Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Southwark Council - More poor planning?

It appeared in yesterday's "Evening Standard" that the Council, as part of its regeneration is building two residential tower blocks near to the world famous Club, "The Ministry of Sound", sited in Elephant and castle which is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year.

The Club's owners are concerned that the proximity of these new residential areas will affect their opening times and ability to conduct its ability to carry out business. Their lawyers have already contacted the Labour run council to inform them that should such development go ahead then they will be responsible for paying up lost earnings and damages caused by complaints about noise which Clive Zietman a partner at Stewarts law LLP could be as high as;

"Financial loss... and any resulting loss to its global brand... this liability would amount to many tens of millions of pounds."

Chief executive of Ministry of Sound said; "we find ourselves fighting a battle against a development that is wrong for this area, not addressing the needs of residents. This has been mishandled from the outset. Officers are letting down elected members with bad advice that threatens the future of our business."
We've had the same in Medway, officers have misled the cabinet by replacing one of the School organisation principles with something else and telling Cabinet that the new aim was one of the original principles. This led to a whole crisis over the closure of St. John's school and is still causing problems for the Conservative administration in Medway now. (For more infonrmation please see Mark Reckless' blog from November 2009  )
The Southwark planning committee met yesterday to consider whether the 22 storey building, which have 38 flats on Newington Causeway and again in a month to discuss the 41 storey block with 255 flats opposite the club should be go ahead. Hopefully the Cabinet and indeed the planning officers will be able to see sense on this issue.

I agree that regeneration is a good move and new housing is also good, it opens up the market for more people to get on the housing ladder or provide Council homes for people who need assistance. However I think that surely the Council should be planning sensibly, after all this isn't a club that has just moved into the area, it has been there for twenty years! Surely someone must have noticed and realised that there could be planning issues.

Fiona Colley the cabinet member for regeneration acknowledged how important the club was to the local business community and as an employer but said;

"We hope a balance can be struck which allows them to continue alongside the equally important regeneration programme for Newington Causeway."

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