Application 22/3124 | Demolition of all garages on site to provide seven new homes with associated cycle and refuse storage, resurfacing of Newland Court to provide a shared vehicular and pedestrian access surface, provision of on-street car parking along Newland Court, new refuse storage facilities to serve existing residents at Newland Court and all associated landscaping works. | Newland Court Garages, Forty Avenue, Wembley
The redevelopment site at Newland Court outlined in red - note the proximity to the back gardens of Grendon Gardens (image from planning application)
I tweeted at the weekend that the planning application for Newland Court LINK submitted on behalf of Brent Council had appeared on the Council's Planning Portal but that residents of Newland Court, Corringham Road and Grendon Gardens had not received notification letters. I understand that they are now due to be sent out.
Not a great start to what is going to be a controversial application.
I popped down to the estate today to see for myself and talk to residents about the issues.
The garages that will be demolished
Impression of what will replace them and landscape changes (image from planning application)
Residents say that the garages have been deliberately run-down and attempts to rent them have been refused. This is a familiar story from other estates, including Kings Drive, one of the earliest to get infill proposals. Various reports accompanying the application states there are 32 garages of which 5 are occupied but elsewhere says none are used for parking.
Their state can be seen from these photographs. The roofs appear to be asbestos and some are broken.
The artist's impression does not convey the narrowness of the site, or the narrowness of Newland Court.
Newland Court today. Note the artist's impression includes 2m wide pavement on either side.
The width of two garages on which houses will be built
One concern that the residents had was the proposed loss of trees. As can be seen they are tall and dense in places. Some are in the back gardens of houses on Grendon Gardens and some are in the space between the retaining wall of Newland Court and the Grendon back fences. The exact boundary seems unclear. The application states that the retainign wall forms the northern boundary of the site. The gardens are at a higher level than Newland Court so the space between appears to possibly be 'No Man's Land'.
Although the text of the application says that 9 trees are to be removed, the plan indicates rather more (trees to be lost outlined in red) as does the table below.
It is actually a little more complicated than that as some of the trees in Grendon Gardens are very close to the garden fence and no man's land:
Tree on retaining wall
The application does not shed much light on the precise location of the trees:
The site is within an Air Quality Management Area. To the east of the site is the Wembley Growth Area and Wembley Park Town Centre. The site is adjacent to Barn Hill Conservation area, on its southern border. A dense row of trees adjoins the northern edge of the site. These trees are located as they are located with the conservation area. (sic)
As well as the loss of trees, residents are concerned about the loss of some of their green space on the northern edge of the estate, adjacent to Newland Court road. A large bit is to be taken out of two existing triangular spaces for car parking.
One of the green spaces today
Residents are concerned about parking because the they currently use the length of Newland Court and this will be reduced to 12 spaces. They told me that no mention has been made of disabled spaces but they think the estate had 5 or 6 people who would need such a space. The 7 new homes are supposed to be car free but existing residents doubted that would hold up as some of the accommodation is for larger families. A Pay and Display system will be brought in on Corringham Road and Newland Court but it is unclear whether that would apply to current residents.
As with many infill estates the proposals bring up some of the neglect residents feel and this is no exception. Refuse collection is a problem with over-filled bins scattered in various places on the estate, including between the garages. And of course flytipping from vehicles that I am told drive into the estate.
With 60 households on the estate and the evidence of current full bins, the Council is proposing to reduce the overall number (current in brackets):
General Waste 6 x 1280 l (14)
Recycling 6x 1280 l (6)
Foodwaste 6 x 240 l (4)
But will provide permanent bin spaces.
Residents' claim that the required 10m gap to prevent overlooking is much less from the corners of the blocks at around 8m.
The nearest part of the flats to the new housing
One of the houses most affected by the proposal is not in Newland Court at all, but in Corringham Road where it adjoins Newland Court.
The tree at the junction of Newland Court and Corringham Road (T20) will be removed (image from planning application)
Despite the loss of trees and green space the application concludes:
The Urban Greening Factor for the proposed development is 0.22, which falls slightly short of the London Plan and Brent target of 0.4. However, the significant planning benefits associated with the delivery of affordable family housing is considered to outweigh non-compliance with this policy and should be considered on balance, alongside significant enhancements to a sustainable, brownfield site
The new houses are actually London Affordable Rent rather than council rent or social rent. This appears to have become the norm for new council housing.
Overall the applicant reckons that the proposal will enhance the nearby Conservation Area:
As noted above, the Site abuts Barn Hill Conservation Area to the north. Having regard to proximity of the site to the conservation area, a Heritage Statement has prepared by Heritage Collective UK (‘HCUK’) Group and is submitted with this application. The report concludes that the ‘the proposed development will not result in harm to the character and appearance of the Barn Hill Conservation Area for the purposes of section 72 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. In fact, the proposals bring about the potential for a material enhancement through the introduction of high- quality buildings and associated landscaping that elevate the appearance of Newland Court within the immediate setting of the conservation area.’ As such, the proposals are considered to significantly improve the setting of the Barn Hill Conservation Area in line with Local Plan Policy BHC1.
If you would like to make a comment on the proposal follow this LINK.