Please excuse inevitable errors/omissions – especially on people’s names – & let me know about anything important I’ve got wrong or missed out. I’ve paragraph numbered each point to make it easier to reply. Please also put your name down (or correct those I’ve put in so far) to lead/join the various roles in section 4, so we know who is doing what. Or just comment on WhatsApp. Please also accept my apologies if I’ve accidentally stepped on any-one’s toes! !

Wednesday 26 October 2022
Public invitation, about 12 people

Wednesday 2 November 2022
Private meeting by invitation on the WhatsApp group Penge Preservation Society
About 7 people:
Mike Payne
Michael Roche
Jennifer Stephens
Vicky & keyboards, not Martin
Steve W. & Julie Burton from Orpington Nuts

The main objective in these meetings was to check with the Nuts group that so far Penge Preservation Society has made no howlers so far (all good) and to plan strategy from here. Many thanks especially to Steve for his information and guidance.

The story basically is that we need to get in many individual objections to the planning application process. Nuts achieved about 800! So we introduce delays and make them have to work. The initial application for the Walnuts Centre, Orpington has been rejected thanks to several hundred separate objections being lodged. However the Nuts group is watching closely for a revised application.

The people who sign the petition we need to reach out to, encourage community spirit, and coach to write the planning objections.

Fleshing this out

(1.1) Walnuts began with a folded A-4 leaflet (20,000 copies) hand delivered to people’s doors, a huge organisational effort. This got massive awareness over a wide area. RosieL able to confirm that this size leaflet is a lot more effective than A5. Not as expensive as you’d think, eg from this firm https://www.helloprint.co.uk/ . Perhaps a local firm might do a special rate for us.

The population of Penge is much smaller than Orpington, and the Walnuts scheme also involved demolition of the leisure centre. Perhaps our leaflet needs to alert people in Sydenham and Crystal Palace and Beckenham, that if this goes through in Penge, towers will be coming to their area next.

(1.2) Council’s generally ignore petitions (they count them as a single voice) – but – the 800 people so far who have signed have also left their email address on the website. Data Protection is all clear, so long as there is a ‘desubscribe’ function. We need to use these emails to write to them and coach them how to campaign, deliver leaflets, and to lodge objections.

( 1.3) We need to watch the Council website for planning applications, check at least weekly. The Walnuts one was put in on 21 December 2021. As soon as it goes in, the objections need to be lodged. We can expect a similar date this year as Hadley want to start in 6 months, as usual rushing it through.

(1.4) Objections need to be individual and not standard templates, so that we create a huge amount of work for the planning department to reply to them individually. Mike Payne and others have already researched the valid grounds, which include height, out of keeping, doesn’t conform to their own guidance, infrastructure, loss of light. Not sure ref crime, alienation, keeping it clean. 22/03428/EIA.

It’s always good to quote their own guidelines back at them – we need to take offline copies of their guidelines in case they suddenly change them [cue eye roll] which is bound to happen sooner or later.

(1.5) ‘Outreach’ (ie taking our campaign to the streets) is important as well.

(1.6) Images/leaflets need to emphasise darkness and shadows. Hadley’s pics seem to show bright sunshine where in fact there would be deep shadow.

Further strategies and other topics
(2.1) Don’t encourage people to use Hadley’s own feedback form where the questions are unfair and phrased to invite answers in support of their plan.

(2.2) Writing to councillors and MPs has a use in terms of alerting them to public opinion and votes at the next election.

(2.3) Since this meeting, Mike set up a website for Nuts and also opened a Facebook page for Penge.

(2.4) Discussion of height
There’s a 10-storey building along Croydon Road towards S Norwood. They might claim this is part of the character of the area, but we can preempt this by showing how out of character it is, at ‘only’ 10 stories, plus it’s way off the highstreet and not visible from it.

There used to be towers in Penge but were taken down [RosieL to find out more] another good argument.

(2.5) Section 106 contributions = CIL = Community Infrastructure Levy = payment from developer to local authority. A % of this is supposed to be used in the actual area, but it all seems to go into the general coffers/social support.

(2.6) Talking to local friends, there’s clearly a positive interest in having more affordable, low-cost housing, general people would see that as a plus, together with a cynical assumption that in the end none of it will be “affordable”.

(2.7) IF their figures are true, the unit cost works out at £400,000 so they have to build many storeys to make it worthwhile – pretty hard to believe. If true, our line is that we’d prefer nothing to something and Bromley can use the money they got for public land to giving Penge a cleanup.

(2.8) BID = “Penge SE20 BID, a Business Improvement District for Penge”
They are saying they support the development. But for independent businesses, the increased footfall is in the future after 2 years of disruption, and they haven’t factored in the loss of the carpark, nor that Penge becomes a less attractive place for people to want to visit and shop in.

(2.9) Lack of dropped kerbs and wheelchair routes, including during construction, and another possible way to object.

(2.10) Discussion of where these towers are going in so far, in areas like ours, but also parks & libraries. Penge library will presumably go when they put in another Harris secondary school somewhere on that corner (info from Hadley).

(2.11) Comments on the need to keep literature at an easy-to-read level for those with poor English.

Division of workload

There’s a pile of stuff we can do, and it’s good if different people take a lead on different aspects, or join team efforts where tasks are better shared.
Please correct my efforts so far to work out who does what, and volunteer 🙂

(3.1) Advertising and spreading the word via social networks. All our friends and contacts we can think of, especially promoting the petition, as our source of volunteers and objection writers!

(3.2) Everyone can send the link to all their friends and contacts!

(3.3) Create a QR code for the petition [MikeP]

(3.4) Creating the materials for outreach, cards to give to people for petitions, etc [MikeP Need anyone else?]

(3.5) Jennifer Stephens and RosieL both have a laminating machine

(3.6) Advertising via Newshopper/others, perhaps by paying for a whole-page advert

(3.7) Focus on the planning application procedures and valid grounds [Juliet I think has a contact in another planning department & ? ]

(3.8) Leaflet production

(3.9) Visual images [Vicky and her son made a lego model, Martin does amazing computer graphics]. Ref daylight: maybe a circle on a map, to show where the shadows fall (I think that dawn/dusk on the longest day will give the longest shadows, not sure though!) – put that in the small print 😉

(3.6) Leaflet distribution to homes [need to gather volunteers from the people who replied to the petition]

(3.7) Setting up communication with supporters, and replying to questions and correspondence, creating a community spirit.
[This needs a team. RosieL is happy to start drafting general text.]

(3.8) Looking for London/national support, especially from Andrew Boff who wrote a letter on the topic and is a Conservative GLA Councillor. [Vicky Rockport]

(3.9) Arranging outreach [Michael Roche, RosieL, Jennifer, others]

(3.10) Communication with Local Councilors and gaining their active support. Eg Chloe-Jane Ross, who is LibDem Councillor for Beckenham. [Vicky Rockport, Jennifer Stephens]

(4.11) Communication with local networks and other community groups. [eg the SE20 street WhatsApp network, Jennifer and MikeP] .
Also try Flavia Souza of Beckenham Appreciation Group. Hadley Group already know Flavia well. Suggest face to face where possible not e-communication to find out what people really think and what they might feel able to do.

(4.12) Moderating the Facebook page (ie removing anything offensive) [MikeP & ?] Also Twitter? Instagram?

(4.13) Impact on sunlight (solar projection) research, grounds for complaint, and depiction [Jennifer Stephens, Lee Knights, Michael Roche]. Jennifer sent an email to Mable Ogundayo ( = Engagement and Social Value Lead, Hadley Property Group)

(4.14) Interviews with local radio eg Edmund at Love da Beat. Please note that super-careful planning of answers is needed, especially to avoid traps and being twisted into ‘extremist/filltheblank-ist’ type accusations [Jennifer Stephens]

(4.15) Lapel badges to sell for funds, gain commitment, and spread the word

(4.16) Add crowd funding page to website

Some additional comments from RosieL

(4.1) “Penge Preservation Society” is the perfect basic name for this organisation. Completely non-confrontational and also clear – and also flexible in case other problems arise. Also it can promote basic maintenance, and making Penge look nice. Charges of ‘nimbyism’ should be easy to refute but need careful planning. Basically refuse to engage on wider issues but keep repeating that the x00,000 inhabitants of Penge do not want tower blocks blighting their homes and highstreet, or something like that. Impact on mental health, etc.

(4.2) “Regeneration” is a word to avoid, as this inevitably means redevelopment & big projects, whereas all that Penge needs is some TLC, cleaning and mowing in the park and Alms Houses, keeping the roadside drains cleared out. Noting that a deliberate official strategy is to allow ‘seediness’ to set in, areas to become dirty, neglected and rundown, until people actually support major developments (look no further than Croydon!).

(4.3) The Facebook name/image possibly needs reviewing, to see what reactions it’s getting, maybe with some basic market research when doing street outreach. It might be too dark/negative/heavy in feel. To get people to listen & join in with something there needs to be an immediate emotional reward/uplift. For example, the inherent humour in the Nuts slogan. I know we’ve had debate on the topic, but including a question-mark does get people’s minds thinking, and feeling as if they have a say in the matter. Nuance/subtlety isn’t helpful, but neither is getting people into a ‘loggerheads’ frame of mind. “Tower Blocks? Penge Says No” was the second favourite suggestion. May be points to bear in mind when doing leaflets.

(4.4) ‘Love Penge’ type imagery is asking to be made good use of. Like this (display nice photos) – or this (Towering blocks) ? Also for lapel badges. Positive things for people who prefer to wear something like that.