Monthly Archives: January 2010

141 Berkeley Homes on a football field: Lawsuit for Cator Estate

There’s a plan to replace a disused football field with a load of houses.  This greenfield site (i.e. open land that has never been built on before), needs access from Manor Way and Brooklands Park.  The developers “Derreb“, have filed a lawsuit against the Blackheath Cator Estate Residents, saying that they must allow access.  According to the Cator newsletter:

“The original conveyance of the Huntsman land contained a restrictive covenant restricting its use to that of a sports field, or “detached houses for use as private residence only, such buildings to be erected in such a position and in accordance with such plans and
elevations, including general layout and development plans as shall first be submitted to, and approved, at the Purchaser’s expense by the Vendor’s Surveyor.”

BCER has drawn the existence of this covenant to Derreb’s attention, including the fact that as purchaser of the roads from the John Cator Estate, it is now BCER’s surveyor from whom approval is required. Derreb have said they intend applying to the Lands Tribunal to have this restrictive covenantmodified or discharged.”

And according to the developers environmental report:

Provisional of 141 residential units including:
A range of houses and flat types from between 1 and 4 bedrooms

The newsletter says:

Derreb says it has submitted a revised planning application, and is holding two meetings to exhibit what it terms the ‘final plans’ at St Michael & All Angels Church Hall from 6pm to 9pm on 1 and 4 February.

Which is another Beware of the Leopard moment…

Planning laws in this country are a joke.  It is a battle of professionals against amateurs.  They are designed to allow large developers to bully local councils with lawsuits, and allow repeated re-applications, in such away that the developers have very little to lose,  and small groups cannot win.

the
original conveyance of the Huntsman land contained
a restrictive covenant restricting its use to that of a
sports field, or “detached houses for use as private
residence only, such buildings to be erected in such a
position and in accordance with such plans and
elevations, including general layout and development
plans as shall first be submitted to, and approved, at
the Purchaser’s expense by the Vendor’s Surveyor.”
BCER has drawn the existence of this covenant to
Derreb’s attention, including the fact that as
purchaser of the roads from the John Cator Estate, it
is now BCER’s surveyor from whom approval is
required. Derreb have said they intend applying to
the Lands Tribunal to have this restrictive covenant
modified or discharged.

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Details of the proposed Piazza Square

Buildings to be removed in the Blackheath Square Piazza proposal

Buildings to be removed in the Blackheath Square Piazza proposal

Following the fuss on the previous post about the plans to develop the car park behind the library, I thought I’d try and take a look at the proposals.  Four times I’ve tried to get into the Blackheath Halls, and every single time they were closed!  I’ve finally managed, and thought I’d put the photos and captions up here, so that more people can see them.  They don’t appear to be on the Blackheath Society’s website, which is unfortunate, as it seems to have led some commenters to suspect a “stitch up”.

I’m putting the photos up here, as I think they have public benefit.  If the copyright holders want them removed, I will take them down.

The proposals seem to have many good points, but it is such a shame that they aren’t pushing ahead for the original plan – to cover a large proportion of the railway next to the chip shop and turn it into a large, pedestrian only space.  It would have been brilliant.  I can understand the concerns that have been raised about new buildings – the site is “underused”, as they describe it (I’m still not sure I agree with that concept – the trains certainly aren’t “underused” in the mornings – increasing population density has many knock-on effects).

In the end, it seems that the proposals have a sense of a “pact with the devil” about them – property developers are good at pushing for what they want, whereas local societies (even effective ones, such as Blackheath’s) will never be a match for their professional bargaining skills.  What they need is do find a wealthy local benefactor, who would fund the original plans, and suggest naming the square after him/her…  Ferrari Square? :)

They’ve asked for comments on the proposals – so please do give them, firstly to their email address blackheath.soc@lineone.net and also here if you have time to do both.  If anyone knows anything about the area (B) “owned by a family trust”, I’d be interested – it seems a very discreet way of writing about the ownership of the land.

Anyway – here’s the best I could do with my blurry camera-phone:

History of the site:

The site where Blackheath Village Library now stands was from 1863 until 1845 occupied by a much larger building – the 1,000 seat Methodist church with 120ft tower and a Sunday school to the north.  In 1945 a WW2 bomb destroyed the church and many surrounding buildings.

1920s map of how the carpark area looked

Ordnance Survey plan of about 1920 showing the Methodist church and Sunday school.

In 1961 the present “library block” filled the gap, but from several points of view filled it unsatisfactorily.  At two storeys, it is dwarfed by the neighbouring Barclays Bank, stylistically it is weak and unappealing.

In development terms, the building and the private and public car parks behind it represent a gross under-use of a key site in the heart of the Village.

To the north and east of the site, houses which had been damaged beyond repair at the western ends of Wemyss Road, and Blackheath Grove were replaced by five and four storey blocks of flats in the 1950s.  These were joined in the 1990s by a four storey block “The Point”, with basement car parking on the site of the former Express Dairy bottling plant.

Proposals:

The idea of a “piazza” in the heart of Blackheath Village sprang from public consultation on the Blackheath Society’s 2001 proposals for improving the Village.  Our initial ideas were ambitious: a huge raft over the railway stretching from the bridge to the post office, paid for by accompanying development.  But the amount of development needed to pay for such a raft would have dwarfed existing buildings.

What we are now suggesting – our “Plan B” – is more modest but in many ways better.  It demolishes the present library block and substitutes a new development, set further back and partly on the site of the existing public car park.  It would be taller than the existing building but comparable in height to its neighbours Barclays Bank and the Grove House flats.

The Blackheath Society would not, of course, undertake the development.  Our role is to show what is possible, likely to receive planning permission, and acceptable to Blackheath people.  We would then, with the owners of the site – Lewisham Council and a family trust – seek a developer or development partner to carry the scheme forward.

Ownership of the land on the proposed Blackheath Square Piazza

The current proposal focuses on the public cark park (A) owned by Lewisham council, and the library block and its private car park (B) owned by a family trust. Part of Blackheath Grove (C) would be incorporated into the new square.

Railway wall plan

Despite the acknowledged costs and difficulties of building over the railway cutting, we believe that a good case can be made for a small, prefabricated, lightweight pedestrian deck by the chip shop. Together with a ramped footpath down towards the Post Office, the deck would ease pedestrian movement between the Village and the Square. The could be combined with the redevelopment of the chip shop to provide a three-storey (unreadable - #### ###) building fronting the deck. The existing parapet wall would be partially removed to give access and a clearer view through to the square.

Initial design for Blackheath Square Piazza

Initial ideas looked at a wider area including the yard to the north and the railway cutting to the south. The illustration shows how buildings and a deck over the railway could have looked.

Blackheath Square piazza railway cutting

Photo showing the railway area, part of which would be covered.

A dissenting view of the plans for the square in Blackheath

A dissenting view of the plans for the square in Blackheath

Another plan of the area

Another plan of the area, hopelessly blurry, sorry...

The exhibition at the Blackheath Halls

The exhibition at the Blackheath Halls

An artist's impression of how the Blackheath Square could look

Where is the post office?!

The idea of a “piazza” in the heart of Blackheath Village sprang from public consultation on the Blackheath Society’s

2001 proposals for improving the Village.  Our initial ideas were ambitious: a huge raft over the railway stretching

from the bridge to the post office, paid for by accompanying development.  But the amount of development needed

to pay for such a raft would have dwarfed existing buildings.

What we are now suggesting – our “Plan B” – is more modest but in many ways better.  It demolishes the present

library block and substitutes a new development, set further back and partly on the site of the existing public car

park.  It would be taller than the existing building but comparable in height to its neighbours Barclays Bank and the

Grove House flats.

The Blackheath Society would not, of course, undertake the development.  Our role is to show what is possible, likely

to receive planning permission, and acceptable to Blackheath people.  We would then, with the owners of the site -

Lewisham Council and a family trust – seek a developer or development partner to carry the scheme forward.

plan caption:
The current proposal focuses on the public cark park (A) owned by Lewisham council, and the library block and its

private car park (B) owned by a family trust.  Part of Blackheath Grove (C) would be incorporated into the new

square.

wall plan:
Despite the acknowledged costs and difficulties of building over the railway cutting, we believe that a good case can

be made for a small, prefabricated, lightweight pedestrian deck by the chip shop.  Together with a ramped foothpath

down towards the Post Office, the deck would ease pedestrian movement between the Village and the Square.  The

could be combined with the redevelopment of the chip shop to provide a three-storey #### ### building fronting

the deck.  The existing parapet wall would be partially removed to give access and a clearer view through to the

square.

nice plan

Initial ideas looked at a wider area including the yard to the north and the railway cutting to the south.  The

illustration shows how buildings and a deck over the railway could have looked.

History of the site:
The site where Blackheath Village Library now stands was from 1863 until 1845 occupied by a much larger building -

the 1,000 seat Methodist church with 120ft tower and a Sunday school to the north.  In 1945 a WW2 bomb destroyed

the church and many surrounding buildings.

In 1961 the present “library block” filled the gap, but from several points of view filled it unsatisfactorily.  At two

storeys, it is dwarfed by the neighbouring Barclays Bank, stylistically it is weak and unappealing.

In development terms, the buidling and the private and public car parks behind it represent a gross under-use of a

key site in the heart of the Village.

To the north and east of the site, houses which had been damaged beyond repair at the western ends of Wemyss

Road, and Blackheath Grove were replaced by five and four storey blocks of flats in the 1950s.  These were joined in

the 1990s by a four storey block “The Point”, with basement car parking on the site of the former Express Dairy

bottling plant.

OSplan:
Ordnance Survey plan of about 1920 showing the Methodist church and Sunday school.

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Upisde-down Blackheath

Blackheath Station in the Blue Mountains, by chris huh

This is a photo of Blackheath station.  Imagine if you walked down to the platform, as you do every morning, and saw this…. It says Blackheath, but something isn’t quite right.  You’ve stepped through the worm-hole that drops you through the planet, and down into The Other Blackheath.  Detail from a photo snapped by Flickr user Chris huh and used by permission.

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Blackheath, UK… plus one

Citizenship Ceremony at Greenwich Council Buildings

Here’s a little insight for you..  If your family were all born in the UK, there’s a fairly good chance that you’ll never get to go to one of these.  Roll up for the Blackheath Bugle’s review of the glorious, New Labour-inspired Citizenship Ceremony!

Actually, I shouldn’t be too cynical about it.  On the whole it was a really good experience.  Mrs Bugle is now a fully paid-up (and bloody hell, do I mean paid up… about £2000 all considered) citizen of Her Maj’s United Kingdom.

So.. How was it? Continue reading

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Prime Time DVD in Blackheath goes White…

So, thanks to PlanningAlerts.com we can see that the Strangest and Best DVD shop in the world is to become The White Stuff – here’s the planning permission PDF.  A shop (and I quote the Financial Times): “…aimed at trendy working mothers”.  Bad news for people who like films…  And probably very bad news for Sisters and Daughters, who are  in a similar vein.  In fact, so are half the clothes shops in the area, really…  According to an article in the Guardian, The White Stuff is “a lifestyle brand“.  Yawn.

The Google Streetview above shows the branch in Lordship Lane, SE22.

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Blackheath pubs open til 4am?

Bottle of Stella smashed on the pavement in Blackheath, found on Sunday morning

Lewisham Council are about to reconsider the rules around late licenses for bars in Blackheath.  This is carried out through a piece jargon known as the “Cumulative Impact Zone”.  The long and short of it is this:  if you like the fact that there is less vomit, fewer broken bottles, windows, and hearts on a Saturday morning in Blackheath, there’s a good chance that it is down to this piece of legislation.  It makes it harder for licensed premises to request later licenses.  Let’s face it – if you want to go out on a late night bender, Soho isn’t that far away, and you can get a night bus back to Blackheath.

But, according to a recent email from the Blackheath Society, we need to send emails to the council, telling them to keep the “Cumulative Impact Zone” (couldn’t they have found a catchier name?).

So, if you want to stop all the pubs opening til 4am every night, you might want to send something along the lines below to licensing@lewisham.gov.uk :

Dear Lewisham Council.  Please maintain the Cumulative Impact Zone in Blackheath  As a resident, I believe that it has noticeably improved the lives of people in the area.  I think that there is less crime, disorder, and public nuisance late at night as a result of the zone.

There’s more here from the Blackheath Village Residents Association, but the only relevant page I could find on the council’s website about this is here (which is where the zone map, shown below, came from).  A page from the Society’s original request is here, but there’s nothing else about it on their site at the moment.

Map of the Cumulative Impact Zone in Blackheath by Lewisham Council

Dear Member,

We wish to draw your attention to this subject again, in view of what we see as the importance of the CIZ in limiting the impact of late night noise and nuisance associated with licensed premises in Blackheath. The position was explained in our December Newsletter.

Our discussions with Lewisham’s Licensing Department have made it clear that there can be no certainty that the CIZ will continue in force following the forthcoming review of Lewisham’s Licensing Policy. However, its continuation will be more likely if representations are received from residents and organisations. The Society has already written to urge the continuation of the CIZ.

However, letters or emails from individual residents may well be more effective than those from organisations, and we hope that Members who are or have been affected by noise and nuisance will make their views known by writing or emailing as soon as possible. A copy of the Newsletter item is attached to this email, with details of the address to which letters or emails should be sent.

Any members who would like to discuss the matter before writing should contact Julian Crispin (8852 6338) or Frank Smith (8852 6390).

Your help would be greatly appreciated.

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Water is off again in Blackheath

The water mains have shut down again.  Go Travel, Lloyds Bank, and Bennett Park are affected.  If you own this black Ford Fiesta, the police are going to move it, as the Thames Water man needs to get to a bit of plumbing beneath it. 

Thanks to your friendly neighbourhood traffic warden, the Thames Water van now has a parking ticket, despite hazard lights blazing!  “Only doing my job” was the explanation… “Does that include using your brain?’ apparently was the retort!  Quite right too!

Please add to the comments below if anywhere else has no water.  According to their site, we are entitled to £30 if it lasts for longer than 12 hours!

If there is an unplanned interruption, for example when a water main bursts, we will put your water supply back on within 12 hours of knowing about this problem. If a larger “strategic” main bursts, we guarantee to fix it within 48 hours. We can’t give any warning of unplanned interruptions but we will tell you when your supply will be restored as soon as we can. If we do not give you advance notice of planned interruptions, or we fail to restore your supply within the time promised, we will automatically pay our domestic customers £30 and our business customers £50. For each extra 24-hour period that you have no water, we will pay an additional £10 to domestic customers and £25 to business customers.

 

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Library Square Proposals

The Blackheath Society are displaying their suggestions for an improved library in the area next to the Post Office. I quite like the 1970s style little library as it is… Every newly upgraded library always seems to have fewer books, and more slightly broken Windows PCs, which doesn’t feel like much of a step forward to me. As computers become cheaper and more portable, I’d be much keener to see an old fashioned library, with lots of books, some (reasonably) confortable chairs, and some Free Wifi. That would be great.

The exhibition is by the bar at the Concert Halls:

The exhibition will be held in the bar area of Blackheath Concert Halls from January 18 to 22 and is open from 10.00am to 7.00pm each day. Committee members will be on hand daily from 5-7pm to answer questions.

If anyone heads over, please let me know how it was – I’ll try and take a look soon!

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The force is strong…


…in the fancy sofa shop. As the Snowpocalypse continues, it appears that they have called in the Imperial StormTroopers to help us come to terms with our new found arctic lifestyle (see the photo). Is it for sale? Anyone know the price?!

All the shops in the village are starting to remind me of a trip to Moscow! The Village barber’s door was locked, only to opened when a customer knocked.

The off-license has a piece of cardboard sticking out, bleakly announcing “we are open”.

The framing shop is delighted – business is booming. It seems that all those people “working from home” are actually getting their Christmas presents framed!

Selectric don’t sell grit (it’s all imported from abroad apparently), but they’ve still got a couple of bottles of deicer left. And big bags of dishwasher salt, but were doubtful that it would be much use for icy door steps.

Will Blackheath survive?!

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Blackheath commuters interviewed by dwarf

From yesterday’s local news:

Great comparison with this wonderful video (not in Blackheath), spotted here, made in 1963:

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