Dundonald Liberal Democrats

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Bushey Road planning application – last night

by Dundonald Lib Dems on 16 November, 2018

The Planning application for a block of 32 flats (10 affordable) on Bushey Road, at the end of Edna and Dorien Roads, was heard last night. The application was approved by the councillors on the Planning Applications Committee. Two motions to reject the application (one because of its density and massing, and one proposed by Cllr Simon McGrath owing to the sole road access being via Enda Road) were voted down.

Cllr Anthony Fairclough spoke on behalf of residents who had contacted him, his speech is below.

“Many residents have contacted me as ward councillor, and this Committee, with a number of concerns about this application [you can see my full representations on the application here – starting on page 10]

But I will concentrate on 3 issues key to this application, and of wider importance: affordable housing; the density of development; and lastly traffic, parking and road access.

There is need for significant local housing, which as per DM H2 of the Sites and Policies Plan “must be balanced against the need for supporting infrastructure”. It’s clear development must not be at any cost.

Decisions of the Planning Application Committee are a blunt tool, approve or reject. Ultimately, a formal planning brief for the Apostles area might be best. It could look at impact on local schools and other services.

But the decision tonight is just on this application. Merton struggles to meet its target 40% affordable housing. The planning rules – in Core Strategy CS 8 – also require a 60/40 split between social rented and intermediate housing, like shared ownership.

It’s great that there is 31% affordable housing in this proposal. 10 flats that will be shared ownership. Nonetheless, it would only take 2 more to bring this to nearly 38% affordable.

As there still seems to be a bit of room in the viable profit range noted at para 7.13 of the planning officer’s report, I hope the Committee will seek to apply CS 8 fully.

Looking at the density of this development, para 7.10 of the officer’s report shows that the proposal is pushing double the appropriate density range in the London Plan for housing on a site with moderate access to public transport.

The report tries to get round this by referring to the new National Planning Policy Framework, which seeks to avoid homes being built at “low densities”. I would like to ask the Committee to consider whether an application within the London Plan density range would be described as “low density”? If not, then the NPPF cannot rectify this application.

DM D2 of the planning rules adds to this – developments must “Relate positively and appropriately to the siting, rhythm, scale, density, [etc] and massing of surrounding buildings”. Does this?

Lastly, I want to turn to the most contentious issue: parking, traffic and access via Edna Road. Under CS 20 and DM T3, applications shouldn’t be approved where they “have an adverse effect on the level of on-street parking, road safety or local amenity”.

These flats are likely to appeal to young professionals, is the evidence on the limited traffic for delivery& servicing trips likely to be correct? There will be more traffic on Enda Road particularly, but also on nearby roads, as visitors, contractors and delivery vehicles look for parking spaces. Furthermore, controlled parking only covers standard “office hours”. To mitigate this, residents feel very strongly that access should be possible from Bushey Road.

Thank you for your consideration.”

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