Within a few days of contacting CABE I received a response - and not one that I was expecting. CABE had no knowledge of Lewisham's plans for this estate. CABE duly called Lewisham and updated their contact details but at this stage in the development's plans CABE did not consider that they should have any further involvement. I sent the email to the Head of Planning for comment and he confirmed that they will look again at how they might involve CABE in the future.
Quite apart from the possibility that we might have given planning permission to a large estate that could produce social problems at least as great as any coming from 1960s council estates we really need to be sure that good design when rebuilding estates is at the heart. There are swathes of estates in parts of Lewisham that could be redeveloped at some time over the next few years. Unless we work with organisations like CABE, listen carefully to bodies such as our own Design Panel and get the residents involved at a stage where they can have a positive impact we will risk as a corporate body encouraging the redevelopment of our estates in spite of local people rather than with them.
I contrast this with the plans for the redevelopment of one of the estates close to New Cross gate - residents came along to SUPPORT the plans - not oppose. A lesson for us all.