The News has been engaged with Southwark Council on a pilot to see how we can get more residents involved in the many planning applications made each year across the borough.
During the pilot we have found that local people feel that by the time an application is made, the development is all but decided and it’s too late for their input on what it might look like or what could be lost.
The story this week about the 1930s Scotch Derrick crane in Rotherhithe potentially being kept as a symbol of the area’s docking past is a great example of how residents can get through to developers even before an application has been submitted. Hundreds of worried residents signed up to keep the crane and developers Hollybrook have now said they would try to keep it in some form within their plans.
This early intervention means that local people get to have a say in the actual planning of this development as it is being designed.
Clearly more work at preplanning with developers would go a great way towards engaging and making planning issues in the borough more accessible to everyone.