Category Archives: Local causes

Dorchester Court – how will Lambeth’s planners now respond?

In response to the development proposals for Dorchester Court submitted on behalf of the owners, Heinrich Feldman and family, through their company Manaquel,  Lambeth’s planning committee now has to cope with two magisterial objections  –  on behalf of the residents themselves, and now by the Herne Hill Society on behalf of the whole community.

Dorchester Court – years of neglect

The Society’s deeply considered and detailed response to the planning application fundamentally dismantles the Manaquel proposal. It can be read on the Society’s website. Here are a few key excerpts:

  • There needs to be a legally binding agreement between Lambeth Council and Manaquel which sets out in detail the repairs Manaquel agree to carry out for the total restoration of Dorchester Court. Without it, there is no obligation on Manaquel to start, let alone complete the work. Given the historic failures of Manaquel over decades to address the repair of the building the need for this is all the greater. Neither is there any other form of legally binding undertaking that obliges Manaquel to complete the repairs before marketing the new residences.
  • There is no detailed schedule of repairs. …  Given Manaquel’s historic record in terms of maintenance of Dorchester Court, our fear is that work will start, the foundations will be found to be inadequate, the buildings will be structurally compromised and an application will then be made to demolish the buildings as there will not be enough profit from the development to repair them.
  • No details are given as to how in future Dorchester Court will be managed in a way to avoid the problems of maintenance that have plagued it for several decades and seen it placed on the Heritage at Risk Register.
  • The applications conflict with several Policies spelt out in the Lambeth Plan. Permitting these applications will not secure the long term future of Dorchester Court and will not secure benefits that outweigh the negative effect of breaching established planning policies. … Failure to classify this application as an enabling development and disregard of the Historic England policy and guidance could expose the local authority to legal challenge in its decision-making process.

Lambeth officers are now presumably trying to digest all this before briefing the members of the planning committee. As far as we know, no date has been set yet for the planning committee to meet.

Dorchester Court updates

Visitors to this blog will have seen an earlier report about the crisis affecting residents – our near neighbours – just up the hill in Dorchester Court.

In the news

Yesterday’s Mirror carried an article highlighting the residents’ deep concerns about the defective planning application submitted by the landlords. The link is here.

There was also an article dated 19 May in the  South London Press reporting the residents’ requests to the landlords for rent reductions during the pandemic.

Petition

In addition to opposing the planning application, the residents are asking as many people as possible to sign their petition to Lambeth. That petition can be accessed here.

The planning process

The Herne Hill Society have composed a powerful response to the owners’ planning application, which will be released shortly. We will post a link here as soon as it is available.

Dorchester Court in danger

Fawnbrake residents will be familiar with Dorchester Court, the imposing 1930s apartment blocks sitting between Herne Hill itself and Dorchester Drive.

Dorchester Court, from the original sales brochure (from the DCRA website)

It is now threatened with wholly unsuitable development, as set out in a planning application submitted by the notorious and neglectful landlords. (Helen Hayes MP apparently described them as “one of the worst landlords I have ever come across”.) The landlords’ deliberate and cynical neglect over the years has made some parts of the estate almost uninhabitable, and indeed dangerous.

Yet Dorchester Court is a Grade 2 listed building, and is one of only two 20th Century listed buildings in Lambeth

it was designed by renowned architects Kemp and Tasker. Built in the 1930s in the British Moderne style, it is the only example of a residential block by the designers, who are known for their Art Deco cinemas.

The landlords are in fact the ultra-rich Heinrich Feldman and family, sheltering behind Manaquel Ltd, one of their many holding companies. Manaquel Ltd acts as the landlord for Dorchester Court

The long-suffering Residents Association are fighting back and have created an information-rich website which is well worth looking at.

You can also follow them on Twitter.

 

Aircraft noise over SE24 is getting worse  – let’s protest!

I guess we’ve all noticed that the noise from flights overhead has worsened in recent years, badly affecting our enjoyment of our homes, gardens and local parks, and disturbing our sleep particularly in the early morning.

This is due to changes which mean that over this part of South London, flights are more frequent and planes are flying lower.

Herne Hill, Dulwich, Forest Hill, Brixton, Camberwell and swathes of south-east London are particularly affected.

 

Changes in recent years mean that we are on a concentrated flight path for arrivals into Heathrow Airport. When the wind is westerly, which is 70% of the time, all flights arriving into Heathrow airport are flying over our area in a concentrated descent approach.

Dulwich and Herne Hill Quiet Skies Campaign

Some neighbours in Dulwich have started a petition and have highlighted this in a post on the Herne Hill Forum website,  but this does not seem to have been well publicised on social media, least of all on Twitter unless I have missed something. The number of signatures so far is disappointing.

We would encourage all readers of this message to visit the petition  site at change.org and sign it.

Ruskin Park Summer Fete, Saturday 22nd June

Next weekend, the Friends of Ruskin Park are planning another extravaganza with old favourites and new surprises for all ages.

It’s Saturday afternoon, from 12pm to 6pm at and around the Ruskin Park Bandstand.

 

 

 

 

As they say … Bring the family, there’s so much to do including donkey rides, arts workshops, face painting, raffle, craft stalls and local groups.

They will have live music on the bandstand and in the new acoustic tent. Plus this year we’ll be joined by Matt Barnard juggler extraordinaire and a daring trapeze show.

Food and Refreshments

These will be provided by Canopy Beer Company, Tyjanick Galettes, Deli Jerk, Clarkshaws Brewery, Gourmet Sausages and Eden Organics. There’ll also be a Friends of Ruskin Park stalls selling tea and cake and Pimms and strawberries.

More info

For this and all their events, they have an excellent website.

Call for Community Solidarity – please consider sponsorship

This site does not generally canvass for charitable giving, but this excellent cause is brought to us by one of our neighbours on Fawnbrake Avenue, so please read on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although most of us on this street haven’t had any reason to use it – and with luck may never need to – the Citizens Advice Bureau in Brixton, or more accurately the Brixton Advice Centre, is a vital and unique port of call for people who often have nowhere else to turn for advice and help. But it is desperately short of money, and our Fawnbrake neighbour, Fred Taggart, who is the Honorary Secretary and a Herne Hill resident for 39 years, has launched a local appeal for critically needed funds. Trustees and staff are looking for sponsorship when they join in the 2019 Legal Walk in two weeks’ time.

Fred Taggart writes:

Herne Hill is generally an affluent and socially-aware community.  But not everyone has a million-pound home, and many neighbours and friends struggle to get by on tight budgets, or have employment, debt or bad housing problems.  For 50 years the Brixton Advice Centre on Railton Road has helped, advised and acted for local people with legal or administrative problems who would otherwise be unable to afford legal services.  It averages getting on for 5000 cases each year.  It is a vital part of life in Herne Hill and Brixton.  Unless you have used its services you probably don’t know it exists.

“Austerity has savaged the Centre’s budget, so to generate income, trustees and staff will be taking part in the 2019 Legal Walk on17th June when the Lord Chief Justice and thousands of lawyers raise funds for good causes.

“I am asking those of us who are fortunate to invest in the community in which we live by sponsoring our walkers.  Here’s the link: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BrixtonAC19   

“Just as sponsored walkers want to be first, everyone in Herne Hill wants to ensure that   no-one in our community gets left behind.  So, support your community Advice Centre.  By making life better for some, the Centre makes the community better for everyone.