The Stag Brewery: an Opportunity for the Mayor to Listen to Locals
The Mayor has announced that his public hearing on the application to redevelop the Stag Brewery in SW London will be on 27 July.
This has been a long time coming and the road to get here has been bumpy, leaving many involved, but particularly local residents, sufficiently bruised. Since the Mayor called in the application in May 2020, he and his planning team have demonstrated to all Londoners how the current call-in process erodes trust, ignores public healthand obfuscates information.
When the Mayor called in the planning application for the Stag Brewery in May 2020, residents heard nothing until August when an initial public consultation was announced – on what was revealed to be a substantially different planning application. The 843-unit development that was called in following Richmond Council’s approval had become a 1250+ development, and the discussions and agreements driving this new proposal had been done entirely behind closed doors. An FOI request revealed that 23 meetings had taken place during this period between GLA planning officers and the applicant, while the local community group’s attempts to engage were ignored. This has led to a significant erosion in trust between the local community and the planning authority – eg City Hall.
At a time of heightened public health awareness and concern, the application effectively ignores the pandemic and its legacy. The Health Impact Assessment, prepared by consultants Hatch Regeneris, did not consult with local community groups or the local GP Surgery. The CCG, representing a wider area and broader spread of health services, was asked to comment and a spokesperson there reported that their comments emphasised a need for more resources to support the proposed population increase (which at that time, in the original application, included a care home). These were not reflected in the HIA.
The HIA was updated in July 2020 following the Mayor’s call-in and subsequent changes to the scale and scope of the development, including increased density and building heights. There is no mention of the pandemic, much less its current and future impact on the local community, and the assessment of the impact of the scaled-up proposed development on local health remained unchanged from the original HIA. Note that the revised plans increase the local population by 90%. NINETY PER CENT. This, and other contributing factors to public health, highlighted by the pandemic, have simply been ignored. These include health inequalities, clean air, social distancing, access to green space, and access to primary care.
Finding the HIA on the GLA planning portal for the Stag Brewery is near to impossible (see if you can find it here).
There is no navigation aid, no search capacity, no logical titles in no particular order, and quite a few missing links.
There are often hundreds of documents for large-scale planning applications like the Stag, and most people simply walk away to preserve their sanity. This is a digital divide of the highest order, as even digital natives struggle to access information that impacts their lives.
In this period when the Government is seeking to legislate planning reforms which will even further erode community engagement, the Mayor has an opportunity to put his money where his mouth is and take a stand on what’s right for Londoners. The Stag decision will set a precedent for this great city and for the nation on how to build for communities that are inclusive and sustainable.
Listen to Locals urges the mayor to
· Hold off on a decision until the true impact of the proposals on local health and transport are understood
· Review and consider the MBCG Community Plan which provides 30% affordable housing and the health, education and transports infrastructure that the local community supports
· Work with the local community, Richmond Council and the GLA to develop a process for local development that is inclusive and sustainable, and sets a positive and encouraging precedent to all Londoners.
We are grateful for support in the London Assembly. Today an emergency motion was put forward by SW London AM Nick Rogers, seconded by Green Party AM Caroline Russell, to delay the Mayor’s decision on the Stag Brewery application until meaningful discussion takes place to consider the Community Plan prepared over the last ten years by the Mortlake Brewery Community Group. This had cross-party support:
“The Assembly notes with concern that the public hearing for the called-in planning application at the former Stag Brewery in Mortlake has currently been scheduled for 27th July.
The Assembly further notes that whilst significant changes have been made to the application since it was called in by the Mayor, following discussions between the GLA and the developer, local community groups have not been afforded the same opportunity to put forward their proposed changes and improvements to the scheme. In addition, concerns have been raised regarding the quality of reports, availability of documents, and a general lack of public involvement and consultation.
Officers have only very recently met face to face with the local community on June 22nd. The Assembly does not consider that one meeting so close to the date of the public hearing is sufficient to fully explore and investigate all the issues that were raised.
The Assembly therefore strongly requests that the Mayor delays the public hearing for this application, and instead arranges for a meaningful discussion between resident groups, the GLA, Richmond Council and developers, so that the residents’ proposed amendments can be properly and formally considered.”
The motion was passed, and we await the Mayor’s response.
Please show your support for this campaign via these links:
Listen to Locals
1 July 2021