The SMERA Committee aim to scrutinise all Planning Applications within our footprint and support, oppose or comment on Applications as we consider appropriate.
SMERA was actively involved throughout the planning process for the redevelopment by Octagon, of the former Brunel College site, now known as Richmond Lock. Working closely with North St Margaret’s Residents’ Association, we ensured that a Covenant was placed on the development to guarantee public access was preserved and ensure that it did not become a gated community within a community.
In 2015 and 2016, SMERA sucesfully fought off Planning Applications submitted on behalf of Vodafone to install large phone masts and telecommuncation cabinets. Vodafone took the latter application to appeal. The Council and SMERA opposed the appeal and it was rejected by the Government Inspectorate.
The Association monitors the lopping and felling of listed trees as well as those large enough to qualify under conservation guidelines (which apply to virtually all trees within our footprint).
SMERA, supported by a large number of local residents, was involved in a long battle to get the Ballet Rambert school (faced with eviction from the new Octagon development), permission from the Council to buy and move their school into Clifton Lodge and the Violet Needham chapel, thus conserving two significant local old buildings in danger of complete deterioration.
SMERA takes an active interest in our surrounding area, sometimes by supporting local campaigns, such as retaining the footbridge at the St Margaret’s Roundabout. Where we do not consider it appropriate to get directly involved, we may publicise concerns, so that our members can individually get involved if they desire. Similarly, for issues such as Controlled Parking Zones, the SMERA Committee did not take a view, but tried to ensure local residents were informed of their options.