Springfield Hospital is a mental health hospital in Tooting. The hospital has been on this site since 1840, originally an asylum. Sadiq has always supported the hospital and over the last 150 years it has become an integral part of the local community.
In 2008 South West London and St George’s Trust submitted a planning application to redevelop the site of Springfield Hospital, Tooting. These plans proposed a complete overhaul of the site, including the building of new hospital buildings, private residential properties and changes to the green space on the site.
Sadiq’s Springfield survey
Many local residents were concerned about these plans and the lack of consultation on them and so they contacted Sadiq to ask for his support. Following this, Sadiq contacted thousands of local households surrounding the Springfield site to inform them of the planning application and find out their views in a survey. (These surveys were kindly delivered by dozens of local residents!)
Hundreds of local residents responded to the survey, and the results revealed the true extent of local opposition to the plans for a new development on the site of the Springfield Hospital.
The survey revealed that 38.9% of people did not support the plans at all; 56.8% of respondents had serious reservations about the current plans and only 4.3% supported the plans in their current form. People’s concerns centred around the height of the proposed development and the number of private residential units (originally 1,400).
Sadiq passed these results to the Trust.
Sadiq has always supported the regeneration of the hospital and the improvement of its services, but what he and many local residents opposed was the scale of the development proposed on the site.
As a result of Sadiq’s campaign alongside local residents, community groups and councillors, the Trust delayed the application. In the meantime Sadiq met with the developers of the site to discuss the plans to see if improvements could be made to take on board the residents’ concerns. A planning application was finally submitted to Wandsworth Council in December 2008. Unfortunately, many of the concerns raised were ignored by the Trust.
Consultation and rejection of the plans
In January 2009 Wandsworth Council held a formal consultation on the plans. Sadiq campaigned for a longer consultation than is the usual practice to ensure that everyone in the area were fully aware of the plans and those who wanted to have a say, could. He succeeded on this and as a result the consultation lasted for almost two months, until February 2009.
Sadiq produced an easy to understand summary of the plan for the site with some of the key issues highlighted. It can be downloaded here
In February 2009, during the consultation period, over 100 Tooting residents gathered outside the gates of Springfield Hospital to say NO to the current plans to re-develop Springfield Hospital, which you can see here.
Local residents working with Sadiq, managed to collect over 2000 signatures, and hundreds of residents wrote to Wandsworth Council opposing the development. By the close of the consultation the Council received over 1200 objections from residents!
On 12 March 2009 the Council’s Planning Applications Committee rejected plans for the Springfield Development. This was a great victory for Sadiq’s campaign with local residents.
Appealing the decision
Sadiq urged Judy Wilson, Chief Executive of South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust not to appeal the decision and respect the overwhelming views of local residents. He asked the Trust to work with himself and local residents (as well as local councillors) to create a Taskforce that could plan a sustainable and acceptable development to upgrade the facilities at Springfield Hospital.
Despite this, the Trust appealed against the Council’s rejection of the development. Sadiq attended a meeting in December 2009 to give his own feedback on the development, representing the views of the residents.
This appeal was rejected. The Trust wasted a considerable sum of money on this failed attempt to impose these flawed plans on the local community, which needn’t to have been wasted had they listened properly.
In June 2010 Springfield Hospital published revised plans for the development of the hospital site.
The new plans included a reduction in building heights and the number of units (to 850), but also proposed to open up an additional vehicle access point on Hebdon Road. Following meetings with local residents, and taking on board their views of these plans, Sadiq raised objections to the plans, which can be read here and here.
Sadiq's letter to the hospital outlining the reasons he is objecting to the plans can be read here.
Andrew Simpson, the programme director of the Springfield Development, responded to Sadiq's objections, which can also be read here.
Despite overwhelming local opposition to the plans (over 4000 people objected) the plans were recommended for approval by the planning department. Sadiq urged as many people as possible to attend the Planning Applications Committee (PAC) and show the councillors on the committee just how strong, and united, the opposition to these plans was.
Before the meeting Sadiq wrote to all the councillors on the PAC asking them to reject the plans. You can read his letter here. Once again, the campaign worked. Local councillors (from both major parties) lined up to speak against the plans, and the final decision was to reject them on two broad grounds: the impact on transport infrastructure (particularly roads) locally, and the impact on metropolitan open land. The committee voted unanimously to refuse planning permission.
Again Sadiq wrote to the Chief Executive of the Trust asking her not to appeal against this second rejection. He also asked that the Mayor of London sign-off on the refusal of this application. You can see copies of his letters here and here.
Despite Sadiq’s efforts the Trust made the decision to appeal the committee’s refusal.
Public Inquiry and the final decision
As part of his campaign Sadiq successfully lobbied for a full public inquiry and that the final decision be taken by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles MP.
The public enquiry was held in November 2011. The inquiry considered the Trust’s appeal and it was then for the Secretary of State to make a decision on whether to grant planning permission.
The result of the public inquiry was announced on 21June 2012, where disappointed residents were told that, despite four years of campaigning, the Government had given permission for the Springfield development. The decision of the Government to grant permission for the plans was despite the objections of thousands of local residents, locally elected Councillors and the local MP.
Work on the site is due to begin in mid 2016 and will continue until 2022.
Plans for the green space on the site
Following the granting of planning permission the Trust has arranged a series of meetings with local residents, community and sports groups to discuss the development of parkland on the Springfield site.
The first meeting took place in October 2012. This meeting outlined planning restrictions on the site, the construction plans and the various possible uses and designs for the parkland. There continued to be the feeling amongst local residents that the Trust was failing to consult them or listen o their views. Sadiq wrote to the Trust to ask that going forward they make sure to work closely with local residents when planning the future of the green space on the site. You can read a copy of this letter here.
Residents expressed a number of worries about the development of the parkland, including the possible access route to Streatham Cemetery, the bus route that will travel through the site and congestion and security issues.
In November 2012 Sadiq attended the latest meeting for the redevelopment of the Springfield Parkland. The purpose of the meeting was for the working groups which had been set up in October to feed back to the Trust. The working groups had been meeting to explore ideas for the site in the areas of education, sport, arts and culture and horticulture and conservation, and also maintenance of the site.
In the meantime the Trust delivered surveys to neighbours of Springfield within a one mile radius of the hospital, asking their thoughts on how the green space should be developed.
Sadiq urged local residents to take part in the survey, as an opportunity to have their say in the future of the parkland.
Springfield Park Strategy
At the end of December 2012 the Trust submitted the Springfield Park Strategy to Wandsworth Council. This is a document that included the ideas for the site developed by the working groups and the survey results. You can read this here.
If you would like more information on the redevelopment you can visit the Springfield Regeneration website here
The next stage is for Wandsworth Council to hold a public consultation on plans for the Springfield Parkland. Once more information is available Sadiq will be sure to let you know. This expected to be held in the Autumn.