by Nigel Bakhai on 16 March, 2011
Here is the text of my speech to the Planning committee in March 2011 in opposition to the proposed development of 3-7 Uxbridge Road which was refused due to overdevelopment, inadequate provision of amenity space, lack of car parking,unsuitable design/massing, and undesirable relationship with neighbouring properties:
Chair, I would like to raise a number of concerns with this proposed development both as a ward councillor and local resident. First of all, while I accept that these properties are not locally listed or in a conservation area, I question the principle of this development given that this application involves the demolition of three Victorian terrace buildings rather than refurbishment. I believe this is contrary to the spirit of UDP policy 2.1 on promoting Sustainable development that says: “This council will take decisions on developments based on the whole range of sustainability…including the desirability of retaining and renovating buildings. As it states in the UDP many of the Borough’s older buildings still have many years of useful life and, despite the justification from the applicant we have heard tonight, I do not see why the existing buildings cannot be refurbished to provide a similar number of new affordable homes. I also take issue with the opinion of the planning officer that this new development will add local character to the area, as I believe these proposals will significantly impact on the streetscape by salami slicing a historical period feature of the area to be replaced by another modern block of flats.
I also cannot understand why the officer is recommending this development for approval given that this application contravenes so many of our UDP policies. Firstly, there is a distinct lack of amenity/garden space, below our UDP guidelines. Unit 1 = 20 sqm under provision, Unit 2 = 13 sqm under provision, Unit 3 is deemed unusable due to location at front of building and the likely problems of noise & air quality. Units 4-11 Communal space of 64 sqm instead of 120 sqm. Then, there is a lack of child play space. The London Plan SPD states that there should be 10 sqm play space per child – 64 sqm total space required but none has been provided. The Landscape and Tree officer has even recommended for refusal “due to a significant lack of amenity and child play space in this area of severe park deficiency”. However, this advice has not been heeded. I note the amended recommendation to remove the reference to Dean Gardens in the S106 proposals, but the fact remains there is no play space on site and the development is not in close proximity to park or play space. Then there are questions to be raised about the accommodation being provided in this development. The proposal only includes 1 and 2 bed accommodation – when SPD1 says that 42% should be 3+ bedrooms. I would argue that there is a dire need for family accommodation in the area and that overcrowding is an issue on GML estate where the new tenants will come from. The living space, although a minor infraction, is under provision for units 5 & 9 based on SPG 14. There is also the impact of the development on the privacy and feeling of overlooking of the neighbouring residents of Shirley Court which is only 17.7metres away – less than the 21m guidance between habitable rooms set out in the UDP.
The application also provides 10 car parking spaces less than UDP requirement. The Council recently undertook a CPZ consultation in Shirley Gardens due to parking pressure – (77% capacity already on Saturday mornings) and car club permits will not prevent new residents parking in Shirley Gardens and adding to the parking congestion. To quote UDP Policy 9.8 on Low Car Housing; “In all situations, the critical issue is how to ensure that residents moving into a low-car development, do not merely park their cars in what may already be a congested area. This can be done in areas where there is on-street parking control” Yes, it goes on to mention that the developer can show commitment to minimise car use by buying permits to a car club, but I would argue that the low car housing policy works best in those areas where it is enforceable with a legal agreement preventing new residents from purchasing CPZ permits.
Finally, the report states that the council housing department welcome this opportunity to provide decant housing for GML redevelopment. I agree with this in principle but the development should not be if accommodation is less than council standards in terms of living/amenity space or at the expense of the neighbouring residents of Shirley Gardens. I therefore urge the committee to REFUSE this application.Leave a comment