Despite only having had one day’s notice of the event, I attend the Strategic Planning Advisory Group meeting as they considered whether to make the Poet’s Estate an Area of Special Local Character (ASLC). Planning officers were not keen as they claimed that there was no prevalent architectural style.

Pointing out the pressure that the area is under, in the light of the Coleridge Avenue planning application, I was able to repeat the prayer to the petition signed by 298 local residents last year which stated that Sutton Council themselves had claimed the area as “part of the borough’s heritage heartland” in the Sutton Scene magazine. There are three main considerations, the townscape, architecture and landscape. I believe that the Estate clearly demonstrates that it meets all three.

The result was a partial success. The planning officers are not keen to add any more ASLCs as this weakens the protection for the existing ones. A new policy to be included in the Local Development Framework will act as an overarching policy to protect particular suburban character in areas such as the Poets’. The decision has been deferred for six months whilst this new policy is implemented. If the committee do not feel that this is robust enough, they can reconsider the merits of the case and we shall start over again. At least I have six months’ notice this time.