Local developments

Bellway Plans to build houses on Meadowview Sports Ground

 Date: 24 August 2020

We have just learned that Bellway Homes have indicated that they intend to deliver a letter to local residents on Tuesday 25th August setting out their intention to build some 90 units of accommodation on the Sports Ground in Meadowview Road, Grand Drive (Formerly the "LESSA" Sports Ground).

More details of Bellway's plans can be seen here and here .

 

Nowhere in their letter do they explain that they have owned this land since 2010, having bought it following a public inquiry, in which the Planning Inspector held that there should be permission only to build the 44 homes now on the site, and on the clear basis that the rest of the land should be retained for sporting use. Five tennis courts were also provided for the Raynes Park Tennis Club.

Nowhere in the letter do Bellway set out the Council’s planning policy for the site. The proposed policy is that “Sporting or community use of the whole site will have to be demonstrated as undeliverable before any other use can be considered”.  It is designated as Open Space. It is officially noted that “the site may have opportunities for whole site sports use. Use of the site for sports use or other uses compatible with the designated open space should be actively demonstrated prior to any alternatives being taken forward”.  

The decision letter from the Inspectorate approved the continued use of the sports field for football and rugby. The decision also makes reference to the laying out of pitches and a pavilion. The Inspector appears to have swayed by a proposal by King’s College School that they wished to use the sports field for its junior pupils.  In the event, KCS did not take up this option.

However, the decision stated that, in that case, the ground had to be made available to any other School or a Sports Club. The Residents’ Association suggested to Bellway on a number of occasions another junior school which would be interested in taking up a lease, as well as a sports club, but nothing resulted from our approaches. 

So far as we are aware, they have not attempted in any way in the past ten years to bring the ground to the attention of other schools or sports clubs.  They ought to demonstrate this very clearly before planning permission for housing should even be considered.

We would normally have called a public meeting to discuss these proposals, but, sadly, Covid 19 prevents this.

We hope that if residents are contacted by Bellway, they will say to them firmly that the site should be used for sports, and particularly for junior sports.  It is so important that this message gets through to Merton’s planners now. 

If a planning application is made, then we would urge individual residents to oppose it in the strongest terms, and hold Bellway to the conditions on which they bought the land.

And, if anyone reading this knows of a School or sporting club which needs a good sports ground of 2.8 hectares, do, please, get in touch with us urgently at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

John Elvidge, Chairman, 24th August 2020

265 Burlington Rd - Date Set for Public Inquiry

1st September 2020 - Update

   

 

Back in 2019, Redrow Homes Limited submitted a planning application (Merton ref: 19/P2387) to build 456 new flats (in blocks between 7 and 15 stories high) on the Tesco car park site at 265 Burlington Road. 

On 13 February 2020, Merton’s Planning Applications Committee (PAC) resolved to refuse the application. The Council Chamber was packed with many residents who came to show their disapproval of the scheme on the grounds of density, height, and lack of amenities to cater for such a high influx of people. 

Our Association had already organised a public meeting last autumn, attended by over 200 local residents at which there was universal opposition to the scheme. 

As reported previously on this website, many of our members will already be aware that Redrow has now launched an appeal for its planning application. This appeal will be handled by the Planning Inspectorate and will be heard as a Public Inquiry.

The Inquiry is now scheduled to start on Tuesday, 8 December 2020, and take four days.

Our Association plans to participate in the Inquiry and has been granted "Rule 6 Status". This means we are involved in the preparations and can submit our grounds and reasoning,  urging that the appeal be refused.

For more information, click here .

Jerry Cuthbert

20/P1253 - 265 Burlington Road

NEW PLANNING APPLICATION FROM TESCO 

APPLICATION TO DETERMINE WHETHER PRIOR APPROVAL IS REQUIRED FOR THE PROPOSED CHANGE OF USE OF OFFICE SPACE (USE CLASS B1a) TO RESIDENTIAL (USE CLASS C3), CREATING 38 x NEW RESIDENTIAL UNITS 

On 22nd April 2020, agents acting on behalf of Tesco submitted a new planning application for redevelopment of the redundant two storey office block at 265 Burlington Road, KT3 4NE. This application is a proposal, under the “Prior Approval” regulations, to covert the existing building into 38 flats. It would also incorporate the part of the existing car park currently used for “Click and Collect”, so that 100 car parking spaces would be for use by the occupants. 

“Prior Approval” is a procedure whereby owners of office buildings may convert them to residential use without the requirement to obtain full planning approval. Nevertheless, under “Prior Approval” there are still three matters that do need to be submitted to the Planning Authority. These are: 

·          Design and external appearance;

·         The transport impacts of the development;

·         Flooding information. 

More information can be found on the Merton Planning Explorer. 

The closing date for representations is 13 May 2020.

19/P2387 - 265 Burlington Road

OBJECTIONS ON BEHALF OF THE ASSOCIATION 

Our committee member, David Freeman, has submitted the following on behalf of our Association.

 

Attention Case Officer . On behalf of Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents Association I submit the following comments. 

A ) Although not part of the Application I need to point out that the Newsletter distributed widely by Redrow Homes was highly misleading . This drew from the New London Plan ( a GLA document ) which sets out a target delivery in future years of 1,328 home pa. The Newsletter stated that Merton was “ expected to deliver “ this number of homes each year .

However the New London Plan is still in draft form and NOT an Adopted GLA Plan.

Merton’s housing target remains at 411 homes pa which derives from the existing London Plan of April 2016.

 

B ) SITE PROPOSAL

Site Proposal RP3 in Merton’s draft Local Plan October 2018, sets out LBM proposals for a comprehensive redevelopment of the WHOLE   of the Tesco site including the Store and Petrol Station. The Application in question is for a development on approx. one third of the site .

There is clear conflict here between Merton’ s Local Plan and the proposals in the Application.

 

C ) DESIGN

Planning Guidance : Policy 14 LDF Core Planning Strategy and Policy DM D 1 and DM D2 Sites and Policies Plan July 2014.

I submit that there is clear conflict with the guidance set out in the above Policies by failure of the proposals to “ relate positively and appropriately to the scale ,density,proportions, massing and height of the surrounding street patterns and by failure to protect existing development ( in nearby streets ) from visual intrusion .

 

D ) TALL BUILDINGS

Merton’s draft Local Plan provides a useful definition of a Tall Building . I quote .” a tall building is a building which is substantially taller than their surroundings “. 

The proposals submitted are for seven blocks of flats ( but NO houses !  ) ranging in height from 6 to 15 storey.

Starting from Merton’s LDF Tall Buildings Background Paper 2010 and Design Policy CS 14 Core Planning Strategy July 2011, reinforced by Strategic Policy LP D 5.1 Placemaking and Design in the draft Local Plan October 2018 from which I quote :

“ Proposals for tall buildings will be permitted only in Town Centres in Colliers Wood,Morden and Wimbledon.”

The Tesco car park site is not even close to Raynes Park which is a  LOCAL Centre and nowhere near Wimbledon Town Centre.

The proposal for “ tall buildings “ on the application Site is in FLAGRANT CONFLICT with the Planning Guidance quoted above .

Perhaps I should add - going back to the definition - that there can sometimes be doubt as to what “ substantially taller “ means . BUT NOT IN THIS CASE . The highest residential building ( under construction ) in the surrounding area is 5 storey.

A 15 STOREY BUILDING IS SUBSTANTIALY TALLER THAN A 5 STOREY BUILDING . Fact!

 

E ) HOUSING MIX

Planning Guidance : Sites and Policies Plan July 2014 Policy DM H 2 and draft Local Plan Policy H 4.3.

The proposal is to build 456 flats made up as follows ;

114 x one bed units =  25 %

290 x two bed units =  63.5 %

52  x  three bed units = 11.5 % 

The target mix set out in Merton’s Sites and Policy Plan is 33%, 32% and 35% but these have been slightly modified in the draft Local Plan to 33%, 33% and 34%.

The proposal to build almost two thirds of the flats as two bed units is way out of alignment with the policy . There would be too high a proportion of two bed flats and not enough ‘  family ‘ units. The proposals are in clear conflict with planning guidance.

 

F ) PUBLIC TRANSPORT ACCESIBILITY LEVEL ( PTAL ) AND TRANSPORT IMPACTS 

The Tesco car park site is beyond reasonable walking distance of both Raynes Park and Motspur Park Railway Stations and has limited bus service connections. In consequence it has a rather low PTAL rating between 2 and 3 ( out of 6 ).With an influx of probably more than 1,000 people and 220 car parking spaces it is obvious that the proposals would lead to a serious increase in traffic congestion in Burlington Road even greater than currently exists . 

The proposals are in conflict with Policy DM D 2 of the Sites and Policies Plan July 2014 in that there would be significant adverse impact on the existing transport infrastructure and local environment.

 

G ) FLOOD RISK

The Application Site is within fluvial ( river ) flood zones 2 and 3 and therefore at risk of surface water flooding. Such a location would be suitable for SOME types of development but not I suggest for high-density residential use.

 

And Finally let me say that Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents Association ( RP&WBRA ) is NOT opposed to any new housing in the Borough . We are supportive of Merton ‘delivering 400 plus new homes pa hopefully a MIX of houses and flats . A high proportion of these schemes are in ‘ backland ‘ areas on so called ‘ windfall ‘ sites.

We support this type of development where - in terms of numbers - the new residents can be assimilated into the local network without causing strains , on the local social services, for BOTH them AND the existing populace.

 

However let me indulge in a Compare and Contrast exercise.

I suggest Redrow Homes proposals could well be a ‘ natural fit ‘in the centre of a New Town  like Milton Keynes for example. There are in fact large blocks of flats in MK within the Town Centre and within a short walk to the main Transport Hub. The residents look down on to a wide shopping parade with housing development only in the very far distance. Many of the residents are either single or couples and many do not have a car - very limited on site parking. They use the Car Club. 

Would this type of development be a ‘ natural fit ‘ on the Tesco car park in West Barns .Hardly . 

The site is NOT a Town Centre location.

It is nowhere near a main Transport Hub.

Most of the new residents would insist of having a car but only about half of them would have a nearby parking space. And where would they find school places for their children, a GP Surgery, a NHS Dentist a Local Park . The list could go on.

They would be locked in between the A3 and the Railway lines breathing in the fumes from vehicles standing still for 15 minutes or more in Burlington Road waiting to get over the level crossing .

WHAT SORT OF QUALITYOF LIFE WOULD THAT BE FOR ANYBODY?

 Also in terms of Design the tower blocks would - by contrast with the local scene - stand out like huge monoliths bearing down on the residents of Seaforth Avenue and the roads beyond. Should they have to live with that sort of intrusion. 

I pose this question . Would these proposals meet the requirements of a key piece of Merton Planning Guidance - Core Planning Strategy  Policy CS 14 ? I quote :

“All development needs to be designed in order to respect, reinforce and enhance the local character of the area in which it is located “.Think about each of the three components.

I submit that set against this test alone the Redrow scheme would be a total failure.

 

On behalf of the RP&WBRA for all the reasons outlined above I urge the Planning Applications Committee to REFUSE this application . Thank you for your time. 

David Freeman

Wimbledon Chase - High-Rise Development Proposed

Another application for a ‘high rise’ block in a residential area.  This time it’s Wimbledon Chase.station. 

Plans to build a seven-storey block of flats at Wimbledon Chase Station and remodel the entrance have been lodged. 

Just before Christmas The Newbridge Group - the company behind the proposal - held an exhibition which detailed its plans for the site. 

These include 62 new homes divided between two buildings, shops on the ground floor and a "rejuvenated station entrance." but something it doesn't include is step-free access. 

Proposed scheme

This has annoyed Dundonald Ward councillor Anthony Fairclough who met with representatives from the developers and their agents on January 16th. 

Following the meeting, Cllr Fairclough said: "I can't see how this development can go ahead without doing everything possible to also make the station accessible for everyone. 

"I'm shocked that the developers aren't planning to make the station entrance 'step free' – it affects so many people's lives."   "Step-free is simply a 'must have' in 2020."  

Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond agrees. 

Existing station entrance 

Stephen Hammond met with developers this week and said the key issues are accessibility and the height of the proposed building.  "The developer has asserted that the cost of a Network Rail compliant scheme could make the development unviable and Network Rail has stated there is not the demand," he said.  "I believe this would be a huge missed opportunity not to make Wimbledon Chase step free and I will be pursuing this. "A number of residents have also told me that they approve development on this site in principle, but that they are opposed to the design, height and look of this scheme." 

There will be a further consultation in mid-February, with a planning application expected to be submitted at the end of that month. 

If that gets approved, then construction would begin during the summer of 2020 with an expected completion three years later. 

Cllr Fairclough added that he will be meeting with Network Rail and Merton Council to come up with a "workable plan." 

"The developers say they want to create a 'landmark' building for the area," he said. 

"Residents tell me that the imposition of a bock of flats, nine storeys high – four higher than anything nearby – will certainly create a 'landmark'; but for all the wrong reasons. 

"We need new housing that is sympathetic to the area – so hopefully the developers will respond positively to the feedback they're getting.

"Otherwise there will strong objections from the public when this matter comes to the Planning Applications Committee."

No parking spaces will be built as part of the development, apart from a few spaces for the disabled. 

AELTC - Grand Drive - Drop In

AELTC received planning permission (Council Ref: 18/P1024) from the London Borough of Merton in October 2018 for the further development of the grounds, which included approval for a new Clubhouse.  They are holding a public consultation to present the design for the Clubhouse and to provide an update on the construction activity taking place at the grounds.  

This Drop-In Session will take place on Wednesday 18 March 2019, 4.00pm-7.00pm, here at the Community Sports Ground, 216 Grand Drive, at which our team will be available to answer any questions about the forthcoming construction works and the plans for the approved Clubhouse. 

For security reasons, if you would like to attend the Drop-In session we would be grateful if you could email; 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name and address. 

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