St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

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JGD
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Location: Perry Hill, SE6 (yup - that's Bellingham Ward which includes Bell Green and is still NOT Sydenham)
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by JGD »

A brief enquiry made to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) helpline confirmed that London Borough of Lewisham as the LPA have an obligation to make accessible all documents that the appellant submits in appeal and all associated information including a statement of case (SoC) and draft statement of common ground (SoCG).

It would seem that some documents lag behind as a result of due process and as yet, not all of the submissions have been seen and I am working my way through a substantial number of documents now.

PINS advise that some 5 weeks after the commencement, the LPA submits the main SoCG that they have jointly prepared and agreed with the appellant to PINS. At this point, the LPA sends their SoC to PINS. PINS share the LPA’s SoC with the appellant.

At the 7 week mark, a PINS inspector will hold a conference call with the appellant, the LPA and any party who has been afforded Rule 6 status to
discuss the matters that will be examined during the inquiry and will issue a follow-up note. It also provides an opportunity for the parties to ask any procedural questions.

Some weeks later Proofs of Evidence must be submitted by the appellant, the LPA and Rule 6 parties before the Inquiry starts.

Time aplenty for compromise to be made and reach agreement about moving towards completing construction of the building.

For the mean time and rather interestingly, one document labelled "Appendix 18 olspn - sydenham town forum_asbestos_8 august.pdf" appears in the list of documents presented at this time. The original post can be found here.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=19678&p=185038&hilit=OLSPN#p185038

The six page document is an extract from this very site that contains posts made in a thread that appeared between 28 July 2019 and 8 August 2019.

Someone was observing the thread and made a copy dated 8/9/2019 and it is now presented in evidence.

The thread is an observation on the report made by SydSoc to the Sydenham Ward Assembly about events at the Public Meeting held at the School. The SydSoc report to the Ward Assembly contained significant differences between its contents and the actualite of what did happen at the public meeting also chaired by Tom Copley. It led to a subsequent report being made in the form of a Question to Lewisham's Mayor Damien Egan, in which matters deemed to have been resolved at the public meeting, rather curiously, being raised once more. The thread begins this way....
JGD wrote: 28 Jul 2019 15:05 These draft minutes have been published in another place.

It contains some significant inaccuracies on events and commentary made at the recent public meeting at the school.

Whilst there was a small minority of Sydenham Society members present who endeavoured to dominate the proceedings, including one individual who brandished a placard who only reluctantly agreed to its removal when a majority of voices complained that his actions were rude and it prevented them from observing proceedings. SydSoc's presentation was lopsided. It advised the meeting that as a Society, they had not objected to the original design proposal. It moved on then to articulate a current preference for a different materials finish, namely brick, that until that point had never been proposed by the Society or the previous designers Their commentary returned to a previously deployed thread of unsubstantiated criticism that there was danger present on the school ground in that asbestos material had not been removed safely and written reports about it were not submitted on time. That was effectively and conclusively refuted as it was reported to the meeting that HSE had observed the controlled removal of that material and it was confirmed that there was no question of there being any latent contaminants present.

Members of the audience expressed dismay that these unsubstantiated rumours voiced at the meeting by SydSoc had been subject of fly posting in the vicinity of the school. Parents advised that they felt this was causing unnecessary distress in the minds of parents and children and they had made attempts to remove the offending posters.

Local Ward Councillor Tom Copley said
he had chaired the Sydenham Assembly meeting where the reference had been unanimously agreed and he believed the scheme’s critics were not a small minority of the community.
It is regrettable that this assertion that there had been unanimous agreement on the "reference" has been made. At the school meeting the majority who spoke, were critical of SydSoc's interventions that were causing delay. The outcome from the school meeting is evidently and widely at odds with that reported from the Assembly.

it was evident that those of us who were present that there was a majority view, by a considerable margin, that events in the whole matter were seen as being regrettable. However that majority view called for construction of the full scheme now had to be brought to completion soonest. SydSoc were challenged from the floor about about their prolongation of events by introducing new design considerations. All parents who spoke addressed the issue of their children's education being impacted by potential further delay.

Of the SydSoc presence, only Pat Trembath made any significant and positive impact by providing a precise and accurate narrative about the extents of works for the park entrance that had been approved in the original application, which countered the current designer's assertion of a much lesser scope of works.

Does any one else feel that Mayor Damien Egan's reported thanks to SydSoc are misplaced ?

...
More to follow in due course.
JRW
Posts: 383
Joined: 18 Jun 2015 15:01

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

Post by JRW »

Latest news from the Planning Inspectorate:

"the LPA are not required to publish statements but they must be available to view should someone wish to see them."

So, anyone who is interested in reading the statements of case from the Archdiocese and from Lewisham Council, just ask planning@lewisham.gov.uk, and they must send you a copy, or make other arrangements. If they get a few requests they will have to put it online.

Do have a read, as they are hilarious. As a taster..... The Archdiocese's statement says that they ACCEPT the Council's list of planning breaches, but claim they are unimportant.....

"5.35. The Council has identified the following changes proposed by the Appeal Scheme:
1. Alterations to the materials;
2. Alterations to the fenestration pattern;
3. An increase in the height of the building;
4. Alterations to the roof profile;
5. Alterations to the siting of the building;
6. The installation of the UKPN cabinets and planting on the corner of Sydenham Road and Fairlawn Park;
7. The reduction in the number of fins on the Hall building;
8. The installation of an internal ball fence to the playground on the flat roof of the Hall building;
9. The installation of ventilation grilles;
10. Alterations to external lighting;
11. Alterations to the extraction flue;
12. Alterations to the playground canopies;
13. Alterations to the nursery entrance;
14. The installation of an air-conditioning unit near the nursery entrance;
15. Alterations to the brick plinth; and
16. Alterations to the external plant store.

5.36. The Appellant agrees this list and will demonstrate that these changes do not either
individually or cumulatively, give rise to any material harm, will improve the performance and
appearance of the building and should receive planning permission"


About the area, the Archdiocese states:

Ground (a) That planning permission should be granted for what is alleged in the notice.
Materials and Fenestration
5.1. The stated first reason for issuing the Enforcement Notice concerns materials and pattern of fenestration. The notice alleges that it is two elements only “their appearance and quality” that are a cause of concern. It is alleged that these two elements “would results in an incongruent, low quality and poorly detailed building which is harmful to the character and appearance of the local streetscene”.

5.2. The Appellant will demonstrate that there is no distinctive character in the surrounding area that makes the townscape or streetscene particularly sensitive or worthy of note. The site is not located within a conservation area and it is not in the setting of a heritage asset whether designated or not."

I'm rather surprised that they don't consider their own church to be a heritage asset, and the library certainly is.
JGD
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by JGD »

Interesting material - all of it.

So if the stuff I'm wading through is not directly related to the submissions as described in my earlier post, there is an awful lot of it.
JRW wrote: 6 Oct 2020 14:48 "the LPA are not required to publish statements but they must be available to view should someone wish to see them."

Interestingly this PINS statement is in conflict with their own published guidelines of what should occur.

But hey-ho - nothing new in the difference between what should happen as published in the guidelines and what actually does happen.

So far I have not found the documents you are referring to - so perhaps an email to the LPA seeking copies may have to be made.

Are these quotes from the Archdiocese's statement of case (SoC) or from a draft statement of common ground (SoCG)?

It seems to agree that there is a list of discrepancies but does not state whether there is "common ground".
JRW
Posts: 383
Joined: 18 Jun 2015 15:01

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

Post by JRW »

The quotes are from the Archdiocese's statement of case. They haven't yet agreed with Lewisham on a statement of common ground; the PI told me I wouldn't get to see their drafts in the meanwhile (also not quite the procedure in the guide, but I assume it's a covid concession.) So, we all wait with bated breath, because the Archdiocese have not budged one inch in the whole enforcement process.

Yes, you need to ask Lewisham, the LPA, to see the statements. They are legally obliged to provide access, but have chosen not to make them available online.
JRW
Posts: 383
Joined: 18 Jun 2015 15:01

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

Post by JRW »

So, the arrangements for the OLSPN planning inquiry are announced: it will be an online inquiry, run on MS Teams, on the 9th and 10th February, 2021. More to follow.
JRW
Posts: 383
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by JRW »

We finally have a date for the planning inquiry into the OLSPN redevelopment, the 9th and 10th February 2021. Due to COVID-19, it will be a virtual meeting; if you wish, you can follow proceedings live on MS Teams. This is quite straightforward, and many council meetings are being done online now, so it’s worth getting the hang of. Each side has requested that the Inspector should visit the site in person, so they can understand the issues, but that has not yet been confirmed.

The documentation so far (the full information will arrive 4 weeks before the inquiry) is very strange. The Archdiocese admits that the long list of planning breaches are true, but at the same time are arguing that they didn’t have to follow them…(?!) Frankly, as the Council lawyers can’t make sense of it, I’m not even going to try.

The Archdiocese says that they haven’t damaged the character and appearance of the area, because the area isn’t that attractive anyway. Astonishingly rude! I think Fairlawn Park is beautiful. They are claiming that Lewisham has been discriminating against them on religious grounds, and quite a lot of other accusations along those lines.

In addition, these kind of claims are also made in third party comments, supporting the Archdiocese. These include Bishop Patrick Lynch, auxiliary bishop (SE), saying:

" In Our Lady and St Philip Neri Primary School there is a very high percentage of students from BAME communities……. These include many single families on Universal Credit, housed in the area by by the Local Authority. There are, however, a few people in the local community who have reacted negatively to this change in the demographic of the area…." (ie. he thinks we’re racist… ?)

Two parents, one also a governor, imply objections are based in anti-catholic feelings. Most interestingly, a standard letter, copies signed by over 80 parents, says

“… . as a parent, I am very disappointed that the school remains unfinished. It seems to be that the needs of the pupils are being ignored in order to placate one or two vociferous residents who do not want a school near their homes.”

I am sure I could reasonably be described as vociferous, but I love living next to a school, I grew up next to a school, and like hearing kids in the playground. It’s the associated adults I have issues with. I am disturbed that this has been distributed, apparently with the cooperation of the school. I’d be happy to be told this was not distributed by the governors.

In the autumn of 2019, the Archdiocese submitted, as letters of support, a large group of letters from pupils. Having seen copies (redacted for privacy), I discovered that these are actually letters to the Archdiocese, giving their positive and negative views of the new building. A huge proportion of them ask (very politely) for blinds in the classrooms, because glare from the sun made it hard to see projectors and screens, and also made the rooms miserably hot.

I would point out that these problems are the result of the wrong windows being fitted; they were to be deep set, not flush, to cut glare. Ventilation panels should have provided fresh air, while keeping it soundproof to traffic. Many other issues were raised by the pupils, including health and safety concerns, and the general impression is that they were finding the school buildings uncomfortable.

Anyway, please spread the word, and ask anyone who is interested in joining the mailing list, to email fairlawnparkplanning@gmail.com. If you join the mailing list, I can give you access to the main documents.
Growsydenham
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Location: sydenham

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

Post by Growsydenham »

JRW wrote: 22 Oct 2020 17:49
Two parents, one also a governor, imply objections are based in anti-catholic feelings.
This is I’m sure inaccurate, unfair and a misunderstanding. But it is why the campaigners’ decision to send tweets to the Pope about the school “ignoring temporal authority” and failing “church ethics” were a bad idea; because they risked fuelling such unfortunate impressions.
JRW
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Re: St Philip Neri school: Archdiocese appeals planning enforcement order

Post by JRW »

And the Bishop?
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