Nunhead Green Early Years Site Design Consultation

Discussion in 'Nunhead' started by Daisy_AOC, Sep 17, 2011.

  1. Daisy_AOC

    Daisy_AOC Respected Local

    Hello all,

    As promised, I’m picking up some of the points raised at the end 2011/ start 2012. I shall do them as separate posts for clarity, otherwise I fear that this may become rather an indigestible essay...If I have missed anything out, or if my responses provoke further questions, please do let me know.
    In brief: no. To be specific: of the 26 residents who completed a form at Event 1, 12 were against housing on the site, with 7 feeling it to be ‘not at all appropriate’. (Of the remaining 14, 8 thought housing was appropriate or reasonably appropriate, and 6 were ‘on the fence’.)

    Almost all 26 (i.e not just the 14 who were potentially open to housing) went on to answer the remaining questions which, at that stage, were broad. We asked people:
    (i) to help us define Nunhead Green’s existing character, and
    (ii) to consider some initial ‘back of the envelope’ ways that a viable amount of housing might be organized on the site.

    That feedback i.e. from all 26 forms (plus a strong steer from planning policy) allowed us to go away and:
    (i) draw up an initial housing design proposal, as shown at Event 2, and
    (ii) look for possible housing precedents – also shown at Event 2 - to provoke initial discussions about style.
    Event 2 was therefore the first event at which questions of style or aesthetics were explicitly considered.

    I hope that answers the question. Of course, do let me know if it raises further questions.

    PS. I am posting here a link to the findings from that first event. Please note that the answer to question 2 regarding preferred tenure types has been amended following a triple-check of figures at the end of last year. This did not affect our response as we were working off an internal excel doc of findings, but apologies for any wider confusion. People may have been surprised that student housing appeared to have been such a popular option... finds summ_rev.pdf
  2. Daisy_AOC

    Daisy_AOC Respected Local

    It may be worth clarifying that what AOC have been running - and we know that this limited focus is a point of contention - is a housing design consultation, and not a consultation about the future of the site in general.

    Within that consultation, choice is relatively limited. A combination of planning and housing policy, site constraints (including requirements to protect privacy and daylight, the willow etc), and economic viability significantly determine what is possible. As designers, we actually have little free choice – and so it would be disingenuous to feign offering it to others – about e.g. where housing can go on the site, how much housing there should be, and how it should be accessed. In all materials presented, we aim to be clear about where community opinion can have meaningful influence, and where other factors may dominate. (Btw, many thanks to Ed Hammond for helping explain on this forum the particular and at times complex restrictions that policy imposes.)

    One area where there is considerable potential for influence is in the ‘look and feel’ of any housing i.e. its overall shape, the nature of its roofline, its style, the materials used, the layout of windows and doors, its relationship to the street. These areas may appear cosmetic, but they have a considerable influence upon how a building ‘works’ within an area, and are therefore still valuable to discuss collectively.

    A final point perhaps is that we would never offer people a ‘choice’ in the sense of “do you want this design or that design? Vote now!” We believe that the best results come from using options as a tool for discussion, with evolving designs drawing on the strong points of both/all options, and shedding the weak ones. Discussions at Event 2 have had a significant impact, moving us in a direction that we would not have taken working in an isolated architects’ ‘bubble’. We are also committed to explaining at every stage how feedback influences the direction taken, as well as where it was not able to.
    You are right.

    These design drop-ins – which by the way, are prepared specifically as displays with both 2D and 3D elements - are an efficient way of capturing the opinions of a relatively broad range of people. We spend a lot of time preparing them, and we find the feedback really useful.

    However, they are a form of consultation (i.e. getting opinions and feedback), not of participatory or collaborative design (where people explore possible ways forward in a deliberative focused way). They also can’t cope with the volume of people who attended Event 2 (rare but brilliant to have such high turnout) in terms of both (i) people being able to see the display and (ii) having enough staff to answer questions.

    Given the level of interest, we are re-evaluating how we conduct future stages. Initial thoughts are that we continue to hold drop-ins, but spread over a longer period of time (i.e. a Saturday), and that we also hold design workshops alongside, for people who want more of a proactive/constructive discussion and the chance to explore possible approaches collaboratively.

    Further feedback is extremely welcome.
    pembroke pete and SE Steve like this.
  3. Daisy_AOC

    Daisy_AOC Respected Local

    Final one! Of course, if you have posted something here that you would like a response to, and I appear to have ignored it, do poke me and I shall respond!
    I don’t normally answer back to criticism; just try to learn from it! But when it questions our ethics, I feel it may be important to respond. The plans for the housing were exactly at the stage in which they were presented at Event 2, and everything we asked at Event 2 was driven by a genuine desire to know the answers, in order to be able to develop designs beyond the initial concept stage. AOC would never hold a ‘fake’ consultation.

    Some of the points made at Event 2 were so emphatic and so useful that we feel they have had/ are having quite a significant impact on designs, and also provoked some rethinking by the Council of broader site strategy. This has meant extending the timetable, so we are no longer applying for planning in February. But that is appropriate given the desire by all parties to find the right solution for the site.

    In addition, AOC are also now working on both community centre and housing to ensure a coordinated approach, something that the consultation has repeatedly stressed as important. Obviously, we want both buildings to be as good as possible. We are currently working on a revised programme with the Council, and will share that with you – including dates for the next community design sessions – once finalized.

    That’s it for now. Many thanks for all your comments and challenges. We hope that we can rise to them productively.

    SE Steve likes this.
  4. SE Steve

    SE Steve Super-South-Easter

    Thanks for the responses Daisy.
  5. South East 15

    South East 15 Respected Local

    Where would you rather "mums in the area" buy their cheese from? Or anyone, come to that.
  6. KateWaltonCreation

    KateWaltonCreation Lives for South East London

    I went to the meeting at Buchan Road on the 7th January and left feeling as though things will go full steam ahead no matter what was said at the meetings. We were also told that it would be predominantly a community centre with ONLY 5 flats above, going no higher than 3 stories. Having seen the dropbox info I can clearly see this will be more about large houses with a tiny community centre shoved on the end. What a shame. Why have these discussions if the proposed plans on paper are so different to the 'promises' told to our faces.
    I never used the nursery before it closed but it's clear that it was an appreciated commodity in the area and is dearly missed. The size of that plot will be greatly diminished by how much housing seems to be planned. What happened to play areas? I have my first child due in June and would love to think he'd been running on grass rather than around in circles on a tiny patch of concrete that's left over after the developers' cut.
  7. Daisy_AOC

    Daisy_AOC Respected Local

    Hello, I've just come on to update the forum and noticed this message. I apologise if it wasn't clear that the dropbox info predates the 7 January meeting. So what you were told in January was in response to feedback already received on those boards. (Although I think it is important to clarify that the amendments presented at that meeting were about giving a larger share of the site to the Centre, and not about building flats on top of it instead or reducing the number of properties down to five, so I am unsure how and concerned if that impression was given. Hopefully the forthcoming minutes may clear things up?) Having said that, the dropbox boards are still the most up-to-date boards, and feedback on them is still interesting and useful to us in terms of finding the right way forward. But it will become an Appendix report to the ones I am about to post below. Best regards, Daisy
  8. Daisy_AOC

    Daisy_AOC Respected Local

    Dear all,

    Given that at the time of our last drop-in event (November 2011) we were talking about finalising designs for the proposed housing development and applying for planning by Spring 2012, we thought it was important to bring people up-to-to date on plans for the Early Years site.

    That last event gave us lots to consider, and we and the Council didn't want to rush on to planning without careful thought about how to respond to feedback. On that subject,
    I have placed a copy of the Findings from the event here: finds_fin_lo.pdf

    Please bear in mind that local groups have been clear that they want detailed unedited findings, so this a hefty document. However, for a 'skim-read' of summary findings you can look at the grey boxes only. NB. The display boards from that event can still be found at: Nunhead housing display.pdf

    One request from last year that the Council has responded to is the imperative that the design of both housing and community centre on the site be considered together, with the aim of creating somewhere with a really good 'sense of place'. They have therefore now appointed AOC Architecture to develop the Community Centre designs with local group Nunhead's Voice.

    With that in mind, we have put the housing designs on the back-burner until Community Centre designs are sufficiently developed, and have no definite date for the third housing consultation event. However, that is likely to take place in late Spring/early Summer 2012, and will be an opportunity for people to consider outline designs for both housing and centre together. We will post information nearer the time.

    As ever, please do contact me in the meantime with any questions: 020 7739 9950.

    with best wishes,
  9. EdHammond

    EdHammond South Eastern Guru

    Just to supplement what Daisy has said above, a few of us from Nunhead's Voice have had a couple of initial meetings with her about this - I have been remiss at not sharing more about this. Obviously nothing has been decided or agreed yet and, as Daisy says, the housing issues are on the backburner at the moment.

    The focus of our conversations more recently have been about the community centre - how we will ensure that it provides services that are relevant, and useful, to the whole community. On Wednesday we had a useful meeting to discuss how we might bring a much wider group of people into this debate, to allow AOC to draw up a detailed design brief, which they are hoping to do in May.

    We have our own ideas, and on Wednesday we came up with plans that will see us trying to forment discussion on this forum, as well as through more traditional means - questionnaires and so on - and I will provide some more information about this in due course, but in the meantime I'm keen to get some more general views about this process, or more substantively about the community centre itself.

    The important thing I think is that plans for the community centre, as they develop, are informed by what local people want, rather than by what professionals think they want. This will make it more sustainable in the long term. This is about more than putting together a "wish list" - it's about having a coherent idea about what will happen there that is based on a strong evidence, and as such there's a lot of research that we need to do in the next few weeks.

    Within all this, of course, we mustn't lose sight of the wider context for the EYC site, particularly the housing. As you will all know Nunhead's Voice has been robust with the council on this point, arguing against housing development.

    This is probably a pertinent point to urge and encourage any of you who feel that you have skills and experience which you can usefully add to ours on the NV board, please join us. We need to be a) a group with the skills and capabilities necessary to fully engage in this process and, importantly, b) a group that fully represents the local community by having a Board that combines diverse perspectives, experiences, etc.
    Gerri likes this.
  10. Gerri

    Gerri Respected Local

    Hey Ed,
    happy to join in if I can be useful :)
  11. Daisy_AOC

    Daisy_AOC Respected Local

    Dear All,

    I hope that you will be aware that this week we have two consultation events coming up around the housing for the Early Years site, for which a flyer is attached. (I am a bit confused in that I wrote a message for this forum early last week, but I realised today that it doesn't seem to have worked. I have no idea what happened.)

    However, the attached flyer was posted to 3600 properties around the site a fortnight ago. In addition posters and flyers were put up, and placed in shops, in the local area, and all those who have in the past given me their contact details have been emailed at least one copy! (Apologies for cross-posting...).

    The consultation will take place in two formats:
    a) an afternoon to evening drop-in on Thursday 19 July at Nunhead Library, from 4.30pm to 8.30pm, similar to those that you may have attended in the past.
    b) a 2 hr workshop style meeting on the morning of Saturday 21 July at Nunhead Library, from 10am to 12 noon, in response to requests at previous consultations for a more focused collective discussion.
    It will cover not only ongoing discussion about housing on the former Early Years site, but also present initial ideas for the future of the former Community Centre (now closed) site on Nunhead Lane next to Citron Terrace.
    I really hope to see you at one of these events. Should you remain interested in plans for the site, but not be able to attend - we understand that many people are away in the Summer months - please do contact me. We are committed to finding a way to keep everyone informed and ensuring that their opinions can be captured and considered. Of course, this is especially the case - in the light of my tech error above - if the other methods we have used to publicise the events have not reached you, and you now feel that you do not have enough notice to attend.
    best wishes,
  12. antantant

    antantant Member

    Hi there, I am of the firm belief that the former Early Years site should not be used for the building of yet more social housing and instead be used as open public space for the benefit of all.

    Who do I write to at Southwark Council to express my views?
    oldnewromantic likes this.
  13. Daisy_AOC

    Daisy_AOC Respected Local

    Hi antantant,

    You can either write: (i) to your local councillor, (ii) to the current Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Cllr Veronica Ward or to the Property Team. Our main contact there for this project is surveyor Tim Surry:

    A good reference point in terms of emerging local policy i.e. the official decisions regarding the future of sites like this one over the next 15 years (forgive me if you know this stuff already) is the local Area Action Plan: This is now entering the final stages of consultation.

    It probably makes little difference, but might be worth my clarifying that the Early Years site is most likely to be used for private housing, while the site of the old Community Centre, across the road next to Citron Terrace, is likely to contain social housing.

    Do let me know if you have any further questions about the project. Otherwise, I hope that the contacts above prove useful.

  14. antantant

    antantant Member

    So basically, for the price of giving up prime land for private housing, we get a community centre moved? It sounds like a bad deal to me.

    Thank you for your reply, though. I have just contacted Councilor Ward and will encourage others to do the same.
  15. MadeinEssex

    MadeinEssex Local

    There was very famous football manager called Brian Clough who was once asked what happened when a player didn't agree with what he said. Clough replied "well we talk about it and then we decide I was right". This reminds me of local authority consultations. They know what they need to get from an area and just need to tick boxes to say they have talked to local people but ultimately they get what they want. Having a Centre on the whole Early years Site now seems a lost opportunity. This space could have been a real central focus for our area. If the Centre is accepted and planning does go in for early September this opens the door for the housing to go ahead.
  16. Daisy_AOC

    Daisy_AOC Respected Local

    Dear All,

    Please find a link to the display boards that were shown, and feedback forms that were used, at the last housing consultation events at Nunhead Library on 19th and 21st July. These show initial concept designs. CS3 display boards fin_lo.pdf feedback form.pdf

    Apologies for the delay in posting these. We have been working flat out on the community centre element of this project, and I wanted to spend some time reformatting these boards for circulation so the content was clear. Then last night I just told myself to stop being such a silly perfectionist and just to post them.

    Comments on these are still both useful and valid, as we are working on concept designs right through September. I am away this week for work - although on email - but back the week after, so if anyone would like to set up a phone conversation with me so I can really talk properly with you, and answer any questions or take detailed notes, let me know by email or via this forum ( (Likewise, if you asked me to email you a copy of these boards, many apologies for the delay; I shall be mailing you individually over the next couple of days as I work my way through my backlog.)

    Otherwise, please do feel free simply to email me with your comments on the attached. Feedback so far on designs has proved SO useful, and we really feel that the designs, and the overall strategy, have improved as a result.

    best wishes,
  17. MadeinEssex

    MadeinEssex Local

    As mentioned it seems that accepting the plans for the community centre gives the green light for housing (affordable?) on the rest of the site. Latest newly developed sites in Nunhead include Glenton Mews (600k for four bedroom house) and Ansdell Road (750k for five bedroom house).
    There seems to be no discussion now around the derelict site on Gordon Road and the old nursery space further down Nunhead Lane. This now seems an urgent priority for Southwark to get pushed through.
    Why is it that we don't get the same enthusiasm for trying to ensure that all of the shops on Nunhead Lane are open to provide shops for the additional people that have moved into the area?
  18. EdHammond

    EdHammond South Eastern Guru

    Running parallel to the design process for the community centre is the preparation of a business plan which will be used to help define how the centre will be run (principally, how it will be funded) - I have mentioned this earlier in the thread I think.

    We (Nunhead's Voice, that is) will be submitting the business plan to the council early in October and when this happens I will upload it here. I should stress that this will be a draft and when I post it on here we'd welcome feedback. We plan to cover the business plan at length in the next issue of our newsletter, which goes to around 2,500 households in the local area. This should be out in the next few weeks.
  19. Daisy_AOC

    Daisy_AOC Respected Local

    Please find attached links to the presentation and feedback form from the August public consultation events around the community centre design (setting out the basic Design Brief and how we are responding to this in the preparation of concept designs). Apologies again for the delay in posting these, caused by a combination of illness, holidays and an intense period of work on this project which resulted in a bit of a backlog. library slides_tosend_lo.pdf feedback form.pdf

    We are working on concept designs for the community centre (as we are for the housing - see previous post) throughout September, and would still find any feedback on the attached incredibly helpful, particularly over the coming couple of weeks. As ever, please contact me if you have opinions or ideas that you would like to feed in. Having been out of the office a lot in the past month I am pretty solidly office-based for the next couple of weeks and catching up with things, so please do let me know if you would like to talk further and I can arrange a time to call you.

    My contact details: and 020 7739 9950.

    Thank you, Daisy
  20. Daisy_AOC

    Daisy_AOC Respected Local

    Please find attached information regarding the next stage of consultation on the proposed redevelopment. (This has already been posted out by the Council to properties around Nunhead Green, but I am following that up with postings on this forum.)

    In contrast to previous events, we will be presenting design proposals for (a) new family housing on the Early Years site, (b) the new community centre, also on the Early Years site, and (c) new council housing on the former community centre site - a more recent addition to the Council's redevelopment plans - all in one go. The aim of this is to allow people to consider the overall vision for the Green in a unified way as we move towards our aim of submitting planning applications at the end of 2012.

    We imagine that the ideas on show will be of particular interest now that we have strong ideas about how both housing and community centre might look, and what they might be made of. Previous events focused more on fundamental issues such as height and overall shape of buildings, important to explore carefully when looking at development in such prominent locations. We are now in a position to build on those early conversations and to present relatively detailed design proposals.

    There are a choice of events to attend:
    a) an afternoon to evening drop-in on Wednesday 17 October at Nunhead Library, 5.00pm to 8.30pm
    b) a 2 hr workshop style meeting on the morning of Saturday 20 October at Nunhead Library, 10.00am to 12.00 noon

    If you cannot attend either of these, but would like information about this stage of the designs, and the option of discussing these on the phone with at a time that works for you in the coming weeks, then please call (020 7739 9950) or email me ( and I shall arrange that.

    And, as ever, please do contact me should you require further information about the schemes or their progress in general.

    best wishes,

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