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Heathrow’s expansion is lawful says the Supreme Court … but it is still a Pipe Dream

From the Richmond Heathrow Campaign,
Wednesday 16th December 2020:

The Supreme Court today upheld Heathrow’s appeal and concluded that the Transport Secretary was entitled in 2018 to ignore the UK’s climate change commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change and that the decision to progress Heathrow’s expansion to the planning stage is lawful.

There were always major gaps in the arguments for Heathrow’s third runway and the world has changed so much since 2018, not least because of Covid-19. Climate change is the greatest risk to aviation growth and last week the Climate Change Committee’s 6th Carbon Budget emphasised no net increase in UK airport capacity and that an increase at one airport means a reduction elsewhere – in other words levelling down the regions. Bio-fuels and carbon removal from the atmosphere are only partial solutions and demand will have to be constrained to achieve aviation’s net zero carbon.

If Heathrow still wants a 3rd runway it will have to restart the already delayed planning process with diminishing chance of success. The pandemic has highlighted Heathrow’s lack of financial resilience and the improbability of raising finance for a very expensive expansion in the face of growth constrained by climate risk. Heathrow should not waste billions of pounds on ill-judged expansion. Shareholders are unlikely to want to dilute a steady cash flow with the poor return from risky expansion without tax payer support.

Heathrow should give up its impossible ambition and focus on making Heathrow a better airport and re-enforcing London as the best served city in the world with its five airports.

Better surface access, more passengers per flight and replacement of international-to-international transfer passengers with UK passengers would be a good start. Reducing carbon, air pollution and noise, including no night flights, are crucial. It would be of great benefit to the UK generally for the recovery and subsequent expansion of air traffic to be shared across UK airports, instead of concentrated at Heathrow, thereby levelling up regional jobs and economies and better serving demand and world-wide access.

More than two million people, including Richmond and Kew residents, are exposed to Heathrow’s aircraft noise and attendant health risk but worse still they have experienced the threat of expansion for over a decade. Heathrow and the government should abandon a further decade of expansion and flight path uncertainty and focus on reducing existing noise misery. Residents now know how much better life can be without aircraft noise.

One certainty is the opposition to Heathrow’s expansion from community groups, NGOs and local councils is stronger today than ever with the environment playing a much bigger part in society’s goals. Richmond Heathrow Campaign will continue to ensure that Heathrow’s expansion remains a pipe dream.

Richmond Heathrow Campaign represents three amenity groups in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames: The Richmond Society, The Friends of Richmond Green, and the Kew Society, which together have over 2000 members.

Jason Debney: Rewilding Arcadia

Jason Debney, Co-ordinator, Thames Landscape Strategy returned to The Richmond Society on Thursday 12 November 2020 to speak about how a multi-year project is setting out to help the river reclaim its floodplain in a managed and sustainable way, restoring the natural processes and habitats that once governed life along the Thames.

Notice of Annual General Meeting 10 December 2020

All members of The Richmond Society (Charity number 1169079) are invited to attend the Annual General Meeting which will be held virtually by Zoom on Thursday 10 December 2020 at 7:30 pm.

Please register in advance to attend this virtual AGM by sending an email to secretary@richmondsociety.org.uk. We need at least 20 members to attend online to enable the meeting to go ahead and to transact the necessary business.

Agenda

Before the formal business of the meeting the Trustees will present a review of the Society’s work during the year and members will have the opportunity to ask questions. In addition, a presentation on the Society’s future visual identity will be shared with members.

1. Trustees’ review of the Society’s work during the year and presentation of new visual identity

2. Ordinary resolutions

a. To note the Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of 5 December 2019

b. To receive the Annual Report and Accounts for the year to 30 September 2020

c. To elect the Chairman, Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer

d. To elect or re-elect other Trustees

3. Any other business

Elections

The current Trustees are:

   

Chairman

Hon Secretary

Hon Treasurer

* Barry May

* Anne Koutsabeloulis

* Andrew Coleman

   

Marketing & Comms

Membership

Vice Chair and Planning

Systems & Heathrow

Infrastructure

Landscaping and Riverside

* Simon Clarkson

Ginny Curry

Louise Fluker

Neil Maybin

* Stephen Speak

* Nicky Wood

The following being eligible offer themselves for election: Barry May as Chairman; Anne Koutsabeloulis as Honorary Secretary and Andrew Coleman as Honorary Treasurer.

The Society has 6 trustees (other than the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer), one third of whom must retire in accordance with the constitution. Accordingly Nicky Wood and Stephen Speak retire and being eligible offer themselves for re-election having been proposed and seconded.

Under the constitution trustees who were appointed during the year must retire but are eligible to stand for election. Simon Clarkson was appointed a trustee on 11 August 2020 and being eligible for election has agreed to stand. He has been proposed and seconded.

Noel Flannery CIPFA has acted as Independent Examiner for 2019-20. He feels he cannot continue as he is moving away from Richmond.

Further Nominations

Nominations are invited for the positions of Chairman, Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer and other Trustees. These must be submitted in writing by 19 November 2020 to the address below or by email to the secretary at secretary@richmondsociety.org.uk. Candidates for election must be Society members who are willing to serve, and must be proposed and seconded by Society members.

How to Participate

Please register in advance to attend the virtual AGM by videoconferencing by sending an email to secretary@richmondsociety.org.uk.

We need at least 20 members to attend online to enable the meeting to go ahead and to transact the necessary business so please do join us.

The meeting will be held via Zoom. Your video conferencing experience will be better if you have downloaded the Zoom app and it is up to date. Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email containing instructions and the Zoom meeting link which will allow you to join the meeting. You will need to keep this safe and easily available for Thursday 10 December. Check your spam/junk mailbox if you are unable to find it. If you have any problems receiving the link or any queries, please email secretary@richmondsociety.org.uk.

We will open the meeting just before 7:15 pm and send you to a virtual waiting room until shortly before 7:30 pm when you will be admitted to the meeting.

The final agenda and relevant papers will be circulated by email in advance of the meeting and will also be available on our website www.richmondsociety.org.uk.

If you have household membership, each of you has a vote. As voting will be done electronically you each need to register separately and you each need to use your own device for your votes to be counted.

How to ask a question

Zoom has a function called Chat at the bottom of the screen on a laptop or desktop, but it varies depending (a) whether you are using the Zoom app or linked through your browser or (b) the type of device, so you will need to familiarise yourself with this before the meeting.

Press the Chat button then type your question in the space provided and press send. The Chairman will see questions as they are entered and will take them in order. You will have the opportunity to ask a supplementary question after the answer (provided you have unmuted yourself).

After all relevant questions have been answered, the Chairman will put each resolution to the vote. This will be done on screen.

How to vote

When it is time to vote, the Chairman will put each resolution to the vote by means of an electronic poll and will launch the voting. You will see on your screen a box with options to vote in favour or against the resolution or to withhold your vote. You vote by choosing your preferred option. Once everyone has voted, the poll will be ended and the results announced.

Meeting Recording

Please note that we will be recording the meeting for the purpose of producing the minutes and this may be posted on the Society’s website. If you do not wish to be recorded on video, please make sure you disable the video camera icon on your screen.

Richmond Society Heritage Walks 2020

Inevitably our planned series of Summer Season Heritage Walks, our forty-first series, scheduled for alternate Wednesday evenings through May, June and July had to be postponed due to Government restrictions on public gatherings from March onwards.

However, with a sense of optimism and mindful of the need to implement necessary social distancing and other measures, we planned a series of three walks on alternate Wednesday evenings through September under the titles ‘Celebrating Richmond Bridge and Riverside’, ‘Celebrating The Terrace Gardens and The Hill’ and ‘Celebrating The Green and Richmond Palace’ – each limited to twenty, pre-booked places.

Much to our surprise and delight, the three, planned walks were vastly oversubscribed, and led to our doubling each of the walks, planning a series of six walks between 2nd September and 7th October. Our walks along the riverside between Old Palace Lane and Petersham Meadows on the evenings of the 2nd and 9th September were most successful, saving for the now inevitable conflicts with the ever increasing number of cyclists using the towing path between Water Lane and the Meadows, even in the early evenings. In accordance with long-established custom, each walk finished with an adjournment to the spacious Rose of York on the Petersham Road and lively conversation until closing time.

Very sadly however, the coming into effect of the Government’s more restrictive Regulations on Monday 14th September, two days before our third scheduled walk; their lack of clarity and lack of consistency with the official Guidance only published the previous Friday; and the Committee’s concern not to place members at undue risk, led to our having to disappoint the eighty or more members who had booked for the last four walks in the series by bringing the series to a premature end.

We very much hope that by next summer we will be able to reinstate the summer series of walks free of the increasingly complex and ambiguous restrictions under which we presently live.

Paul Velluet and Adam Harrison

Richmond Society Arts Forum recording

Thursday 15th October 2020
Panel Discussion: How can the Arts help to revitalise Richmond?

Chair:

Anne Sebbaauthor, presenter, lecturer and former President, Arts Richmond

Panel:

Ann Chapman-DanielChair, Richmond Business Improvement District

 

Cllr John Coombs – Richmond upon Thames spokesperson for Arts

 

Dr Hilary Dodman – Chair, Arts Richmond

 

Paul Miller – Artistic Director, Orange Tree Theatre

The recording of this meeting is now available.
If you would like to watch it please click here.
The pass code is SS=gX&1@.

Vacancy for Trustee: Events

We are looking for a Trustee to join our board and lead the development and delivery of our programme of talks, guided heritage walks, social events and general meetings.

Experience in event curation and production is essential. Team building and leadership experience are desirable as we seek to build our events team and capabilities. First-time trustees are welcome.

We are seeking a team player with vision, creativity and drive to play a part in developing The Richmond Society and improving the experience we provide to members.

The Trustee for Events is a full member of the board / executive committee. Membership of The Richmond Society is a prerequisite for all our Trustees (Individual membership is open to all and costs £10 per year). In accordance with Charity Commission standard practice, the trustee role is not remunerated.

The board / executive committee currently meets once per month (in the evening). Our talks, guided heritage walks, social events and general meetings take place in the evenings or occasionally at weekends. This is a hands-on role in a small charity and we expect the time commitment to be around one day a week.

If you are interested, please contact Simon Clarkson at marketing@richmondsociety.org.uk.

The Richmond Society urges Mayor of London to refuse the latest Homebase, Manor Road proposals

The Richmond Society and The Kew Society jointly submitted a statement of reasons objecting most strongly to the latest proposals to develop the Homebase site in Manor Road.

The two Societies’ joint submission in advance of a GLA hearing sched-uled for 1 October can be read by clicking the image or this link.

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has issued a holding direction to the Mayor of London confirming that he will call in the application if the Mayor approves the application.

Homebase Site, Manor Road: new GLA consultation – update

The Richmond Society has formally objected to the latest proposals for the Homebase site as part of the consultation closing on 3 September. After Richmond Council refused the application (to which the RS also objected) the Mayor of London exercised his powers to take over as the planning authority and indicated that more affordable housing was required. The current proposals are the second version submitted by the developer to meet that objective.

A public hearing is set for 1 October and the RS and Kew Society are proposing a joint submission given that we are likely to be allowed 5 minutes.

RS’s objections remain the same as originally expressed: over-development of the site because of density, excessive height and pressure on services which already cannot cope in the form of utilities (old gas and water pipes), a reduced bus service round Manor Circus resulting from TfL implementing its proposals to be done in December 2020 and an inadequate train station at North Sheen.Details of the current proposals are available in this press release on Richmond Council’s website. The public consultation runs from 6 August to 3 September 2020 and full details are available on this page on the GLA website.

Copies of the latest proposals are available to view on this page on the GLA website

The texts of the RS’s objections are set out below:

“I write on behalf of the Richmond Society with 1300 members to object to the latest revisions to the Application which are the subject of the current consultation. The proposed changes do nothing to alleviate our original concerns in our objection of 11 May 2019– indeed the problems are exacerbated by the increased height and density proposed with resulting pressure on local services.

The new proposals envisage increasing the number or residential units by 69 to 453 – even greater density.

One block will be 11 storeys, one 10 and two 8 each (compared with the original proposal of 3 blocks of nine storeys each) with additional unspecified height for plant. The new proposals would mean towers nearly double the maximum of six storeys envisaged under the Local Plan. The area surrounding the Homebase site comprises low rise buildings so the addition of the proposed four towers will change the character of the area significantly and result in the site being overdeveloped.

The increased density will put further pressure on local services and amenities just after TfL announced in June 2020 that it will implement changes on which it consulted. These will result in fewer buses in the Manor Road vicinity when the new plans envisage more than 1000 extra residents: surely a lack of a coherent plan. This is quite apart from the financial predicament of TfL and the uncertainty surrounding current rail franchises which threaten the current provision of services.

A development of this size will put additional pressure on the current infrastructure. Water supply here is in poor condition with many of our chalk streams being drained; there are inadequate sewage treatment facilities (the number of CSO spills is appalling); cold water mains, and old gas pipes are unable to cope with existing demands. Indeed in January a large part of central Richmond was without gas for several weeks when an old water pipe burst next to an old gas pipe. 

May 2019 objection: The Richmond Society supports the principle of a residential led mixed use scheme for this site and its contribution to the borough’s affordable housing stock. However, while we recognise the high quality architectural design, we are concerned that the density of development and its consequent height and mass results in the site being overdeveloped. In particular, three buildings of nine storeys (plus the extra unspecified height for plant) is significantly taller than the six storeys envisaged under the Local Plan as the maximum for this location. Furthermore, we understand that the Council has required a car free development for the site, but this suitability must be re-confirmed before a planning consent can be given because TfL’s plans to reduce bus services to Manor Circus. If the bus service cuts are implemented, then it would cause the site’s PTAL (Public Transport Accessibility Level) to fall below 5 – i.e. below the Council’s accepted threshold. Residents have also questioned whether the applicant’s parking stress survey is realistic and this should be verified by reference to the Council’s parking surveys commissioned by the Highways Department for CPZ proposals in 2015. Finally, there is conflicting information in the documentation regarding the site’s red line boundary and it is unclear whether the bus terminus requires s106 protection. That position should be explicitly confirmed noting that The Richmond Society supports improvements to the bus, rail and cycle facilities locally” 

Homebase Site, Manor Road: new GLA consultation

The Mayor of London is running a public consultation on the proposed development of the Homebase site at Manor Road in Richmond..

Last year, Richmond Council’s Planning Committee refused an application for the redevelopment of the Manor Road site currently occupied by Homebase.  There had been 717 objections to the application.

The council’s refusal was based on several grounds, including:

  • the design and scale being visually intrusive, dominant and overwhelming
  • failure to deliver maximum reasonable amount of affordable housing
  • the quality of the proposed accommodation
  • the impact on surrounding properties
  • The Mayor of London subsequently called in the planning application and is now running a public consultation with a view to a public hearing later in the year, provisionally scheduled for Thursday 1 October.

    Details of the current proposals are available in this press release on Richmond Council’s website. The public consultation runs from 6 August to 3 September 2020 and full details are available on this page on the GLA website.

    The Richmond Society will be submitting its comments on the latest amendments made to the application by the developers, Avanton. Copies of these documents are available to view on this page on the the GLA website. Comments should be sent by email to the Greater London Authority at ManorRoad@london.gov.uk by 3 September 2020.