Cllr Anton Georgiou (Lib Dem, Alperton ward) told the planning committee that the proposed high-rise development on the Saab showroom site on Bridgewater Road LINK was felt by residents to be 'unneeded, unwanted and unnecessary.'
He said that the 'mini-city' developing around Alperton station was changing the character of the area. The Bridgewater Road proposal was in an area where the majorrity of housing was two storey homes. There were developing problems of traffic levels and the application would contribute to further congestion. He asked if the £4.4m CIL money raised by the development would actually be spent in the area.
He reported a young resident who had told him, 'Alperton is a place to sleep - not to live.'
Georgiou echoed Paul Lorber's call LINK for the suspension of high-rise development until links with Alperton's high Covid19 rates had been established, including the role of communal areas in high rise blocks in the transmission of the virus.
Cllr Trupti Sangani (Labour, Alperton) said she had seen no improvement in Alperton via CIL spending and called for step free access at Alperton station. The Transport Officer said that this single development was not enough to trigger such a demand as increased footfall following approval would be neglible. Improvements were being sought for nearby bus routes.
It appeared from the developer's response that Alperton School had not been directly consulted about the development which will partially over-shadow the school's site.
There was a discussion regarding how each development on its own would not have an impact but it was the cumulative impact of all the high-rise blocks that was important. Officers referred to the Alperton Growth Area Policy but it was unclear whether the need for station and train frequency improvements would only happen late in the day, when the new housing was already occupied.
The Growth Area plans included public spacse, canal improvments new play areas, a new nursery, community spaces and road and junction improvements.
Cllr Sangani referred to problems of anti-social behaviour along the canal side in Alperton and said officers should be raising these issues when they spoke to developers. She was told that things would improve when there was natural surveilliance from the blocks overlooking the can and when the link between all the developments in a wide canal side path had been completed.
The Canals and Rivers Trust could apply to the Council for CIL money to make improvements.
So far the Alperton developments had gained over £14m CIL money for Brent Council, 15% (about £2m) was allocated for Neighbourhood CIL. Chair of Planning Committee, Cllr James Denselow, said that this raised the wider issue of whether CIL money should be spent in the area from which it was raised, or across the borough. This was not a decision for the Planning Commitee nut for the Executive.
The main selling points put forward by the developer was what they claimed was 100% affordable housing and the creation of 120-150 new jobs in the industrial component od the scheme. They stressed their close working relationship with the Council developed through their other schemes in the area.
Councillors were told that their decisions had to be on the merits of the application and they could not make the deision on wider issues and pre-existing local conditions. Cllr Denselow, told members of the committee that it was 'tricky' as to an extent they had to take their ward councillor hat off when making decisions.
Officers warned that if they made decisions beyond strictly planning issues they could open the Council to appeals and financial penalties.
Cllr Michael Maurice voted against the application on grounds of his opposition to high rise and was reminde by Cllr Denselow about the danger of pre-determining applications. Maurice was also concerned about the transport implications, Cllr Sangani abstained.