QUEENS HOTEL: RESIDENTS QUOTE CASE LAW AS THEY OBJECT TO PLANS / NEW APPLICATIONS FOR FITZROY GARDENS HOUSES
Residents of Fitzroy and Wakefield Gardens have raised case law in their objections to the Queens hotel plans.
They say that in order for Croydon council to grant consent for the Queens hotel plans they need to be absolutely satisfied that, as a whole, the building’s appreciable quality and positive contribution to the conservation area is not in any way undermined or diminished.
Recent case law, from Forge Field* onwards, suggests a presumption against a grant of planning in cases where harm to designated heritage assets (listed buildings and conservation areas) arises, say residents of Fitzroy and Wakefield Gardens in their objections to Croydon.
“If the council are not satisfied that the character and appearance of the conservation area is preserved, then it would take a very considerable degree of public benefit to overturn this presumption by granting consent.
“It is our strong view that the scheme as a whole cannot be said to preserve the character and appearance of the conservation area, let alone lead to an enhancement to the conservation area, as the applicant claims.”
Forge Field is one of three cases in recent years where the High Court have quashed the grant of planning permission.
Among other objections to the council, the Fitzroy Wakefield Action Group say:
THE STABLE BLOCK / WALL : While the small outbuilding to the rear of the site (part of which forms the boundary wall to properties on Wakefield Gardens) does not appear to be included in the local listing for the Queen’s hotel, this is clearly an accidental overlooking of its value.
It is the only building on Map 16 of the Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan whose contribution is not assessed or identified.
“An Inspector, in 2003, concluded that the building “is of a moderately attractive form being set around an internal courtyard and is generally of a solid appearance. It also has, in my mind, some interest deriving from its past physical and functional relationship with the hotel” the inspector added. (APP/L5240/A/03/1122764, paragraph 10).
“As such, this building should be considered, in our view, as an integral part of the locally listed Queen’s hotel, and at least as a positive contributor to the character and appearance of the conservation area.
“The proposition that the 19th century section of the Queen’s hotel can be read in isolation, independent of the rest of the site, and that any alterations and additions around it would not cause any harm to its core significance and contribution is, ultimately, flawed.”
Action group spokeswoman Abbie Kenyon told News From Crystal Palace: “Residents want the 1850’s mews block to be retained.
“Several properties weave around this old Victorian building. “It adds character and heritage to where we live and provides the boundary of the Church Road conservation area.
“Demolishing this building in order to excavate and build a car park is not in keeping with Croydon policies regarding conservation areas and is a health and safety concern for residents, many of whom have young children.
“The hotel has said that it ‘intends’ to retain a wall as a facade, but they won’t guarantee this or tell us how they will do that.”
TRANSPORT AND HIGHWAYS IMPACTS: “A number of assumptions and conclusions from the Transport Assessment are questionable. “Consequently, we believe that the expected vehicle movements to and from the site are understated and that the quantum of car parking spaces provided on site is insufficient.
“As a result, the proposals would cause a number of impacts to the local transport network.”
PTAL (Public Transport Access Level): “Paragraph 2.25 of the Amended Transport Assessment (ATA) states that the site is a PTAL 3. “Using Transport for London’s WebCAT website tool assessing the PTAL for this site it is considered to be a 2.
“We consider that the provision of parking spaces on site to be low and, as a result, would result in excess parking by guest to occur on surrounding residential streets, to the detriment of surrounding residents.”
WINDOWLESS ROOMS: “One of the key concerns regarding the subterranean aspects of the proposals are the sheer amount of windowless rooms and rooms that would require lightwells to obtain light.
“A total of 71 windowless rooms (an increase of 32 from existing) and 43 new rooms with lightwells would be provided. “As such, around 20 per cent of the overall amount of rooms would be provided underground.
“These underground hotel rooms would be substandard, poor and would create a poor customer experience for a proponent who wishes to provide a high-quality scheme.
“It is difficult to imagine who would wish to stay in these rooms. “Providing so many subterranean rooms is one way in which the applicant has tried to cheat their way around the overdevelopment and scale/massing arguments and, as a result would see 114 rooms be provided underground.
“The applicant notes that windowless rooms have worked in a number of locations throughout London. “But all of the precedents identified within the Design and Access Statement are from central London locations where visitors are more likely to sacrifice amenity for the variety and range of activities and facilities central London has to offer.
“The maximum number of habitable rooms per hectare for a site in a suburban setting with a PTAL of 2 would be 250. “With a site area of 0.7 hectares and 530 habitable rooms (i.e. each hotel room), the density of the site would be 757 habitable rooms per hectare which is more than three times the accepted density upper limit on site should this be a residential development.
“This is a significant breach of an established density guide for development in London which demonstrates the proposals would be an overdevelopment of the site.”
RESIDENTIAL AMENITY IMPACTS: “As a result of the significant increase of scale and mass on site, the proposals would result in a number of residential amenity impacts including privacy, overlooking and the perceived sense of enclosure and would result in the unacceptable loss of daylight and sunlight access to the surrounding properties.”
OVERLOOKING: “Due to the unacceptable proximity between the proposals and surrounding buildings, the applicant has considered it necessary to use recessed windows, louvres and other design mechanisms to try and combat any overlooking.
“These are all design measures used in inner city urban locations where tight relationships between buildings are commonplace.
“Needing to employ measures such as this demonstrates that the scheme is an overdevelopment of the site and would result in privacy and amenity impacts for residents.
“The most tangible of these would be overlooking and perceived sense of enclosure as a result of the unacceptable mass of the buildings at the rear of the site adjoining Fitzroy Gardens.”
DAYLIGHT AND SUNLIGHT ASSESSMENT: “In addition to the potential for overlooking and sense of enclosure, the submitted daylight and sunlight assessment demonstrates there would be direct impacts to a number of surrounding properties, noting that only four out of 109 windows would pass the 25-degree line test for daylight and only four of 67 windows passed the 25-degree line test for sunlight.
“The proposals would result in 96pc and 94pc of residential windows surrounding the scheme to have reduced daylight and sunlight levels, respectively, as a result of the development. “This is considered unacceptable.”
BASEMENT IMPACTS: “The construction impacts of the basement have not been considered and, as a result, the potential impacts of prolonged basement excavation, the need to haul spoil to an appropriate receiving site, the anticipated construction vehicle movements based on the volume of spoil to be removed from the site and the various transport impacts to Church Road and surrounding streets has not been addressed in an accurate manner.”
SPOIL: “The document submitted to address the construction management issues does not contain any detail regarding the proposed construction methodology for the basement, does not identify the overall estimated quantum of fill and fails to identify the likely haulage routes to and from the site that are needed to dispose of the significant amount of spoil from the site.
“One of the biggest issues with the scheme is the impact to the known traffic congestion on Church Road during peak periods.
“Given the scale and complexity of the construction works needed, including basement spoil removal, it is likely that temporary road closures may be needed, construction traffic protocols be put in place and a significant increase of heavy vehicle movements on Church Road and surrounding streets.
“Again, this has not been addressed adequately by the applicant.
“This is considered to be critical piece of documentation that has not been provided to an acceptable standard. “A scheme of this scale cannot have this requirement secured via planning condition and, should the council not request a more robust document, an undesirable precedent would be set for future basement development within the borough. “This is not in the public interest.
CONSULTATION: “An outdated, tokenistic and inadequate engagement strategy was undertaken, evident in the poor turnout rates and low interest for a proposal that should have garnered extensive community, business and stakeholder interest.
“What is alarming is that despite the document being dated April 2017, the content of all of the consultation ceased in early 2017. “There has subsequently been a period of two to three months where the public has had a chance to review the plans and provide their feedback.
“This period allows a significant amount of design changes to occur without the public being able to provide their feedback.
“The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) and the Design and Access Statement have been cherry-picked and are not an accurate reflection of the concerns raised. The SCI does not convey the frustration felt by residents in trying to arrange meetings and get clear information about the project. “No minutes were shared with residents for a meeting on 24 November. “Minutes for a meeting held on 8 February are not included in the SCI.
“Key documentation has been omitted from the application or is incorrect – e.g. the elevation showing the impact of the car park excavation in proximity to houses on Wakefield Gardens; elevations showing the impact of the new extension on Fitzroy Gardens, and a Daylight Impact Assessment that misses key houses 18 – 24 Fitzroy Gardens.”
Further reading: Google ‘Forge Field’ See: Local Government Lawyer – Heritage issues and planning applications
NEW APPLICATIONS FOR FITZROY GARDENS HOUSES
New proposals have been put forward for two residential properties in Fitzroy Gardens – just weeks after previous applications for the two premises were withdrawn.
The first (Planning reference 17/02971/LP) is for a single storey rear extension and front infill extension and conversion of the garage into a habitable room at 18 Fitzroy Gardens.
A second application 17/02964/LP is for a single storey rear extension at 14 Fitzroy Gardens .
The applications by Meher Nawab of UK Housing Partnership Ltd, Lynton House, Clapham Common South Side say both proposals are within Croydon’s permitted guidelines.
The previous withdrawn applications were erection of single storey rear extension and reinstatement of window at rear at first floor level at 14 Fitzroy Gardens (application 17/01997/HSE);
and alterations and use of garage as habitable room and erection of single storey front and rear extension at 18 Fitzroy Gardens (Application 17/00831/HSE).