Following the publication of the article below Philip Grant has written to the Brent Planning Enforcement Team calling for an investigation into the matter and enforcement if appropriate. In a comment on the article Philip writes:
The 44 Queen's Walk planning application, 19/2163, was given consent on 19 February 2020, on the basis of the planning application documents and plans as submitted. These were for 7 residential apartments.
The consent letter included the following condition:
'4. The residential units hereby approved shall at no time be converted from C3 residential to a C4 small HMO, notwithstanding the provisions of Schedule 2 Part 3 Class L of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 (or any order revoking and re-enacting that Order) without express planning permission having first been granted by the Local Planning Authority.
Reason: To ensure that an adequate standard of accommodation is maintained in all of the residential units and in view of the restricted space within the site to accommodate additional bin or cycle storage.'
It is clear from this that the planning approval was for the apartments to be residential units within planning Class C3. This is defined as:
'C3 – Houses, Flats, Apartments:
Class C3 is use as a dwelling house (whether or not as a sole or main residence)
* by a single person or by people living together as a family, or
* by not more than 6 residents living together as a single household
(including a household where care is provided for residents).'
I think that the key words here are 'use as a dwelling house'. It might be argued that someone renting a two-bedroom apartment at 44 Queen's Walk for £205 a night is using it as a temporary dwelling house.
However, I think that this sort of use, especially as it is advertised on hotel websites, would fall within planning Class C1:
'C1 – Hotels and Hostels:
Class C1 is use as a hotel, boarding or guest house or as a hostel where, in each case, no significant element of care is provided.'
I have referred this apparent breach of the planning consent to Brent Council's Planning Enforcement Team.
Krishna Court - Salmon Street view (actual address 44 Queens Walk, NW9)
Wembley Matters covered the planning application of a family house at 44 Queens Walk, Kingsbury that involved the demolition of the house and the construction of a block of flats. Planning officers claimed that the loss of family housing was compensated for by the construction of a number of flats on the corner site. There was much local opposition to what many called a blot on the surburban landscape. LINK
The flats were put on the market via Ellis & Co. with prices: 1 bed £365k, 2 bed £515k-£520k and 3 bed £575k. It now appears that there was a single buyer for all the flats that are not housing for coupled or families but are marketed on hotel websites as Queens Luxury Apartments LINK with the price for a 2 bedroomed apartment around £205 a night.
Managed by D Property Investing Ltd
Company review score: 9.5Based on 24 reviews from 1 property
1 managed property
Queens Luxury Apartments are positioned on a lavish street a stone throw away from Wembley Park and its stadium, along with its other popular attractions. All apartments benefit from an outside space with high end garden furniture. Each apartment comes with modern high end fixtures, fittings and appliances, not to mention its unique designer furniture. Our apartments are perfect for business or pleasure and also benefit from gated parking. There's something for everyone whether your looking for ground floor with spacious gardens, or penthouse style with great views.
The property manager stresses that hen parties etc are not catered for.
The question arises as to whether planning officers and planning committee members were duped into approving an application that in no way counts towards provision of housing for the borough or that contributes to Brent Council's housing targets.
You can see how much potential housing was lost by looking at Queens Luxury Apartments property list for Krishna Court:
The three bed-roomed apartment was cited in the planning discussion as much needed replacement family housing.
A further question is how much of the accommodation approved by the Planning Committee, on the assumption that it will be sold on the market to long-term residents, is in fact being bought up by propery companies as self-catering holiday let properties or even just simply land-banked.
The low voting turn-out of Wembley Park ward, covering the Quintain estate, gives a clue. It was 21% of registered electors just above Stonebrdige at 22.21% and a Brent average of 30.67%/ In contrast Alperton turn-out was 43.6%.
Lastly, one more questiom, does this use as a holiday apartment complex require change of use planning permission?