Case Study: Post consent amendments and resident liaison, Royal Borough of Greenwich

Background

Bellway Homes sought to submit Section 73 applications with regard to a mixed-use development in the London Borough of Greenwich. The original consent had been given in 2013 and Bellway had taken over the scheme from another developer in 2016, with the intention of building out the final phase. The Section 73 applications sought to change the design of the new homes in the final phase, and increase their number.

Challenge

Since the original consent in 2013, the scheme had already increased in size once, stretching the patience of councillors. In addition, access to the scheme ran through residential streets and over recent years residents had been aggrieved by construction traffic in the area during the build out.  There was a real risk that residents opposed to the scheme because of these traffic issues would use the Section 73 applications as an opportunity to voice their opposition to councillors, potentially derailing the progress of the development.

Solution

  • SP Broadway invited residents to attend a Community Liaison Group, where construction, access, and other issues could be raised and resolved. Around 40 residents attended the meeting, chaired by SP Broadway, and a number of issues were addressed, taking the heat out of the situation. It was agreed to hold the meetings quarterly, until the construction of the final phase was completed.
  • We created and maintained a project website, containing up-to-date information on the Section 73 applications, to keep residents updated after the meeting.
  • We responded to all resident queries in the run-up to determination of the planning applications, ensuring that all issues raised were managed and not directed at councillors.
  • We wrote to all Planning Committee members before determination dates, clearly setting out how the Section 73 applications would improve the scheme, and deliver more affordable homes.

Result

The first application, an uplift of 16 homes, was unanimously consented in April 2017. The second application, for a further uplift of 10 homes, was consented by 10 votes to 1 in December 2017. SP Broadway continues to liaise with residents during the construction phase.

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