The last Cabinet of these dying days of the current Brent Labour adminstration is set to approve the extremely far-reaching Neasden Stations Growth Area Masterplan Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) following consultation.
Very little has been changed as the result of the consultation and the Council's responses make it clear that the designation of the area as a tall building zone will limit what tweaking may be done on individual planning applications within the scheme.
The Severn Way and Selbie Residents Association, who occupy the island of low rise housing between the two high-rise sites (see the middle of the image above) are clearly worried about their future, especially the mention of compulsory purchase orders. I am not sure that the Council's response will allay their fears:
recognised that the inclusion of Severn Way and Selbie Avenue properties
within the site allocation may be of concern to
However, the borough's housing needs and targets set in the London Plan are very high compared to historic levels. This, together with national policies and those within the London Plan, which promote the most effective use of land near railway stations, has meant that the Council has had to consider the potential of sites with higher levels of public accessibility in the borough to be used much more intensively.
The existing and potential public transport improvements in this area, together with the obvious availability of large areas of land around the stations for redevelopment, has resulted in the identification of the Neasden Stations
Growth Area. This is not unlike numerous other parts of the borough where people currently live, which from a planning policy perspective, are acceptable for redevelopment for more intensive residential development.
Currently, as set out in the SPD, it is not considered likely in the short to medium term that the Selbie Avenue/ Severn Way estate will come forward for comprehensive redevelopment. Although many of the homes are still owned by the Council, other sites are more of a priority for delivering greater intensity of use of land to accommodate much needed affordable homes. The Council in regeneration schemes at South Kilburn has engaged with occupiers and leaseholders throughout the renewal process. It has offered better quality homes for tenants and options for leaseholders either on-site or through financial compensation that more than adequately addresses needs. The Council will always look to work with existing tenants/ property owners to effectively address any issues through co-operation and agreement, rather than the compulsory purchase alternative, which is rarely used. The allocation in the Local Plan and the development that comes forward on adjacent sites is likely to increase property values considerably above those that currently exist as the area's potential is realised, to the benefit of existing property owners.
Section 7 on Delivery shows the phasing plan from 0 to 20+ years within NSGA. However, the phasing plan in section 7 will be updated to show the timeline for the short/medium and long term.
Pinnacle Investment, the likely developers for the College of North West London, Dudden Hill site, seem keen to limit commitments:
[We] Support overriding vision for growth and principles set out within the SPD. The SPD should clarify that the delivery of high-density development within this identified Growth Area is not linked or dependent on the delivery of this infrastructure project. (Such as the West London Orbital) as it already benefits from excellent transport links. Support the need for infrastructure identified in the SPD and interested in engaging with residents to establish infrastructure priorities. Supportive of the principles set out within the SPD.
The SPD should clarify and explain that the indicative figures stated for each site are not intended to guide or limit the development amount and opportunity. The guidance should not be overly prescriptive and refer to “two 0.2ha pocket parks”. This requirement has not been informed by a detailed feasibility study and there are other relevant planning policies regarding the appropriate quantum of open space and communal space.
Remove reference to the need to deliver health infrastructure removed unless there is a clear known need.
A District Heating Network is also queried. Although a medium-term sustainable option it is also affected by the current energy situation in that the energy cap does not apply to residents served by such systems.
Pam Laurance suggested:
Access to their own outdoor space. Range of different kind ofgreen space catering to different user groups, kids, youth,adults. Places for people to meet; pubs, bars, laundrettes, parents and toddler groups etc.
And did get a positive response:
We acknowledge the suggestions made regarding the kind of spaces and need for focused community activities. We will include these suggestions within the character area section that showcases future characteristics of the area.
Please note that all development proposals on individual sites are subject to statutory consultation as they come forward for planning determination. This will be an opportunity for you to provide further feedback on the detailed proposals.
Pam was less successful in her comment that the housing provided should be truly affordable with enough space:
The draft SPD Section 6.4 Development principles -DP4 New and affordable homes set out recommendations based on London Plan Policy H4 Delivering Affordable Housing and Brent Local Plan Policy BH5 Affordable Housing. Any development coming forward must adhere to the policy requirements set out in the London Plan and Brent Local Plan on affordability and mixed tenure developments
This restates the status quo that has been far from satisfactory.
The decision the Cabinet will take on Monday, without any meaningful public debate, will have far reaching consequences for the people of the borough over the next 20 years or so.
The full report on the consultation with the Council's responses can be found here:
The full Masterplan is here: