UPDATE: Crystal Palace Community Association have also objected to the plans
> THE NORWOOD Society and Gipsy Hill Residents Association have both lodged objections to plans to build a four-storey extension on the left hand side of the historic Queens hotel on Church Road, Crystal Palace.
> In a letter to Croydon council, Philip Goddard, chairman of Norwood Society’s planning sub-committee says the existing building, which has been enlarged piecemeal since its first construction in the 1860s, already dominates the whole of its surroundings.
> “An extension of the proposed size would make the building even more dominant than it is already. “Although the proposed extension is essentially a pastiche of a wing of the original building, it would not restore its symmetry since the original building has already been very considerably extended on the other side” he adds..
> “The site on which it is proposed to construct the new extension is currently in use as a coach park for parties visiting the hotel. “It would obviously no longer be available for such use, nor would the remaining space in front of the extension be large enough to permit them to turn.
> “It would therefore be necessary for coaches to load, unload and park in Church Road and the neighbouring residential streets.
> “There is already an overspill in this respect and the creation of another 26 bedrooms, together with the closure of the existing coach park, would make the situation much worse.
> “It is simply untrue, as the applicants maintain, that there is ‘plenty of unlimited parking in surrounding streets’,”.
> Gipsy Hill Residents’ Association, in its letter of objection to Croydon, also focuses on traffic and parking issues.
> “The Queens hotel is in a conservation area, has a Public Transport Accessibility Level (PTAL) of three and is set on the A212, which is a busy, main arterial route connecting east to west, and outer to inner, London. “The A212 leads into the Upper Norwood Triangle one way system” says GHRA chair Amanda Sciberras.
> “The submission claims that the current 30 car parking spaces for 196 rooms does not require overspill parking on the adjacent single lane, arterial road or the surrounding residential roads. “This is not the case. “In recent years overspill parking from users of the Queens hotel has brought traffic chaos, congestion and disturbance to the area.
> “Coaches and cars that park on the A212 completely block one side of the single lane highway. “This creates a hazard to pedestrians and drivers made worse by the fact there are several traffic islands along the centre of the A212 to help pedestrians cross the busy road.
> “It would now appear that the many large coaches no longer use the hotel car park, preferring instead to pull up on the main road, obstructing traffic flow and residents’ driveways. “When residents have approached the drivers of the coaches and asked them to move they have been met with hostile and abusive responses.
> “No business case has been made for the need to expand what is already a very large operation with significant negative impact on this locality, by a further 25 rooms. “To our knowledge the Queens is never sold out and the only reason given for this extension is that historically there used to be a west wing – that is not a good enough reason to base an application on.
> “The application proposes that Church Road will be used as an overflow car park for staff and patrons’ vehicles and coaches, despite the applicant pointing out in the parking survey that during the morning peak hour there are 80 buses running from bus stops on Church Road.
> “It is the buses that have the most difficulty negating the parked vehicles from the hotel and the traffic tailbacks currently experienced by this inconsiderate parking can be long and time consuming for those caught up in them – not to mention the impact on the environment and air quality.
> “Finally, GHRA would like to draw your attention to the fact that the hotel is set on the highest ridge in London surrounded by steep hills. “This is not mentioned in the parking survey and much is made of the fact that by not providing off street car parking the application complies with planning policies and encourages cycling and walking.
> “Upper Norwood is surrounded by some of the steepest hills in the capital. “One of the consequences of this is that it attracts less – not more – cyclists. “Only the fittest and most competent tackle these hills.
> “GHRA finds it highly unlikely that a significant number of hotel patrons will choose to arrive by bike or on foot for their stay at the Queens
> “GHRA would also urge Croydon planning to issue an enforcement notice to address the immediate hazards and nuisance caused by overspill parking.”
IN THEIR letter of objection Crystal Palace Community Association chairman John Payne says the hotel’s current parking provision is far from adequate, with hotel users frequently having to resort to parking, or attempting to park, either in Church Road itself or the surrounding residential streets. This has often led to traffic chaos, congestion and unwelcome disruption to local residents.
“When the hotel holds one of its regular ‘events’, coaches and minibuses often add to the confusion and disturbance. “Deliveries to the hotel can also be problematic.
Crucially and despite these issues the applicant fails to provide any additional ‘on-site’ parking provision.
“Church Road is a very busy bus route, much of which is single or double yellow lined. “Some limited parking spaces are provided but competition for these spaces is intense. “The various pedestrian traffic refuges further compromise the road, on what is a relatively narrow major highway. “Passing these parked cars together with negotiating the refuges is often hazardous, often made or the more so when buses, large vehicles and other oncoming traffic present themselves.
“The applicant’s limited design and access statement claims the proposed new southern extension will ‘restore’ the symmetry of the hotel’s front elevations. “The CPCA contends that this was destroyed when the new modernistic six-storey north wing extension was constructed in the 1960 / 1970’s and that the applicant’s statement is misleading.
“The hotel location has a PTAL of three. “The applicant states that Crystal Palace and Gipsy Hill stations are within walking distance,but fails to provide any explanation of what ‘walking distance’ is. “For some it may be a few metres or minutes or, for others, many kilometres or hours. “What is certain is that both these stations lie some distance away (approx one kilometre) and require the negotiation of extremely steep hills to access them.
“The applicants business case needs to be considered in the light of other local applications for hotel development such as those proposed for Portland Road, SE25 and Victory Place, SE19, which will impact on the commercial viability and sustainability of the proposed application.”
Additionally the proposal fails to meet a number of key policies in the London Plan and Croydon’s own UDP (Unitary Development Plan), adds Mr Payne.
The CPCA notes the significant number of local objections to this application and ask that this application be refused until the above matters receive proper consideration and the issue of ‘on-site’ parking availability is resolved, together with the negative impact on the Church Road conservation area.