Planning/development

 HOT OFF THE PRESS

Lambeth College have withdrawn their planning application. While this may only be a temporary reprieve, our robust and well-informed objections will have played a part. The CTRA has been told that it is unlikely that a new planning application will be submitted anytime soon. It is expected that they will be having further pre-application discussions with the Council during the summer (Council-speak for ‘having a bit of a re-think’).

LAMBETH COLLEGE TOWER

Lambeth College_CrimsworthRoad_View_Updated

If you wish to object:

online:  click here

In writing: 

Lambeth Planning Department, Phoenix House
First Floor
10 Wandsworth Road
London
SW8 2LL
Telephone: 020 7926 1180

Emailplanning@lambeth.gov.uk

OBJECTION UPDATE

15th February 2017

CTRA Comments on Lambeth College Development –

Nine Elms Skills Centre

This documents sets out the Crimsworth-Thorparch Residents’ Association (CTRA) response to the further application documents submitted in January 2017 to the Planning Application 16/05435/FUL.

 

Introduction

This document responds to the newly issued Landscaping and Street Level layout included in the updated documents.

Furthermore, subsequent to a meeting held with the applicant on 6rd February 2017, further information was provided to CTRA on 14th February, covering the applicant’s interpretation of planning policy on tall buildings as well as a winter shadow assessment for the development. These have been responded to below

Updated Boundary

We note that the applicant has amended the application drawings to remove landscaping and access proposals on a section of Thorparch Road which is not in the applicant’s ownership. This land is currently used as a rubbish store and is separated from the college site by metal railings, as shown in Figure 1. Under the updated application proposals, this are will not form part of the development and can be expected to remain an unsupervised, incongruous space immediately next to the new development. CTRA have a great concern that this section of land will remain in its current state and feel that it would be a missed opportunity not to attempt to incorporate the area into any landscaping proposals. Therefore, CTRA call upon the Council and the developer to grasp the opportunity to engage with the land owner and remove this wasteland from their streetscape.

Figure 1: View of section of Thorparch Road, now outside of the application boundary

Updated Landscaping

We note that the section of land between Building C and Building D is proposed to take the form of amenity area with artificial grass and hard landscaping. This is shown in Drawing 1050M-EXA-000-00-DR-L-00132, an excerpt of which is shown in Figure 2. The applicant proposes to secure this area from public access by means of a two metre high fence on either side. We understand that this is driven by the advice of the police who consider a fence across this access way necessary to secure the general development by reducing cross-routes between Belmore Street and Thorparch Road. Whilst we do not object to some level of security, we would question why it is necessary for there to be a fence on both the northern and southern side of this small area as it will reduce the attractiveness of the amenity. We would request that the northern boundary fence is omitted so that residents of the CTRA area are able to access this amenity, whilst maintaining the barrier to pedestrian movement through the gap.

Figure 2: Extract of Fence Location Plans – Drawing: 1050M-EXA-000-00-DR-L-00132

Shadow Assessments

Throughout the application process, CTRA have raised their concern that Building B will cast much of the neighbouring streets into shadow. The initial assurances from the developer were subsequently found to be misinformed when it was noted that the applicant had not taken into account the existing roof terraces. Spring and summer shadow plots were submitted with the application documents in 2016; however, CTRA requested a December plot so as to assess the full impact of the shadow cast. At the meeting on 6th February, the developer committed to provide CTRA with this shadow plot, showing the full extent of the shadow. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the developer has not delivered upon this commitment, providing only a limited diagram that does not show the full length of shadows (see Fig.3).

CTRA can only assume that this is to obfuscate the Council’s assessment of the extent of properties which will be denied sunlight. As a result, we must continue to object entirely to the building height as the developer has not provided a true representation of the shadow cast and is therefore unable to make an honest assessment of the resulting impact on residential amenity and deprivation of sunlight.

Figure 3: Example of the limited geographical nature of December shadow projections provided to CTRA

Policies on Building Height

On 14th February, the applicant responded to the policy discussion that CTRA included in its response of 2nd November 2016. In summary, throughout the application process, the developer has maintained that the construction of Block B was permitted as it fell within the “Tall Buildings Zone” included within the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area Planning Framework. Our response of 2nd November 2016 agued that this was not the case; we included extensive policy clarification to prove this point. We note in the applicant’s response of 14th February that mention of the Tall Buildings Zone has not been included so we are relieved to conclude that the policy position of this tower has been confirmed. The sole policy that would enable this tower to be constructed is the chapter, Quality of the Urban Realm in the Lambeth Local Plan (2015). This provides for a subjective assessment stating that developments should only be approved if they meet various criteria over impact on visual impacts, townscape and urban form.

We would seek that the development is considered solely against the subjective assessment of the applicable policy, noting that 150 objections have been submitted against the construction of this tower. In such a subjective test, the opinions of 150+ local residents cannot be ignored.

Morna Hinton, Chair CTRA

Liam Henderson, Secretary CTRA

Precis of objection – October 2016

to download click here.

NESC Lambeth College development objections summary

Building Height and Mass

  • The site is out side of the VNEB tall buildings zone, as set out in the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area Planning Framework.
  • The proposed development is replacing a low-rise college building with maximum of 5 storeys.
  • The tallest building in the vicinity of the development has only 10 storeys.
  • The 26 storey tower (Block B) along with the 6 and 7 storey buildings immediately on Thorparch Road (Blocks C and D) will visually dominate the historic streets of the CTRA area, cast a looming shadow over the neighbouring properties.
  • Furthermore, the community parklet on Crimsworth Road will be cast into shadow virtually permanently

Visual Impact

  • The scale of Block B will completely dominate our historic, Victorian neighbourhood and we object to the applicant’s use of a subjective impact statement as “Moderate – Adverse” in order to support their development.

The College Does Not Own All the Land

  • Regarding the outline of the development, there are frequent references to landscaping and access works required to an area of ground on Thorparch Road, which falls outside the application boundary – it is a fenced-off area currently used for skips. As it stands the whole application is invalid if the College does not own the land.

Increase in Vehicle Traffic

  • We are extremely concerned about the proposed delivery access for Tesco’s via Thorparch Road, with a new turning off onto the service road very close to the Montessori nursery school.
  • There is a weight restriction of 7.5 tonnes on our streets due to repeated problems with construction traffic for the NCGM and other sites mistakenly trying to access them via Fount Street/Crimsworth Road.
  • Crimsworth, Thorparch and Goldsboro Roads are Play Streets (as designated under Street Playgrounds Act, 1938).

Flooding

  • We have an overall concern about the possible impact of the whole development on the water table given recent unexplained flooding at the south end of the CTRA streets.
  • Given the massive amount of construction work going on in the wider Nine Elms area between our streets and the river, including the Northern Line extension, we feel that this is a concern that needs to be taken seriously and properly assessed. 

Process

  • The community consultation document submitted as part of the planning application makes clear that the vast majority of comments received during the consultation phase objected to the height of the buildings (29 out of 47). There was no proper response to this and in fact the height of the tallest building has increased from 25 stories to 26 since the last consultation event.
  • We are also very concerned about what feels like a conflict of interest between Lambeth’s Education Department, for whom the College is part of the service they provide, and Lambeth’s Planning Department.

FULL CTRA OBJECTION

To download click here

 

CTRA Comments on Lambeth College Development –

Nine Elms Skills Centre

 

25th October 2016

This documents sets out the Crimsworth-Thorparch Residents’ Association (CTRA) response to the plans submitted as Planning Application 16/05435/FUL.

Introduction

CTRA represents the residents of Crimsworth Road, Cowthorpe Road, Thorparch Road and Goldsboro Road comprising of around 300 properties. We highlight this in the context of a development that will house 232 residential units but have a considerable impact on a large amount of neighbouring properties. Many of our comments in this response refer to the impact on these neighbouring residents.

Our key objections and concerns are set out below.

Context of the Development

The majority of our concerns relate to the massing of the development proposals. This development sits on a residential street made up of 2 storey Victorian terrace homes. The vast scale of the proposed buildings is completely out of context and runs contrary to Lambeth Council’s own policy on the Quality of the Urban Realm in the Lambeth Local Plan (2015):

Policy Q5: (a) “The local distinctiveness of Lambeth should be sustained and reinforced through new development.

 (b) Proposals will be supported where it is shown that design of development is a response to positive aspects of the local context and historic character in terms of:

  • urban blocks and grain, patterns of space and relationship, townscape/landscape character;
  • built form (bulk, scale, height and massing) including roofscapes;
  • siting, orientation and layout relationship with other buildings and spaces.

In seeking to re-build the Lambeth College in accordance with the Lambeth College Property Strategy (2013), it would appear that the scale of development is influenced purely by a requirement to generate a specific income to co-fund the GLA grant, when there is no justification in planning policy for this development. It was not included in Lambeth’s site allocation consultation and therefore has no planning justification.

Building Height and Mass

 We strongly object to the scheme as it stands, primarily due to the height of the residential blocks. Block B, at 26 storeys, is quite out of proportion to the existing properties and we do not feel that the developer has provided anywhere near the justification for this scale of development. There is no planning support for a high-rise development in this location:

  • The site is out side of the VNEB tall buildings zone, as set out in the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area Planning Framework.
  • The site is not even assessed for its sensitivity to tall buildings – as set out in Annex 11 of Lambeth’s Local Plan (2015).
  • The site has never been included in a Site Allocation consultation.
  • The proposed development is replacing a low-rise college building with maximum of 5 storeys.
  • The tallest building in the vicinity of the development has only 10 storeys.

The 26 storey tower (Block B) along with the 6 and 7 storey buildings immediately on Thorparch Road (Blocks C and D) will visually dominate the historic neighbourhood of the CTRA area, cast a looming shadow over the neighbouring properties and significantly reduce the quality of life in the community.

The application documents include a subjective assessment of shadowing impacts for spring and summer. All the blocks will cause additional overshadowing, particularly for 30 properties, which will lose direct sunlight for most of the day – we note that the shadow assessment diagrams (Appendix E.11) did not include the recently refurbished terraced properties along the southern section of Thorparch Road. We feel it would be negligent of Lambeth Council to approve a development that will have such a detrimental impact on local homes and result in bright, welcoming properties becoming dingy, dark and sad places to live. The Design and Access Statement includes this very subjective assessment:

“The overall effects of the proposed development on neighbouring properties’ daylight and sunlight effects are positive and acceptable. While the development does cause some breaches of the BRE guidance, these effects are supportable given the urban character of the site and surroundings”

The urban character referred to by the applicant is that of quiet, 2 storey, Victorian family dwellings. To accept this cavalier statement does not befit the Council’s role in protecting the rights of its residents. We base these objections on the applicant’s assessment of spring and summer daylight and shadowing (the minimum requirement) but note that the developer has declined to conduct an assessment for winter light conditions when sunlight and daylight are at a premium. At the winter solstice the shadows cast will spread over most of our streets.

Furthermore, the community parklet on Crimsworth Road will be cast into shadow virtually permanently, resulting in its inability to support the fruiting trees that are currently thriving in this pleasant space. We are saddened that our community amenity is under threat from such an inappropriate development, which will hinder grass or trees from growing. We highlight that the deprivation of sunlight from this parklet is in contradiction to the Council’s own policy on green spaces, as set out in Lambeth’s Local Plan (2015):

Policy EN1: The council will meet requirements for open space by: 

  • Protecting and maintaining open spaces and their function.
  • Preventing development which would result in loss, reduction in area or significant harm to the nature conservation or biodiversity value of an open space

Following a meeting with the applicant on 10th October 2016, it was suggested that the applicant was using the following policy documents to derive planning support for this tower:

  • Lambeth Council’s Vauxhall Supplementary Planning Document (SPD);
  • The Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area Planning Framework (VNEB OAPF); and
  • Lambeth’s Local Plan (2015) Tall Buildings Policy.

Our reference to these policy documents undermines this assumed planning justification. We have set out the clear absence of support here:

Vauxhall SPD

We have referenced this document; Figure 1.1 (copied below) shows the extent of the SPD Boundary (red hashed line) The application site is clearly well outside of the SPD area.

The SPD does not provide planning support for this development.

VNEB OAPF

We have referenced this document, the application site is within the OAPF boundary, as shown in Figure 1.1 above.

The Key Principals of the Tall Building Strategy state that:

The form of development that will be supported in the OA will be 8 – 10 storey high density development with tall buildings on key sites such as along the riverside and in prominent locations along strategic routes as set out in the public realm strategy”

We note that the OAPF supports 8 – 10 storey buildings. (The applicant wishes to build a 26 storey tower.) The OAPF goes on to illustrate the demise of the Tall Buildings Strategy in Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4 (copied below).

Figure 8.3 shows the OAPF guide for building height – the applicant’s site is not even on this plan, it is off beyond the market site to the right-hand side.

Figure 8.4 again shows the locations for tall buildings, colour coded for appropriate height. The applicant’s site is well outside the colour-coded sites. Again, the applicant’s site is not within the area proposed Tall Buildings Strategy.

The VNEB OAPF does not provide planning support for this development.

In the absence of any planning support from the Vauxhall SPD or the VNEB OAPF, the only remaining policy support should be attributed to Lambeth’s Local Plan. We have referenced it below.

Lambeth Local Plan (2015)

We were directed to Policy Q26. Tall Buildings. This policy states that:

(a) Proposals for tall buildings will be supported where:

(i) they are not located within areas identified as inappropriate for tall buildings in Annex 11;

(ii) there is no adverse impact on the significance of strategic or local views or heritage assets including their settings;

(iii) design excellence is achieved (in terms of form, silhouette, materials, detailing etc.);

(iv) the proposal makes a positive contribution to the townscape and skyline either individually to form a distinctive landmark or as a contribution to a group;

(v) they are of the highest standards of architecture and materials; and

(vi) it does not have an unacceptably harmful impact on its surroundings including microclimate, wind turbulence, noise, reflected glare, aviation, navigation and telecommunication or broadcast interference.

(b) Where tall buildings are identified (through area appraisals, characterisations or other similar studies) as negative elements in strategic or locally significant views or in relation to the setting of heritage assets the council will support proposals which reduce the adverse impact through demolition, height reduction or re-cladding.

Our assessment of this policy leads us to conclude that only part (a) (iv) and (a) (v) could in any way be interpreted as active support for a tower, rather than a reason to prevent its construction. Using only part (a) (iv) and (a) (v) CTRA would argue that the applicant’s tower does not in any way make a positive contribution to the townscape, it will not be a ‘distinctive landmark”, nor will it “contribute to a group” as we have previously shown that it is well outside of the OAPF’s Tall Buildings Strategy. The standards of architecture are fairly questionable and we would obviously make a direct comparison between this square tower in the context of an historic Victorian neighbourhood.

Lambeth Local Plan (2015) does not provide planning support for this development.

We would therefore conclude that each of the applicant’s assumed policy supports for the construction of a 26 storey tower have been shown to not in fact be of any justification at all. Only two sub-sections of Lambeth Local Plan (2015) actively support tall buildings, the remaining sections simply list reasons for their refusal and standards which towers much meet.

We are unconvinced that the applicant has any planning justification for the application and argue that the construction of such an inappropriate tower cannot be supported on the basis of two subjective policy tests in the Local Plan (2015).

In response to this lack of support, we would include our understanding of those policies which would in fact prohibit the construction of a tall building:

National Planning Policy Framework:

Paragraph 58:Planning policies and decisions should aim to ensure that developments … respond to local character and history, and reflect the identity of local surroundings and materials’

London Plan (2015)

Policy 7.4 for local character part A requires that “Development should have regard to the form, function, and structure of an area, place or street and the scale, mass and orientation of surrounding buildings”

and

 part B c “is human in scale, ensuring buildings create a positive relationship with street level activity and people feel comfortable with their surroundings.”

and

part B e “is informed by the surrounding historic environment.”

Policy 7.6 for architecture requires in part B that “Buildings and structures should:

d not cause unacceptable harm to the amenity of surrounding land and buildings, particularly residential buildings, in relation to privacy, overshadowing, wind and microclimate. This is particularly important for tall buildings.”

Planning policy subsidiarity means that these policy guidelines cover the application. The application fails to ensure that the development responds to local character, history, identify, form, function, structure, place, scale or mass or the adjacent Victorian neighbourhood. Furthermore, the application should be refused on the basis that it does cause unacceptable harm to the amenity and privacy of surrounding residential buildings.

Visual Impact

The Visual Impact Assessment is purely subjective and should be disregarded. We, the residents of the immediate streets have made our views clear that the scale of Block B will completely dominate our historic, Victorian neighbourhood and we object to the applicant’s use of a subjective impact statement as “Moderate – Adverse” in order to support their development. This opinion is formed from a computer rendering from a single point on Crimsworth Road, using a transparent image of the tower, viewed out of context in a consultant’s office. We, the residents of the area, are better able to judge impacts to our streets. Our assessment can be summarised as: ‘Complete domination of the surrounding streets and detrimental to quality of life’.

As residents who will be impacted by this tower looming over our homes, we argue that it is in contradiction to Lambeth’s Local Plan (2015):

Policy Q2 (iii): “Development will be supported if adequate outlooks are provided avoiding wherever possible any undue sense of enclosure or unacceptable levels of overlooking (or perceived overlooking).”

Furthermore, there is no Impact Assessment for the construction of the 6 and 7 storey blocks facing the 2 storey Victorian terraces on Thorparch Road. No cross sections have been provided of this juxtaposition.

Draft Construction Management Plan

Although we welcome the decision not to have any vehicle access to the residential blocks, hotel or college via Thorparch Road, we were extremely concerned about the proposed delivery access for Tesco’s via Thorparch Road. We have been informed by the applicant’s representatives NLP that this is not proposed; however, the Ground Floor General Arrangement Plan and the Draft Construction Management Plan both include reference to Tesco deliveries from Thorparch Road. Therefore, we seek that these documents are altered or that the Council specifically excludes this access arrangement from any Consent. No impact assessment has been conducted for this access route. Thorparch Road is not suitable for supermarket deliveries: There is a weight restriction of 7.5 tonnes about to be applied to our streets due to repeated problems with construction traffic for the NCGM and other sites mistakenly trying to access them via Fount Street/Crimsworth Road. As noted in previous correspondence, Crimsworth, Thorparch and Goldsboro Roads are Play Streets (as designated under Street Playgrounds Act, 1938) and the indicative access route for Tesco Supermarket is immediately next to a Montessori nursery. We feel it negligent of the Council to allow this proposal through the Pre-Application process without undertaking an assessment of road safety, physical access constraints, frequency of deliveries, physical impact on road surfacing and traffic management on the corner of Thorparch Road – where the Council has been forced to install bollards due to repeated breaching of the pavement by delivery lorries.

Furthermore, we note from the Draft Construction Management Plan a proposal for the ‘emergency access’ gates on Thorparch Road to be used for access to Cornell Square (Mount Anvil) car park during construction. No Transport Assessment has been conducted for this proposal which would significantly increase traffic generation on Thorparch Road, right next to the Montessori Nursery.

The management plan also assumes that Brooklands Passage will be closed for the duration of the development’s construction. What mitigations have been considered to notify pedestrians of this change before they leave Wandsworth Road along Fount Street or Cowthorpe Road?

The Red Line Plan

Regarding the outline of the development, there are frequent references to landscaping and access works required to an area of ground on Thorparch Road, which falls outside the application boundary – see Ground Floor General Arrangement Plan.

The area is currently used to store skips and is entirely fenced off; however, this application proposed that the area is opened up with hard landscaping in order to integrate into the urban realm. Clarification of the status of this land, including ongoing maintenance, ownership, liability and guarantee that it will actually be integrated into the development is required.

We seek a guarantee that the area will be subject to a subsequent application or Section 106 agreement, agreed in consultation with CTRA. We seek a toe following Condition that agreement and permission for this area is secured before occupation of Building D.

Condition: No occupation of Building D shall be permitted until agreement and of access and landscaping for residual area on Thorparch Road (outside of application boundary) has been agreed, in consultation with Crimsworth Thorparch Residents’ Association.

Reason: To ensure that streetscape integration is delivered and integration with existing community is guaranteed.

Flooding

We have an overall concern about the possible impact of the whole development on the water table given recent unexplained flooding at the north end of the CTRA streets. London Borough of Lambeth are currently investigating the cause of this and wrote to residents asking for information on the properties affected. Given the massive amount of construction work going on in the wider Nine Elms area between our streets and the river, including the Northern Line extension, we feel that this is a concern that needs to be taken seriously and properly assessed. The Flood Risk Assessment document was unavailable to view on the planning portal. We would like to see this as a matter of urgency and seek that the Council undertakes to guarantee the protection of our homes from flooding caused by this development.

Process

We are very unhappy about the overall process for the development of this scheme. The community consultation document submitted as part of the planning application makes clear that the vast majority of comments received during the consultation phase objected to the height of the buildings (29 out of 47). There was no proper response to this and in fact the height of the tallest building has increased from 25 stories to 26 since the last consultation event.

In the section of the consultation document that sets out the response to comments it is stated that ‘assessments have been undertaken throughout the application process to ensure the amenity of local neighbours is not materially impacted upon.’ This statement is nonsensical when set alongside the shadow and visual impact studies that show quite clearly that local neighbours are very much materially impacted upon. Reference is made to ‘minor breaches of the guide levels’ with regard to BRE (building regulations). In our view these breaches are not minor and need to be rectified.

Conflict of Interest

We are also very concerned about what would appear to be a conflict of interest between the Lambeth Education Department, for whom the College is part of the service they provide, and Lambeth’s Planning Department. We note a further conflict of interest in that the application is subject to oversight through the Stage reporting by the Greater London Authority (GLA) who are also providing match-funding for the scheme.

Our sense of unease is compounded by the fact that the Planning Department officers have indicated that they been working very closely with the College and developers throughout, but have been unable/unwilling to meet with the community representatives to anything like the same degree (two meetings in two years).

There has been no outline planning permission stage, and instead the scheme has been put straight in for full planning permission. One of the consequences of this is that it has minimised the opportunities for local residents and other neighbours to formally comment on it. This process has not been transparent and we have very little confidence that the Planning Committee can make an objective decision on an application that the Council has a financial interest in. An application of such scale would never be permitted if it were proposed by a private developer. The only justification for a 26 storey tower appears to be to generate sufficient funds to contribute to the college. This is not an acceptable planning justification. If the college development cannot be delivered on the site through satisfactory development proposals, the Council should seek to deliver a less ambitious scheme.

We would remind Lambeth Council of their legal duty to assess planning application in the context of policy, not financial need.

Morna Hinton, Chair CTRA

Liam Henderson, Secretary CTRA

 

NEW COVENT GARDEN
Official development site: http://brand.newcoventgardenmarket.com/news

NINE ELMS DEVELOPMENT
Wandsworth Council site

USEFUL CONTACTS

Principal & Chief Executive of Lambeth College:
Mark Silverman
Email via his PA Sandra Davidson – sdavidson@lambethcollege.ac.uk

The planning officer at Lambeth who has dealt with the Lambeth College pre-application to date is:
Kevin Tohill    KTohill@lambeth.gov.uk

Local ward councillor:
Imogen Walker   IWalker@lambeth.gov.uk

The planning officer at Wandsworth who is dealing with the NCGM proposals:
Dan Taylor  DTaylor2@wandsworth.gov.uk

 

NEW COVENT GARDEN
Official development site: http://brand.newcoventgardenmarket.com/news

NINE ELMS DEVELOPMENT
Wandsworth Council site

 

 

 

USEFUL CONTACTS

Principal & Chief Executive of Lambeth College:
Mark Silverman
Email via his PA Sandra Davidson – sdavidson@lambethcollege.ac.uk

The planning officer at Lambeth who has dealt with the Lambeth College pre-application to date is:
Kevin Tohill    KTohill@lambeth.gov.uk

Local ward councillor:
Imogen Walker   IWalker@lambeth.gov.uk

The planning officer at Wandsworth who is dealing with the NCGM proposals:
Dan Taylor  DTaylor2@wandsworth.gov.uk

 

 

 

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