Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Planning Inspector Calls: Compulsory Purchase Order Public Inquiry: Heygate, Elephant, Southwark

Today, (6th Feb) a small gaggle of leaseholders, objectors, council officers, lawyers - and at least one scribe (this one) - is due to accompany government Planning Inspector Wenda Fabian on her official visit to the Heygate Estate in Elephant and Castle, south London.
   Fabian, to her credit, says she's already strolled solo around the estate permimeter. Perhaps she admired Heygate Street, one of London's most impressive tree-lined avenues, overlooked north and south by majestic London Planes.
   Strangely, Fabian also revealed she'd been warned not to venture inside the Heygate's perimeter because of 'security'. Who on earth - and why - would anyone have told the Inspector such a tall tale?

Compulsory regeneration?
Fabian heard a lot about the Heygate's vast tree 'canopy' as she presided at today's opening of the public inquiry into Southwark Council's Compulsory Purchase Orders issued against the last few Heygate leaseholders.
   Fabian listened as Southwark Council officers said  they understood that compelling people to leave their homes is a serious business - even if you believe, as Jon Abbott, Southwark Council's Elephant and Castle Project Director,  said: "There is a compelling public interest case for confirming this Order."
   Abbott and co say the Heygate must be emptied so developer Lend Lease and Southwark's regeneration deal can deliver new homes, jobs, shops and parkland for local people.
   But Fabian also heard objections to the CPOs from  long-term resident leaseholders like  Adrian Glasspool and Moji Ojeikere - and former residents like Jerry Flynn. Their wide-ranging objections against the regeneration deal include its likely net loss of over 1,000 local council homes  - just so Lend Lease, they say, can turn a handsome profit.
   Fabian's fact-finding trip might include visiting Glasspool's maisonette home.
The hearing, expected to last possibly four days, continues.

Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, February 2013

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