Another Slap in the Face
Between them, Lewisham Council and the developers Peabody seem determined to use ‘The Pomeroy’ to increase traffic congestion and pollution on Pomeroy Street.
Their latest trick is the plan to open a shop on the ground floor of 43-49 Pomeroy Street, inevitably attracting more parking throughout the day to further block an already over-exploited residential thoroughfare.
To London Borough Of Lewisham Planning Department.
Tim (who works in housing development) has noticed that Peabody have now applied to London Borough of Lewisham (LBL) to change the wording of the condition on their planning permission that restricts the use of the commercial space to office use as they want to have a shop occupy the unit (Reference number:DC/21/123402).
Unfortunately recent changes to the Use Class system in Planning basically allows this –
Offices and Shops are now lumped together in the same use class and changes within a use class are allowed. Tim believes Peabody are seeking to acknowledge this in updated wording to tidy up the permission so as to easily lease the unit to a retail shop. This application and potential use can be used as an opportunity to highlight that Pomeroy Street is a mess following errors by LBL to carry out their planning and highways responsibilities correctly and so LBL must do something to alleviate the traffic issues on the road.
A Catalogue of Bungling and Duplicity
- The original development was permitted by Planning Officers using delegated authority rather than the development going before the Planning Committee where it would be subjected to scrutiny from elected councillors. This is unusual for a development of 65 homes especially where local residents at both Juniper House and Kender Street TRA had written in opposition.
- The Officer’s report was not uploaded on the LBL website so the decision making was not transparent. Peabody later hid behind this error to avoid their obligations.
- The original application was permitted without a proper highways impact assessment for residential parking as it was proposed as Zero Car Housing. This meant there was no highways assessment of parking impacts on Pomeroy for the Residential or Office uses. The application documents misrepresented the road stating that the majority of the road has a double yellow line parking restriction.
- The method for securing zero car housing is to write a restriction in the legal agreement that accompanies the planning permission that prevents future occupants of the development being eligible for a parking permit should a permit system be introduced. LBL missed this restriction in the s106 legal agreement. LBL also missed a £20,000 contribution from Peabody for a Controlled Parking Zone feasibility study that was recommended to accompany the permission.
- When this omission was spotted by residents in February 2019 LBL were at first uninterested in doing anything about it despite there being an unknown highways impact on a road for which they are responsible for road safety.
- Eventually in June 2019 LBL agreed to try and correct their errors and contacted Peabody. Peabody originally denied the application was ever for zero car housing, despite their application documents stating this numerous times. They said that they were unaware of LBL’s intentions as the Officer’s Report was not available – this was all deeply disingenuous.
- When, in December 2019, Peabody finally agreed to update the s106 at LBL’s cost, they then filibustered and delayed until March 2021, by which point 90% of homes were sold, before signing the updated agreement. This meant that the added restriction could not be applied to signed leases for sold homes. So now there is an un-assessed highways impact from the residential units.
- In Peabody’s application to change the wording of the condition to allow the retail use they hypothesise that if the application was determined today the new Class E use would have been permitted as it includes the permitted office use. This is hard to say as the Officer’s Report does not mention the office use once. So it can only be concluded that they did not properly consider the additional impact of the office use. I do not believe the potential parking impact of office use was properly assessed either. Retail use would have a greater parking impact than office use, this definitely has not been assessed. Loading arrangements for a retail use have not been accounted for in any plans.
- LBL are completely unaware of what the parking impact of both residential and retail uses will have on the safety and traffic flow on Pomeroy Street – a road for which they have responsibility (not `Southwark).
- Zero car housing is allowed at greater densities in locations with sustainable transport options nearby in order to support sustainable development and to lessen the impact on the climate crisis. LBL and Peabody have both acted either incompetently or underhandedly to allow parking for this development, undermining the push towards sustainable development.
- Peabody still has to comply with a Travel Plan which commits them to ensuring their residents do not rely on cars for their transportation. LBL still has a chance to get Peabody to do something about the parking and car use of their residents.
The fundamental issues of the road.
- At approximately 8.5m, Pomeroy Street is not wide enough for two way traffic and parking; as with parking on both sides this clear carriageway is reduced to 4.5m.
According to The Department of Transport’s Manual for Streets, a road with two way traffic requires a minimum 4.8m clear carriageway. With parking on both sides of the road traffic will not flow and will result in frequent traffic jams. Parking around the new development has become noticeably worse since residents have moved in and there is frequent gridlock. Adding a retail shop use with visitors stopping and parking on the street will only make this worse.
- The limited gaps for passing result in cars speeding to reach the next gap. They are also often frustrated from being stuck in traffic and not paying attention. They often do not stop for the Zebra crossing. This is a huge safety issue on a residential road near a park and a school.
- Gridlocked traffic results in more pollution on the street. As was the case with the death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah air pollution from traffic impacts residents in the older buildings far greater than those in new buildings who have modern airtight buildings with
mechanically controlled ventilation with filters. Existing residents with vulnerabilities have been failed by this failure to control parking on Pomeroy Street. This impact, brought about by agents of change who will be less affected, does not stand up to an Equalities Impact Assessment.
- Gridlocked traffic will result in an unacceptable noise impact both from accelerating cars, as they have to stop and start multiple times along the road, and from horns as they vent their frustration.
- Emergency services are also affected, especially with the Deptford Ambulance Station and New Cross Fire Station being located close to Pomeroy Street, both being obliged to regularly negotiate its chronic congenstion. Will this cause fatalities because of delays to emergency services?
What is the remedy?
One quick remedy would be to introduce double yellow lines along a greater proportion of Pomeroy Street. This could include the entire eastern side between Hatcham Gardens and 29 Pomeroy Street.
A long term solution would entail a review of the road and the implementation of a properly designed traffic scheme with traffic-calming and formalised parking at appropriate points on one side of the road. The introduction of formalised parking may also allow for street trees to be introduced making Pomeroy Street a far better environment for all involved.
Unfortunately the horse has bolted on allowing the parking and the shop use however LBL are still responsible for the safety of Pomeroy Street.
There are three ways to log a complaint with the outcomes of this planning permission and to advocate for improvements to Pomeroy Street:
• Email – Planning@lewisham.gov.uk
• Write a letter to – Planning Service, Laurence House, 1 Catford Road, LONDON, SE6 4RU.
• Online – click on this webpage link
https://lewisham.gov.uk/mayorandcouncil/complaints-and-feedback/how-to-send-a-complaint-to-us click direct on