Planning Application for flats in Bridge Street.

Planning application – Harrow Council Planning Services reference P/0311/19 – Re:  21b and 29 – 35 Bridge Street Pinner HA5 3HP 

Redevelopment To Provide Part 4 / Part 6 Storey Residential Block At Rear Comprising Of 35 Residential Units (5 X Studio 20 X 1 Bed And 10 X 2 Bed) (Use Class C3) ; Change Of Use Of Ground Floor Commercial Units (Use Class A2 And A3) To Retail Unit (Use Class A1);  bin and cycle stores.

The Pinner Association has submitted the following comments to Harrow Council Planning Services with reference to this planning application:

Whilst The Pinner Association has no objection in principle to demolishing some the existing buildings on this site, which are in a poor condition and do not form a coherent pattern of development, we do have the following objections about this application.  The Pinner Association does not object to development that adds to the local environment and the enjoyment and amenity of current and future residents, however from our review of this planning application it is clear that this proposal will not meet those criteria

Our objections are:

  1.  The proposed density of the total of 35 two bed, one bed and studio flats in this application on this small site of only 0.11 hectare (applicant’s own measurement) is significantly higher than the guidance in the current London Plan for a location with a PTAL of 3.  The impact of this very high density can be seen in the application drawings which show poor quality design and poor quality residential accommodation.  These points are explained further below.

Poor quality design:

2.  The infill in the Bridge Street elevation (archway adjacent to 29 Bridge Street) to create an enclosed residential access may be considered to improve the street scene in Bridge Street.  However, the rest of the design pays no respect to the adjoining buildings and the character of the area.  In particular, the large and bulky six storey block proposed for the rear of the site would be detrimental to the street scene in Bridge Street and would also have a detrimental impact on the neighbouring buildings.  This is evident from the perspectives that are contained in the applicant’s Design and Access Statement.   The maximum height of the buildings in this part of Bridge Street is four storeys and any plans for new structures should respect and reference the size and scale of the surrounding structures.  The excessive height and bulk of the proposed new block would be intrusive to the street scene, not respect the character of the area and therefore would be greatly out of scale with the existing buildings.

3.  The submitted drawings do not show any rooftop plant or the exhaust flue from the central gas boiler; these should be added to show the true position when the development were completed. 

4.  The material chosen for cladding this block would sit uncomfortably with the neighbouring buildings. 

5.  There would be poor vehicular access to the site.  The privately owned service road to the rear would experience a large increase in traffic if this application were to be successful.  The surface of this road is already in a very poor condition and this would only worsen with the increase in traffic.  The road is also not designed to accommodate multiple deliveries to a large number of individual residences and this could result in dangerous traffic conditions including ‘stacking’ of delivery vans in Chapel Lane at peak times.  There are existing designated parking bays along the service road for the businesses for which this road is the access and these could be adversely affected both during the construction of a substantial new block of flats and after the flats were occupied.  This could adversely affect the viability of local businesses and this should be taken into consideration as these provide employment opportunities for residents of the borough.

6.  For the reasons stated above this application does not meet the criteria set out in the Council’s Local Plan policy DM1 – Design and Layout.

Poor quality residential accommodation: 

7.  The proposed residential accommodation would not comply with the Mayor of London’s Guidance and the Council’s policies DM24 – Housing Mix, DM27 – Amenity Space and DM28 – Children and Young People’s play facilities.  Specifically the proposed development would be single tenure and provides no affordable housing;  the majority of the units would be single aspect and many of them would be north facing; there would be no children’s play area and the applicant’s attempt to reduce the impact of overlooking within the courtyard would be ineffective.  The residential accommodation would be further compromised by the small size of the units many of which would have poor internal layouts.

8.  The limited amount of amenity space proposed to be provided at the first floor level would be predominantly north facing and would provide a hostile environment.  Similarly, the amenity space at the higher level on the roof of the four storey section of the proposed development would not provide an attractive environment as it would overlook a busy road and traffic intersection.  The plans show no provision for private amenity space.

9.  Policy 3.8 section [d] of the current London Plan requires that ten per cent of new housing meets Building Regulation requirement M4 (3) ‘wheelchair user dwellings’, i.e. is designed to be wheelchair accessible, or easily adaptable for residents who are wheelchair users.   The submitted plans and documents for the new building proposed in this application do not demonstrate how it would comply with this requirement.

Parking issues:

10.  Such are the constraints of space on this site in the designated primary shopping area of Pinner there is no proposed provision of off-street parking for the residents of the new flats, nor would there be any visitor parking provided for deliveries to the block of flats or the ground floor businesses.  As the public highways around this site are already congested with traffic and subject to extensive parking and waiting controls, and at the rear the access road is privately owned, we request that should this application be granted then it should be designated as “Residents’ Permits Restricted” – i.e. no residents’ parking permits for the Pinner CPZ should be issued for any resident of the new flats – and that this condition is enacted and enforced in practice.

Planning, The Pinner Association.  17th May 2019.

Pinner Fair 29th May 2019 – Traffic Restrictions and Diversions

Just a reminder that from about 15:00 on 28 May until about 8:00 on 30 May; the following buses will be diverted down West End Lane.

183, H11, H12 & H13.

Vehicle traffic restrictions will also apply see below:

As I can’t find an official notice, I’m assuming that the following roads will be closed or have restricted access:

No access to vehicles

  • High Street
  • Bridge Street

Restricted Access

  • Love Lane
  • Waxwell Lane
  • Elm Park Road
  • Marsh Road
  • Chapel Lane
  • Station Approach
  • Paines Lane
  • Church Lane
  • Grange Gardens
  • Cecil Park

If you are going to the fair, I would suggest that you use public transport or walk as parking will be restricted in the area. I haven’t been able to find out which car parks will be available.

Report of the Open Meeting /AGM April 19

Report of the Open Meeting / The Pinner Association 87th Annual General Meeting held on 17th April 2019 at the Pinner Village Hall.

We were very pleased that the new CEO of Harrow Council, Sean Harriss, agreed to speak at the Pinner Association Open Meeting / AGM on 17th April.   Robin Youle, President of The Pinner Association, welcomed Mr Harriss and Navin Shah AM to the meeting, and introduced Mr Harriss to the audience of some 100 members and others, explaining that he had previously been the CEO of Bolton and more recently the CEO of the London Borough of Lambeth.

Sean Harris remarked that he had been in post in Harrow for only ten weeks but already felt welcome and it was a privilege to work with councillors and council officers so committed to the borough and its residents. However, he was aware that there were issues that were of concern to some in the audience.

Harrow Council had two roles as the local authority; first as the provider of services, either directly or via third parties; and second to provide community leadership, such as liaison with the police to reassure the community about and plan a response to the recently violent incidents in the borough; longer term strategic planning for the regeneration of the borough; liaison with the local NHS; and communication with all local faith groups.   The key duty of the council was to glue communities and place into a whole, and he had been impressed with how well the many varied communities in Harrow all worked together.

Providing over 500 different services for some or all of the quarter of a million population of the borough was a challenge in this time of austerity in public spending. Some services were delivered to only a small number of residents in need of specific assistance, for example the 30 to 40 disabled children who required social care, whereas other services were used by many of the residents. There are some 5,000 council tenants, and many of the older population received social care assistance, and the boroughs parks and libraries are well used by a large number of residents. Some services were popular with residents, such as the libraries, but others less so, such as council tax collection and parking enforcement, but all were necessary.

Difficult choices had to be made as a large amount of the council’s annual budget had to be spent on a relatively small proportion of the population, such as on child and adult social care which was a statutory duty, leaving only a relatively small amount for spending on the physical environment of the borough such as parks, waste collection, street cleaning, etc.. This meant that many council tax payers felt as if they were getting less but paying more, but this was due to the funding to Harrow from central government reducing dramatically from £53 million in the past to only £1.5 million this year. The inevitable decline in services was giving rise to frustrations and changing the relationship between the council and its residents.

Mr Harriss then answered questions from the audience.   In reply to a query as to whether the Civic Centre was to move to Wealdstone he explained that the proposal to build a new Civic Centre building was to go to the Harrow Council Cabinet in May. The preference was still to build a smaller new Civic Centre and regenerate the current site for housing, but the time scale for this project had slipped.

Many in the audience asked about the “fiasco” still ongoing with the “Brown Bin” garden waste collections. The new bin stickers used to identify those households who had paid for this additional service had not been distributed to many of those who had already paid for the coming year’s collections. Harrow Council was sending out emails to those complaining blaming the postal delivery, but this was considered not to be the problem in the majority of cases. Mr Harriss agreed that the communication with and from the council about this matter had been remiss and that mistakes had been made with transferring data on those addresses that had paid. He felt that communication with the council must be improved and was actively working on solving all the problems with the brown bin collections.

The difficulty of those who do not use a computer in contacting the council was raised, and Mr Harriss acknowledged that the council was moving more of its contacts to on-line only. The “Access Harrow” phone call centre had previously employed 160 staff, but now there were only 60 employed. The driver for this was cost reduction, due to the effect of austerity on the council. He would look into the difficulties that some residents were having in communicating with the council. The Harrow Council website was currently being redesigned to be more user friendly and it was hoped that the new website would be available in six to nine months.   He was asked to ensure that the new website was thoroughly “road tested” before going live, as the current website was full of bugs that made it virtually useless at times, and he confirmed that 1,500 volunteers had already been identified who would test the new website before it was released.

Other issues raised was where would Bridge Street residents park once the Waxwell Lane car park was shut, and whether the council would be able to assist residents of St Michael’s Crescent with liaising with the police on setting up CCTV cameras at each end of that road following the recent spate of burglaries in the area?

Robin Youle thanked Sean Harriss for speaking and answering questions and the audience showed their appreciation.