Planning: our latest responses

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In this report, we cover applications considered over the past two months, including our responses to live applications and also our further responses to two proposals for buildings of historic interest and our response to a pre-application ‘consultation’.  A number of these applications have been the subject of pre-application ‘consultations’ and it is particularly disappointing that the applicants take little or no notice of the feedback provided to them on their early proposals by residents and groups such as the Society, but press on with what they originally suggested regardless.

Garages, Park Place, W5 5NQ

Construction of five residential dwellings with associated parking, refuse storage, cycle storage and and landscaping (following demolition of existing garages)

We objected to this application for a backland development on a small and enclosed site in the Ealing Green Conservation Area.  It is of note that this is the third attempt over a number of years to develop on this site, with the two previous and less intensive applications having been refused by both the Council and at appeal.  We hope the Council will maintain its stance and refuse this application too.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application.  The proposed five two-storey houses represent significant overdevelopment.  They would be overbearing on the neighbouring properties and gardens, depriving them of privacy and seriously harming amenity for existing residents.  In addition, the planned modern design would be out of keeping with the surrounding architecture.  The site lies within the Ealing Green Conservation Area and is very close to listed properties in The Park; it is thus particularly sensitive.  This  site, albeit occupied by low level garages at present, forms an important space at the centre of the encompassing residential gardens, which is integral to the housing layout.

We also consider that the site is unsuitable for a scheme with on-site car parking.  The proposed access would necessarily be via Park Place, which is very narrow, particularly at its junctions with Kerrison Place and The Park, and unsuitable for modern vehicular access (including delivery and refuse trucks, fire engines and large SUVs).  Furthermore, there would not appear to be sufficient space to separate vehicular access to the proposed on-site parking from pedestrian access.

Finally, we draw the Council’s attention to two previous planning applications for redevelopment of this site.  We understand that both were refused by Ealing Council and at appeal.  It is regrettable that no consideration seems to have been taken of this history as the proposed scheme now being put forward appears to be for far more intensive development of this very small and enclosed site.

We are extremely concerned by the lack of account taken by the applicant to the comments we put forward at the public consultation stage of this application (repeated above) and to considerable other local objection.  The submitted application not only fails to respond to this earlier feedback but misleads the Council by suggesting in the DAS that ‘We received an extensive response from the public consultation leaflet with some very promising and positive feedback.’ But making no reference to the very extensive adverse feedback from local residents and our own response.  No SCI appears to have been made available for detailed responses to be assessed.

The Council should refuse this inappropriate application.

143-145 Broadway, West Ealing, W13 9BE

Construction of two new floors to accommodate 4 flats (Prior Approval Notification – Class AA, Part 20, Schedule 2)

We objected to this application under permitted development as we felt it did not qualify for this route and the proposed accommodation would offer poor living conditions with no amenity space.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application.  We query the validity of a prior approval notification application for two new floors because the existing floors are a mixture of retail and residential.  However, if the Council is minded to allow and grant this application in its current form, we draw attention to the complete lack of amenity space for the new units.  In addition, the application does not include a plan for managing refuse and recycling.  Without adequate attention to amenity space and waste disposal, this application should be refused.

Lammas Park Tennis Centre, Culmington Road, W13 9NH

Installation of two PADEL courts with reinforced transparent glass/polycarbonate walls opposite the pavilion (replacing the existing Petanque Court); associated 16no. LED floodlights on 8no. 4.5m high columns; associated 3m security welded mesh fencing with gates and associated landscaping

We objected to this proposal to develop padel tennis courts within the Lammas Enclosure on the site of the existing Boules pitch.  A previous similar proposal was withdrawn in response to local opposition, but this further proposal is equally unsuitable and particularly environmentally damaging.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application.  The land on which the proposed PADEL courts would be built is classified as Metropolitan Open Land and Public Open Space.  In addition, the surrounding open space has been designated a wildlife area and nurtured for this purpose by the local sustainability group, Ealing Transition.  Therefore, in our view, the building of any structures on this land would be unacceptable.  Furthermore, the floodlights from the existing tennis courts already cause excessive light pollution.  We object most strongly to additional floodlights in this vicinity which would exacerbate the existing negative impact of floodlights on nearby residents and wildlife.

Manhattan Business Park West Gate W5 1UP

Demolition of 8 industrial units and 10 flats and construction of a mixed-use development ranging between 7 and 13- storeys above podium comprising new light industrial floorspace (Use Classes E(g), B8 and Sui Generis uses not detrimental to the amenities of the office and residential uses above), office floorspace(Use Class E(c)), and café floorspace (Use Class E(b)), with 326 flats (Use Class C3) and basement and surface level parking.

We objected to this proposal for residential development close to the Hanger Lane gyratory system, principally on grounds of the impact on conservation areas to the south from which it would be highly visible.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application.   While we note that the planned height of the tallest building would be comparable to that of the student accommodation being built at the Hanger Lane gyratory, it exceeds the neighbouring Westworld/River Island sites.  We remain concerned about the potential impact of the development on views from the nearby conservation areas (Brentham and Brunswick, especially the latter).  Therefore, in order to grant consent to this application, the Council would need to balance carefully the potential harm caused by the planned development on the conservation areas against its likely overall benefits.

11-15 The Mall, W5 2PJ

Re-development of land at the rear of Nos 11 to 15 The Mall to provide a part seven storey, part eight storey building with basement, comprising 36 self-contained flats , (following part demolition of the existing extensions and structures to the rear of Nos. 11 to 15); Proposed A3 Use (Restaurant) at basement; Existing A3 Restaurant Use at ground floor of No. 13 The Mall to be extended into the rear of No. 12, change of use of ground floor of No. 12 The Mall from A1 Retail to C3 Residential (to form Entrance Lobby to Flats), to include alteration to front facade; alterations to existing air extract plant at Nos. 11, 12 and 13; ; bicycle, refuse and recycling stores.(Part Retrospective)

We objected to this application for further additions to an already over-height development to the rear of The Mall in the Ealing Town Centre Conservation Area.  Such incremental applications are an increasingly regular occurrence and although legitimate are attempts to circumvent proper planning consideration.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application.  We note that application reference P/2014/3193 was approved for 14 flats in a building of various heights up to 5 storeys.  This application seeks to modify that approval by increasing the building height to part 7, part 8 storeys with considerably increased bulk and massing and to increase the number of units from 14 to 36, a more than doubling of the density on the site.  This densification is far in excess of any previous guidelines and would be unacceptable.  The resultant building would be an overbearing and unattractive block-like structure that would be taller than any other building in the area and would have an overdominant effect on the street view from the other side of The Mall, and harmful to the Conservation Area in which it is located.  We draw the planning officer’s attention to their colleague’s report relating to the granted permission reference 191597 for a neighbouring site, which acknowledges that the top floor of a seven-storey building would be partially visible from public views and is only considered acceptable by virtue of its setback and subservient appearance.  The two top storeys of this proposal would not meet that criterion.  Other elements of the proposal to which we object are the number of single aspect flats and the bicycle storage that does not meet guidelines that include provision for non-standard bicycles.  We note that no affordable housing is offered within the development.  The previous approval included a negotiated payment in lieu of affordable provision.  While we consider this to be a less acceptable approach than on-site affordable provision, it is essential should the application be approved that an uplifted contribution should be agreed to reflect the larger number of units proposed.  Finally, there should be a requirement by condition for a refuse and servicing plan and also a 10-year green wall management plan.

18-19 The Mall W5 2PJ

Mixed-use redevelopment to provide a nine storey building (with roof level) comprising 21 residential units and ground floor commercial floor space (Use Class E), together with excavation to provide basement level accommodating office space (Use Class E(g)); change of use of existing ground floor restaurant (Use Class E(b)) fronting The Mall to retail (Use Class E(a)), various improvements to 18-19 The Mall to retain ground floor commercial use and surgery (Use Class E(e)) and associated ancillary residential unit at first and second floors, reconfiguration and refurbishment works involving replacement of the shopfront and new access to the rear building; provision of cycle parking, landscaped courtyard and refuse storage (following demolition of existing single storey rear building)

Like the previous application, this is another example of incremental applications for a single development.  We maintained our objections to the proposals.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application.  We note that application reference 191597 has been approved and that this application seeks to modify that approval by the redesign and expansion of the eighth storey and the addition of a ninth storey, and an increase in the number of units from 17 to 21.  We previously objected that the now consented building would be too tall and would have an overdominant effect on the street view from the other side of The Mall; these new proposals exacerbate this problem.  It is of particular note that the officer’s report relating to the previous permission acknowledges that ‘the seven-storey building would be partially visible from public views, unlike the previous approvals within the vicinity. As part of the submitted documentation, the viewpoints of the seven-storey building have been assessed on a short, medium, and long-term basis. With regards to the short-term views (i.e. when stood opposite the frontage), the building would be very marginally visible in the context of the existing streetscene. Whilst it is acknowledged that the building would become more visible from some of the medium and longer term viewpoints, it is important to note that the main bulk of the building would be obscured from public views, with the seventh storey being the most prominent. Given that the seventh storey would consist of a setback mansard section of zinc material to contrast the rest of the building, this is considered, on balance, to present architectural merit to the vicinity and is therefore considered not to compromise the existing built context.’  The proposed change from a setback mansard top floor to a full-coverage one with the addition of a further full storey effectively produces a building with two additional storeys visible in the streetscene and without the previous top-storey contrast.  It should also be noted from the report that the previous 17 units resulted in a development exceeding previous London Plan density guidelines by over twice the maxima; this overdevelopment would now be intensified.  Although no longer explicit in the Plan, these guidelines should inform what is acceptable densification.  The clear message of the previous report is that the proposals were on the limit of acceptability; these increases have gone beyond that limit and should be refused.  We maintain our objection to the chosen beige brick, which is out-of-keeping with the surrounding buildings and again suggest that London stock brick should be used.  On the matter of affordable housing provision, we note that no affordable housing is offered within the development.  The previous approval included a negotiated payment in lieu of affordable provision.  While we consider this to be a less acceptable approach than on-site affordable provision, it is essential should the application be approved that an uplifted contribution should be agreed to reflect the larger number of units proposed.

Garages Rear of 10-24 Byron Court, Boston Road, W7 2AY

Construction single storey, part two storey building comprising 9 new self-contained apartments (Class C3 Use) with associated parking, landscaping, refuse and recycling and cycle storage provision

Revised description: Construction of single storey building comprising 8 self-contained apartments (Class C3 Use) with associated parking, landscaping, refuse and recycling and cycle storage provision (REVISED DRAWINGS)

We objected to the original proposals for redevelopment of a garage site in Hanwell on grounds of overdevelopment and design.  The application has since been modified to reduce the number of units by one and omit the first floor element.  Our objections to the design of the units and other concerns have not been addressed.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application, which we consider to be overdevelopment of this backland site.  We object to the design of the proposed apartments which gives the appearance of a system build of prefabricated portacabins.  These apartments would be significantly out of keeping with the surrounding 1930s properties.  The improved landscaping of the alleyway to the rear of the existing Byron Court, which would form the pedestrian access to the new units, is welcome.  However, there appears to be no lighting proposed which presents both safety and security concerns, particularly as the main living areas of the new units face away from this alleyway, which will have no natural surveillance.  It is also unclear how deliveries, particularly of large items of furniture or white goods, would be achieved without vehicular access to the new units.  Improvements to address these shortcomings should be sought before the application is further considered.  A final observation about the proposed internal layouts is that the planned location of bathrooms, accessed directly from living areas, appears to be non-compliant with building regulations.

The Old Fire Station and Stable Block, Longfield Avenue, W5 2UQ

Change of use from commercial (Use Class E) and conversion to provide 8no. residential units (Use Class C3) including lowering of the existing basement; creation of roof dormers to the front and rear of the fire station building, rooflights on the stable block and minor repair and replacement works; with associated private amenity spaces, and provision of refuse storage

Although supportive of the proposed change to residential use of these currently empty buildings in the Ealing Town Centre Conservation Area, we objected to some details.  Although minor changes have been made to the proposals, it is regrettable that despite our discussions with them, St George has not responded to our concerns.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society has discussed our initial objections to these proposals with St George and we maintain our objections to some aspects of the proposals.  We have no objection in principle to the redesignation of these now empty locally-listed buildings as residential accommodation.  However, we do not agree with St George that the external changes are all sensitive to the character of the buildings.  In particular, the proposed removal of the chimney to the Fire Station building and the proposed dormers on the elevation facing Longfield Avenue – intended to enhance the living conditions in the new flats – are not acceptable in the Conservation Area.  The Council’s presumption is against removal of chimney stacks in a Conservation Area.  We understand that no internal fireplaces remain; any remaining chimney breasts can be removed internally to create space, but the chimney itself needs to be retained and supported.

Secondly, although we note that the current roof lights on the elevation facing Longfield Avenue are not original, we are unconvinced that the proposed dormers would be an improvement on good quality conservation roof lights, particularly in a utilitarian or industrial type of building like this.  The proportions of the proposed dormers are not in keeping with the dimensions of the roofbut, if to be adopted, thought should be given to possibly making them narrower.

Thirdly, although the proposed low hedging offers some privacy to the front garden spaces, we consider that simple railings would be more in keeping with the industrial feel of the host structures.  If the Council is minded to approve this application, we suggest that the approval includes a condition that the boundary treatment to the front amenity spaces is maintained by St George to ensure that it remains a tidy and landscaped area and that residents are similarly required to maintain the amenity spaces in a tidy condition.

Finally, we would like to see a condition attached to ensure that the former fire station tower continues to be maintained and that the decorative stained glass windows are illuminated after dark as has been the case in the past.

15 Leeland Road, W13 9HH

Creation of a second and third floor to accommodate 8 new self contained flats with associated internal alterations to the existing ground floor and first floor; provision of associated cycle storage and refuse storage

We objected to this proposed development of additional flats above shops in West Ealing on the basis of a lack of amenity space offering poor residential conditions.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application.  The absence of amenity space for the new build flats is unacceptable.  To address this absence of amenity, the scheme should be re-designed with the proposed new units set back to provide for accompanying balconies.  We also note that there is a discrepancy in the 3rd floor fenestration between that indicated in the front elevation plans and the CGI views.  The Council would need to ensure this discrepancy is corrected before any decision to grant this application is made.

Park View Place, Greenford Road, UB6 0JA

Construction of residential-led mixed use development comprising 288 no. residential units, 77 of which are affordable, located across 5 blocks ranging from 6-11 storeys with management office, cafe, community space, flexible commercial areas and ancillary car and cycle parking, landscaping, green infrastructure and private/communal amenity spaces

We objected to this proposal for further development of a former office site at the extreme north of the borough on grounds of excessive development, particularly as the site is classified as Metropolitan Open Land.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application which would represent further overdevelopment of this site which is entirely on Metropolitan Open Land (MOL).  We appreciate that permission has been granted for an earlier but less intensive scheme, and that the wider site has been classified by the Council as brownfield having previously been developed as offices with extensive surface car parking.  However, this new scheme significantly increases the proposed scheme density and also footprint of the buildings, whose height would also have a far more significant impact on the MOL than the previous parking use.  There are no exceptional circumstances that would justify this.  The proposals would also encroach on to currently green spaces and require the removal of a large number of healthy mature trees of significant environmental value, including Cedars of Lebanon, cracked willow, plane and lime.

The proposals are also of concern in other areas of detail.  We note that a number of single aspect units are included, which would contravene the recently published London Plan.  The proposed blocks fronting on to Greenford Road would cause unacceptable overshadowing and loss of sunlight to some 60% of the windows of the houses opposite.

In summary, these proposals represent overcrowding of a site on MOL, which will have a detrimental impact on existing local amenity and the environment and should be refused.

1 Pitshanger Lane, W5 1RH

Demolition of existing building and the erection of a ground to 8 storey building comprising 60 new residential dwellings, provision of car and cycle parking, refuse storage; landscaping and new boundary treatment; provision of plant and associated

We objected to this application for a proposed up to 8-storey residential development on the site of what is currently a 2-storey care home in an area of typically two- or three-storey houses.  It is particularly disappointing that the applicant developers have pushed forward with these proposals when feedback provided to them by groups including the Society and local residents at the earlier ‘consultation’ stage raised the height of the building as a particular point of objection.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application.  We consider the proposed height, bulk and massing of the development to be completely disproportionate to the local area which comprises 2- and 3-storey dwellings.  It is clearly shown in the long section included in the application documents that the building would exceed anything in the local area by four storeys and stand out as an incongruous intrusion into the skyline.  Including 60 units on this small site also leads to significant over-density.  The densities proposed are given as 647 hr/ha and 238 u/ha with the site PTAL noted to be 3.  These densities are significantly in excess of previous maximum guidelines for even an urban area and the nature of this location is arguably more suburban than urban, compounding the overcrowding.  A maximum development of 4 storeys, broadly adopting the design approach of the lower storeys of the proposals, could offer an acceptable solution; and this would also bring the density within acceptable limits.  This application in its present form should be refused.

23 Kenilworth Road, W5 5PA

Construction of a two storey self-contained unit, with associated bin storage, bicycle parking; installation of a ramp; single storey front porch extension; external alterations involving insertion of windows to side elevation to rear of property, following demolition of existing outbuilding

We objected to this application for replacement of a rear garden garage with a new dwelling on the grounds that the location was unsuitable for a residential development due to cramped space and poor outlook.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application on the grounds of poor living conditions for future occupiers.  The building is designed with the windows to the living and sleeping areas in the front, north elevation making the accommodation effectively single aspect north-facing.  Furthermore, the unsatisfactory outlook from these windows would appear to be over an adjacent derelict garage and along a rear alleyway.  Thirdly, no amenity space is provided.  These factors all suggest the proposal to be entirely unsuitable for residential accommodation.

13 Blakesley Avenue, W5 2DN

Conversion of existing dwelling house into 8 self-contained residential units and associated works to the landscape and boundary wall ; Excavation to provide a basement level and provision of lightwells; single storey rear extension; Rear roof extension, and installation of one roof light to front roof slope; Single storey detached garden outbuilding for use as gym/office/garden room

We have submitted a further objection to these revised plans for development of this property in the Mount Park Conservation Area which, although modified from the original proposals, would still represent inappropriate overdevelopment in the Conservation Area.

Ealing Civic Society notes the revised proposals for this property which reduce the number of flats from 8 to 6 and omit the proposed basement.  However, we maintain our objections on grounds that the proposed above ground extension would be excessively large.  In addition, the design and fenestration of the planned rear extension would be out of keeping within the Mount Park Conservation Area and with the existing house.  We note that part of this application is retrospective and have particular concerns about the large number of roof lights installed, particularly on the front elevation, which is not normally acceptable in the Conservation Area.  The proposed garden room, with footprint of over 20 m2 rather than the 14 m2 suggested in the application, is excessive and not in keeping with the Conservation Area, which is characterised by large open gardens.  This should be omitted.

15 Blakesley Avenue, W5 2DN

Retention of existing basement; completion of rear single storey extension to align with the depth of the existing rear outrigger; insertion of window to first floor rear elevation and two glazed, raised lightwells to the front elevation (part-retrospective)

This application is a resubmission of a previous application to which we objected and which has not been determined.  We have repeated our objections to some aspects.  This application too remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society notes that this application is identical to the undetermined application reference 205304.  As stated in our objection to that application, we find the proposed reduction in extent of the rear extension to be acceptable, but maintain our objection to the overlarge basement, which also has a number of design shortcomings.  The proposed fixed rooflights do not offer adequate light and ventilation to the proposed habitable rooms and non-habitable rooms appear to have no window openings, which although technically acceptable is undesirable.  We have seen images of the front of the house provided by the applicant’s agent and note that it is proposed that some of the impact of the raised light wells is mitigated by surrounding raised beds and planting.  Their raised design however remains incongruous in the Conservation Area.  All these concerns suggest that any basement would at least require considerable redesign to become acceptable.

Beaufoy House, Equity Mews, W5 5NT

First floor extension, involving alteration of roof to raise ridge height

This proposal relates to a little-known pair of houses built in 2007 on the site of garages.  The pair are of unique design with references to Ealing Studios and the proposed alterations would destroy that link and result in an imbalance between the two houses, which were always intended to be read as a pair.  The owners of the ‘other half’ of the pair (Lumiere House) have submitted a listing application to English Heritage, which is unfortunately unlikely to be considered as the houses are too recent.  As well as submitting our objection to the application, we have encouraged them to pursue local listing for the two houses and suggested that they ask planners to request that the applicants provide a 3-D representation of what is proposed – especially since the proposed front elevation provided does not appear to reflect what would be the true height of the resulting building.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application.  We object to the proposed changes to Beaufoy House, one of a matched pair of semi-detached properties forming a single iconic building, with a strong emphasis on symmetry and clean lines consciously paying tribute to Ealing Film Studios.  The intent behind the original design was to create a piece of modern architecture that responded to both adjacent properties and the wider Ealing locale.  Any change to one of the pair would damage the essential symmetry and as proposed, the reflections of the Studios would be lost.  We also understand that when the original planning permission for the houses was granted, the height and design were carefully considered to avoid shadowing of adjoining properties; any increase in height would therefore compromise this.

We urge planners to refuse this inappropriate application that fails to respect the original architecture of these unique properties.

Ealing Park Tavern, 222 South Ealing Road, W5 4RL

Conversion of part existing public house (Use Class Sui Generis) into 9 self-contained flats (Use Class C3) with associated external alterations involving a three storey rear extension and a first floor two storey side extension (following demolition of existing rear outbuilding) and provision cycle storage and refuse storage

Although the original application has been granted subject to finalisation of a legal agreement, following our successful application for statutory listing of this pub, a heritage statement and other documents have been submitted in connection with listed building consent.  We raised further comments directly with the planning officer regarding proposed changes to original windows which we felt were unacceptable for this listed building.  We await a response from the officer.

178 Church Road, W7 3BP

Construction of a two storey building, with habitable loft space, to include 6 self-contained flats and construction of a single storey building, with habitable loft space, to include 2 self-contained flats (8 flats total); Provision associated communal garden area, parking, landscaping, refuse storage. (following demolition of existing building)

We submitted a further response to this long-running application following review of an independent heritage report that was requested by the Council.  In contrast to original submissions by the applicant, this report was clear that there were strong reasons to support retention of this property rather than allow demolition.  We hope the Council will now finally refuse this inappropriate application and save this property from development.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society has now had the opportunity to read the independent heritage report by Philip Davies requested by the planning officer.  This detailed report highlights many errors of fact and of omission in the proposals and associated documents, particularly the two heritage statements by the applicant, which are discredited on many grounds.  The conclusions of the report are clear and it adds further weight to the argument that there is no other determination that can be made in this case other than refusal of the inappropriate application.  Furthermore, we repeat our earlier request that the property be added to the local list.

The Castle Pub site, Victoria Road, Acton, W3 6UL

We have also responded to a public consultation on plans for redevelopment of this site in North Acton.  No feedback has been received and we now await the submission of a planning application.

ECS strongly objects to the proposed demolition of the Castle Pub which is locally listed and one of the few remaining community facilities in the area. We would urge the developer to consider alternatives which would preserve the existing building whilst developing the remainder of the site in a more modest way. One such alternative would be to acquire the neighbouring site, which we note is unsightly and would be further isolated if this proposed scheme were built, and dismantle and rebuild the pub in identical form as was done in the case of the Carlton Tavern, Maida Vale: see link below.