Camberwell Village Hall update

Dear all,

This is a quick new post. Basically, we have had a fantastic response so far and we have had about 600 people sign a petition to object to the change of use of the Bingo Hall to a church within a week. Most of these people come from Camberwell and most people are upset that there has been little or no consultation with people from Camberwell, and also that there is are no guarantees that the building will be available in any meaningful way for the community. There is a lot of rhetoric in the planning application about serving the community but it doesn’t amount to a “hill of beans” as some wise chap once said (Humphrey Bogart I think). In other words, it’s hot air and there are no guarantees that they will help or facilitate access for community activities.

On top of this the plans allow for a seating arrangement for 1500 people, with around 450 cars being used, if the place is at capacity, to bring them here. This most certainly is against planning regulations.

Add to this the loss to the local economy since there are no guarantees that the money generated by the church will stay here, and the fact that a lot of the potential congregation will not be local and you start to see that there is no way that this planning application should be allowed.

The Camberwell Village Hall Campaign has written its objections which you can see here. There are three parts, with parts one and two below. They are long, but there is much to object to!

http://bit.ly/objectionletterpart1

http://bit.ly/objectionletterpart2

So what can you do?

In theory, the consultation period has ended, but according to the head of planning at Southwark and the planning officer, it is still possible to send your representations to them. Here is a link to the Camberwell Village Hall campaign. In it you will find all the documents and information you need to make more objections to the change of use and letters you can send to planning. The quicker you do it the better and the more of you who do so the better too.

http://bit.ly/CVHletter2

There is also a petition you can sign which is at

http//:bit.ly/camberwellvillagehallpetition

Thank you everyone who has helped so far. I think we have a very strong case and hopefully soon we will have a building that the whole community can use.

128 thoughts on “Camberwell Village Hall update”

  1. Just have his feelings that complete opposition to the house of praise will not the cause you are fighting for.
    It is now crystal clear that the sentiment is purely Angie house of praise!
    I wonder where we will take this if they manage to get the planning permission.
    Following all the links so far just shows that we are not fighting for the community but our own agenda!
    You may decide not to publish my comments but some of us are aware that your campaign is biased.

  2. The campaign is biased towards a kinder, quieter Camberwell. If the church get the property, then Camberwell people will just get on with it like they did during the bombing in World War II.

  3. @ Harry: In many respects I agree with what you are saying. However, since the House of Praise refuse to actually enter into meaningful discussions with the local community, is it any wonder that we are objecting?

    Sadly, there is, under current planning law, no other way of getting round the situation we find ourselves in.

    If I could get the church to open up the building to the community I would. If I thought they were genuinely interested in talking to the community, I would not be objecting to the planning application.

    However, since they are not interested in the local community, we at CVH will campaign against the change of use. When we win, and when the building is a community based centre, it will be available for anyone to use. As a church, it will not. That is why I am against it.

    If you read the whole of the objections letter (which I admit is very long) you will see that it is more about the lack of community facilities that would be provided and the negative impact to the local area that are our main objections, not the church itself.

  4. I can’t really functionally understand what Harry’s trying to say.

    Anyhow Harry, you clearly haven’t been around here long enough to see that a comment such as yours would never be pulled off this blog — this blog is about openness and frank discussion among other things like burgers and window cleaners.

    Personally Harry I’m VERY biased. SERIOUSLY biased. And why shouldn’t I be? That building IS NOT A CHURCH Harry, it’s a social meeting place. I don’t want a church there. I want a place of culture, education and entertainment for me, for my kids, for everyone I know.

    House of Praise, Harry, have shown no evidence, whatsoever, of any desire of intention of serving the local community with anything other than god. Although, come to think of it, some people blogging in support of House of Praise earlier this year could barely hold back their glee that they were going to come into Camberwell and save the citizens of this village of the damned from themselves and bring them to god. That made me do several things at once, none of which I’ll go into just now.

    In total principle I don’t have a problem about House of Praise coming to Camberwell per se, even though this is NOT THEIR MANOR as far as I can see from having met the Pastor. But their coming here — as going to any area — should be done with proper consent and discussion with the people who’s it’s going to affect.

    Anyway it was obvious when we did meet the church’s reps they were only fishing with poor people to find out how much rent they could get in from us — and for some ideas for community involvement they could rattle into their planning app. Apart from that they weren’t bovvered. IN my estimation.

    Suffice it to say HARRY, thanks for your contribution, look forward to more of your unbiased insights about the area.

  5. Harry

    It’s the last purpose-built cinema/theatre building, therefore an entertainment/leisure building left in Camberwell.

    This place once had 4 cinemas — The Grand, The Essoldo and The Odeon as well as this building which was the Regal/ABC.

    In the case of The Essoldo & The Odeon the loss of both venues occured under extremely dubious circumstances — despite widespread community opposition at the time. (If you don’t believe this, then pay a visit to the John Harvard, Southwark Local History library on Borough High Street and do some digging).

    The Odeon was an absolutely criminal case of neglect…practically demolished overnight before anybody could object -on this occasion by Lambeth — again you may find these details at The Minet Library in Myatt’s Field.

    It is a negative cycle of behaviour which repeats itself over and over again without fail concerning Camberwell and the two local authorities which cover our community.

    It’s time to break the habit of a lifetime — if this building is lost, there won’t be any more opportunities to genuinely help Camberwell to renew itself in a progressive way…

    I and many others are dissapointed that the Labour Party which is supposed to represent progressive social economics has made such a mess of this area despite it being a safe seat for 40+ years — it’s not good enough — we should have been more than entitled to expect a lot better than the current situation.

  6. @Monkeycat

    The petition link is missing the “http://” so isn’t resolving to the correct web address.

    Thanks for keeping us to date with the campaign.

  7. On a different subject, the new cafe at Chumleigh Gardens in Burgess Park opens this coming Saturday at 10am under new management.

    OK, the lime green may not be to everyone’s taste and it may no longer offer the tranquillity of the Islamic Garden on its doorstep, but by being open to the rest of the park it should attract more custom and make for a more viable business.

    I think it’s in everyone’s interest if the cafe is a success. The more people that use it, the better the range of food it will be able to offer. Plus a busy and staffed facility looking out at the play area and park should help reduce anti-social behaviour far more effectively than the ugly CCTV cameras.

    Let’s just hope that there will still be a few tables in the Islamic Garden for those who want somewhere a bit of peace and quiet.

  8. Thanks James J. The new cafe sounds good.

    Speaking of new, yesterday I went past the New Gallery I heard about on this here blog. They’re still working on it, but it looks great.

    It’s going to be a coffee shop and, by night, a bar-type place. Fixtures and fittings all look suitably high-end. Hope they pull it off.

  9. Roz and I swung past the New Gallery at the weekend and ran into the owner who says he hopes it will be opening in about two weeks. I agree it looks great — can’t wait. Apparently they’ll be hosting all sorts of interesting events.

    Speaking of events, has anyone been to one of the ‘Halfway House’ events on Friday nights at House http://www.house-gallery.co.uk/?page_id=386 ? I’m intrigued. Meant to check it out last Friday but was distracted by the excellent (and absolutely packed) private view at GX Gallery.

  10. James J @

    I love the Islamic Garden at Chumleigh Gardens…

    Very Moorish…not a bad recreation of the many in Jerez (Xerez) where one of my cousin now lives…Ahhhh!…Sherry

    😉

  11. Is sherry a drink or a girl? Sometimes the decision to choose between the two is hard. In fact simple.

    Why Tony Blair invented the phrase “hard choices” is simple.

    Because he was saying you had no choice, it was easy.

    I have to say, as a Danish girl through and through with my strong thighs, strong this and strong THAT, I am glad the awful posh New Labour braying & bleating — in that posh Harriet Harman voice — has now gone from the telly & radio scene.

  12. Dagmar @

    In this country Sherry was commonly considered a girl’s drink…The word itself is a mispronounciation of Jerez/Xerez where it’s produced.

    Most of the stuff sent here was the very sweet variety — Hence the “and something sweet for the little lady, she knows her place” reputation.

    Not that I agree with that last statement at all, merely a historical observation 😉

  13. Another observation of a historical nature is that a bottle of QC sherry downed to wash down blue tablets called ‘dum dums’ always, historically, in the past, you understand, got three to four students of the arts hallucinating simultaneously. Very good value apparently.

  14. Emva Cream from Cyprus was Britain’s favourite sherry for years because the tax bands favoured it — but from January 1996 only Jerez sherry was allowed to be called sherry.

    Buckfast Tonic Wine is medicinal.

  15. I quite like a glass of Harvey’s Bristol Cream with ice and a slice of orange. Our friend bought us a bottle as a gift, although she mistakenly thought it was wine.

  16. A SERIOUS ASK FOR HELP.

    Don’t know where exactly to start with this, there’s a lot behind this point

    Basically I’m asking you, if you think The Sun and Doves is an asset to the area, and a benefit to the Camberwell community to write an email or letter saying so — detailing why, which I can forward to Lambeth Business Rates department.

    The essence is that Lambeth Business Rates department tell me that pubs are not regarded as being of local amenity or of benefit to the community and so do not qualify for Emergency Rate Relief, which I applied for in March this year after Coldharbour Lane was closed to buses for five weeks which knocked 30% off our income for the whole period — at the lowest income part of the year when cash flow is at its tightest and when we are always in a terrible squeeze for money. I was already unable to pay the last instalment of 2009 / 2010’s rates bill (£29,000 a year payable) and asked for it to be added to this year’s — refused — and asked for stage payments — refused until I stuck my heels in but this took a long time to get their agreement and me pointing out their published ‘customer charters’ and so on — then they sent bailiffs in because I did not set up a standing order because they did not confirm in writing the agreement they made on the phone for me to pay weekly up to October 2010 and, quite frankly, I forgot because it wasn’t in my email box. The bailiffs threatened to take furniture and all that and also added £588 to the outstanding £1,980 for their fees. Lambeth refused point blank to call them off and I finally got rid of them through being intensely stubborn and focused and by finding out about and firing the law back at them. BUT this took two days of telephone calls and emails, a hell of a lot of sweat and nonsense.

    NOW they tell me that pubs are not like doctor’s surgeries and something else which escapes me right now because they offer no benefit to the community. What the rates department is saying basically that if I do not pay them the best part of £30K for the privilege of being on Coldharbour Lane and all that entails, or if I cannot pay them because there simply is not enough money with which to pay them, then they will simply shut me down. This attitude of their does, of course apply to all small businesses. I think they need to be educated.

    PLEASE, if you believe my pub offers the Camberwell community something that would be lost if it were not here, please, send me an endorsement.

    the address is mark@​sunanddoves.​co.​uk

    Please MARK the subject field as RE Lambeth Rates Department / community / pubs

    Thanks

    Mark

  17. Have sent. Pubs really are important social centres that are rapidly disappearing as everyone knows. Poor Lambeth, in every way. They always seem to want to do the right thing, not the best thing.

  18. On a side note — looks like there’s a new chinese restaurant opening opposite Safa.

    Hope they serve up something more interesting than Noodels.

  19. @Peter, Ruskin already has so much named after him, but what does poor Giant Haystacks have? Surely he’s an excellent role model for Camberwell’s young people — obese and violent!

  20. Can’t think why Bovril didn’t keep the name ‘fluid beef’. Liquidised cow…makes my mouth water.

  21. Re: Sun & Doves

    I’d go for the “Més que un pub” line…

    Arts venue, cultural center, ad-hoc cinema, occasional post-office…

  22. Giant Bovril,“Fluid Beef” himself.

    My vote goes to Muriel Spark, though I agree it’s ridiculous there isn’t already a Blue Plaque to Ruskin who was an incredibly complex and intriguing man. He sort of completely got it — was a big fan of Turner — and completely didn’t get it at all — was a bit funny, especially about ladies, etc.

  23. @St Giles. Interesting about the possible new Chinese, thanks. Hope it’s not just another vanilla Chinese place. Silk Rd has showed that veering off the Hong Kong sweet n sour agenda can bring in plenty bucks and you don’t even have to spend anything on decorating the place.

  24. Thanks to those of you who’ve sent en endorsement, I really appreciate it. If you haven’t please do, if you agree the Sun and Doves is more than a pub.

    This whole experience I’ve had of working / being dealt with by local authorities on both sides of the divide tells me that many times the authority contrives to work in perfect opposite to the way they believe they do — when you read their customer charters. It’s something I’ve brought up, touched on, with other people who have businesses in the SE5 area and so far I’ve not met one person who has a positive experience of the services provided to them as businesses by their LA. Intransigent, distant, inefficient and downright acting against the interests of sustaining the local economy is the sort of thing I’ve heard so far.

    I’m going to try to make local authorities’ behaviour top of the hit list of topics of discussion to bring together local businesses in Camberwell Business Forum.

  25. My contribution winging its way to you Mark (but let’s have the fishfinger bap back please, it’s a great comfort food ;). Best of luck!

  26. When I was a little girl in Denmark, we had lots of earthy jokes about fishfingers! And baps!

    Autumn has come to daytime Camberwell. At this rate of rain, the conkers will be like bulls’ bollocks soon on the chestnut trees.

    That little exhibition at the Cuming Museum is great — wallpaper by William Morris and a Camberwell wallpaper designer.

    Victorian and Edwardian London was abo-sol-utely vast — go north of the river and it never ends till you get to Epping Forest — requiring much wallpaper.

    We cross the river back to South London and the lungs and heart system somehow opens out and we breathe more freely.

    Does anyone else begin to submerse at the the first signs of the turning of the year?

  27. I’ve been autumnally submerged for well over a decade. Dagmar’s Baps are back on the menu. I mean I’ve seen them being made and sent out to the fishfinger crew.

    Many, many thanks for the letters of support re Lambeth Rates department. I have found their reading unexpectedly moving…

    The link to the point: https://www.camberwellonline.co.uk/2010/08/789/#comment-148737

    Please, if you have not had the chance to offer support for the position that The Sun and Doves is an asset to the community, do spend a little time and send a note expressing your views.

  28. @James J: I hadn’t seen that; very interesting. They’re going to create a student village here in Camberwell. Imagine the possibilities for the local economy!

  29. Baby sitting so cannot come along… have a good evening! Been meaning to tall you that Flint’s have been down the Sun and Doves doing quotes for the cinema curtains.

  30. About the Gala Bingo Hall becoming a church… i just have some questions. Was the building privately owned or publicly owned… Was camberwell generating any revenue from Gala Bingo?

    It is clear to me that the building was owned by gala and they sold it to the church. Frankly i dont think that people have to be consulted before a property owner sells their building. Also, how do you know the church would not open its building to the community? A church in itself is a community building and is meant for the community. its a social outlet and environment that is beneficial in the sense that the ciommunity can benefit without having to spend a dime of their money.

    The church am sure would plan to have some job opportunities for those living locally and also would prefer to have members locally. that is why the church is going there. it is very inconvenient for the church to bring members from ‘essex’ to camberwell all the time. I am sure the church wants local members.

    Rather than fighting and campaigning against this church, why dont we put forward a list of reasonable suggestions (considering the fact that the building owned) for the church to help the community.

    Regarding transportation I am sure the buses would not notice the difference. Parking and all that can be negotiated with the church.

    I understand its a change for the community, but the change can also be a very good change if well taken advantage of. The church is a place supposed to be known for goodwill and kindness they would not want to do anything against this reputation.

    I would also like to point attention to the fact that the person writing this petition might have a very selfish interest as well.

  31. @lade: the building was privately owned and privately sold. very few people knew it was going to be sold in the first place and this is one of the contentious points, not because of the sale itself, but because the sale was made on the assumption that change of use would be granted. some argue that the former owner (gala bingo group) should have looked for a buyer who would have continued to use the building within the existing class. there may or may not be legal requirements to do this. i don’t know.

    the planning application which the house of praise submitted is only at times aspirational and states a number of things they will be doing. the problem, as i see it, is in total lack of supporting evidence to show community/employment/economic benefits in areas where the church already has places of worship.
    (to be continued)

  32. @Lade: I am one of the people who, with many others, have been organising the petition and the Camberwell Village Hall campaign. Let me answer many of your questions in one sentence.

    We are campaigning for an inclusive community based venue that benefits the WHOLE community.

    If I thought in any way that the House of Praise was going to do even a fraction of that I would not be putting my efforts and energies(for which I will get no financial benefit) into campaigning against this change of use.

    To mis-quote a former BP chairman, I would dearly love my life back!

    In answer to your points specifically please see below:

    1. About the Gala Bingo Hall becoming a church… i just have some questions. Was the building privately owned or publicly owned… Was camberwell generating any revenue from Gala Bingo?

    The building was owned privately and has been sold privately, but without first publicly announcing that it was up for sale. Yes it was generating revenue for Camberwell since most of the staff and the people using it were from the area. Whilst it did not generate much income for the area, it was a valuable leisure resource.

    2. Frankly i dont think that people have to be consulted before a property owner sells their building.

    No, they don’t have to consult before selling the building, and we weren’t asking for that. However, the Church wants a change of use and have put in a planning application. They do need to consult the community for that. It is clear that they have not done so in any meaningful way (by which I mean they have had one meeting to meet members of the community and provided no guarantees. See next point0.

    3. Also, how do you know the church would not open its building to the community? A church in itself is a community building and is meant for the community. its a social outlet and environment that is beneficial in the sense that the community can benefit without having to spend a dime of their money.

    I know they would not because they have not given any evidence or guarantees that they would do so despite our and other people’s best efforts to do so. The plans submitted do not show any proper facilities or procedures for allowing the community to use the building.

    4. The church am sure would plan to have some job opportunities for those living locally and also would prefer to have members locally. that is why the church is going there. it is very inconvenient for the church to bring members from ‘essex’ to camberwell all the time. I am sure the church wants local members.

    The Pastor lives in Essex. The majority of people who support the church and sing its praises (excuse the pun) stating how it will help the community do not come from Camberwell but Croydon, Peckham, Catford, Kensington, Brixton, etc. Over 80% of those opposing are from Camberwell. The job opportunities from a Church are far more limited than those of a community led leisure venue and hall which we are proposing.

    5. Rather than fighting and campaigning against this church, why dont we put forward a list of reasonable suggestions (considering the fact that the building owned) for the church to help the community.

    We have tried. And the answer was along the lines of “thanks for the ideas, we’ll put them in the proposal but actually we will only allow them if we can have the moral veto and if we actually need the money”. In other words, they are not interested in helping the community unless it fits into their rather narrow agenda.

    6.Regarding transportation I am sure the buses would not notice the difference. Parking and all that can be negotiated with the church.

    Negotiate what exactly? Let me put it another way. If an events company had bought the building and wanted to hold parties that would result in around 450 cars every time where there will be less than 50 car parking spaces, would you be happy with that. I am only quoting their figures. Where will those cars, along with the pollution and noise and disturbance in local streets go?

    7. I understand its a change for the community, but the change can also be a very good change if well taken advantage of. The church is a place supposed to be known for goodwill and kindness they would not want to do anything against this reputation.

    You are right, change happens all the time. Change can be good. But this change will be detrimental to the cohesion and amenity of Camberwell. If you read the entire objections to the change of use you will get a much better picture. http://bit.ly/dfY2jF They are long but detail all the problems that would arise. The church has shown no goodwill and kindness so far, so why should it in the future?

    8. I would also like to point attention to the fact that the person writing this petition might have a very selfish interest as well.

    I do not want to own the building and I have no other interest in it except it becoming the centrepiece of improvements in the area. However, yes, I do have a selfish interest. I want Camberwell to be noticed for the right reasons. I want to know my neighbours not hate them because they are not of the same religion or sexual orientation. I want businesses to thrive and I want people to be proud of Camberwell and the varied lives we live here.

    Hope this answers your questions. Please do ask if you have any more queries.

    Tom.

  33. Ohhh! Yes please! Can everyone club together to get me a Bentley? That would be nice. Or a BMW 2002? Not fussy really.

  34. Holland and Barrett appear to be opening a branch in Butterfly walk. The poster in the window proclaims the 14th September. Why are the chains suddenly taking an interest in Camberwell? Is this a good thing? discuss..

  35. Holland & Barrett used to be for properly neurotic, middle-class, walking well homopaths and the like, hippies, vague ‘uns, that kind of person. Now, however, it sells commercial muscle powder for narcissists as well as ladies’ primping powder. It also competes with the hitherto excellent value mail order companies like Nature’s Best, for the standard “Over Fifties Vim Pills”, joint pills, seaweed powder, etc.

    So it is a high street staple, Holland’s, and most welcome here. Their Iranian dates are great. Their special offers can be excellent value.

    It’s like opticians. At one time they were a Victorian-values, sacred mystery, proper professional monopoly. You’d go to Spain or Greece and the village ladies would look like film stars, auteurs or graphic designers with their fancy specs.

    The pill business used to be equally special and expensive. Now everyone can be neurotic. It shows you’ve risen above the rudely healthy classes.

  36. I remember my dad trying to buy a pack of Players No. 6 tips from H&B in the 70s. He came out with some dried apricots which gave him the sh1ts.

  37. Holland and Barrett in Butterfly Walk? Really? That’s good news, definitely.

    I was going to say surely it’ll struggle a bit there, but there’s one in Peckham you never know. And like Dagmar says they seem to have branched out into just another High St ubiquitous thing. Useful place though.

    Anything that breaks the cycle of shit, cheap tat shops on that ‘walk’ has to be good. I’ve never really recovered from the book shop going.

    I signed the Bingo petition last time I was in Mark’s gaff. My reasons are pure — I don’t want another church round here. Tired of em. Tired of the God drivel and the cars blocking streets and the pastors in their expensive cars (funny that). Go Dawkins, Go Hawking!

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