Sunday 18 February 2018

Revised plans for replacing King's Drive estate garages with bungalows

The plan - trees to be removed in red
Proposed bungalows
The site at present
 Brent Council (formerly BHP) have been seeking areas of the borough's council estates to build new homes in its Refill Development Programme in an attempt  to build more affordable homes to alleviate the housing shortage in the borough.

Modified plans have been published to replace garages on the King's Drive Estate (between Barn Hill (the road) and King's Drive. After initial consultation the plans were put on hold due to the surprise General Election but attracted local opposition include a 100 signature petition.

Opposition came from residents of the large private homes on Barn Hill whose gardens back on to the estate and residents of the blocks on the estate. The former concentrated on the loss of trees that screen their gardens from the estate and the latter on the loss of car parking, citing shortage of parking as a continuing problem on the estate. The revised plan includes re-provision of 25 parking places for residents

Objections have also been made to the design of the proposed 4 flat-roofed bungalows and the fact that vehicular access will be restricted which is a problem on the closes on the estate with large refuse lorries often encountering problems.

King's Drive residents have accused Brent Council/BHP of deliberately running down the garages that will be replaced by the bungalows and allege that tenants were not given sufficient notice of eviction. Similar allegations have been made on other estates. 

A King's Drive resident's submission on the Planning Portal:

I have resided at the above address for over twenty years. It is a ground floor flat with the rear elevation backing onto the said garages. My living room and main bedroom overlook this view, which I would describe as quiet, with a pleasant aspect of trees, grass and wildlife. Since 2017 it has however been in a state of ‘limbo’ since myself and other residents were (with very little notice) rudely EVICTED from these garages. 

This has resulted in people from outside the estate ‘dumping’ vehicles and rubbish in front of the garages. In fact, one of the garages has been forced open and filled with car tyres. Most unpleasant environmentally? and a fire hazard! One of my main objections to the proposal is that after the recent introduction of increased parking restrictions to our area there is already a shortage of parking for the tenants and visiting tradesmen to the estate. This will only be exasperated if the building of the bungalows goes ahead. The proposed plan for extra parking provisions for existing  tenants has not been properly thought through, and could only ever be achieved with the wilful destruction of more trees and foliage to the rear of my property.

If this building goes ahead the noise, dust and vibrations will be intolerable whilst under construction. Upon completion my ‘block’ of flats will be in very close proximity to the bungalows. In fact, my ground floor flat is at the bottom of a grassed slope, which is below the projected level of the new builds, so the occupants and their vehicles will face directly down into my living room and bedroom areas leaving me with a loss of privacy, light and what was a ‘green’ outlook. The pollution of noise and dust from further occupants and their vehicles is not something that my husband and I look forward to as we are both pensioners in our seventies. We, like all the other residents enjoy the open environmental character of the area, in particular as we are on the edge of Fryent Country Park, but I fear that this is just the beginning of an erosion of this irreplaceable treasure.

In conclusion, the garages have been deliberately allowed to decay through lack of maintenance as an excuse for demolition!  
Although myself and other residents use public transport whenever practicable, Brent have a duty of care to their existing tenants to provide reasonably safe and secure parking facilities rather than misappropriate them.

Please do not allow this to happen.
Clearly the needs of people on the housing waiting list have to be balanced with the quality of provision for those living on the estate and environmental issues but the council seems not to have helped themselves win over people  through clumsy consultation that residents allege has used misleading photographs and statistics.

A report to Housing Scrutiny Committee LINK puts the building costs of the 4  units at a total of  £1,950,000 which seems quite steep considering the quality of the buildings shown in the artist's impression above.

They even managed to get the date of the amended description wrong on the Site Notice:

Further details can be found on the Planning Portal (Ref 17/5416) LINK

 Details of the Infill Development proposals across the borough are in the document below:


Anonymous said...

The main objection is the loss of parking spaces? People are getting shipped out of London due to the housing crisis. Bungalows are perfect for older people or people with disabilities. Perspective is needed.

Martin Francis said...

My balance would go that way too, but then I am not a motorist or have need of a car for transporting kids or infirm relatives. Parking problems are an inconvenience - homelessness a tragedy. I do think it could have been handled better.

Alison Hopkins said...

The way it's been handled is the huge issue, indeed.

Something similar happened on an estate here. BHP wanted to build on a car park which they claime was unused. It wasn't, of course. The planning application was based on false car census figures and omitted about a hundred properties. BHP also ignored real and valid worries about access to the estate: it's the only road in.

There were a number od "consultation" meetings where great promises were made about estate improvements and the benfits of the new houses. However, BHP ALSO got very rude to several owner occupiers, basically saying they had an "I'm all right, Jack" attitude. They didn't - none of them is earning more than average wage for a start.

Anyhow, it went to Planning , who actually bounced it. It then went BACK to Planning about a year later. This time, one of the ward councillors spoke in favour, despite the almost unanimous opposition to the plans. It passed.

The houses, all three, were started two years ago. They lie unfinished and unoccupied which is an utter disgrace. And yes, the access problems have been enormous.