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Respond to planning application 16/AP/4051

Responding to planning applications is not as natural and organic a process as most people would like it to be. You can only make comments on certain aspects of the application and other types of response do not count. Please see our general advice on how to respond to planning application or read below for specific points relating to planning application 16/AP/4051.

The planning application to remove the protective Section 106 restrictions from the current stadium and the documentation has been uploaded onto Southwark’s website:
http://planbuild.southwark.gov.uk:8190/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=makeComment&keyVal=_STHWR_DCAPR_9569339
Documents are appearing here:
http://planbuild.southwark.gov.uk/documents/?casereference=16/AP/4051&system=DC

How to respond to Greendale Property Company Ltd’s plans

The best way to respond to the planning application to remove the protective Section 106 restrictions from the current stadium is to write a comment via Southwark Council’s website. Your name and address will not be displayed but the comment will be made public, which means you can see what other people have written before you write your own:

Not everyone has internet access. If you need to then you can write a letter using the following address:

Amy Lester
Southwark Council,
Chief Executive’s Department,
Planning Division,
Development Management,
PO Box 64529,
London SE1 5LX

Please make sure that you quote ref: 16/AP/4051

Suggested points to include

All of the documentation about this application is available on our website. Please have a read. To help you respond to planning application 16/AP/4051 to remove five restrictive clauses from the Section 106 agreement regarding DHFC’s current stadium, here are some paragraphs that you can use as inspiration or if you need to, you can copy and paste them as your own.

Remember: it is much better to send in your own comments so if you copy/paste these, try to add some of your own words as well. Think about what lifting these restrictions could mean and why they were put on the land in the first place.

  • The current DHFC ground is protected by a restrictive covenant (Clause 8) to ensure it can only be used for “leisure or recreational or educational purposes”. If this is lifted it means that the current stadium could be built upon or used for any purpose by anyone now or in the future. This could mean the demise of our long-standing football club.
  • These S106 agreements between Kings College, Southwark Council and DHFC were put in place to prevent the future development of the land and yet planning application 16/AP/1232 seeks to develop this land.
  • The S106 agreements must not be lifted without some other legally binding agreements set in place to safeguard both the future of the football club and Green Dale fields.
  • Section 4.16 of their Planning Statement says that the new stadium build will be “future proofed for sustainability” and yet there has been no financial evidence to substantiate this. This application must be turned down until a full and transparent Financial Plan has been published for the community to scrutinise.
  • The applicant states in the cover letter that planning application 16/AP/1232 is “entirely acceptable and in accordance with policy” and yet hundreds of local people have objected due to its total disregard of  both the London Plan (Section 7.17) and the Southwark Plan (Policy 3.25). The new stadium does not constitute an ancillary facility nor does it maintain the openness of MOL due to its enclosing wall. It would therefore be a departure from both the Southwark and London Plans.
  • The applicant also states in their cover letter that planning application 16/AP/1232 is “in the public interest”. This is wholly refutable as the plan to destroy a rare piece of open green space has met with a lot of local opposition. The applicant has not provided clear evidence that their proposal is the only way forward. The local community would like to see other avenues explored whereby the football club has an improved stadium and flats built on their existing footprint, with no encroachment on the wild open space of Green Dale fields.
  • The draft S106 agreement laid out in the Planning Statement says that the stadium and MUGA will be freely available for local schools. Currently the astro turf pitch is used by local children on an ad-hoc basis. If the walled stadium and MUGA are built, this removes the current free access to children outside of a formal school arrangement. In effect, this application removes vital sports facilities from the area rather than providing them.
  • The draft S106 agreement laid out in the Planning Statement has no replacement restrictive covenants on land use and so offers no protection for the proposed new stadium, which is a precarious situation for DHFC going forward.
  • The land registry entry for title SGL62094 (the current stadium) page 6 point 10 says that there is another S106 agreement dated 21 May 2003 which lays out “provisions relating to the development of the land in this title” and yet this document has not been published nor provided by the applicant. Without seeing the contents, this application should be refused.

Other possible questions to ask yourself that may initiate further thoughts and comments.. just musings, no endorsement of views:

  • the draft S106 agreement laid out in the Planning Statement says many things, including handing ownership of the club over to the fans. But here we see an application to remove existing S106 agreements. In light of this, do Section 106 mean anything and are the applicant’s proposed agreements meaningful if they can be thrown out at a later date?
  • we’ve heard the views of the Supporters Trust but what about the rest of the fans – do they agree with the proposals?
  • is fan ownership the best future for DHFC?
  • who ultimately maintains a new stadium – fans? council? Green Dale Property Company Ltd?
  • do DHFC need a 4000 seater capacity (thx to Pink Panther for correction) stadium given their current attendance and position in the league?
  • is the Memorandum of Understanding legally binding? It is between the DHST and Hadley Development Management Ltd, who are not named on any of the planning applications nor the title deeds.
  • wouldn’t DHFC be more stable if the council owned their current stadium with the fans owning the football club itself?