with temporary accommodation.

I am sure a compromise will be reached and a resolution reached but to let developers get away with a flagrant disregard of the planning system sends out completely the wrong message. They must be held to account and I applaud Julia for trying to do this.

syd
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by syd »

They must be held to account and I applaud Julia for trying to do this.
Me too!!

My jaw dropped when I first saw the monstrosity, If i was the council representative Id be embarrassed and be the first person in the queue to get this resolved.

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