We the undersigned object to the House of Praise's planning application for a change of use from D2 to D1 for the old bingo hall and cinema at 262-274 Camberwell Road.
We object for the following reasons:
1. The proposed development does not recognise the importance of an entertainment and community facility which is a vital component of a healthy community. The proposed development would involve the loss of an important entertainment and leisure use within use class D2. The change of use to class D1 would result in a reduction in the range of facilities provided within the area which would be detrimental to the proper functioning of the daytime and evening economy and thereby have a significant adverse effect on the vitality and viability of Camberwell.
2. The changes would be detrimental to a mixed and sustainable economy and the economic development of the local area as required by PPS1. There is no evidence that the proposed development would lead to the creation of any jobs for local residents to replace, or in addition to, those lost as a result of the purchase of the building by the RCCG, House of Praise.
3. PPS5, Planning for the Historic Environment, states that local authorities should “take into account the particular nature of the significance of the heritage asset and the value it holds for this and future generations”. It also states it should take into account the desirability of sustaining and enhancing the significance of heritage assets. This building is the last remaining cinema still intact in Camberwell which used to boast more than 12 cinemas and music halls. Camberwell was known in the past as a major entertainment centre in London. Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel both worked or were brought up in the area. By allowing this development to go ahead, the last link with this living heritage would be lost to the vast majority of residents.
4. The proposed development will exclude the vast majority of the local residents and will not enhance community cohesion. The plans submitted provide no evidence that people of other religious faiths, the gay community and those with mental illnesses will be welcome at the site.
5. We are not satisfied with the Transport Plan supplied by the RCCG House of Praise. There would be unsustainable car usage increases that would result in, according to the House of Praise's own figures, an increase in up to 500 cars on the streets of Camberwell for each service. This will lead to an intolerable strain on the local road infrastructure. The access to the car park would be on a quiet, one-way, residential street. Not only would the car-park clearly not be sufficient for the projected volumes of cars but there would be a strain on local parking for all services. For example, at weddings, special occasions (E.g. Christmas and Easter) and other large gatherings. The local bus network would also suffer and would be unable to cope with the increased passenger numbers, especially on Sunday services.
6. The plans submitted suggest that they hope that the congregation will reach 871. However, the plans suggest that there will be space for at least 1500 people which would be in line with the original design of the site as a cinema. The volume of traffic of this amount of people coming from outside the local area would not be acceptable.
7. The continued use of the large car park demonstrates a greater concern with providing parking spaces for the congregation rather than providing additional facilities for the community.
8. We also object on the grounds of increased noise levels in and around the site. With a potential of 1500 people at each service this will mean an unacceptable level on noise from people congregating at the entrance and exit to the building as well as the noise from the traffic.
9. Local planning regulations (the Southwark Plan) state in Policy 7.7 that the development should improve services by increasing
the number and quality of community and health facilities. This proposed development does not improve the either the number or the quality of the community facilities. There is already a Church of the same group 50 metres away, but there are no arts and community venues in the area that are accessible and inclusive to all.
10. the vast majority of the people who will use the building, if permission were granted, will not come from the local Camberwell area.
11. The proposed development does not provide any guarantees that the building will be accessible for all both in terms of access and availability of use.
12. The Camberwell Village Hall campaign disputes the claim that they have been extensively consulted about the proposed development. There was only a single meeting with the House of Praise and neither at this meeting or afterwards were we provided with any information about the plans of the House of the Praise for the use of the site by the community apart from in the vaguest terms. There has been a total lack of consultation with the local community outside the RCCG House of Praise’s own congregation.
The Camberwell Village Hall campaign is supported by many local residents and organisations in Camberwell. We Have been campaigning for a community centre at the old bingo hall on Camberwell Road.
The House of Praise, which is part of the RCCG, has made no attempt to engage with the local community outside of its own parish. For this reason we are asking you to oppose the planning application.
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