On 17th November, Sarah Lewis (Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson for Vauxhall) and Graham Neale (Lib Dem councillor for St George’s Ward, Southwark) joined local residents to see off an unwanted housing development planned for the former Woodlands Nursing Home site in Kennington.
At public inquiry, testimonials from residents (supported by crowd-funded legal representation), led the national planning inspectorate to deny developer Lifestory Group (formerly Anthology) planning permission for their proposed scheme.
“Both existing and emerging planning policy recognises that providing quality, affordable housing that meets a range of needs through unit and tenure mix, is in the best interests of Lambeth. The Woodlands Nursing Home site must deliver a housing scheme that supports our young people and our young families, each of whom has a right to a safe and secure home. They are the future of our borough,” said Sarah Lewis, Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson for Vauxhall.
The Stop the Blocks Community Action Group, a coordinated volunteer campaign group comprised of local residents’ associations and residents, was formed two years ago in response to the developer’s proposals for a development on this former public land.
While the local community has been supportive of the redevelopment of the site from the start, objections to plans put forward by Lifestory Group centred around the lack of genuinely affordably housing and the disproportionate impact of the planned towers on the local conservation area.
Since then, Stop the Blocks has worked tirelessly to influence the developer’s plans, in the hope that they would put forward a more proportionate scheme with adequate provision of housing units at social rent. Following Lambeth Council’s determination that the proposals met the requirements of neither the London nor the Lambeth borough plans, the scheme was finally referred to the national planning inspectorate last November.
Following the inspectorate’s determination to block the proposed development, the Liberal Democrats – alongside Stop the Blocks – are now waiting to see whether Lifestory Group will now engage with the community to bring forward a more suitable scheme that offers real benefits to the area.