We are now informed what the Councils Project aims are:-Clear and practical advice to the market in respect of the broad shape of acceptable schemes. An assessment of the key urban design issues for the site. The identification/ analysis of the prevailing property market conditions for appropriate land uses.The provision of an outline analysis of the potential alternative development options for the various parts of the site. The provision of a development appraisal analysis to assess the commercial viability of the emerging development options.
That the Site priorities are Environment Trust River Centre. Highly sustainable scheme
- High quality design, of a scale and density that are appropriate for the sensitive location
- Play facilities and open space improvements
- Adjusted affordable housing content
The language is taken to be “developer speak” which is intended to send the right message to developers. This expensive exercise costing us some £1/2 million is to give advice to the market. The market is not identified but could it be by any chance the property market?
Any illusion you may have had that it was your land or that you had any say or any voice in this matter should have been clearly dispelled when the alternative of doing something different from what the Council proposed was not an option to be considered. It is usually claimed at these times that the Council must get best value from the site. This only applies when land is sold. The other claim that it is barren is tantamount to saying your Council have allowed it to decay and therefore to clear it up they must sell it. What is reprehensible is the main benefactor an Environmental Trust appears not to be aware of the irony of covering public open space in bricks, mortar and tarmac to provide a centre for the environment.
- The Council informs us. The proposal is that the scheme itself will fund the shell of the River Centre building through the profits generated by its enabling residential/commercial elements. It will be provided at no cost to the Environmental Trust. Contracts with a developer partner would be put in place that assure this to be the case. The shell building cost is £3 million.
- We are informed that The River Centre is provided by a commercial development of high quality design, of a scale and density that are appropriate for the sensitive location. But the Council tells us that appropriate scale and density is a height o 3 to 4 storey, the number of houses 18 or 44 flats. Placed in a ring to the S and W of the existing site. Consider the present King Street Parade this is 3 storeys high. We are seriously being told that it is necessary to create buildings as high or higher than King Street Parade to justify this River Centre. Buildings that will create a sun screen for the rest of the site. A road system that results in 2 way traffic in both Water and Wharf Lane. A new road for the housing at the rear of the site. New restaurants Cafes. This is the interpretation of developer speak for high quality design, of a scale and density that are appropriate for the sensitive location.
- We are informed that there will be play facilities and open space improvements. But hold on site planning briefs say the site was to have a significant area of Public Open Space as the predominant feature of the site. This open space turns out to be an area equivalent to the present rockery and path. Play facilities turn out to be smaller than the present, without its Cafe the reason for its success, and its location is now elastic. The Councils clever ruse is to include the existing open space on the Embankment. They will take it away, smarten it up and give it back to us. That area of the Embankment allowed to deteriorate for years by this Council. Take a look at the seats if you can find them. But that is not all, the present M.O.L. green island at the bottom of Water Lane becomes a Loading area for Eel Pie Island.!
- Last of all is the Adjusted affordable housing content. This is developer speak for housing that contains no affordable housing, that is not inclusive, that is contrary to Government policies and open to challenge.
Clear and practical advice to the market, with no concern for the public, whatever did you expect a miracle!