Today a campaigning organisation called Living Streets sent in an email asking for the site to draw attention to the problems that can occur when useful community services are replaced with ones that are arguably less so.
Recently during a discussion on the 853blog about the future of Woolwich, the topic of the conversion of the Woolwich Equitable building (built in 1935) into a Bookies shop led to the revelation that Banks and Bookies fall into the same class with regard to planning, making it relatively easy for Bookies to move in to High Street locations. This may not immediately seem like such a threat to Woolwich, but in Deptford bookiefication has become a phenomenon, and at the last count it was observed that their high street had eight bookies. At a time when Woolwich is rediscovering its sense of civic pride, it could do well to avoid a similar invasion, although the Powis street pedestrian precinct is currently bookie free.
The campaign is promoting a greater say for communities in how changes in the use of public buildings are agreed, and in particular they are hoping to persuade the Secretary of State for Communities to reconsider proposals to further reduce the protections offered by national planning guidelines. As an aside, the proposed changes will also relax planning requirements for things such as preserving historical features, conducting archeological surveys, and protecting views – which is possibly going to be an issue when Furze Lodge is extended upwards.
The campaign is called the Local Joke, and adds to ongoing work on pedestrian safety carried out by Living Streets.