High Density Housing and Transport

GN8 Deputation, full council UDP

The past

To demonstrate how important your decision today will be – whether to adopt; partially adopt; or not adopt at all the Haringey Emerging UDP – we can look at the not-too-distant past when this council had to defend a planning decision to refuse the London Concrete planning application.

Haringey lost this appeal. And permission to build a concrete factory only meters away from peoples homes was granted.

Why? Because Haringey’s UDP, both Established and Emerging, failed to provide the necessary protection for the people who live here. While this appeal was in process here, another 2 almost identical appeals were determined.

Both the Wiltshire and Bristol application to build a ‘state of the art computerised concrete batching plant’ in DEA’s near a residential development were refused!

Why? Because their UDP’s provided sufficient protection for the people who live there.

Although the government guidelines are the same, the UDP’s of all 3 local authority weren’t. This clearly demonstrates, that when applications are determined on appeal, government inspectors have great regard and give significant weight to the local planning framework.

We will not know the full impact of this development for years to come, but it is interesting to note here that the economic impact greenN8 predicted would follow if this development was permitted is already taking place. All the existing businesses who said they would be forced to leave, have already left and the intensification of Cranford Way from a pre-dominantly storage and distribution DEA into a fully blown heavy industry DEA is already under way, only 3 months on.

This, is a direct result of the policies and guidelines set in the Emerging UDP and not solely because of overriding national policies!

The devastating result of London Concrete’s appeal can be attributed largely to the failing of Haringey’s Established and Emerging UDP, to provide necessary protection for it’s people and repel a development we were all in agreement is inappropriate to this location.)

The future

The vision the Emerging UDP sets out for our future lives, is as unacceptable to all of us, as the permission to build a concrete factory next to where children are playing!

In part one the UDP sets out six key objectives (STRATEGIC POLICIES p2.4)

The first objective is: ‘Making the most sustainable and efficient use of space in London; encouraging intensification and growth in areas of need and opportunity.’ Then it goes on saying: Making London a better city for people to live in, Promoting social inclusion and tacking deprivation and discrimination or Making London a more attractive, well-designed and green city.

But reading on, how it is proposed to manifest this objectives into reality, you immediately notice that if objective one is administered as prescribed, then all the objectives following will fail! London will not be a better city for people to live in, it will not be attractive, well-designed or green, it will be high density blocks of flats and the green that is here now, will be replaced with a concrete jungle crammed into the smallest plots of land…  

Not only we will not be tackling social isolation, deprivation and discrimination we will be re-enforcing it and creating more of the same!

Since the other deputations today deal with the impact of high density housing in relations to the disproportionate lack of provision for adequate infrastructure to support this growth, this deputation will focus on:

The impact of High Density Housing on the 5th objective – Improving London’s transport!

Before I go on I would like to declare an interest.
 I don’t own a car.
 I don’t drive.
 I walk or use public transport.
 I am not pro-car, but I am pro-equality, inclusion and freedom of choice.

The policies of high density housing and transport are closely linked! And indeed the first criteria for permitting High Density Housing in any location is that it is on sites with high accessibility to public transport p 4.7

Why? because the current mode and provision of transport WILL NOT SUSTAIN the population growth planned here.

How do we deal with this problem?

  • By limiting people’s movement from A to B.
  • And by discouraging car use and encouraging public transport use.

That is all well and good as an intention. But lets look at how the UDP is set to achieve this

Discouraging car use 

The UDP is set to discourage car use mainly by the new comers, calling high density housing – ‘CAR FREE DEVELOPMENT’ is saying: “If you want to live here, you can’t have a car! not now, not ever!”  To enforce such a policy you must first make the whole of Haringey a collection of ‘Control Parking Zones’ and then discriminate against people living in those ‘CAR FREE DEVELOPMENTs’ by not allowing them to have Resident or Visitors Permits to park!

You are not telling them out right: “they can’t have a car!” You are telling them: “we will not give you permission to park it anywhere.” Who in their right mind enter into such an agreement by choice? Would you?

But would the people who spend all their waking hours, toiling to pay for  ‘affordable housing’ know in advance that this is what they are signing up for? How are we going to ensure that developers make it clear to potential buyers before they buy or rent their first home?

Or Are we going to witness the story of the ‘Car Free Development’ on Station Roadrepeating itself, where residents living in a ‘ Car Free’ block of flats applied pressure and were allowed to have residents and visitors parking permits?

The fundamental question here is not whether car use is good or bad, but who is allowed and who isn’t, and by what means we encourage or discourage it’s use.

Are we saying it is ok to discriminate against a section of the community who can’t afford to buy or to rent a home in a non-‘Car Free Development’ and limit their personal choice and freedom to have or not to have a car?

Would that promote a content population? Or are we creating an even wider divide between those who have and those who don’t!

By limiting people in ‘CAR FREE DEVELOPMENT’ an equal opportunity to have driving visitors, are we promoting social inclusion or creating isolation?  Are we tacking deprivation and discrimination? Or are we adding to it?

Encouraging the use of public transport

Would our public transport cope with such growth of population?

A question no one can honestly answer! Only last week Mayor Livingston is quoted in the press as condemning railway operator First Capital Connect’s decision, to stop commuters using cheap day return tickets during evening peak hours. First Capital Connect said they are doing it, to reduce overcrowding during the evening rush hours.

TFL reports a 16% increase in the use of public transport in the last year or so  – but car use fell only by 4%. Isn’t that due to a growing population? Otherwise where did the 12% increase come from?

Did our public transport grow to accommodate this growth? No! I would suggest it is not coping at all as it is… If we allow any more Density Housing, car-free or not, we will not improve transport in London, public or otherwise!

The 6,800 new housing target is not an upper limit! It is an aspiration that can be achieved in 2 to 3 years by very eager developers, whether or not near to transportation hubs. Then we are left with a density of 1,100 which developers would be able to exploit to their end before or after the target of 6,800 new dwelling units is achieved.

Although it is said that 6,800 new unites is achievable at a rate of 680 a year it does not limit it to just 680 a year. If the population grew too quickly can we trust that the infrastructure to support it, would be achieved at the same pace?

What guarantee do we have? None! Has it happened over the last 6 years when huge amounts of housing were introduced? NO! What we do have is: No adequate local schooling, which means parents are forced to drive their kids to a school which is not local, before they rush to catch the over-crowded train to work…

Is this making Haringey a better place to live in?

Haringey dose not Need density housing. The people of Haringey need some decent housing with green open spaces around them.

The need for such huge increases in housing is not generated from within Haringey. It is imposed on Haringey by the London Plan and the policy makers, who permitted a concrete batching plant here.

The people who do live in Haringey now, strongly oppose high density housing.

The UDP has a great importance to the future lives of people who already live here. It is also for that reason that this council reserved the right to vote on it in the full council.

We urge you to remember that when you cast your vote on this matter, you are taking on a huge responsibility, your decision will affect every aspect of peoples lives in a big way, for years to come!

You were elected by the people who live in Haringey now, to represent their views on this council. They did not elect you to administer unrealistic, impractical, unattainable and unsustainable policies.

If you haven’t read the UDP document yourself, or can full-heartedly support what’s in it, we urge you not to vote it in, before you do read it!

However if you do decide to adopt it, we hope you reject the high density of 1,100. Whatever the upper limit density standard is, it should be limited to only until the 6800 target is reached!

These policies will not create an encouragement by incentive, they are discouragement by punishment, and that in it self, would not make London or Haringey a better place to live in!