Thursday 19 December 2019

One Olympic Way pulled from Planning Committee Agenda but Fulton Quarter passed unanimously

The controversial planning application for 1 Olympic Way LINK  was pulled from last night's Planning Committee agenda apparently for  'technical reasons' due to a later submission regarding light. The application to add  several storeys to the building and build a new 15 storey block at the back had been opposed by Quintain.

Quintain's own Fulton Quarter outline plan LINK for 995 homes, office space, retail and work spaces with a number of towers including one of 25 storeys was passed unanimously. There will be a Stage 2 referral of the scheme to the Mayor of London.  Councillors were told that the viability study (the generation of sufficient profit for the developer)  meant that there could be no more than 25% (by floor area) of affordable housing. Cllr Johnson asked, 'Why not 30 or 35%?' Johnson was later told that the viability assessment left no room for affordable workspace and the option had not been pursued.

Officers justified the fact that they were relying on a consultation carried out two years ago on the scheme by saying that few concerns had arisen at the time and a new consultation would 'confuse people.'

Asked about the 25 storey tower planning officers said it was at the centre of the plot and would not interfere with protected views of Wembley Stadium (by which they seemed to mean the arch rather than the whole stadium) and while it was the tallest in the immediate vicinity the new Network Housing block would be over 20 storeys and the highest in the development area would be 32 storeys.

Officers said that an Environmental Impact Assessment had not been felt necessary.

When Cllr Johnson asked if it was possible for the Troubadour Theatre to have space located in the Fulton Quarter he was told that this had always been a temporary project and this was their mode of operation. It was a way of testing the market for viability. It was a challenge to get people out of the West End habit (perhaps the planners had not heard of The Kiln)  but there may be a site available elsewhere in the Quintain development.

There will be further consultation on a more detailed application following the granting of outline permission.

Willesden Green Residents' Association made a presentation opposing the demolition of 162 Willesden Lane and argued that flats could have been provided by an extension to the house while maintaining the facade of the original. A resident had made a passionate submission on the Planning Portal about the animal life that would be affected by demolition and new build:
I wish to object to the proposed demolition and build of 19 flats at 162 Willesden Lane. The present house comprises of 10 flats- which is too many for the footprint. Adding another 9 will mean that the existing garden will be swallowed by the development. All homes in this area benefit from large gardens. All of them meet on all sides to create a wildlife oasis for rarely sighted birds and small animals. I regularly see a Heron camping out in my garden on its way to bigger pastures. 

Woodpeckers also seem to thrive here. To lose these creatures because of a modern block would be almost criminal in its negligence to this diverse ecosystem. 

To build a block of 4/5 stories high will impact on all our privacy as we will be severely overlooked. There are many mature trees that will need to cut down, which seems totally irresponsible in a central London location where wildlife and trees are essential for our healthy existence. The recent development of 'The Avenue' unearthed an unexploded WWII bomb, which caused much anxiety and danger to the local area- as I am sure you will recall, many people were evacuated for a considerable time. The Willesden Lane area suffered much bombing during the war- how many more bombs will be disturbed before a catastrophe occurs.

The modern block will definitely change the character of the area, which is full of wonderful large period houses and flats. And at a time when LONDON and the nation is suffering from a major shortage in social housing, it seems very neglectful and shortsighted to allow another private developer the opportunity to put up more unaffordable housing for investors to park their money without any care or consideration for home renters. Surely this is at complete odds with Brent's socialist authority agenda.
--> Officers said that the 20 trees to be removed would be replaced by planting another 20. 

Only one of the 18 flats will be 'affordable' which equates to 5.6% of the total (against a target of 50%!) but will be offset by a contribution of £99,500 for affordable housing elsewhere. Again the viability assessment was quoted in support. One councillor voted against on tenure grounds.


Granted permission

The Committee agreed the application for 435-441/A Wembley High Road which is on the corner with London Road and stretches down that road.

The proposal was for retail and 44 flats only 4 of which would be at affordable rent (Discounted Market Rent equivalent to London Living Rent). The officers report said that the viability reported suggested it was not viable to include any affordable units so this offer was a gain. Councillors were not so sure and one voted against the application.

The major part of the High Road is retail with two storeys above and two storey houses on the side road. However planning officers suggested that the area was changing with the 26 storey 'Twin Towers' (former Chesterfield House), 18 storey West One development on Montrose Crescent and the 14 storey Wembley Central Station development so the up to 8 storeys height was acceptable.

It looks as if Wembley High Road is destined for more high development as this argument would apply across the board and families seeking truly affordable housing are going to have a very long wait.


Philip Grant said...

The viability assessments, produced in support of developers' proposals to provide minimal affordable housing, say whatever the developer wants them to say, because they are the ones paying the consultants who produce these works of fiction on their behalf.

Either these assessments should be prepared by a totally independent body (funded from fees paid by developers, but with no direct link between the developer and the independent body, or its employees), or the use of viability assessments should be scrapped, and developers required to provide a minimum set percentage of affordable housing, assessed on a fair and reasonable basis.

Philip Grant said...

I agree with the local resident who objected to the plans to demolish 162 Willesden Lane and cover its grounds with a block of 19 flats.

Taking care of our urban wildlife is something that so often gets overlooked, when developers try to cram as much as they can onto every site, with a view to maximum profit. Their profit can also be society's loss.

If there is no grass, then the next generation will miss out on the chance to see birds like the woodpecker. See: