When the Council established the Hammersmith Residents’ Working Party it emphasised its importance saying that it “will in large part govern what developers are permitted to do”.
According to the Council’s website:
“The Hammersmith Residents’ Working Party meets each month.”
But it would be closer to mark to say it meets annually – while the Council pushes through ugly, unpopular developments.
The Council’s Head of Policy & Spatial Planning says:
“The residents working party is still in operation and we will be scheduling new workshops with the group to review the first draft of the Grimshaw masterplan in due course. The masterplan will form an important component of the future Hammersmith Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The contribution of the HRWP will be critical to this task.
“Since the last meeting (end of April) the views of the HRWP have been integrated into developing the masterplan.
“It is important to understand the master plan and SPD’s relationship to the new Local Plan. The SPD will need to sit within this higher level development plan document when adopted. The new Local Plan Examination in Public was last summer and the Inspector required a subsequent consultation on modifications to the plan over this Autumn/Winter, the document is now due for adoption on 28th February. This has therefore impacted on engagement with the HRWP.”
Grimshaw are a firm of modernist architects. We have yet to see what they are threatening for Hammersmith – but judging but the other “Master Planning” they have produced on their website it is likely to be pretty awful.
The Council’s Local Plan specifically backs more tower blacks for the Hammersmith Town Centre – see page 134. The “masterplan” will be a “component” of the Hammersmith Supplementary Planning Document which in turn “will need to sit within this higher level development plan document.”
So when the Council says “the views of the HRWP have been integrated into developing the masterplan” – what it means is that the Council’s policy is to have more tower blocks whether the HRWP wants it or not.
Does the HRWP feel that its views are being “integrated into developing the masterplan”? Since its members are sworn to secrecy and its deliberations are not published we will never know officially. But with it not meeting at all there can scarcely be much confidence – for them or the rest of us.
Even if the reality is that the Council ignores its deliberations the process is pretty chaotic and discourteous. Members who agreed to give up their time being told they would have monthly meetings on a body with genuine clout are left wondering what is happening.