Wednesday 2 September 2020

Very low public consultation response to another high rise development in shadow of Wembley Stadium

The proposed blocks on Fulton Road/Watkin Road
The major application at next Wednesday's Brent Planning Committee is this:
1,2,3 & 9 Watkin Road, Wembley, HA9 0NL

Demolition of existing buildings and erection of 1x part-20, part-17 storey building and 1x 14 storey building together containing 174 residential units; commercial floor space (B1a and B1c use class) on ground, first and second floors; car and cycle parking, refuse storage, amenity space and associated landscaping.
The existing buildings are low rise industrial and further development here is expected.

Out of the 174 residential units:

i.               15 units for affordable rent (at London Affordable Rent levels, in accordance with the Mayor of London's Affordable Housing Programme 2016-2021 Funding Guidance (dated November 2016) and subject to an appropriate Affordable Rent nominations agreement with the Council, securing 100% nomination rights on first lets and 75%nomination rights on subsequent lets for the Council)
ii.             35 units for Shared Ownership,(as defined under section 70(6) of the Housing & Regeneration Act 2008, subject to London Plan policy affordability stipulations that total housing costs should not exceed 40% of net annual household income, disposed on a freehold / minimum 125 year leasehold to a Registered Provider, and subject to an appropriate Shared Ownership nominations agreement with the Council, that secures reasonable local priority to the units).

The Planning Officers' Report states:
The viability has been tested and it has been demonstrated that this is the maximum reasonable amount  [of affordable housing] that can be provided on site.
The remaining 124 units will  be private.

On loss of light to surrounding building (check out the density in the illustration above) officers state:
There would be a loss of light to some windows of surrounding buildings, which is a function of a development on this scale. The impact is considered to be acceptable given the urban context of the site. The overall impact of the development is considered acceptable, particularly in view of the wider regenerative benefits.
The impact on the supposedly 'protected view' of the Stadium Arch from Chalkhill Park is also considered acceptable by officers:
Whilst the development would slightly reduce the extent of the Wembley Stadium arch that would be visible from Chalkhill Park and incur some level of harm to the daylight and sunlight enjoyed at neighbouring properties, a balance has to be struck between different planning objectives, and the benefits of the proposal are considered to significant outweigh its harm. The height, layout, design and massing has been carefully considered and has been evaluated by the GLA and by Brent Officers who all have concluded that the proposed building is appropriate for this context.

From Chalkhill Park today
With the new buildings

Consultation responses were very low with two sets of letters sent to 1,078 neighbouring properties resulting in  5 objections and one neutral comment.

A Newsletter to 5,229 local residents and businesses to a two day exhibition about the project produced just 11 attendees and only 3 feedback forms.  Cllr Muhammed Butt and Cllr Shama Tatler had their own private view. This is the report included in the main officers' report:

A public exhibition was held over two days at Wembley International Hotel on Tuesday 26th November 2019from 10am to 3pm and on Wednesday 27th November 2019 from 3pm to 8pm.Over the two days 11 individuals attended the exhibition, including the Leader of the Danes & Empire Courts Residents’ Association.Three feedback forms have been returned with largely positive feedback. 

The proposed height was noted to have been deemed appropriate in the local context and there was strongsupport for the delivery of 35% affordable housing. However, some attendees voiced concern about anothertall building in an area which already has a large number. 

Some stakeholders noted that they wanted as many 3 bedroom units as possible and one stakeholderquestioned whether the levels of demand for 1 and 2 bedroom units as opposed to 3 bedroom units willcontinue into the future. 

The public realm and landscaping was strongly supported by stakeholders and an aspiration for thedevelopers to work with Barratt London to coordinate the public realm across the adjoining development siteat 10-11 Watkin Road was voiced. It was largely agreed that the existing site is underutilised at present. The potential to link the site with the brook side in the future was welcomed.Stakeholders supported the re-provision of commercial space and expressed interest in the types of occupierthe space is targeted at. 

The Leader of Danes and Empire Courts RA emphasised the need for affordable housing in the area and suggested that parking spaces are provided to diffuse pressure on parking spaces nearby. The Leader of Danes and Empire Courts RA also welcomed the new landscaping and improved public realm proposals. A concern was raised that the redevelopment of the industrial space was unnecessary and that the nature ofthe commercial space would change the industrial character of Watkin Road. One attendee also felt that an uplift in commercial workspace would be unlikely to be beneficial to the local economy and would be unlikelyto create more jobs. 

One attendee was concerned that the development would lead to increased traffic congestion locally despite the car free nature of the development. 

A newsletter informing residents of the proposals and inviting them to the exhibition was sent to 5,229 local residents and businesses.A preview of the public exhibition was held with the Leader of the Council and the Lead Member for Regeneration, Property & Planning to brief them on the proposals between 9am and 10am on Tuesday 26th November 2019.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is this at the theatre?