Permission for a private development next to Burgess Park has been approved by Southwark Council, despite warnings from a local community group about the impact on the environment.
Developer Joseph Homes received an unanimous vote from the Planning Committee a week last Tuesday, October 19, to go ahead with their plans to build 109 new homes next to Burgess Park, at 25-33 Parkhouse Street.
However, the planning application received 174 objections and only 30 comments in support online, and community association Friends of Burgess Park argue that the shadows caused by the height of the 11-storey development will have a negative impact on the ecology of nearby Burgess Park.
This is a complaint repeated in many of the objections to the development, which draw attention specifically to the impact on bats and birds.
A spokesperson for Friends of Burgess Park said: “Friends of Burgess Park has campaigned for years to minimise the impact of tall developments overshadowing the park. With at least four tall developments beside the park edge the character will be changed forever.
“Unfortunately national and local planning policy and planning decisions do not give much value to the impact to biodiversity, nature and green space when weighed against other factors, especially the need for housing.”
The group have shared videos on their website demonstrating the impact of a tall building in 25-33 Parkhouse Street and how it will cover parts of the park in shadow.
A council spokesperson, meanwhile, said: “Any decision is made taking into account all concerns and objections.
“In this instance, given the importance of Burgess Park to biodiversity, the council also commissioned an independent ecology report which concluded that the development is positive for biodiversity.
“The committee felt that there was no basis in planning to refuse the application.”
Southwark Council’s own studies found that there were no cumulative negative impacts of the flats overlooking the area.
Additionally, the council cites independent assessments which concluded that the development is biodiverse positive.
When announcing that they had successfully gained planning permission, developer Joseph Homes emphasised their sustainability-conscious development goals, stating that the Parkhouse development will provide a 72 per cent carbon reduction and promising a “pioneering development” towards carbon neutrality.
The warehouse currently occupying 25-33 Parkhouse Street will also be replaced with a “green corridor” linking Parkhouse Street to Burgess Park.
The development will also be car-free and provide 223 cycle spaces, to encourage sustainable transport. 35 per cent of the new homes will be affordable housing.