Sunday 11 August 2013

Another iconic Willesden Green building to go?

Electric House
Officers are recommending that the August 21st Brent Planning Committee should approve the demolition of the three storey locally listed Electric House in Willesden Lane, which is in a Conservation Area,  and its replacement by a 7 storey residential and retail development. The proposal follows on from the battle over the nearby Willesden Green Victorian Library and the current campaign over the future of the Queensbury pub.

The report states:
Council officers are of the opinion that the building does make a contribution towards the local streetscape although its design and appearance make it distinct from the surrounding built environment.
The Council's Urban Design Officer states: The building was Locally listed principally for its stylisticcontribution to local street scape character; in terms of plan form the building has difficult proportions with a very large open ground floor and relatively small floor plates higher up. This makes the reuse of the building very difficult and it is difficult to see what alternative contemporary use could be found that would be able to use the difficult spaces with and success or viability. It is always regrettable to lose a building in a conservation area but as Electric House would be very difficult to viably convert to other uses the Council needs to balance the Community benefits that a new multi-unit residential development may bring. Unfortunately buildings that are difficult to convert lie unused for many years and subsequently suffer from lack of maintenance.
The officers argue that to compensate for the loss any replacement building will have to be of ' the highest quality of design to ensure that it makes a positive contribution to the character of the conservation area'. This should be made a condition of planning approval.

The consultation on the plans received 20 objections among which were:
Loss of an existing local landmark building which contributes to the character of the Willesden Green
Conservation Area.
The proposed building in conjunction with other developments within the town centre will destroy the
character of Willesden Green
The proposed building reflects nothing of the architectural characteristics of the area.
The height of the proposed building would create a terracing effect on an important intersection resulting in
a more dense and darker streetscape.
The building is too large and imposing and out of scale with neighbouring buildings.
Broken roof lines are a feature of the area and will not be replicated with the proposed development.
Loss of light to habitable room windows on the neighbouring Sheil Court
Over-parking on surrounding streets and in car park at Sheil Court
Proposed development will exacerbate existing congestion problems.
The space could be better used as a public park.
If housing is to be built it should be terraced housing or a maximum of four storeys as people are happier
in such buildings.
Having balconies on the road side is misguided as the road is too noisy and dirty for prospective
residents to use and will instead be used as additional storage space which is unsightly.
The Planning and Conservation Areas Act 1990 requires that areas should retain their essential
character, whereas the planned development represents a radical change to the area and will annihilate
the current Conservation Area streetscape.
It fails the challenge to preserve areas of character whilst at the same time enabling higher density
The existing building could be suitably converted for residential.
The proposed development will overshadow a wide number of neighbouring properties

Documentation  going before the Committee:

Document 1  LINK Document 2 LINK

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would like to suggest that before demolishing or constructing any new building take the guidance from the green building and sustainability experts.
LEED Commisioning