Local developments

16/P3135 - Parkgate House

PLANNING INSPECTOR REFUSES DEVELOPER’S APPEAL ON PARKGATE HOUSE, MOTSPUR PARK! 

The first application (16/P 0233) - which was approved -  was to convert this office building into 19 flats. 

The second application (16/P3135) was to add a mansard-type roof providing an additional 6 flats. This application was Refused by the Planning Committee and the applicant submitted an Appeal. The Inspectorate decided to deal with this by an 'Exchange of Letters' which nevertheless requires a Site Visit. 

The Inspector agreed with the Planning Committee and Refused the Appeal. It is clear to me from reading her decision letter that she took her time over the site visit and gave the matter very careful consideration. 

Main Concerns

The main concerns of the Inspector’s decision were the effect of the proposed addition on the character and appearance of the surrounding area, and the effect on the living conditions of nearby residents in particular the relevance to privacy and outlook'. 

The Inspector found there was conflict with Section 7 of the National Policy Planning Framework which seeks to ensure that new development should add to the visual quality of the area; to Section 7.4 and 7.6 of the GLA London Plan and Policy CS 14 of Merton’s Core Strategy. These policies require that new development should aim to reinforce local distinctiveness and respect and enhance the character of the wider area. 

The Inspector noted that the existing office building appears bulky and at odds with the local shopping parade. The building appears to have an "uneasy relationship" with the local street scene and also struck her as having a "visually jarring" impact in the local context.  She concluded that the proposed addition would appear as a bulky, overly dominant and overbearing form that would fail to have respect for the scale of the (mainly two storey) local shopping parade. She felt this would result in material harm to the character and appearance of the local area. 

Living Conditions

The Inspector noted that the proposed addition would introduce additional windows at the third-floor level which she felt called for a greater 'separation distance' from facing buildings than would be the normal 25m requirement. She felt there would be a "perception of overlooking" into the gardens of Marina Avenue and therefore concluded that the proposed addition to provide 6 extra flats would have an overbearing impact on nearby residents resulting in material harm to the living conditions of nearby residents in terms of "loss of privacy and visual impact “. 

David Freeman

Parking Charges - Sir Joseph Hood

Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Fields

It is doubtful that the many Friends and users of Sir Joseph Hood’s Playing Fields at Motspur Park will welcome the proposal by the London Borough of Merton to introduce parking controls in the car park there.

According to the consultation notice the charges would be applicable between 8,.00am and 4.00pm on Mondays to Fridays at the rate of 10p per 20 minutes up to £2.40 for 8 hours.  The purpose being to deter commuters. 

Residents are being given until 7th July to send in their objections or comments to The Environment and Regeneration Department, Merton Civic Centre. London Road, Morden Surrey SM4 5DX or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. quoting reference ES/OFFSTREET. 

Planning News - May 2017

16/P3135 - Parkgate House (in Motspur Park). The applicant has approval already to convert the offices to 19 Flats, but has submitted an application to remove the Mansard roof and construct 6 additional flats. This has been refused by the Planning Applications as being overbearing and inappropriate to the local street scene. The applicant has however submitted an Appeal which is to be considered by an Exchange of letters. The Inspector appointed will have to make a ‘site visit’.  It is worth remembering that because the building is very close to the railway lines and the Station, full development is unlikely (even if the Appeal is upheld) until the proposals for Crossrail 2 are much clearer.

 17/P 0609 Wyke Road (a stretch of land alongside the railway tracks). The application is to develop 10 one bedroom flats. This is still under consideration but Crossrail 2 Ltd has commented that the ‘application site is in close proximity to the safeguarding limits ‘of land required for the development of CR2 if it goes ahead. 

A very robust Objection has been submitted by the Wimbledon Society. It is worth noting that there have been several applications over the years on this site (mostly for Office space) and all have either been Refused or withdrawn. 

17/P 0833 - 240 Burlington Road This is a purpose-built block for Students of Kingston university. The application is for ‘Change of Use‘ only into a Hostel. No structural changes to the building or its appearance are being proposed. The applicant claims that because more suitable accommodation has been built for the students much closer to the University in recent years the building is only half full and uneconomic to run. The aim is to provide accommodation for rental in the wider market.

The Association has written to the Planners requesting strict conditions be imposed if the Officers are mindful to approve this application. 

17/P 0036 -  63 Grand Drive The application is to demolish the bungalow and double garage at the end of a long drive and construct 5 three-bedroom houses. The driveway leading to the site is very close to the last bus stop in Grand Drive going North which might involve traffic problems if, and when, approved. 

16/P 4741    641 Kingston Road   The Public House known as The Junction Tavern. The applicant (The Olive Garden) plans to convert the building into a 21 bed Hotel. The application has been approved but just like Parkgate House and Wyke Road, this building is very close to the railway lines and one wonders whether anything is likely to develop until Crossrail 2 proposals are firmed up. 

 

At the meeting of the Planning Applications Committee on 16th March it was agreed to restrict the time permitted by Objectors speaking at meetings to a total of 6 minutes instead of 9. The rule that the Applicant has the same amount of time to speak (as ALL the Objectors together) has been maintained. This is likely to be a problem with large applications where several people have requested to speak. They will have to consider who can make the best case in the limited time available.

Local Transport - Have Your Say

Tell Merton how you think its public transport could be improved.

The Public Transport Liaison Committee meeting to be held at the Civic Centre from 7.15 p.m. on Wednesday 10th May 2017, is your chance to learn about how transport is changing and to put questions to Transport for London and other providers. 

This public meeting is led by the Sustainable Communities Scrutiny Panel councillors and is organized primarily to give residents an opportunity to ask questions on transport topics of local interest.  

There will be presentations on the Mayor’s Draft Transport Strategy, buses, trams, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and Mitcham town centre update, followed by question and answer sessions.  Following the meeting the Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel will make recommendations for improvements to the Council’s Cabinet and to relevant transport providers to ensure that any issues raised at the meeting are fully considered.  

 

For more information or special requirements call 020 8545 3837 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wyke Road 17/P0609 and other matters.

A Planning Application in Wyke Road (17/P 0609) to provide 10 one bed flats built as part 3 and part 4 storeys, has been refused but the applicant has submitted an appeal. Over the years there have been several applications for this site, mostly for office space. since it’s very close to the railway tracks and is probably regarded as unsuitable for residential use. 

We were informed at the Raynes Park Community Forum on 8th March that Workspace Ltd.  were holding discussions with the Council about "further development " on the Rainbow Industrial Estate close to Raynes Park Station which would require planning approval. The nature of the proposals is unknown to us but if planning approval is required it suggests that they are considering a material amendment to the approved residential scheme.  Any proposals for additional or new light industrial or storage uses would probably not need planning approval. 

A Planning Application for the site of the Dundonald Church in Kingston Road has been submitted (17/P0763) with a proposal to demolish the existing building and replace with a new Church at ground floor level with 15 flats above in a development which would be part 3 and part 5 storey. 

We were also informed at the Forum meeting that an application is expected to be submitted soon for the Railway Tavern 641 Kingston Road to convert the building into a hotel. No further details are available at present.

It was pointed out that all these proposals (apart from Dundonald Church) are on sites very close to the railway tracks and it is possible that the motivation for the proposals in some cases is to seek compensation if the ' application site in question proves to be partly or fully 'safeguarded’ (i.e. required for construction) by TfL for the development of Crossrail 2. 

P16/4853 - Former Wolfson Centre, SW20

To:       Planning Representations

            London Borough of Merton

From:   RP&WBRA

Date:   13th February 2017 

Re:  Planning Application 16/4853 – Former Wolfson Centre, Copse Hill, SW20 

We write to object to the above application which represents a significant departure from the established design principles with resultant negative impact on the Copse Hill Conservation Area.   We would suggest that the design approach does not preserve or enhance the character of the conservation area and indeed has a negative impact on the neighbouring MOL (see 5.5 of the Merton Core Planning Strategy). 

Most significantly, we object to the excessive increase in density proposed. The proposed density is  close to 200 habitable rooms per hectare, which for this site, we believe, should be no more than 150 to 200.   In a Conservation area such as this, we consider that the density should be very much at the lower end of this range.  Also seeking to build 5 and 6 stories in a Conservation Area is unacceptable. The height should be restricted to that of the surrounding buildings.                                                                                                                      

Additionally, there is no compelling case for this revised P/A in terms of the number of proposed housing units.

(Figures sourced from Merton Annual Monitoring Report 2014/2015).  The GLA London Plan target for Merton was 320 Dwelling Units per annum, which was well exceeded for 5 years in a row, but for the 5 years from 2016 to 2021 this target (set by GLA) has been increased to 411 dwelling units per annum. For years 2014/15 the number of housing completions was 459 well above not just the old target but also the new target. 

Moreover Merton projected housing provision for the next 5 years safely exceeds not only the new target but also the figure if the 5% safety 'buffer' is added on. 

The neighbouring site is a SINC – home to nocturnal bats and wildlife, we would suggest that there will be a detrimental impact of light pollution from the proposed large blocks. 

According to Transport for London, this site has low public transport accessibility with a rating of 1b, i.e. only one bus and a 20 minute walk to the nearest station.  The Application is proposing a total of 96 car parking spaces.  These two factors suggest a potential for very many additional cars onto Copse Hill with a resultant deleterious effect on traffic congestion in the area and pollution. 

Policy CS8 of the Merton Core Strategy sets a target of 40% affordable housing on sites providing 10 or more homes (subject to viability) and London Plan Policy 3.11 seeks to maximise affordable housing.   This proposal allows for only 25 units (30%) which is inadequate. 

In summary, the proposals are in conflict with Policy DM D2 (Design Considerations) of the Sites and Policies Plan July 2014 by failure to relate appropriately to the siting, scale, density and height of the surrounding buildings, the local context and the local landscape. Also the potential increase in traffic density is very likely to result in adverse impact on the lives of nearby residents and have adverse impact on road safety.  

 

We urge the Planning Applications Committee to refuse this application.

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