The Euro House site (before development)
UPDATE: The applciation was approved by Brent Planning Committee with one vote against. Cllr Kennelly objected on concerns over the flood danger and the distribution of affordable housing.
Tomorrow's Planning Committee will consider a huge development on the site of Euro House Car Parts in Fulton Road, Wembley Park. A former 2 storey building will be replaced by five tower blocks of up to 23 storeys. The site if of particular interest due to its proximity to the Wealdstone Brook and as usual issues around the amount of truly affordable housing. It has beenre-named 'Waterside'.
Demolition and redevelopment of the site to provide erection of five buildings ranging from ground plus 14 to 23 storeys; comprising up to 759 residential units, retail floorspace and workspace / storage floorspace, private and communal amenity space, car parking, cycle parking, ancillary space, mechanical plant, landscaping and other associated works.
The image below puts the site (outlined in red) in the context of the high rise developments in the area - built, near completion and planned. The proposal marks a further extension of the replacement of light industrial buildings by high rise residential.
80 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)
62 units for affordable rent (at no more than 65% of open market rents, inclusive of service charges, and capped at Local Housing Allowance rates), disposed on a freehold / minimum 125 year leasehold to a Registered Provider and subject to an appropriate Affordable Rent nominations agreement with the Council, securing 100% nomination rights for the Council on initial lets and 75% nomination rights for the Council on subsequent lets)
76 units for Shared Ownership (as defined under section 70(6) of the Housing & Regeneration Act 2008,subject to London Plan policy affordability stipulations that target a gross household income of up to £90,000 per annum, where net annual household income should not exceed 70% of gross income, and where total housing costs should not exceed 40% of net annual household income, disposed on a freehold / minimum 125 year leasehold to a Registered Provider
We should add for comparison:
541 units at market rates.
The scheme would provide a total of 218 affordable units (29 % by units and 35% by Habitable room), of which 80 would be low-cost homes provided at a London Affordable Rent. Although this is below both Brent and London Plan threshold targets, it has been demonstrated by a financial viability appraisal to exceed the maximum amount of affordable housing which can viably be provided on site, and therefore is policy compliant.
Officers support the number of units proposed despite it being higher than that recommended for the site:
However, it should be noted that the site capacities within policies are only indicative and the scheme would deliver a significant number of homes which would make a significant contribution towards identified housing needfor both private and affordable homes. The increase in the number of new homes, above the indicative capacity within the allocation is therefore considered to be a benefit of the scheme and supported in principle subject to the consideration of the remainder of the material planning considerations.
Officers also support replacement of employment space (research & development, light industrial) on the site at only 50% of that which it displaces.
The site is next to a bend in the Wealdstone Brook and so both fluvial (river based) and surface water flooding are relant. The proposed development is kept 10 metres from the brook. The officers' report outlines the SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Strategy for the site):
At present the site discharges unrestricted into Wealdstone Brook. The proposed development will also discharge to this same location via the existing outlet. The proposal is to provide attenuation totalling 1000m3, designed to a 1:100-year storm event + 40% for climate change, and the discharge into Wealdstone Brook would be restricted to 6 litres per second, similar to greenfield runoff rates. The site has been assessed for sustainability based on the Drainage Hierarchy.
The SuDS strategy is as follows:
All of the buildings to discharge to a single below ground attenuation crate tank system located to the east of Block E.
· The podium decking above the parking will be planted out with a dense green/blue roof providing further attenuation storage in these zones.
· All buildings will incorporate rainwater harvesting as much as possible.
· Wherever possible hard surface areas will be formed using permeable paving and voided aggregate subbase.
· All tree pits and planting will be directly linked to the voided aggregate subbase to provide irrigation forthe planting.
· The landscaping scheme includes rain gardens/swales along the northern boundary adjacent to the watercourse.
The planning application contains pretty illustrations of how the brook and a footpath alongside will be incorporated into the scheme. Experience demonstrates these often do not match the post-development reality but let us hope that the developers are held to their promise. The bank of ther brook is quite steep and this presents a challenge. On other developments promised public access has not materialised. However, it should not be hard to improve on the present: