Regent Land and Developments claimed in their 2019 pre-consultation Statement of Community Involvement 'the current site is underused', yet here we are.
So we have passed our eviction date of 17.03.2023.
We requested more time before our eviction date to our Landlord following confirmation of some logistical information required to move. Still, the all-important question for our community is, 'But move to where?" Without a relocation, our community is already displaced. Until now we have heard nothing from our Landlord solicitors.
The Judge respectfully ruled that we should vacate by March 17th 2023 at 4 PM and we respected that ruling and did everything in our power but - it's impossible to dismantle 20 years of business and demolish our community quickly in the middle of a cost of living crisis with nowhere to transition to.
Our fight back in 2022 was in search of clarity. To the right, we were signposted to by The Mayor of London at the Greater London Authority. Many will recall we started to draft petitions to HM Government but our petitions were rejected numerous times.
It wasn't until the calm within the storm that we read up and discovered that what we were pushing HM Government to implement - already existed; it was at this point we knew we had been overlooked.
We have pulled on a few points from the National Planning Framework that set the foundations on a national level as to enabling the Southwark Local Plan P33 to exist.
Page 8 - Point 17:
The development plan must include strategic policies to address each local planning authority’s priorities for the development and use of land in its area12. These strategic policies can be produced in different ways, depending on the issues and opportunities facing each area. They can be contained in:
a) joint or individual local plans, produced by authorities working together or independently (and which may also contain non-strategic policies);
Page 13 - Point 39:
Early engagement has significant potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the planning application system for all parties. Good quality pre-application discussion enables better coordination between public and private resources and improved outcomes for the community.
Page 23 - Point 82:
Planning policies should:
a) set out a clear economic vision and strategy which positively and proactively encourages sustainable economic growth, having regard to Local Industrial Strategies and other local policies for economic development and regeneration;
b) set criteria, or identify strategic sites, for local and inward investment to match the strategy and to meet anticipated needs over the plan period;
Page 38 - Point 132:
Design quality should be considered throughout the evolution and assessment of individual proposals. Early discussion between applicants, the local planning authority and the local community about the design and style of emerging schemes is important for clarifying expectations and reconciling local and commercial interests. Applicants should work closely with those affected by their proposals to evolve designs that take account of the views of the community. Applications that can demonstrate early, proactive and effective engagement with the community should be looked on more favourably than those that cannot.
We are in the process of being displaced and are directly impacted by a sheer lack of consideration and practical pre-consultation, ultimately robbing us of sufficient time to transition away from the site.
Southwark made sure to include the guidances on a National, Regional and Local level so whilst Regent Land Developments were busy making deals over four years with our Landlord with complete disregard to any impact on our community - they both played the "we didn't know" card and tried to squeeze our relocation of 5 businesses into 12 weeks.
If you look at the initial application and pre-consultation documents, Regent Lands breakdown of the 'current site' is disrespectful.
The current site
The site is located on the corner of Rotherhithe New Road and St Helena
Road and is currently home to a hand car wash, barber shop and salon.
The current site is underused and benefits from excellent public transport
links with bus, rail, tube and overground links all nearby.
Extract : 19-25 Rotherhithe New Road - Statement of Community Involvement
So in July 2019, they knew we existed; they just failed to identity our business as a Black Barbershop and completely dropped a few businesses off ensuring they did not use the term 'Caribbean' which would have shed light on the culture we serve up in the community daily.
We can almost see them tip toeing around ensuring to not make any reference or involve our community.
Regent Land Developments are supposed to be development specialists, yet it does not take a specialist to see the complexity of our unique business which would have warranted their professional 'know how' to ensure that all 5 businesses are strategically considered.
So here we are - we continue to fight, we fight for people and for place over all the profits the Landlord and Developers stand to make - our community deserves consideration and clarity.