Dundonald Liberal Democrats

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Demolition of 162-164 Hartfield Road – planning decision

by Dundonald Lib Dems on 24 August, 2018

We regret to say that on 23 August, Merton Council gave approval to the proposal to pull down 162 and 164 Hartfield Road and put up a block of flats that had previously been rejected by councillors on grounds that its design and proportions would be “detrimental to the character and appearance of Hartfield Road”.

Along with local residents, Lib Dem councillor Anthony Fairclough spoke against the design of the flats, arguing that the Council’s planning rules – if they are to have any meaning at all – need councillors to be convinced that the look and design of new buildings improves an area, not merely that they are “acceptable”. This is backed up by a
change in national planning rules in July of this year.

After listening to the arguments, Lib Dem councillor Simon McGrath, who is a member of the Planning Committee, proposed that the application be rejected because it breached several principles of the new National Planning Policy Framework: as the design, scale and massing clearly doesn’t “add to the overall quality of the area”, nor is it “sympathetic to the local character and history” of Hartfield Road, as the rules require it to be. He also raised questions about the large basement, which could be in breach of planning rules.

Unfortunately, the Labour councillors on the committee voted to push through the plans. We want sustainable, well-design housing that people want to live in – Merton’s planning rules must be used to encourage that!

There is a video of the Planning Committee meeting here. Cllr Anthony Fairclough’s comments can be heard here.

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