Tag Archives: Planning

Call On Pickles To Call In Stow Decision Over Value For Money Concerns

Press Comment from Stella Creasy MP:

“Like many residents in Walthamstow, I’m gutted to see Boris Johnson’s support for the popular Walthamstow Dog Stadium before the mayoral elections disappear after them. Ever since they bought it in a private sale, both Iain Duncan Smith and I have argued L&Q’s plans don’t represent the best deal for the taxpayer or local residents. That’s why along with many others we’ve worked to provide an alternative proposal that will not only restore our dog track as a going concern but also bring living wage jobs, housing and investment to our area.

Today’s news is a bitter blow to those of us who want the best for Walthamstow. However, we’re not giving up just yet- I made a pledge to residents at the election to fight for our stadium because of the future potential it offers our community and I owe it to them to continue to explore who can hear our concerns now. That’s why I’m now making a public plea to the Government to listen to Walthamstow and asking residents to make their feelings known to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

There are now very serious questions about the financial viability of L&Q’s plans and what this
means for the public purse- that’s why I believe there is a case this could be considered a matter
of national importance and so something in which the Secretary of State could intervene if he so
chooses given his powers. Indeed, he has previously expressed concern for the fate of the Dogtrack.

The questions this development in its current format raises around value for money in housing
developments, the status of social and affordable housing in planning and the role of section 106
agreements in the current financial climate have implications far beyond E17. I hope Eric Pickles sees
this and exercises his right to call in this decision and scrutinise it to show he is serious about getting
the best for British tax payers.”

Please find below a suggested email to send to Eric Pickles MP, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – he now has 21 days to decided whether to intervene.

————————————————————————————————————————————-

Suggested email to send to Eric Pickles MP-

Send your email to eric.pickles@communities.gsi.gov.uk and please include your name and address in all your correspondence with the Secretary of State.

“Dear Mr Pickles,

I’m writing to you as a concerned taxpayer to ask you to exercise your power as Secretary of State
for Communities and Local Government to call in the decision by Waltham Forest Council and the
Mayor of London to approve planning for the Walthamstow Dogtrack to be turned into a housing
estate. This is because I believe this development raises serious questions of national importance
about value for money to the taxpayer.

In particular, I’m deeply troubled by the evidence that this development will lose money for L&Q
– who receive public subsidy as a registered social landlord- given their own viability assessment
which they sought to keep out of the public domain shows a loss of £14m. Furthermore, the nature
of the section 106 agreement for this proposal is also unclear and there is a lack of any social
housing in this development, despite being in an area with a need for such properties. Therefore,
without scrutiny I am concerned that if this development goes ahead it may set a new and troubling
precedent on questions of value for money for housing, not just in Walthamstow but across the
country. The existence of a viable alternative that is in keeping with the heritage of this site and
would provide not only leisure facilities but also housing and living wage jobs further compounds

the concerns many have about the decision to approve L&Q’s plans. As someone who has previously
shown a strong interest in this development, please urgently exercise your power as Secretary of
State to call in this decision to ensure the public purse is not at risk from this proposal.

I look forward to a positive response and thank you for help in investigating this matter.

Yours Sincerely,”

Send this email to Eric Pickles by clicking here.

Last chance to object to UCKG Cinema Planning Appeal

With just three days left until the November 1st deadline for objecting to the UCKG planning appeal for the EMD cinema, Stella Creasy MP urges local residents to write to the national planning inspectorate to make their views heard.

Letters from UCKG members outnumbered objections to the EMD cinema plans by nearly 3 times in the last planning application – this time, your objection could make all the difference as local people know many more support saving the cinema as an entertainment venue.

  • To lodge your objection; email Leanne Palmer by clicking here.
  • or write to Leanne Palmer at The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/02 Kite Wing, Template Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6PN.
  • or use the online form by clicking here and scrolling down to ‘comment on this case’.
  • Make sure on everything you send you add this reference code: APP/U5930/A/12/2183662/NWF and include your postal address on all correspondence.
You don’t have to write much at all – just a quick line saying you support Waltham Forest Council’s rejection of the UCKG plan will be enough. Please take just 5 minutes in the next couple of days to help us reflect the enormous support for the cinema by writing to the inspectorate, and encouraging your family and friends to do so too.  If you have any questions about the objection process please email the ‘Save Walthamstow Cinema’ campaign by clicking here.

 

I have written to the planning inspectorate to lodge my objection ahead of the public inquiry – you can read my letter below. Thanks for your support, and remember we just have until Thursday 1st November to get our voices heard.

 

“Dear Ms Palmer, 
RE: APP/U5930/A/12/2183662/NWF

I’m writing to urge the Planning Inspectorate to uphold the decision of Waltham Forest Council to refuse planning permission for the application detailed above.As the MP for Walthamstow I have previously raised objections with the Inspectorate to the attempts by the applicants to secure planning permission for a church to be developed on this site. Despite their attempts to amend their plans, I believe this new version of the scheme the UCKG is proposing is still unacceptable and does not address the objections which have been articulated previously.In particular, given the planning guidance on the use of heritage buildings such as this it is clear that the latest version of these plans which proposes mixed use for this site does not preserve the heritage of the building. Heritage is not just about the fabric of the building, it is also about what it is used for and how this reflects its history. The best use for this building is the purpose for which it was built, as an entertainment venue. It is a Grade II* listed building – the very last of Komisarjevsky’s cinemas in the whole of the UK that hasn’t already been demolished or turned into a supermarket, health club or bingo hall – and so concerns about its heritage status are paramount to any planning application made for the site.Such concerns are also consistent with the relevant legislative framework for such buildings. When faced with a change of use application for a listed building, national planning guidance on heritage buildings encourages local authorities to consider whether viable alternative uses for a site which are in keeping with the historic use of a building are possible. If such a viable alternative exists this can be used as evidence to refuse an application. It is important therefore to highlight The Waltham Forest Cinema Trust plans to restore the building as an entertainment venue. This planned alternative use is commercially viable and would be in keeping with the heritage of the site, combining live performances in the main auditorium, plus some film screenings and live screenings of events. This proposal is also distinctive from any possibility of a multiplex in the Walthamstow town centre area in the future as it retains both the use of the building as a cinema and the opportunity for live performances as well. Above all, as it offers the opportunity to retain the use of the site which directly reflects and honours its heritage value – it is therefore a superior offer to the plans put forward by the church and shows that the local authority are right to reject an application which would change the use of this building when there is strong evidence of a desire to use it in a format which reflects its heritage status.The proposals by UCKG would not contribute to the economic regeneration of the town centre in the way that such a major entertainment venue would. Indeed, the scale of cinema provision in their plans is extremely limited and unproven. In contrast, the proposals by the Cinema Trust sit alongside and complement the possibility of a multiplex in the area, so giving the town centre a sizeable and attractive entertainment hub, which would be good for local businesses and our desperate need for local job creation.

The UCKG plans severely limit public access to the main auditorium, which is a unique space. They are suggesting a minimum of 12 days a year when it could be used for purposes other than their own. However this organisation has a poor record of allowing access at the Rainbow in Finsbury Park, and reneged on their promise to include a cinema in the former ABC Cinema in Catford, so we can have little confidence that there would be significant public access to this heritage asset or that such clauses would in reality be possible to enforce. Thus, the UCKG’s scheme would deprive residents of day to day use of the main auditorium and its heritage, with no guarantee that access to the space would be preserved in perpetuity.

I wish also to express concerns as to whether their plans for cinema at this site are sustainable. Given the length of time this matter has been under review I find it extremely troubling that this proposal comes without a confirmed cinema operator to participate in this project and so show it is feasible. As well as the history of the failure of the UCKG to work with a cinema operator in Catford, it is difficult to find any other instance of a church sharing a building with a cinema in the way they are proposing. Thus without confirmation of the ability of the church to deliver this proposal, there can be no confidence that this latest plan is not solely an attempt to bypass the application of our local development framework to this site given it states a clear preference for cinema to be provided.

There is no question that there is minimal local support for the UCKG proposals. No local elected representatives have had any significant volume of letters or emails supporting them, in contrast to the large numbers against. Indeed, I can personally confirm as a former councillor and now the MP for Walthamstow I have in 10 years only received one letter from a resident of Chingford in support of this or any former proposal made by the UCKG for this site.  I am also concerned by the attitude of the church and its representatives who stated to me that such local support was not a factor in whether they would continue to press ahead with these proposals at their recent community consultation event. I believe this disregard for local opinion further undermines any suggestion of real commitment to community engagement by the UCKG within this application. Indeed it is clear to me that the settled will of the people of Waltham Forest – residents, elected representatives, and two previous planning decisions – is that the EMD Cinema should not be converted into a place of worship but instead be restored as a cinema able to drive the regeneration of Walthamstow town centre.

Thank you for taking the time to read this correspondence – I should be grateful for confirmation that this letter has been received and included in the representations for this application. Furthermore i would welcome the opportunity to address the public enquiry into this matter on the 29th November.

Yours sincerely,


Stella Creasy MP”

Stella’s objection to latest EMD Cinema planning application

 

Dear Madam/ Sir

Re: Planning Application numbers: 2012/0764 and 0765/LB (Planning and Listed Building applications) (2012/0766 & 0767/LB duplicate applications) – Former Granada (EMD) Cinema, Victoria Public House, 186, 186a, 186b Hoe Street E17

I’m writing to urge the Council to refuse planning permission for the application detailed above.

As you may be aware, I have objected on several previous occasions the applicant has applied for planning permission for a church to be developed on this site. I believe this new version of the scheme the UCKG is proposing is still unacceptable and does not address the objections which have been articulated previously.

In particular, given the planning guidance on the use of heritage buildings such as this it is clear that the latest version of these plans which proposes mixed use for this site does not preserve the heritage of the building. Heritage is not just about the fabric of the building, it is also about what it is used for and how this reflects its history. The best use for this building is the purpose for which it was built, as an entertainment venue. It is a Grade II* listed building – the very last of Komisarjevsky’s cinemas in the whole of the UK that hasn’t already been demolished or turned into a supermarket, health club or bingo hall – and so concerns about its heritage status are paramount to any planning application made for the site.

National planning guidance on heritage encourages local authorities to consider whether viable alternative uses for a site which are in keeping with the historic use of a building are possible when considering a plan which would change the use of a building. If such a viable alternative exists this can be used as evidence to refuse an application. It is important therefore to highlight The Waltham Forest Cinema Trust plans to restore the building as an entertainment venue. This planned alternative use is commercially viable and would be in keeping with the heritage of the site, combining live performances in the main auditorium, plus some film screenings and live screenings of events. This proposal is also distinctive from any possibility of a multiplex in the town centre area in the future as it retains both the use of the building as a cinema and the opportunity for live performances as well. Above all, as it offers the opportunity to retain the use of the site which reflects its heritage value – it is therefore a superior offer to the plans put forward by the church.

The proposals by UCKG would also not contribute to the economic regeneration of the town centre in the way that such a major entertainment venue would. Indeed, the scale of cinema provision in their plans is limited. In contrast, the proposals by the Cinema Trust sit alongside and complement the possibility of a multiplex in the area, so giving the town centre a sizeable and attractive entertainment hub, which would be good for local businesses.

The UCKG plans severely limit public access to the main auditorium, which is a unique space. They are suggesting a minimum of 12 days a year when it could be used for purposes other than their own. They have a poor record of allowing access at the Rainbow in Finsbury Park, and reneged on their promise to include a cinema in the former ABC Cinema in Catford, so we can have little confidence that there would be significant public access to this heritage asset or that such clauses would in reality be possible to enforce. Thus, the UCKG’s scheme would deprive residents of day to day use of the main auditorium and its heritage, with no guarantee that access to the space would be preserved in perpetuity.

I wish also to express concerns as to whether their plans for cinema at this site are sustainable. Given the length of time this matter has been under review I find it extremely troubling that this proposal comes before the committee without a confirmed cinema operator to participate in this project and so show it is feasible. As well as the history of the failure of the UCKG to work with a cinema operator in Catford, it is difficult to find any other instance of a church sharing a building with a cinema in the way they are proposing. Thus without confirmation of the ability of the church to deliver this proposal, there can be no confidence that this latest plan is not solely an attempt to bypass the application of our local development framework to this site given it states a clear preference for cinema to be provided.

There is no question that there is minimal local support for the UCKG proposals. No local elected representatives have had any significant volume of letters or emails supporting them, in contrast to the large numbers against. Indeed, I can personally confirm as a former councillor and now the MP for Walthamstow I am yet to receive a representation from a local resident in support of this or any former proposal made by the UCKG for this site. I am also concerned by the attitude of the church and its representatives who stated to me that such local support was not a factor in whether they would continue to press ahead with these proposals at their recent community consultation event. I believe this disregard for local opinion further undermines any suggestion of real commitment to community engagement by the UCKG within this application. Indeed it is clear to me that the settled will of the people of Waltham Forest – residents, elected representatives, and two previous planning decisions – is that the EMD Cinema should not be converted into a place of worship but instead be restored as a cinema able to drive the regeneration of Walthamstow town centre.

Thank you for taking the time to read this correspondence – I should be grateful for confirmation that this letter has been received and included in the representations for this application.

Yours sincerely

 

Stella Creasy
MP for Walthamstow

 

EMD: please speak out yet again to save our cinema

As part of their long running attempt to convert Walthamstow’s Granada EMD Cinema into a church, The United Church of the Kingdom of God has submitted yet another new planning application for this building. The fight to stop this and restore our cinema has been going on since 2002 when they bought the site. Yet again, this latest proposal requires us as a community to speak out if we wish to challenge their plans so that the alternative plan to restore the cinema can be brought forward.


The new proposal

The new element in this latest plan from the UCKG, in contrast to their earlier proposals, is six very compact screening rooms around the periphery of the main auditorium, totalling 690 seats.  The main auditorium remains reserved for church use, with no meaningful access to non-UCKG members.In other respects there is little change from the previous plans that have been overwhelmingly rejected repeatedly by the local community and the local council. The full details of the application are on the Council’s website.


Residents need to object

The Waltham Forest Cinema Trust and the McGuffins will be making representations on this as will I, but it is vital individual residents also make their views known by writing directly to the planners – please note more national UKCG members than Walthamstow residents wrote to the planning inspectorate about their previous application to support it being approved and it is clear the church has considerable resources to put towards making their case. There is no question that there is minimal local support for the UCKG proposals. (No local elected representatives have had any significant volume of letters or emails supporting them, in contrast to the large numbers against.)


Where to send your objection

As this is a new application it has been sent to the local authority, not the national planning inspectorate, to consider. Please note they must consider this new application on its own merits rather than in the context of any previous application, so any previous correspondence you may have sent on this matter will not be relevant for this purpose.

Please send your objections into the council by Friday 13 July 2012. Objections should be sent to dmconsultations@walthamforest.gov.uk.


What to mention in your objection

  • The mixed use that UCKG are suggesting does not preserve the heritage of the building. Heritage is not just about the fabric of the building, it is also about what it is used for and how this reflects its history. The best use for this building is the purpose for which it was built, as an entertainment venue. It is a Grade II* listed building and so concerns about its heritage status are paramount to any planning application made for the site.
  • Heritage planning legislation encourages local authorities to consider if viable alternative uses for a site which are in keeping with the historic use of a building can still happen when considering a plan which would change the use of a building. If such a viable alternative exists this can be used as evidence to refuse an application. It is important therefore to highlight The Waltham Forest Cinema Trust plans to restore the building as an entertainment venue. This planned alternative use is commercially viable and would be in keeping with the heritage of the site, combining live performances in the main auditorium, plus some film screenings and live screenings of events. This proposal is also distinctive from any possibility of a multiplex in the town centre area in the future because it will aim for a different market. Above all, as it offers the opportunity to retain the use of the site which reflects its heritage value  it is a superior offer to the plans put forward by the church.
  • The proposals by UCKG would also not contribute anywhere near as much to the economic regeneration of the town centre as a major entertainment venue would. The scale of cinema provision in their plans is limited. In contrast, the proposals by the Cinema Trust sit alongside and complement the possibility of a multiplex in the area, so giving the town centre a sizeable and attractive entertainment hub, which has to be good for local businesses.
  • The UCKG plans severely limit public access to the main auditorium which is a unique space. They are suggesting a minimum of 12 days a year when it could be used for purposes other than their own. They also have a poor record of allowing access at the Rainbow in Finsbury Park, so we can have little confidence that there would be significant public access to this heritage asset.
  • There have to be serious doubts about whether their plans are sustainable. We know of no other instance of a church sharing a building with a cinema in the way they are proposing. In a multicultural area like Walthamstow many people would not want to use the cinema if it meant (as it would under their plans) having to pass through what are essentially church areas.