Cabinet Q’s

A few more observations have headed my way before the @lambeth_council special cabinet meeting on Monday to ratify the proposals for Streatham Hub.

I remain positive about the plan. Ten years of political and corporate dithering was always going to lead to a painful process for the leisure users in SW16.

Hopefully now, both politicians and baked bean sellers have seen sense. A pool and rink should be back in place in Streatham by 2012, and as the pay off, Tesco gets to do colonise a corner of South London.

The art of compromise is unfortunately the way of the modern world. Here’s hoping that there will be more giving than taking when it comes to the temporary leisure facilities during the interim.

And so anyway – those points of interest that have landed in my inbox from an unnamed political source:

(i) As I understand it, the 50% increase in Tesco shop space is by creating a mezzanine floor within the proposed Tesco store building.

Urgh.

Any talk of a mezzanine should lead to the culprit being forced to listen to the Massive Attack album of the same name. It’s as crap as the concept of a mezzanine is. It’s all about the local people, isn’t it? A 50% site increase being used for a mezzanine could be used for, oh, a genuine local public square.

Hang on…

(ii) Public Town Square – this is a bit of a joke as there is hardly any room in the agreed plan for any public space – it’s more more of a ‘virtual’ public space adjacent to the church which is staying, certainly nothing anything near the size of the Windrush Square.

Streatham High Road isn’t the most inviting stretch in South London. The area is crying out for a central meeting point, not some mezzanine.

(iii) Several Lib Dem Councillors [think I’ve just blown my source] plus Chris Nicholson attended an impromptu meeting of the ice hockey users on Saturday. They were understandably extremely nervous that the ice rink would be demolished before the new combined ice rink / pool / leisure centre will be built. They remember Richmond ice rink from the 1980’s. It was demolished on the basis that the developers said they would build a new one. It never happened.

What’s to stop Tesco bulldozing the current ice rink, then finding that unexpected changes in the retail market prevented them from proceeding with building the new ice rink etc. The previous planning application and development agreement guaranteed that the existing ice rink would stay open until the new one was built. That guarantee has now gone. Also, there is the example of Leeds and Tesco for broken Tesco promises.

I guess we just have to take Tesco and Labour led @lambeth_council at their word on this one.

Yep, I’m thinking the same…

(iv) Building a temporary ice rink on Streatham Common? The temporary ice rink in Cardiff cost £3 million, was supposed to be there for only three years and is still there four years later. The Streatham Ice Rink will have to be on the same scale as Bristol, if it is to allow Olympic style hockey tournaments to take place. What about the likely opposition from Streatham residents about building a structure of this size on the Common?

Exactly.

See an earlier comment on m’blog, posted by a resident of Streatham Common. As mentioned in my original response to the Hub decision, I still believe that the issue is all about location, location, location.

Location of the temporary rink, location of the temporary pool and location of the temporary gym. These are the issues that I want cabinet to reassure me over on Monday evening.

(v) Lambeth have just rolled over and surrendered to Tesco. The Tesco press release says the scheme will be delivered “two years earlier” under this new plan. Really? What it actually means is that the Tesco store will be open two years early as they won’t have to wait till the new combined ice rink / pool and leisure centre is built, before they can knock down the existing ice rink and build their new store on ice rink the site.

Agreed. Tesco is the ultimate winner; the leisure users in Lambeth are a secondary concern. But at least that concern hasn’t been silenced, mainly due to a very passionate, and caring local constituent.

(vi) On the same theme of Lambeth rolling over, they are allowing 50% extra spelling space for the Tesco store. Many of those at Saturday’s meeting were terrified at what this could mean in terms of planning delays, as any new plan will have to go through the GLA Planners and the Mayor, the Government Office for London (GOL) and probably the Secretary of State. Mayor Livingstone held up the last planning application by eighteen months. With the issue of so much extra retail, will all these bodies be happy to give the planning process a smooth passage?

Ah, Events dear boy (or girl,) events. One of which is a local election on May 6th, where the good people of Streatham will ultimately be given a chance to let their feelings on the whole handling of the Hub be known.

I still firmly believe that the Hub announcement earlier this month was wonderful news for South London. But it’s far from the end of the story. Cabinet has a lot of explaining to do on Monday 29th. The tricky 5pm start time is still a problem for me. Seems like my source will be able to put forward all of the fine points above.

One thought on “Cabinet Q’s

  1. How does a mezzanine floor within the existing retail store correspond to an increase in the size of the site? Most modern supermarkets are high ceilinged affairs, and all the plans and illustrations of the proposed Hub store have shown it to be no different. So it should be perfectly possible for them to do this within the existing retail space.

    As for a public square, no matter how much space you have you cannot build a central square as part of the Hub simply because the site is not central. Unless and until there is major redevelopment the central shopping area is around the Odeon and Library. For most local residents, those in three of the four wards, it is for all intents an edge of town location. And the Hub is opposite a very large, and quite excellent, public space. Streatham Common.

    And what of Streatham Green? It has far more claim to being a central meeting point that anything they can do at the Hub site.

    As a resident I welcome a larger store which, being on a second floor, means it will almost certainly be used for non-food items. With a large-ish Sainsbury just down the road a standard Tesco offers nothing locally. But with very few basic clothing and electronics retailer in town the addition of these will offer a local alternative instead of having to make a trip out of town. To me this is what I am crying out for far more than a big bit of concrete that is out of my way unless I am specifically going to the Hub site.

    So with no suggestion of the size of the square changing from what it has always been, why is this being made an issue now? It is one of the few parts of this debacle that remains unchanged in this revised proposal from the original.

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