Local developments

Rainbow Ind Est - June 2018

Members may recall that a few years ago Workspace 12 Ltd. the owners of the greater part of the Rainbow site – which sits just to the south of Raynes Park Station – submitted two planning applications. 

The first of these 14/P4287 was for the demolition of the existing industrial buildings and the construction of more than 200 flats and 9 terraced houses.  

The other application, 14/P4288, was to provide a so-called ‘Kiss and Ride’ facility, incorporating a roundabout, near the entrance.   In simple words, this is an arrangement for cars to come off Approach Road and either drop off or collect people from the station.  It was never intended to provide actual parking spaces within the entrance, only a very short-term waiting bay. 

Given that Rainbow has been in industrial use for some decades, it is almost certain that there will be some – quite possibly quite a lot – of contamination in the soil.   Consequently, approval of the first application was accompanied by two important Conditions amongst quite a long list of others. 

These were, in short, to investigate the degree of contamination and submit an ‘action plan’ for dealing with this problem. 

Conditions

I should explain that Conditions, which in the main are of two types, are normally attached to large applications in order either to take whatever action is required to bring the ‘application site’ up to a condition suitable for development (highly relevant in this case), or to ‘mitigate’ (reduce the severity) of the downside consequences of the new development.  For example, if a housing development resulted in the total loss of a piece of land (whether open space or whatever) which had been in regular use as a play area for local children, there would probably be a Condition which required the developer to provide a suitable replacement within the new housing scheme. 

Rolfe Judd, the Agent acting for Workspace has submitted an application 18/P0997 with a proposed ‘Outline Remediation Strategy’ for dealing with the contamination issue.  In the main, this appears to be reports prepared by two specialist companies (Cundalls and Entec UK Ltd.) in November 2016.  To be frank, this is hardly a leap forward to redevelopment of this site, but it is a start.   Merton Council’s Planning Department will consider whether they can ‘Discharge’ Conditions 13 and 14, meaning whether the requirements of the Condition have been adequately satisfied. 

David Freeman

Housing and Planning Guidance

We draw attention to the speech by the Prime Minister on 6th March regarding the “housing crises” and the provision of “affordable “housing. The Government is concerned about both the shortage and cost of housing. It appears that developers are permitted to aim for a “suitable return “(i.e. profit) of 20% but often claim that they cannot achieve this AND at the same time deliver the proportion of social subsidised housing - either for sale or rent - which Councils want. 

The Government is suggesting that the ‘viability assessment ‘(through which developers can submit that they can only achieve a 20% profit on a scheme by reducing the proportion of social housing required by Councils) should be made public except in exceptional circumstances. Also, there is a proposal to urge developers to aim for a profit margin of about 6% when building social housing with the aim that this would guarantee an ‘end-sale ‘at a known value. It appears that the Government is keen to increase housing supply by encouraging developers to build more blocks of flats and convert and build on top of existing shops and offices provided that the final scheme is not higher than buildings in the immediate vicinity. In short, to build upwards. 

The ‘permitted development ‘provisions (which originated in 2013 and currently extend to 2019) may also be amended to permit ‘upwards ‘extensions provided the extension is “consistent with the prevailing height and form of neighbouring properties”. 

The Mayor of London (the Greater London Authority) is currently consulting on revisions to the London Plan (the GLA Planning Guidance document). One of the recommendations is that London Councils should seek an “affordable” housing contribution of at least 35% but for large schemes, e.g. on former industrial sites, they should aim for a 50% contribution. Such a high figure would probably meet with strong opposition by developers who would argue that they could not make a reasonable profit AND provide half the housing for ‘social’ needs. 

David Freeman - May 2018

 

Heathrow Third Runway - March 2018

Heathrow Airport Third Runway - Public Consultation 

There has been a Heathrow Extension road-show travelling around London and the home counties, promoting the recent public consultation. There have been two concurrent consultations, both triggered by the planned third runway, “Airport Expansion” and “Airspace Principles”. Whilst our members are likely to hold a range of opinions about the third runway and its impacts, this article is limited to considering whether any potential changes to the existing flight paths, in and out of Heathrow may affect Raynes Park. Hence, the following focuses on the information concerning the Airspace Principles consultation. 

Much information is available at https://www.heathrowconsultation.com/ . The consultation closed on 28 March 2018. 

The public opinions being sought are to do with establishing airspace design principles. For example, 

  • ·         How take-off routes might be modified (e.g. over green space or urban areas)
  • ·         Options for the resulting noise impact being spread or concentrated.
  • ·         The effect alternative routes might have on emissions
  • ·         Making use of new aircraft and traffic control technology
  • ·         Night flights

Because these are “design principles” rather than “design development”, it seems premature at this stage to expect information to be available about how flight paths might be affected  by the third runway. 

However, the information states that Heathrow Air Traffic Control takes over from NATS (formerly National Air Traffic Services) at 11,000 ft. So Heathrow is responsible for take-offs and landings and NATS for the incoming “stacks”. 

There is information available on the Heathrow website on existing flight paths. This is summarised below, together with conclusions on the how third runway might affect Raynes Park. 

Arrivals stacks.

         There are four arrivals stacks which are the responsibility of NATS, two to the north of London and two to the south.  These have remained in the same locations since they were first started in the 1960’s. Although Heathrow controls the arrivals routes from the bottom of each stack, the landing routes into Heathrow are therefore determined by the location of the NATS stacks. 

          RPWBRA members have probably observed planes travelling in a northerly direction to the east of Raynes Park, before turning for their final approach to Heathrow. This is because Raynes Park is located just to the west of the point where the landing routes converge from the bottoms of the two southern stacks, located over Ockham and Biggin. 

Westwards take-off routes.

          The take-off corridors towards the west from Heathrow do not affect Raynes Park. 

Eastwards take-off routes.

          Raynes Park is on the southern edge of the eastward take-off corridor for planes heading towards destinations to the southeast. Wimbledon Village and Wimbledon Common are thus closer to this route than Raynes Park. 

          Heathrow publishes a calendar of when the Eastwards and Westwards corridors are scheduled to be used. 

Conclusions

With the advent of the third runway, the impact of aircraft noise on Raynes Park might not change significantly, unless either: 

·           The locations of the NATS stacks were to be altered in some way. (However, this is not the subject of the current consultation), or 

·           The Southeast take-off corridor was to be altered significantly. 

Jerry Cuthbert  19/03/2018

 

18/P0183 - Beverley Meads Playing Fields

Artificial Grass Pitches on Beverley Meads Playing Fields? 

A planning application has been lodged by Wimbledon Rugby Club to install artificial grass pitches on the public open space and Metropolitan Open land that currently form the sports grounds of Beverley Meads and Drax that adjoin Fishpond Woods and Wimbledon Common.  

The application which includes a concrete base for the grass, asphalt hard standing for spectators, a two-metre high bund around the application area, a 1.5 metre white picket fence, as well as more floodlighting has outraged many residents living in the adjoining, mostly privately maintained roads. 

Objectors point out that apart from the blot on the landscape that this proposal implies, the increased usage (10.00-21.00 hrs on weekdays and 10.00-20.00 at the weekends) will put intolerable pressure on the surrounding roads, as there is insufficient parking provision already; as well as considerable intrusion into their own right to some peaceful enjoyment of their surroundings. 

It will be interesting to see how the Council will react to the pressures from significant bodies such as the RFU and Sports England for approval.  To residents, it simply smacks of over-commercialisation and despoilment of public open space. 

Details of the application and associated documents can be found on Planning Explorer by going to www.merton.gov.uk/Planning, inputting planning application number 18/P0183 and clicking on that number again, when the details come up.

Crossrail 2 - Update February 2018

Whilst the Crossrail 2 project team continue to liaise with our Raynes Park community, in reality, not much new information has been forthcoming since the last round of consultation in 2015/16. As yet, we still have no real detail about how Raynes Park might be affected, apart from what might be implied from the broad brush information from over two years ago. 

In 2017, Crossrail 2 prepared its strategic business case and submitted it to the Transport Secretary. While this showed that London could pay for half of the scheme over its life, ‎the Mayor for London and Transport Secretary agreed to see how London might fund half of the scheme during construction. This would seem to imply that London’s 50% share of the funding was partly predicated on income streams generated by the new railway and associated developments along its route.

 

In February 2018, it was announced that the government has called for an independent financial review to look at the project’s overall financial viability and whether or not the costs might be reduced. What the outcome will be remains to be seen. However, it may affect the overall scope and its phasing.

 

Therefore, no further formal public consultation is anticipated until this new assessment has been completed and reviewed by the Department for Transport. This whole process is expected to take another year, putting back any further public consultation at least until early 2019.

 

Whilst this is news, in reality, it heralds further delays and continued uncertainty for the project. How the Gordian Knot of funding the construction of Crossrail 2 might be untangled, remains to be seen. 

 

Jerry Cuthbert 22/02/2018

Proposed Development at Barnes End

Proposed Development at Barnes End, KT3 6PB

17/P3991 & 17/P3989 

Letters have been flooding into Merton Council’s Planning Department in objection to a proposal to knock down some admittedly unsightly garages and replacing them with three houses.  

Objections centre on the loss of the garages themselves, which are let out mainly for storage purposes, loss of light and privacy. The proposal appears to involve the knocking down of an existing wall separating the two sites and the resultant loss of security as well as additional traffic and parking in an already very congested area.

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