Gipsy Hill councillor Jennifer Braithwaite has told Network Rail she plans to consult with Lambeth’s Planning department to enquire whether they had considered the impact of the mast on this conservation area and to determine whether there are grounds to issue a direction to Network Rail that permitted development does not apply in this case.
In a letter to Richard Flindell, NR communications managers she asks why questions in her original letter (see below) still haven't been answered.
She tells him: Your inability or refusal to address these questions leaves me to conclude that you are not taking the concerns of Gipsy Hill residents seriously.
In a letter to Lambeth planners dated 1st December 2008 Network Rail stated that the mast on this site would not be “openly visible” from the houses on Gipsy Road. In light of the fact that this statement is blatantly untrue, and having in your response letter admitted that Network Rail wrote to Lambeth on numerous occasions in respect of the location of the mast, in deciding on location 3, did Network Rail advise Lambeth’s planning department that this statement is incorrect?
What emphasis do you place on the views of residents expressed during consultation?
You advised that to operate effectively a mast has to be higher than the surrounding trees. What is the technical basis of this principal? How much higher than the surrounding trees does the mast have to be? Does a shorter mast result in more vegetation being destroyed?
The proposed site will not only impact on residents living in Gipsy Hill Road and users of Norwood Park but will impact on West Norwood Cemetery which is a conservation area. No doubt you are aware that the Article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order1995 provides that if the Secretary of State or the appropriate local planning authority is satisfied that it is expedient that certain developments described in the Order, should not be carried out unless permission is granted for it on an application, he or they may give a direction under this Article that the permitted development rights shall not apply to all or any part of a development.
There is a possibility that the above provision applies to the proposed mast given that its proposed site bounds a conservation area or/and fronts an open space (Norwood park).
Because of its height and location the mast would be very visible from the Grade II listed landscape of West Norwood Cemetery. I do not believe that Network Rail considered the impact of the proposed mast on the listed cemetery’s curtilage. As part of your consultation, did you communicate with the Friends of Norwood Cemetery?
The preservation of views is a crucial part of this listed landscape. I therefore suggest that Network Rail considers the effect on the curtilage of the listed grounds of the cemetery and its associated conservation area before proceeding further.