BY MAYA CHAVVAKULA
Residents are crowd funding to oppose a development that is trying to “cram” people into flats that do not meet the required design standards, they say.
Residents of Southwark have formed an action group to oppose the construction of 499 new dwellings on the current site of Burgess Business Park in Camberwell.
The proposal by property developers Dunnett Investments Ltd has already been rejected by Southwark council.
Dunnett has since appealed to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to reverse the decision, amid strong opposition from locals.
Kat Joyce, one of the fundraisers, said: “There is lots of support for the Business Park being redeveloped to provide much-needed new homes, but the designs being proposed would serve no one well.
“They are trying to cram an extra 1,000 people onto a very small site with poor transport links and strained local services.
“Southwark’s policies say that housing density recommendations can only be exceeded if the design of what is being proposed is exemplary – and this is far from exemplary.
“Existing houses will be dwarfed by the tall buildings; long shadows would be cast across Burgess Park and new residents would be crammed into to flats which barely meet minimum design standards.
“I think it’s pretty emblematic of the whole scheme that the ‘play space’ they propose is on a fifth-floor rooftop, not accessible to the public.
Only a very small number of cases are referred to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government each year.
The funds raised by the action group are being used to hire a barrister and an inspector to
represent the views of the residents at the hearing.
Cllr Johnson Situ, cabinet member for growth, development and planning for Southwark council, said: “The council refused the application because we had significant concerns about both the quality of the residential development.
“This would be a very high-density scheme, and it would result in a significant loss of employment floor space on the site, which is within a designated industrial location.
“We are committed to tackling the housing crisis and we welcomed the scheme’s commitment to 35 per cent affordable housing, but that must be done in the right way and with the best quality housing.
“This is why the committee refused the application and the council will be defending this decision in the strongest terms.”
The seven-day inquiry into the efficacy of the development will begin on August 21.