Planning applications: our latest responses

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In this report, we cover our responses to new planning applications considered over the past two months, our response to yet another pre-application ‘consultation’ and provide some updates on ‘old favourites’.  Applications generally continue to take a very long time to reach the determination stage, but as you will see in the updates, some long-standing cases are now concluded.  Some of the applications to which we objected have been modified, withdrawn or refused.  Although we cannot say this is in direct response to our comments, we can hope they did have some effect on planners’ thinking.  We also continue to press for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) to be required for major qualifying developments; however, the Council seems not to accept the necessity for these and rarely requests one.

69 Oxford Road, W5 3SR

Creation of first floor to accommodate one additional bedroom (Re-consultation for Revised Scheme)

This application sought to construct a first floor on top of a single storey modern house in the Town Centre Conservation Area.  The original grant of permission included a condition that a first floor could not be constructed without further approval.  The current application was slightly modified during consultation.  We objected to the original plans and reiterated our objection to the only slightly modified proposals.  Despite our and many other objections, this unsuitable application has been approved by planners.

Ealing Civic Society maintains its objections to this application (provided again here) as these revised plans do not address our concerns:

“The proposed additional floor would be detrimental to the existing property and to at least one of the neighbouring properties. The amenity space for the existing building at 69 Oxford Road is provided in the basement at its northern end and is thus not ideal in terms of sunlight penetration. The addition of a first floor would exacerbate this. Furthermore, the first floor would obstruct daylight entering the basement of the property on The Grove immediately to the south.
More widely, we object to this application because the site sits within the Ealing Town Centre Conservation Area. Any development to this site should respect and enhance the Conservation Area, which this proposal does not. Rather, the semi-industrial aesthetic of the proposed extra storey, and the extension of the fenestration of the existing building, would significantly detract from the character of the Conservation Area.
Furthermore, while we accept that this is technically allowed, we object strongly to the applicant’s approach of gaining consent for a single storey building and then making a further application to override the attached condition that the building should only be single storey to protect residential amenity. The requirement for this protection remains and the application should be refused on this basis if no other.”

Orion Park, Northfield Avenue, W13 9SJ

Minor Material Amendment (S73a) to vary conditions 2 (Approved Plans and Documents), 3 (Demolition and Site Clearance), 6 (Travel Plan), 7 (Cycle Parking Spaces), 9 (Site Wide Car and Cycle Parking Management Strategy), 22 (passenger lifts), 27 (Commercial Units Use Class), 28 (Bat Survey Report), 30 (Sustainability Measures), 32 (Dwelling Energy Performance Certificates) and 33 (Commercial Spaces Energy Performance Certificates) of planning permission 171721FUL dated 02.02.2018 for the phased construction of buildings comprising residential units (Use Class C3), flexible retail space (Use Class E), office space (Use Class E) (at ground and lower ground of the building fronting Northfield Avenue), landscaping, access and servicing, car parking and associated works (following demolition of existing buildings).

Variation seeks to enable amendments to the approved scheme, including additional height and massing, adjustments to the site layout and landscaping and repositioning of buildings in order to increase the number of homes to be constructed, as well as reducing the amount of non-residential floorspace, increasing the car parking and cycle parking provision, adjusting the energy strategy and varying the legal obligation to deliver a 100% affordable housing

We objected to this variation application to increase the height and density of this scheme, originally consented despite considerable local opposition.  We pointed out that the changes should have been submitted as a full application and that the Society had not been involved in any consultation on these changes.  The application has again attracted significant objections to the even greater height.  It remains undetermined.

Firstly, Ealing Civic Society would point out that the proposed changes to the consented scheme should not be accepted as a Minor Material Amendment as they involve increases to the height, massing and numbers of units within the development.  It is disappointing that no attempt was made to involve us in the public consultations which we understand to have taken place so that we could have highlighted this and contributed comments earlier.  In our original objections to the now consented scheme, we highlighted the height, massing, positioning and design of the block fronting on to Northfield Avenue as unacceptable.  The revised proposals, involving an additional 2.5 storeys plus rooftop plant to this block merely increase these concerns.  The increased heights of other blocks to the west together with the inclusion of infill blocks will also unacceptably increase overlooking and overshadowing of properties and gardens in Belsize Avenue to the north of the site.  We also consider the proposed amenity space to be severely inadequate, particularly the provision for children.  On-site play space is only provided for 0-4 year olds, with nearby green spaces suggested as providing space for children aged 5 and over.  These nearby spaces are already oversubscribed and cannot accommodate additional users.

We do however welcome the change to 100% affordable housing provision and the 25% 3-bed units to be provided.  The proposals should be revised to deliver a scheme of 100% affordable provision with increased 3 bed units but without an increase in the numbers of units and associated increased height and massing.

Notting Hill And Ealing High School, 2 Cleveland Road, W13 8AX

Construction of a new Junior School Building (with Sixth Form Class Rooms), including associated play spaces, landscaping and cycle parking, following the demolition of the existing junior school buildings, and the erection of a temporary school building for use during the construction period

We objected to this application to demolish a Victorian building and replace it with an overbearing and larger school building, located adjacent to a Conservation Area.  Again, no attempt was made to involve the Society in pre-application consultation.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application.  It is disappointing that no attempt was made to involve us in the public consultations which we understand to have taken place so that we could have contributed comments earlier.  We object to the demolition of the Victorian house at number 26 St Stephen’s Road and cannot agree with the applicant’s assertions that adaptation is not feasible.  We would suggest that an alternative approach is considered that retains this Victorian building.  The height of the proposed 3-storey replacement with a high-pitched roof would, in any case, be unacceptable as it would be out of keeping with and overbearing on the surrounding residential properties.  It would also be out of keeping with the properties of the Grange and White Ledges Conservation Area, which the current Victorian building abuts.

98 Gordon Road, W13 8PJ

Conversion of existing house into 8no. self-contained flats; part single, part two storey rear and side (wraparound) extension (following demolition of existing additions); conversion of roof space into habitable space including installation of rooflights and dormer windows; provision of amenity space, cycle storage, refuse storage and 2no. car parking spaces; and alterations to boundary treatment including installation of 2no. pedestrian gates

This application was a revised scheme for conversion of this large house into flats.  We objected to the previous application but considered this scheme an improvement, so submitted a neutral comment.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society is neutral about this application and provides comments.  We are pleased to note the retention of most of the façade of the existing building although we regret the substantial loss of the side elevation and incorporated chimney stack.  However, due to its close proximity to the Haven Green Conservation Area, we recommend that metal framed conservation roof lights be used.  We also recommend the adjustment of the position of the roof lights behind the turret roof.   Furthermore, we recommend the use of matching materials throughout, including clay roof tiles.  Finally, in the absence of a cross-section through the building, the planning officer will wish to be satisfied that the proposed 2nd floor ceiling heights would be sufficient as much of the space is under the roof slopes.

64 Clovelly Road, W5 5HE

Demolition of two storey brick extension under Part 11 of Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015′

This application to demolish an extension to the property was submitted following two applications for extensive extension and redevelopment of this property into a number of flats.  We objected to those applications (the first of which was withdrawn) and also objected to this inappropriate application seeking to demolish part of the property without any approved plans for its replacement.  Many similar objections were submitted and the application has been withdrawn, probably on the advice of the planners.  The outstanding conversion application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application.  Permission to demolish should not be granted other than as part of an acceptable application for redevelopment.

Harlequin Court, Craven Avenue, W5 2TU

  1. Conversion of an additional storey to provide three residential units and provision of refuse and cycle storage
  2. Construction of third and fourth floor to accommodate 5 self-contained residential units and provision of associated cycle storage (Prior Approval Application, under Part 20, Class A New Dwellinghouses on detached blocks of flats)

We objected to these two applications, for either one or two additional floors on these flats.  Both remain undetermined.

  1. i) Ealing Civic Society objects to this application. The proposed additional floor would have a negative impact in terms of overlooking of the adjacent Victorian properties in Craven Avenue and, also, the recently consented flats above the garages to the south.
  2. ii) Ealing Civic Society objects to this application. We note that this application has been submitted as PD, but we would highlight that the proposed third and fourth floors would have a negative impact in terms of overlooking of the adjacent Victorian properties in Craven Avenue and, also, to the recently consented flats above the garages to the south.

Land Rear of 158 Uxbridge Road, W13 8SB

Construction of a three storey building to accommodate five self-contained residential units together with associated landscaping, cycle and refuse storage

We objected to this revised application for flats to the rear of shops on Uxbridge Road, which would offer cramped and unsuitable living conditions.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application.  We acknowledge the changes in this application of the addition of balconies and a reduction in the number of flats and the overall footprint since the previously refused application 203369FFUL.  However, these changes do not adequately address our objections to the previous application.  Therefore, in line with our previous comments, we uphold our objections:

“The living conditions of the flats planned in the scheme would be unacceptable.  Some studio flats would be single aspect with very poor daylight.  In addition, they would be situated far too close to neighbouring buildings resulting in very unsatisfactory outlooks, insufficient amenity space and loss of amenity for existing neighbours on Drayton Green Road.  The narrow access route to the front door of the building is secluded and would potentially be unsafe and prone to anti-social behaviour.  Finally, the suggestion by the applicant that residents could compensate for the lack of outdoor amenity space by using Deans Gardens is inappropriate since this small recreational area is already over pressured and also being suggested as amenity space for numerous other developments in the surrounding area.”

51 The Mall, W5 3TA

Demolition and redevelopment of existing site to provide a 6 storey mixed use development comprising commercial use on the ground and part first floor (Use Class E(g)(i) and 9 residential units above (Use Class C3), provision of associated amenity spaces, refuse/recycling and cycle storage and associated works

We objected to this proposed development in the Town Centre Conservation Area on grounds of loss of a building contributing to the heritage of the area, various design issues and also the piecemeal development of the site which did not address its worst aspects.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application.  We regret the loss of the existing Victorian/Edwardian building on this site, which is dismissed in the Heritage Statement provided by the applicant in a comment attributed to the Council during pre-application discussions: “The proposed demolition within the site would see the loss of a building which has been described as being of ‘weak architectural quality and or poor townscape quality’ that does not reflect the site’s position as the eastern gateway to the town centre (LPA comments as part of pre-application enquiry response, March 2021)”. In the absence of a conservation officer, there is no evidence that this assessment is based on the advice of an independent heritage expert.  Although not noted specifically in the Town Centre CA appraisal and management plan, the significant contribution of this building dating back to the 1850s is now apparent.  The original development site proposal [Ealing Gateway: EAL1], extensively quoted by the applicants to justify their proposals, clearly intended that the entire site should be brought forward for redevelopment rather than in a piecemeal manner, the unsightly 1960s Saunders House and public houses below, which occupy much of the site, being particularly unattractive.  We suggest that the proposed partial development of the site fails to deliver the landmark building and intended benefits to the public realm in the Town Centre; indeed makes these impossible to deliver in the future should the remainder of the site come forward for redevelopment, and would represent a non-policy complaint development.

Should planners be minded to consider this application, then various design issues need to be addressed.  The greatest concern is the height of the building, which should be reduced by at least one and ideally two storeys, to be more in keeping with the surroundings.  The lift overrun of Saunders House does not offer a suitable marker for overall height.  A greater setback of the upper storeys adjacent to the neighbouring flats along Northcote Avenue should also be incorporated to avoid over dominating them.  The verticals on the Northcote Avenue elevation appear over-fussy and mismatched.  We consider that use of a darker brick finish to the lower levels with lighter upper levels would be better than the proposed approach.

In summary, this application should be refused but if minded to approve, planners should first seek revisions to address the concerns raised.

7 Model Cottages, Northfield Avenue, W13 9LF

Roof extensions to main rear roof slope; and installation of 3no. rooflight to front roof slope (following removal of existing 2no. rooflights) and 1no. rooflight to rear roof slope

We objected to this application to insert dormers into the roofslope of one of this row of cottages with interesting heritage.  Although modifications had been made to the original application which made the proposals less intrusive, we considered the proposals to be not in keeping.  The application has been approved, including a condition as we suggested requiring the rooflights to be conservation grade.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application to add dormer window roof extensions to the rear of this property.  We note that work has been started on the property before planning permission was applied for or granted, showing a worrying lack of respect for the planning system and understanding of the historic character of the group of cottages of which this is part.  Model Cottages are locally listed and believed to be examples of Prince Albert’s workers’ cottages, dating back to the mid 19th Century.  As such, any renovations should preserve the historic character and features of the group.  The addition of dormer windows, albeit at the rear, is not in keeping with this original design.  The existence of dormers on other properties without any historic connections does not justify their addition here.  It is regrettable that front rooflights have already been inserted in the past, possibly without permission.  If officers are minded to allow their replacement on the basis that these already exist, any replacements should be of conservation grade.

130-132 Broadway, W13 0TL

Construction of building between 2 and 6 storeys accommodating commercial space (Use Class E(a)) and 17 self-contained residential units (following demolition of existing building)

We objected to this application for a proposal for a 5/6 storey block of flats on West Ealing Broadway on grounds of overdevelopment, impact on the surroundings, lack of amenity space and design issues.  We also suggested that should the development be approved, certain artefacts related to the area’s history should be retained and passed to Gunnersbury House Museum.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application.  Firstly, the applicants suggest that they have engaged local groups in consultation before submitting this application.  It should be noted that Ealing Civic Society was not at any time contacted or consulted.

We consider the proposal to be overdevelopment.  The height of the planned building is excessive, with the inclusion of a 6th storey to the front, albeit slightly set back, exceeding the height of the under construction neighbouring building.  This could be overcome by omission of this storey or possibly by moving it to the rear part of the building although this could create unacceptable overshadowing to neighbours at the rear.  The front of the building at the upper storeys should also be slightly set back to align with the main frontage, rather than balconies, of its neighbour.

Although reference is made to nearby heritage assets and the impact of the proposals on these not considered problematic, no reference has been made to the Old Hat public house to the immediate east, which would be disproportionately dominated by the proposed 6 storey front element of the building.  In addition, we consider that the materials planned for the building (dark and light grey brick) would render it out of keeping with its surrounding area and should be replaced by London stock.  We also have considerable concerns about the proposed amenity space.  The planned recessed balconies, especially those which would be north facing, would significantly compromise the daylight of the living areas from which they would extend.  Furthermore, their sizes appear inadequate to meet requirements for some 2/3 bedroom units.  No external shared amenity space for residents is proposed; the planned green area to the north of the proposed building, currently and to remain public realm, does not meet that need and its northerly aspect in any case renders it unwelcoming.

The application is for 17 new residential units and is thus required to include an affordable housing element; the Council has indicated a requirement for 50%.  None is proposed, nor is any S106 financial contribution in lieu of affordable units offered.  The applicant has submitted viability assessments arguing that 47% affordable would render the scheme completely unviable and that even at 0% as proposed, it is loss-making, but at a level the applicant accepts.  This is completely unacceptable and any scheme must deliver at least 35% affordable units, preferably onsite.

For these many reasons, this application should be refused.  However, if the Council is minded to approve this application in an amended form, the original Edwin Bros jewellers and watches sign to the existing building frontage, that we believe is listed, together with the pawnbrokers ‘balls’ device to the roof, should be preserved and donated to Gunnersbury House museum as important local history.  This should be secured by condition.

The Castle Hotel, Victoria Road, Acton, W3 6UL

The demolition of the existing public house and the redevelopment of the site to provide a part 32 storey, part 27 storey comprising 462 co-living rooms with associated communal amenity spaces (Sui Generis), a public house (Sui Generis) and associated access, cycle parking, blue badge parking, bin storage and landscaping

We objected to this major application for demolition of a large public house and development of an up to 32 storey tower block of co-living units in North Acton, incorporating a ‘new’ public house.  We had previously submitted comments to the public ‘consultation’, but received no response nor had any changes been made to the proposals.  The application remains undetermined.

Ealing Civic Society objects to this application.  We reiterate our comments in response to the public consultation, to which there was unfortunately no response by the applicant.  We strongly object to the proposed demolition of the Castle Hotel, which is locally listed.  Demolition of the building would be a clear breach of policy HC7 of the London Plan 2021, which protects pubs as a “unique and intrinsic part of British culture”.  We continue to urge the developer to consider alternatives which would preserve the existing building.  As we suggested at the consultation, one such alternative would be to acquire the neighbouring site, which we note is unsightly and would be further isolated if this development goes ahead, and dismantle and rebuild the pub in identical form.  We note and welcome that a Level 2 Historic Building Record has been carried out but request in addition that should the pub not be preserved, its most interesting internal features and contents should be preserved and placed in a suitable museum.  This should be secured by condition.

Consultation on 93 Bollo Lane, W4 5LU

We submitted comments to the developer on their pre-application proposals for this mixed development.  The developer has responded with answers to our queries and we understand some changes are to be made before the application is submitted.

ECS has the following comments/questions on the proposed scheme:

Commercial.  The commercial provision for SMEs is welcomed, however:

  • The commercial arcade risks being entirely dead space, this underground frontage away from the street does not look like “a highly visible commercial presence” as described in scheme benefits
  • How will this space be kept secure out of hours?  The space could become an off-street hanging-out space for e.g. young people and a target for anti-social behaviour
  • On-site management or remote CCTV monitoring would seem to be needed for security – will this be affordable to the small number of small commercial units?
  • Does the commercial floorspace calculation exclude the access way – this should not be included?

Residential:

  • The proposed roof plan shows 39+75 = 114 sq m private terraces, 98+114+136+43 =391 sq m shared space for private units and 121 sq m shared space for social-rented and shared ownership.  It is not clear what is the distinction between the private terraces and shared space for private units
  • Taking the apparent total amenity apace available to private owners as 505 sq m, the amenity space would appear to be inequitably split 80% for private owners and 20% for affordable, whereas the housing split is given as 65% private, 35% affordable
  • On this basis, the shared amenity space for the affordable/shared ownership housing is inadequate –121 sq m, about the same size as one large 4-bed flat, shared between around 33 homes.  The amenity space for affordable housing should match the GLA requirement as a minimum

Updates

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 – then revised to first 8 units, then 7 in single storey building

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 first one, then two, and omit the first floor element.  Our objections to the design of the units and other concerns were not addressed.  The application has been refused on grounds of design, scale and proximity to existing dwellings.

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

We supported the proposed change to residential use of these currently empty buildings in the Ealing Town Centre Conservation Area, but objected to some details.  Unfortunately, no changes were made by the developer nor required by the Council and the application has now been approved.

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 has been refused on a number of grounds including inadequate living conditions and a lack of affordable housing provision.

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.  Planners recognised the many deficiencies in this application, which has been refused.

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)

We objected to this application, a resubmission of a previous application to which we objected and which had not been determined.  This application has been refused on grounds that the proposals would cause detrimental harm to the host dwelling and to the Conservation Area.  The undetermined application has gone to appeal.

Beaufoy House, Equity Mews, W5 5NT

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

We objected to this proposal relating 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 have destroyed that link and resulted in an imbalance between the two houses.  The application has been withdrawn, possibly on the advice of the planning officer that it was unlikely to be granted, but we do not know what has prompted this or whether there will be any resubmission.

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 are delighted that this unsuitable application has now been withdrawn, following the submission of an independent heritage report that endorsed the value of the current building and countered many of the claims made by the applicant.  We have heard nothing further about any possible resubmission.