Council meetings

Draft minutes

Proposed venue: The Sydenham Centre, 44A Sydenham Road SE26

Contact: Laura Luckhurst 

No. Item


Welcome from the Chair


Cllr Chris Best welcomed everyone to the meeting.


Sydenham East Healthy Neighbourhood


Item deferred until March meeting.


NCIL Fund Priorities


A presentation was given by Emma Talbot, Director of Planning, explaining the NCIL online consultation process and the outcomes from this.  The 5 top priorities emerging from the online consultation were:

1.    Transport and Streets

2.    Community safety/Safety (a combination of two virtually identical priorities appearing in the top five)

3.    Open/Green spaces

4.    Community Facilities

5.      Air Quality

The presentation given by Emma Talbot is available from

Questions and Answers

In a short question and answer session the following supplementary information was provided:

The current NCIL fund for Sydenham contains just over £34,000.  More funding will be released as further development takes place in Sydenham and across the borough.

We still retain some S106 monies.  The council are preparing an Infrastructure Development Plan alongside the Neighbourhood Plans.  There will be consultation on the Local Plan after the London mayoral elections.

The system for allocating the NCIL funds to the different wards is based on the development which has taken place in that ward, together with current data on needs and levels of social deprivation.  Care has been taken to balance ward needs in order to give the fairest possible distribution. 

Borough-wide CIL is also available and this will enable cross-ward projects to be considered.  The priorities and projects funded by Neighbourhood CIL will be led by Assemblies.

Neighbourhood CIL has replaced the Assembly Fund, and in this round, Sydenham has received more than double the funding through CIL compared with the previous annual Assembly Fund of just £12,500.


3 NCIL Priorities Discussion

A lively and engaged discussion took place in the round tables session, looking at the five priorities emerging from the online consultation.  Participants were asked to consider what these priorities meant for Sydenham, and ideas for implementing them. The comments, project ideas and suggestions recorded in this session have been typed up and can be read at Appendix A.  At the end of this session the five priorities were agreed. 

6th Priority discussion
There was discussion of how to ensure that climate change and mental health are included.  It was agreed these can be included under other priorities e.g. climate change issues under Open and Green Spaces, Transport and Streets and Air Quality.  Mental Health under Community Facilities, and under a 6th priority of Health and Wellbeing. 


It was agreed that the 6th priority should be Community Health and Wellbeing.  This means the final six priorities for Sydenham are:


1.       Transport and Streets

2.       Community safety/Safety (a combination of two virtually identical priorities appearing in the top five)

3.       Open/Green spaces

4.       Community Facilities

5.       Air Quality

6.       Community Health and Wellbeing



Community information


Planning Verbal Update and Q&A

Emma Talbot, Director of Planning gave a short verbal update and referred those present to the written Community Updates available from the sign-in desk.  If you would like a copy, please email


Our Lady and St Philip Neri School

The Council are about to embark on a formal Public Inquiry process, and are waiting to be notified by the Planning Inspectorate of the start date.  Residents who have objected to the development will be notified of the Inquiry.  Emma noted that it is highly unusual for a local authority to find themselves in this position over development of a school, and that costs could potentially be awarded against either party.  The council are fully committed to pursuing the case.

In response to suggestions that the council are responsible for the currently situation, it was noted that the council have followed guidance requiring them to cooperate with developers and try to find agreed solutions. Councils are expected to use enforcement only as a last resort.


New Local Plan

The proposed new Local Plan was presented to Sustainable Development Select Committee on 21 January, and will go to Mayor and Cabinet for agreement on 11th March.  There will then be a period of consultation this Spring.  The Plan has been designed to take into account the housing challenge and needs for other types of development within the borough.  When formally approved, it will provide the framework for all development in the borough for the next 5 years. 


Responses to questions on this item:

Regarding the proposal to turn the former Co-op into a gym, this has only just been received by the council.  There is an opportunity to make objections by visiting the council’s Planning portal on our website at . Anyone who raises and objection through this process and provides their contact details will receive updates from Planning on the case.

The Local Plan is produced in accordance with National Guidance which also sets out the processes including for consultation.  Our new Local Plan has been developed by a dedicated team of planners who try to get the best outcomes for local people and reflect their views as far as possible within a framework set nationally. The council does not have complete control over what is built.  Council decisions may be overruled by Planning Inspectorate. 

Mais House development

In response to questions about why this development is proposed on Sydenham Ridge, it was noted that this proposed development is still open for objections and the council will be required to take account of any objections.  There will not be ballots as these are used with estate redevelopment which operates under different rules.

Due to the number of houses we now need to build, we are having to consider all possible sites.



Bell Green Master Plan

This is being developed by the community, the council are supportive of this initiative.  We are hopeful that this Masterplan will be positive for our efforts to get  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.




The meeting ended at 1 pm



Written Community Updates


Sydenham Community Updates
Sydenham Assembly 25 January 2020


1 Planning issues

A planning enforcement notice was issued by Lewisham on 25th October 2019 following the refusal of a planning application seeking to address the non-compliances at OLSPN School. Appeals against the refused planning application and enforcement notice have been received by the Planning Inspectorate and these appeals have not been formally started by the Planning Inspectorate. The appeal case will likely be at a Public Inquiry in mid-2020. Local Residents will be notified by Lewisham of the appeal when it is formally started by the Planning Inspectorate.

1.2 Mais House and Otto Close Garages
A Planning application has been received for the demolition of existing buildings at Mais House and Otto Close garages, SE26, and redevelopment to provide a part four, six and seven storey building and a part two and three storey terrace building providing a total of 110 residential units (use class C3), community room and estate office; together with alterations to the existing ball court; associated works to vehicular and pedestrian access from Sydenham Hill, Lammas Green and Kirkdale; provision of car and cycle parking, refuse storage and landscaping including amenity space and play area. You can comment on this at the Lewisham Planning Portal, search for DC/20/115160.  Deadline for comments is 31st January 2020.

1.3 21 Sydenham Road
A Planning Enforcement Case Officer has visited this site where a breach of planning control has occurred.  The council is of the view that the loss of the historic features of the frontage including the stallraisers, recessed door and glazing bars is not acceptable and contrary to adopted planning policy and guidance.  The installation is not level access.  The owner is seeking a planning pre-application to agree a way forward for the re-instatement of the shop front.

1.4 Bell Green Gasholders
The Gasholders have now been largely dismantled.  Officers are aware that some local residents and organisations, including the Sydenham Society, are advocating that SGN make use of voids resulting from the removal of the gas stores to bring forward an alternative energy proposal at the site, which may allow for the provision of geothermal energy and the subsequent provision of a district heat network in the Bell Green Area.  As at January 2020, officers are awaiting the results of a study into geothermal energy generation at the site. 

1.5 Bell Green and Lower Sydenham Masterplan
The potential transformation of Bell Green and Lower Sydenham has been identified through the revised Character Study as part of the evidence base for the emerging Local Plan. Whilst there has been no formal decision on preparing a masterplan for the area, officers (with authority from the regeneration board) have prepared a high level scoping report and have submitted a bid to the GLA through the Homebuilding Capacity Fund to prepare a masterplan for the area.  A decision is awaited.  Any decision to progress with a masterplan for the area will be subject to M&C approval.  No  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.