Archive for August 24, 2009

Justine Greening’s view on planning: involve local communities

Justine Greening, MP for Putney and Shadow London minister, is writing to us:

Dear Cyril,

As you’ve seen, we’ve got our developers in Putney too! I think the best way forward is if I put you in touch to meet up with Jane Ellison our Conservative candidate for Battersea. […]

I am a firm believer that we need to make planning as local as possible to communities because they’re best placed to know what will work. If developers ever contact me then I always tell them to consult as much as possible with the community – after all the people who are likely to buy their developments are going to probably like the area and therefore be pretty much like the people who already live there, so finding out what the community wants is actually the best way of making sure that when we get more housing and regeneration it actually works, is something people will want to move into, and that’s in everyone’s interest.

Nationally, on the Conservative side we were against the recent Planning Bill that went through earlier this year, precisely because it took planning further away from local communities – its the one process that people do tend to get involved in. Though Ministers have had top down targets on housing I think the lessons from trying that approach have been that however badly we need to get more housing (and we do have an acute need), you can’t just ram through targets because it just sends a green light out to developers to max out their plots of land whatever the inappropriateness of the design and then communities and their councils vote down development anyway, so we’ve ended up much less new housing nationally than we could have with a planning process that allows communities to have their own debate and reach a more balanced view that works for them.

We’ve got a further policy paper coming out with more ideas shortly, but running through a lot of what we’re saying is that people should be able to better decide for themselves.

I hope that helps and I’ve no doubt Jane will be in touch!

Best Wishes,



August 24, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Planning: HiQ Tyreservices – Chatham Road

Author: Julia Matcham

Tyre Services-photoThe Council has published the documents for redevelopment of the site called “HiQ Tyreservices” (76 – 80 Chatham Road SW11, off Northcote Road) involving demolition of existing commercial building and construction of 9 residential units, 4 with internal garages and three additional off street parking spaces and cycle parking and 1 retail unit (use class A1).

The loss of HiQ TYRESERVICES in Chatham Road will be another nail in the coffin of a coherent local community with local facilities.

This development is puny in comparison with the giant blocks we have been fighting against at Clapham Junction but still important. ‘HiQ Tyreservices’, is described by the applicants on the Council’s website as a ‘tyre warehouse’. In fact it is a large garage that does repairs and MOTs. It occupies a big ground area and it is not surprising that the owner of the site (the garage is leasehold) has put in a planning application for redeveloping the site, something the manager of the garage only found out about when he saw the yellow notice posted on the opposite lamppost !

I guess it is impossible to stop developers seeing every large space they set their sights on as a potential row of houses and a pot of gold, regardless of the usefulness of the business currently standing on it. It is money asking to be made. Buy the site, buy the lease. develop, sell … bank the money! Why don’t we all do it!

The loss of a garage will be a serious blow to many local residents as there are fewer and fewer such facilities in the area.

While it is impossible to stop such behaviour, the Council is in a position to make the incentive less remunerative than the developers would like. It could be that the sale of the garage lease to the site owner is not a done-deal and depends on how much money the developer stands to make IF given planning permission.

The application is for 9 residential units AND a shop. 5×3 bed plus 4×2 bed units.

The way the houses (units) are crammed in is a credit to the architect’s ingenuity.

The proposal seems to me, and I hope will seem so to the Council, a preposterous overdevelopment. The façade of Tyreservices is three houses wide, but the ground area at the back is big (absolutely ideal for a local garage!).

Tyre Services  - elevationClick on the image to see it bigger

The planned units in a long row at the back seem to be based on the minimum legal requirement for the size of rooms, although the plans are not clear re- this. There are no gardens.

Tyre Services 9 res unitsThe total of 7 parking spaces proposed (3 outside and 4 inside) are not likely to represent the needs of approx 23 new residents plus whatever needs the retail shop may generate.

Hopefully the Council will reject this application.

Anyone similarly minded please email : (more details HERE) re – application 2009/2518 as soon as possible.

August 24, 2009 at 10:49 am 4 comments

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