Thrayle House Planning Application Committee outcome

6 FoSS members, along with councillor Paul McGlone attended the planning application committee hearing for Thrayle House yesterday (12th April 2016)

3 members voiced their objections at the hearing, in relation to the lack of skatepark budget and maintenance, boundary issues, and pressing for a Deed of Easement which would protect the skatepark from future noise complaints. We also sought to have the skatepark specifically considered during the build process.

The tower block is being built as planned, there was very little objection to the height and scale of the project from local residents. However some concessions have been made towards the skatepark, its funding and the boundary, which we campaigned for.

Network housing (CTH) have offered £100,000 and a CIL payment towards maintenance of the skatepark. While this is short of the £400,000 needed for a full resurface, it’s a significant step towards funding.

Some boundary issues were addressed, some of the development has been moved back from the skatepark, which is a change from the original plans, and there has been a request from the council for soft landscaping alongside the tree planting and walkways planned.

Thank you to those who helped and supported us so far. We’ve still got some way to go but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

More details to follow.

April 2016 update

Planning Application Committee hearing for Thrayle House (and Stockwell skatepark):
12th April 2016, Karibu Centre, Gresham Road, SW9 7PH, – 7pm

Please come down and show your support!

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Community Trust Housing / Network housing are redeveloping the estate site and building an 18-20 story residential block overlooking the skatepark.

After concerns over who was responsible for the skatepark, we got it away from Community Trust Housing control and back in the hands of Lambeth council. We sought to have the skatepark listed as an Asset of Community value, which was accepted in 2015.

FoSS then sought to secure funding for the skatepark, which is in much need of repair, having been unfunded since its last resurface in 2009.

After FoSS attended budget meetings for Lambeth’s “2020 Vision”  the council went on to include and in fact champion Stockwell skatepark in their literature:

“6.31 Skateboarding has a long history in Lambeth. The council currently hosts 3 parks in Norwood park, Kennington park, and Clapham Common, as well as a further facility at Stockwell. Whilst not a council facility at Southbank. The council recognises the rich sub culture the skating community brings to a neighbourhood, as well as the direct health and wellbeing benefits for those participating in skating.

6.32 We will adopt an approach, which will positively embrace and protect the important contribution skate parks bring to the boroughs culture, heritage, health and wellbeing. This plan will protect and maintain the 4 sites within the grounds maintenance contract for the current and future generations.

6.33 The council will undertake technical appraisals of these sites to evaluate their state of repair. Skateboard groups active at these facilities will be offered the opportunity to inform the specification for these surveys prior to them being undertaken. Any resulting requirements for capital investment will be considered as part of the capital pipeline for the council to consider.”


Excerpts from: Culture 2020 Report – Date of Cabinet: 12 October 2015https://moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk/documents/s77362/Culture%202020%20Cabinet%20Report.pdf

There was also a Statement of Community Involvement:

Excerpts from:
http://planning.lambeth.gov.uk/online-applications/files/9FE0E80F0FE2A079A78497461D06D3A3/pdf/15_04500_FUL-Statement_of_Community_Involvement-632277.pdf

4.7 It was intended that ownership of the skate park was to be transferred from Lambeth Council to CTH/Network Housing. This was to enable future maintenance. However, it was never transferred and remains in the ownership of Lambeth Council. It has been agreed by both parties that Lambeth will remain custodians of the skate park.

4.10 The proposal has taken on board these comments and will provide: · A Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payment towards the improvement of the skate park. · Provision of Public Toilets for skateboarders. “

These reports were well received by skatepark users who felt they had been listened to and the skatepark recognised as an asset to the borough, and that a CIL payment was coming. However it soon became clear that in fact no budget has been allocated, there are no plans to renovate the facility, and in the latest 2020 documents there is no mention of skateboarding, BMX, or skateparks.

https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/sites/default/files/cultural-services-by-2020.pdf

There is also the issue of the green area that currently stands between the skatepark and the estate. This boundary area has been taken by Network Housing who plan to build walkways on this green space. It has never been explained how this boundary was decided on and when public land passed into private hands.

CTH / Network housing have accepted no responsibility for any maintenance costs for the skatepark, and Lambeth have rejected objections from users and local residents.

https://moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk/documents/s80359/Thrayle%20House%2015-04500-FUL.pdf

A Deed of Easement (to protect the park from noise complaints) has been approved in principle, and a toilet has been agreed on. Apart from that, repair budgets, investment in the park, and boundary issues have been ignored or side-stepped.

So Stockwell skatepark, despite assurances from Lambeth council, remains unfunded and in a dangerous state of disrepair. Although their cultural services statement reads “We want to encourage more people to take part in physical activity and sport on a regular basis” Lambeth council have not deemed this popular and well loved facility worthy of repair.

Friends of Stockwell skatepark believe that skateboarding and BMX fulfil the objectives of Lambeth’s own 2020 initiative, and should be included in the upcoming budget(s):

“Our ambition is that by 2020:

  • No matter where you live in Lambeth you should be within 20 minutes average walking time from affordable activities, which will improve your health and wellbeing.
  • 85% of Lambeth’s population are engaged in cultural, sports and physical activities as a routine part of their lives.
  • All residents have access to a range of affordable, excellent facilities for cultural, sports and physical activities.”

http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/sites/default/files/cultural-services-by-2020.pdf

We believe Stockwell skatepark is an asset to the community and deserves to be funded. We expect the new residents of the development will also expect a safe and well maintained facility. 

Skateboarding in the Olympics 2020?

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Skateboarding is set to become an official sport at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, announced with this statement from the International Skateboarding Federation President Gary Ream:

“Today’s announcement by Tokyo 2020 marks an important milestone in skateboarding’s short Olympic history which started with a first Olympic experience at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing in summer 2014. This decision recognizes the growth and popularity of skateboarding, and we appreciate that the IOC has made it possible for new sports to be added to the Games. The ISF and the skateboarding community are ready, equipped and well positioned to help make the first Olympic appearance of skateboarding an amazing one for skaters and fans alike.”

http://www.internationalskateboardingfederation.com/

The story has been covered by many news sites and papers here and abroad, including the BBC, the Guardian and the Times.

So Stockwell skatepark could well be a training ground for Olympic hopefuls in the upcoming 2020 games. The skateboarding community knows how important and valued this facility is:

“Like most facilities truly embedded into the local community, Stockwell skatepark is an essential component of the Brixton area and as such is an invaluable resource that ought to valued and cherished as the asset it is. The park itself has provided a safe and challenging environment for skateboarders, bikers, rollerskaters and every other wheeled sport imaginable for nearly four decades, and has always helped to bring new visitors into the area thus contributing to local businesses, whilst simultaneously acting as a hub for the local community.
The above is so obvious to anyone who has spent any time at Stockwell that it almost seems unnecessary to state it but, with discussions of regeneration and the potential looming menace that could present to a priceless community space like this, I think it bears repeating.
We must protect and cherish Stockwell skatepark and allow it to service the Brixton area for many years to come. Places like it are increasingly rare.”

Ben Powell, editor, Sidewalk magazine

Lambeth council, however, continue to ignore the its rapid fall into disrepair. Could we see a situation where the new tower block overlooks a condemned, unusable facility? And where new residents instead of finding a good quality skate facility on their doorstep, find a broken and dangerous one?

The cultural appeal of Stockwell

Stockwell skatepark is well known and valued by tourists and travellers – even the hugely successful Air BnB prominently displays Stockwell skatepark as a local attraction in its review of the neighbourhood. “The neighbourhood’s skate parks, central location, and convenient tube access add to its escalating appeal”

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/press/news/new-study-airbnb-community-generates-502-million-in-economic-activity-in-the-uk

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The skatepark is also featured as a filming location

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January 2015 update

An update –

As of January 8th this year Lambeth Council received our application to have the skatepark listed as an Asset of Community Value. They have 8 weeks to give us a decision, so we should hear about that by the 5th of March. There’s no reason why they should refuse the application, but we’ll see then.

“This new right means communities can ask the council to list certain assets as being of value to the community.
If an asset is listed and then comes up for sale, the new right will give communities that want it six months to put together a bid to buy it. This gives communities an increased chance to save local facilities of community value.
The legislation does not give a right to buy the property in question – but it does give potential bidders the time to put a proposal together.”

http://lambeth.gov.uk/elections-and-council/about-lambeth/assets-of-community-value-guide

As you can probably see this is of limited value itself, but it’s a start, and the process has helped form the organised group we have now – currently 220 registered members (1150 on FB though!), with a constitution and 4 officers.
The next step is probably to look at making a specific Section 106 agreement between Lambeth Council and FoSS. This would permanently protect the skatepark as a skatepark, and so legally prevented it from being redeveloped for any other purpose. LLSB have a similar S106 an agreement with Lambeth now as we understand it.
And there’s the matter of getting the large sums of money need to repair and possibly upgrade the park… and establishing a budget going forward. At the moment there is no budget…

We attended the Lambeth Council cabinet meeting on Monday, January the 11th, and spoke on item 3 regarding the councils Parks and Open Spaces Budget for the next 5 years. We had previously emailed them prior to their consultation deadline on October the 31st of 2014. The minutes of that item from the meeting are here

http://moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=27692

The council appear broadly supportive of our aims. Over the next month we’ll be meeting with local councillors, the Mayor’s office, LLSB, and hopefully with the planners/Community Housing Trust too.
The Thrayle House redevelopment plans will clearly have a significant effect on the skatepark, the budget there is some £20 million and it seems not unreasonable that the skatepark and it’s community should benefit. The green space next to the skatepark is under threat, in the process of this being redeveloped we have a vision that incorporates additional skatepark facilities without losing green area, but more on that soon…

Big thanks to everyone that’s supported us so far, especially those that registered as members and that participated in the various meetings. 2015 looks to be a significant year in the life of Stockwell Skatepark. For years the park has been under-valued and under-represented, now’s the time to make sure it gets the recognition it deserves. Next members meeting is on the 12th of February, venue TBC. If you’ve not already registered please do via

https://friendsofstockwellskatepark.com/join-friends-of-stockwell-skatepark/

Asset of Community Value

Southbank Undercroft is now listed as an Asset of Community Value, Stockwell Skatepark should be too.

“Who can nominate?”

“The right to nominate a property is restricted to certain types of community group. The first test is to show a local connection. For properties in Lambeth that means the local authority area. You will need to be a constituted local community group – or if unconstituted be able to show at least 21 members registered to vote in Lambeth or a neighbouring borough.”

http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/elections-and-council/about-lambeth/assets-of-community-value-guide

Next step is to get 21 or more local registered names.

Our ‘constituted local community group’ needs a set name, and we need a form to photocopy with four fields – name/address(inc borough)/electoral register yes or no/contact phone and or email.

I’ve put a form on this blog already

http://friendsofstockwellskatepark.wordpress.com/join-friends-of-stockwell-skatepark/

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