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Planning Notice - Article 4 Direction: NSP Site Allocations (The Grove Tavern, 520 Lordship Lane)


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Hi ED folks!

I spotted this Planning Notice (photo attached) newly posted outside the Grove pub building yesterday. Although the Display Date says 'August 2021' the notice only appeared yesterday.

The Grove car park is currently used as a DIY skatepark by the community and I'm wondering what the implication of this Planning Notice would be.

I know this Planning Notice is informing the public that the entire Grove site (id NSP35) now falls under the NSP scheme which has a stricter development criteria, but is this precursor to an inevitable new development? Has anyone received a public consultation letter from the council?

I believe any new development on the Grove site will have a significant impact on the skaterpark users and potentially displace the community (of mostly youths) which has been growing organically by having that weird & wonderful DIY space.

Has there been a similar scenario in the past e.g. an "Article 4 Direction" notice posted and a development followed? Any examples/stories you can share regarding "Article 4 Direction" and/or "NSP" sites would be greatly appreciated. Thanks :)

[[[ The extracted text from the notice ]]]

Article 4 Direction: New Southwark Plan (NSP) Site Allocations outside of town centres - NSP35 The Grove Tavern, 520 Lordship Lane

Southwark Council made non-immediate and immediate Article 4 Directions on 28th July 2021 under Article 4(1) of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended) ('GPDO').

The Direction applies to development in Southwark's NSP Site Allocations outside of town centres noted in the following classes of the GPDO:

Class MA, Part 3 of Schedule 2 to the said Order as it relates to changes of use from Commercial, Business and Leisure (Class E) to a dwellinghouse (Class C3). This Article 4 Direction will come into effect on 1 August 2021.

Class ZA, Part 20 of Schedule 2 to the said Order as it relates to the demolition of commercial buildings and construction of new dwellinghouses. This Article 4 Direction will come into effect on 1 August 2022.

Development of the descriptions set out above should not be carried out on the land shown edged red on the map annexed to the Direction, unless planning permission is granted on an application made under Part 3 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).


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Disclaimer up front - I don't know anything about planning and it is a very complicated area.

But if you look at the Southwark website, it seems like the Article 4 order is restrictive rather than permissive:

"Article 4 Consultation

Following the amendment of the Use Classes Order in September 2020, former uses classes including Class A1, A2, A3 (retail), Class B1 (business) and parts of Class D1 (Non residential institutions) and D2 (Community and Leisure) were combined into a new Class E, which covers various commercial business and leisure uses.

From 1 August 2021, a permitted development right (Class MA) allows for the change of use from Class E (commercial, business and service) to Class C3 (Residential). The council has introduced Article 4 Directions to remove this permitted development right in certain parts of the borough.

In August 2020, a permitted development rights (Class ZA) was introduced which, subject to prior approval, permits the demolition of commercial or residential buildings and replacement with a single dwelling housing or block of flats. The council has introduced an Article 4 Direction to remove this permitted development right in certain parts of the borough.

Consultation is open from 29 July 2021 to 16 September 2021"

(taken from https://www.southwark.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/planning-policy-and-transport-policy/article-4-directions)

So, in the absence of the Article 4 order, it sounds as though the site could have been subject to a new general right to change the use from commercial to residential, and also to permit demolition of commercial buildings and replacement with residential. The council seems to be saying that those new rights don't apply to this site.

It says on the website that the article 4 order was open for consultation until mid Sept, but not what happened after that (the most recent update to the site was 31 July) - the order must, I guess, have come into force following the consultation which would explain why the notice has only recently gone up. Let's see if my google skills can find the order before someone else who knows what they are doing comes along.

ETA: the draft order on the website covers loads of sites across Southwark and not this site specifically, which is probably helpful.

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Me I think it would be ideal site to build social housing.

As the site is owned by the Alleyn's Gift of God Trust (and is currently leased by a pubco) I think it unlikely that it will be wholly released for social housing, although some provision of that might be a requirement of development. Until now Southwark has resisted change of use from a pub. They have clearly been won over in some way, and the promise of some social housing there may have been the sweetener, of course. I think that, when development starts, you can kiss goodbye to the skatepark. And indeed any amenities for the local young people.

The reality is that this site has been derelict for a number of years, and something needs to happen there. 30 years ago it was a great pub, particularly in the summer with its extensive garden.

Amended to say, in the light of the earlier post (cross posted) - maybe they are still resisting change of use from a pub!

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There is more detail about the underlying policy rationale here:


I don't have time to read it all but from a quick look at the main report, the rationale could well be this:

"The availability of permitted development rights can create a fallback position for

developers. This is a particular risk for site allocations where the requirements of

policy are watered down due to the fallback position of demolishing or converting

a commercial building to residential use. If the permitted development right was

implemented, this would also restrict the requirements of the site allocation policy

being met, and could result in a poorer quality development which may not make

optimal use of the site. This could result in less homes being provided overall,

and would not result in any affordable housing being provided, of which there is

an acute need. 225. The permitted development changes could also have an effect on the

benchmark land value of the property when it comes to viability appraisals and

this gives an alternative use value. Application of the permitted development

right would undermine the council?s ability to maximise affordable housing

45 contributions. Firstly, any change of use to residential made under the permitted

development right would not be required to provide any affordable housing.

Secondly, any change of use to residential will potentially increase the land value

of the site. This would reduce the viability of any subsequent comprehensive

redevelopment and would result in affordable housing obligations being reduced

or unviable which would therefore affect Southwark?s ability to meet its affordable

housing targets."

ie if it is developed for housing, Southwark want to be able to make sure it's used to its full potential and includes an affordable housing component.

Do others think that sounds right?

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Thanks very much for digging into the details! Much appreciated 👍

Yes, now I get the fundamental point of what this "Article 4 Direction" is - safeguarding the quality of development from botched / willfully inadequate development. Which is totally reasonable.

Initially the skaters who found the notice didn't understand the implication (who would, to be fair) and quite stressed out about it thinking this is an immediate beginning of a development and the end of their beloved skatepark!😫

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Penguin68 Wrote:


> I think that, when

> development starts, you can kiss goodbye to the

> skatepark. And indeed any amenities for the local

> young people.


> Amended to say, in the light of the earlier post

> (cross posted) - maybe they are still resisting

> change of use from a pub!


Yes, losing the skatepark would devastate many young people who survived the depth of pandemic winter months hanging around in the skatepark. They forged friendship and allowed to be 'just kids' in a brief moment when they were there. They have deep emotional attachment to the skatepark so when some of them fond the Planning Notice they were really distressed - they are normally tough as nails but I could see their sharp pain in their facial expression.

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I'd hope that eventually whoever runs the site will allocate space for the skate park. It's a well organised operation with well behaved young people who are considerate of the local surroundings and use the shops on LL which have helped to increase revenue during a testing time.
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We need both but I think social housing pips skateparks especially when there is limited land. (It is possible to be pro housing and pro skateparks but also have a rational appreciation of housing needs over those of slim-demographic leisure, so please consider this before a harumph-driven riposte.)
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Building on green spaces should definitely not be allowed, I agree. I live nearby Grove Tavern hence the mention of traffic and noise.

I would like to see an end to profiteering form renting - it doesn't seem right for one person to own 50 properties while others are unable to buy anything. Also, money laundering by investing in homes across UK, especially in London by criminals should not be happening.

Wishful thinking I guess.

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Not an expert so correct me if I'm wrong but: Central government passed a developer-friendly planning law that says commercial property can automatically be converted to residential UNLESS the council say otherwise. This is the council saying otherwise, as it has done for commercial strips elsewhere in the Borough.

Something will eventually be done with the property and the skatepark will have to go or at least move. However, on past (scandalous) performance it could be another 20 years so hopefully the skaters aren't too downcast.

It's a very busy junction so I don't know if it's a great place for housing. It might be that in 10 years (by the time something is down) traffic will be noticeably cleaner and quieter because of more electric cars but even so...

It's an outrage that such a big piece of land in one of the most expensive cities in the world has been left vacant and idle for so long. The Estate should be ashamed.

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I was referring to buildings lying empty when there is a housing crisis. It may be an urban myth that most of the apartments are empty in Vauxhall Cross, the UK being seen by oligarchs and the like as a safe place to put money, but there must be some truth to this.

This recent article suggests ?15B of empty property in the capital, some of worst offenders being the City of London and Southwark - I expect for the latter central real estate rather than more suburban. https://www.cityam.com/15bn-worth-of-london-homes-sit-empty-as-londoners-squabble-over-supply/

I acknowledged already that I was straying off thread.

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Much as I love our borough and Newham, I doubt many Kazakh, Nigerian or Venezuelan oligarchs are buying pieds a terre here and leaving leaving them vacant.

In fact, looking at that list and applying common sense rather than any hard facts, the more desirable the borough to offshore investors, the fewer empty properties it has. The more shambolic and disorganised, the greater the proportion of empty housing stock. Of course, UK property and corporate records are so opaque it would be very difficult to prove that with real evidence.

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Highest percentage of empty properties are in the City, generally the article gives total numbers rather than proportion. It may be due to Covid or other reasons, rather than money laundering etc. ID cards would make it easier to identify who owned buildings, and could be extended to off shore enterprises. Or an easier solution could be a one party state. Deffo in Lounge territory now.
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