The proposed plan is in breach of a number of the planning policies of the Neighbourhood Plan, which was adopted by the Council in 2017 after a 93% vote in favour in a local referendum. This local plan contains a detailed policy for the site, which the group says is breached by the proposals in several ways.
The points the Forum have noted include
- the bulk and massing of the scheme, in particular the 26-storey block at the north-east corner, would cause significant harm to the adjoining Conservation Area, particularly the Grade II listed Town Hall. It would also adversely affect views from Walpole Park, and dominate nearby residential streets to the north
- the detailed design of the replacement office block fronting Uxbridge Road is out of keeping with the neighbouring Town Hall, and the main tower block
- the new block would push the building frontage in front of the present building line and conflict with "boulevard" policy in the Council's own plans
- provisions for servicing the new residential blocks are inadequate and potentially unsafe
- there is insufficient amenity space for the new housing
- present restrictions on access to Longfield Avenue from Uxbridge Road mean that more traffic will be directed through local residential streets, and no allowance has been made for the planned north-south cycle route.
In summary, the proposal is an over-development of a site which the London Plan recognises as a "sensitive location", because of an increase in the number of flats well over the number in the original brief. The Forum considers that the benefits claimed for the scheme do not outweigh the substantial harm that it would cause.
"We have asked for a meeting with he Planning Officer concerned," says Tony Miller, CENF Chair, "but so far we have not been able to arrange one." A full copy of the letter can be seen here. You can comment here.