Neither Harriet Harman nor Helen Hayes have responded to our questions on ‘infilling’ homes and whether they support the overarching Southwark Council policy or have concerns about individual schemes in their constituencies.
Despite being contacted prior to last week’s four-page feature which detailed the location of every infill, rooftop and garage redevelopment at various stages of planning permission across the borough, both Harman and Hayes have yet to share their views.
Although Dulwich has comparatively few infill projects, likely due to the council owning less land than in the north of the borough, Harman’s Camberwell and Peckham constituency has become something of a flashpoint for high-profile and hugely controversial projects.
The long-serving MP and ‘mother of the House of Commons’ has yet to publicly comment on the new homes under construction on the Flaxyard site, known more widely as Peckham Green, or on any campaigns in estates including Elmington – where residents are fighting to save a patch of locked up greenery by Lomond Grove.
The only MP to reply to our query last week was Bermondsey and Old Southwark’s Neil Coyle, who said it was “overly simplistic to treat infill as one policy – each building and site are different.”
Although he is unable to ‘call in’ planning decisions, unlike ward councillors, he says he has met with residents from estates to help provide advice and resources to those engaging with the planning process.
“I’ve had some campaigners tell me there is no support for infill homes – it is an interesting view that no one wants new housing, that’s not the reality in my inbox or in my constituency,” he explained, adding that he believed despite some vocal campaigns against development, a majority of residents did back building new council homes on existing estates where possible.
“Southwark Labour is doing more than any council in the country for house building,” he said. “In some cases it needs tweaking but overall I think the public do support it.”