Bolder application approved

OWGRA member David Pavett, writing in a personal capacity, reflects on the latest meeting of the Hounslow Council Planning Committee.

Planning Committees are a major function of government. In theory they are required to work on the basis of an extensive set of national, regional and local guidelines. Its members are supposed to go for regular training and to take an interest in matters of architectural design, a lot of advice on which is designed specifically for them.

There is a general presumption in favour of development. In other words a proposed development is deemed to be good unless specific faults can be found with it in terms of planning guidelines. Not only that but the guidelines are only that, guidelines, so it can always, and often is, argued that there are reasons for not adhering to them in specific instances.

The seeming tight constraints of the guidelines can therefore, when there is a will to achieve a result irrespective of them, dissolve into background words to which the majority of those involved have no knowledge and or no interest. This was certainly the way things looked in the case of the Planning Committee that determined that there were no significant problems requiring resolution before approval in the case of the application to build a new school, the Bolder Academy on Metropolitan Open Lane at the end of MacFarlane Lane (next to Osterley Tesco). Continue reading

Development News – May 2017

Nishkam School: Work on the school continues and OWGRA is in constant contact with the construction company BAM to ensure that disruption to the local community is minimised. The new school entrance has been established and over the coming months the road itself will be resurfaced. On site construction has proceeded apace and the building is rising fast. Any particular issues or queries should be posed to BAM Construction on 07973 141653 or 07541 338770 or to bomeara@bam.co.uk; please keep us informed.

Grasshoppers Rugby Club: Since the approval of the planning application by Hounslow Council in November there have been no further developments in terms of construction and neither has the contractor been identified. In the interim the ancient thicket comprising trees, shrubs and undergrowth has been completely and wantonly destroyed along Syon Lane from the Piccadilly line bridge to the new school entrance. The council claims this is within the planning approval but its removal was totally unnecessary and another part of old Osterley has gone for ever. The sole consolation is that it is intended to replant with trees and shrubs in due course. There has also been similar destruction wrought along Wood Lane but not to the same degree. Check the council planning website for further details under reference P/2017/3376.

Bolder Academy: The planning application has now been submitted under reference P/2017/1417. Following the presentation at the OWGRA public meeting on 6th December last year the developers have held two additional “exhibitions” which we deemed to be totally inadequate. Under pressure from OWGRA and ward councillors a public meeting was held on 22nd March. The main areas of concern centre around the impact of traffic, parking and inadequate access to the school current planned only via MacFarlane Lane. The earliest the school is likely to open is September 2019. No date has yet been set for consideration by the Planning Committee.

Gillette Corner South: The application has been submitted under reference P/2017/0053. No date has as yet been given for the application to come before the Planning Committee. Due to the general election on 8th June the Planning Committee meeting due on that day has been postponed provisionally until 22nd June. Full details of the application and OWGRA’s objections along with how register comments are available in the planning section of this website.

Osterley Library & Bowls Club: At our public meeting on 6 December Cllr Curran did not rule out a transformation of Osterley Library and the Bowls Club. It will depend on circumstances and whether or not both institutions have sufficient local support.

Jersey Gardens:  Issues have been raised about the pruning of shrubs within and on the borders of the gardens as well as continuing anti-social behaviour within. These issues have been raised with Hounslow Council and their contractors, as well as the police.

Quakers Lane & Braybourne Drive: The landowner of the ditch along Braybourne Drive has agreed to erect a high fence to deter fly-tipping and CCTV has already been installed. The landowner will also remove the rubbish already deposited. Frequent visits by the local police have had a beneficial impact on anti-social behaviour in terms of drug trafficking and prostitution.

Thornbury Road: The “no left turn” proposal has been dropped. The road will be widened by 0.6m to allow for two lanes (going north). A number of other traffic calming measures are to be proposed for Church Roa, Osterley Road and Ridgeway Road. There will also be a new bus shelter in Thornbury Road outside Campion House.

Dudley House. Following adoption by the developers of council recommended cosmetic changes to the application it was approved by the Planning Committee on 9th March.

Consultations, consultations

Personal view

I attended two so-called consultations in the last two days. On Wednesday it was the Airport “consultation information exhibition” at Isleworth public hall. It was organised by the Ministry of Transport. On Thursday it was a Council consultation over plans for the Great West Corridor (held at the University of West London). Business and government (central and local) now like to back whatever it is they plan to do with claims that their plans have public support. A whole culture of sham consultations has been developed to this end as everyone who takes an interest in these things in Hounslow should be well aware. Continue reading

Gillette South – nonsense about files (updated 5th March)

How the developer sees the proposed development

How the developer sees the proposed development

Until today there were 97 files for the proposed Gillette South development on the Council’s Planning website. This large number was produced by splitting many files, for no good reason, into smaller files. Thus the Design and Access Statement (a key document) was split into 15 separate files. The Heritage Statement was split into 9 separate files. Many other files were also split. This created an entirely confusing and distinctly unfriendly access to the files for the development.

The case officer for the development said, by way of an explanation, that the old planning website imposed a 5Mb limitation. We explained in response that this was simply not true and that there were very much larger files still viewable which had been uploaded onto the old website. Eventually our point got through. There has now been a reduction in the number of files from 97 to 75. The Design and Access Statement has been uploaded and, at our request, the 15 separate files have been removed. Similarly the Heritage Statement is now available as a single file.

Several other documents, for example the transport assessment, are still presented as a number of separate files but our point has been established and now we will ask for the job to be completed.

Our repeated point was that we want the materials to be presented in a way that will encourage rather than discourage viewing. This is clearly not a factor that has been taken seriously by LBH up until now but we may have scored some initial success in establishing that a rather different approach is required if community involvement is to be anything more than an empty phrase.

In an effort to sort this problem out we telephoned the PR agent for the development (Polity) but no offer of help with the problem resulted. Later email communications with Lee Jameson and Martin Hughes of Polity and the agent for the development, David Morris, were positive and it looks as though we may get the single files for the supporting statements we are requesting. The LBH case officer was also helpful and got changes made to the files on the Council website. We will keep you posted.

Note added 5th March. It seems from subsequent exchanges that the source of the problem is with the Council and not the developer. A council officer maintained that the previous Council set-up could not handle files greater than 5Mb (which is contradicted by the existence of very much larger files on the previous system.). A bit of persistent complaining has now resulted in a significant reduction in the number of files through consolidating most of those that had been split into single files. What a waste of our time all this has been.

Development News – January 2017

Nishkam School: Work on the school continues and OWGRA is in constant contact with the construction company BAM to ensure that disruption to the local community is minimised. The new school entrance has been established and over the next two months the road itself will be widened to facilitate entry to the school. Any particular issues or queries should be posed to BAM Construction on 07973 141653 or 07541 338770 or to bomeara@bam.co.uk; please keep us informed.

Grasshoppers Rugby Club: There have been no further developments since the approval of the planning application by Hounslow Council in November. There is no indication of when work will start neither has the contractor as yet been identified. Check the Council Planning website for further details.

Bolder Academy: Planning application awaited. Following the presentation made at the OWGRA public meeting on 6 December, there have been no further developments. It is thought that at the earliest the school will not open until September 2019.

Gillette Corner South: The application has been submitted. The documents are available for viewing on the Hounslow Council website (planning application P/2017/0053) and in Osterley Library.  Forward any comments and views asap to LB Hounslow’s Planning Officers and to Ward Members so that residents’ view are taken into account.

Osterley Library & Bowls Club: At our public meeting on 6 December Cllr Curran did not rule out a transformation of Osterley Library and the Bowls Club. It will depend on circumstances and whether or not both institutions have sufficient local support.

Jersey Gardens:  Issues have been raised about the pruning of shrubs within and on the borders of the gardens as well as continuing anti-social behaviour within. These issues have been raised with Hounslow Council and their contractors, as well as the police.

Quakers Lane & Braybourne Drive: Anti-social behaviour and drug dealing have been reported in Quakers’ Lane and Braybourne Drive. This has been reported to our local councillors and the police.

Thornbury Road: A ‘No Left Turn’ has been proposed in respect of road traffic proceeding westwards along the A4 and wanting to turn left into Thornbury Road. This is to protect pedestrian traffic wanting to cross Thornbury Road at that junction and expedite westward travel in the evening rush hour. There are contrasting views on this proposal.

Dudley House, The Grove: The application to convert this former residential care home into residential flats was rejected at the Planning Committee of 12 Jan. Details are available on the Council’s planning website.

Osterley Park: New cycle routes and a cycle training area were approved at the 12 January Planning Committee meeting.

Chiswick Curve: The planning application for a 32-storey tower block at Chiswick roundabout was rejected by the Planning Committee on 12 January.

Grasshoppers update

Arttist's impression of the new club

Arttist’s impression of the new club

The Grasshoppers planning application was approved by the Planning Committee of Hounslow Council on Thursday 3 November. Grasshoppers will move from its current site on Macfarlane Lane to the northern part of the former Conquest Club/White Lodge Club site between Syon Lane and Wood Lane, just north of the Nishkam School. Here is the latest information from the meeting on 3 Nov.

  • The fence surrounding the Grasshoppers will be 2.6 metres high and made of the same type of metal railings as for the Nishkam School.
  • Within that fence will be netting-fencing surrounding the various pitches and courts. This will be of varying heights and especially high on the northern edge abutting the Piccadilly line.
  • Entrance to Grasshoppers will be by a right turn after the main entrance on Syon Lane which will serve both Grasshoppers and Nishkam.
  • It was stated that NONE of the existing parking spaces for Syon Lane residents will be removed.
  • To facilitate the right turn into the Grasshoppers/Nishkam site for traffic coming from the north the old ditch will be filled in along the appropriate stretch and greenery removed.
  • 39 existing trees will be removed plus several groups of small trees/shrubs/undergrowth, including a band of trees which traverses the northern part of the site at a downward angle from northeast to northwest.
  • 69 trees will be planted around the site to compensate for the loss. These will be a mixture of saplings and mature trees (so it is claimed).
  • Nishkam staff/parents/carers/escorts etc will NOT be permitted to park in the Grasshoppers car park area. Grasshoppers staff “are to prevent this”. LBH awaits a proper traffic management plan.
  • SKY staff will be able to use the Grasshoppers car park on a temporary basis until their new car park is available c. mid-2017 within the SKY complex.
  • Baby Swim’ customers, who currently have an informal agreement to use the small car park on Wood Lane, will be permitted to use the Grasshoppers car park, as the numbers are relatively small and the timings should not conflict with Grasshoppers usage. They will then have to walk across the site to the Baby Swim premises on Wood Lane. This permission is also informal and a concession from Grasshoppers.
  • Neither the car park nor the groundsman’s living quarters will be able to be sub-let or made available to any other company or organisation or person.

We don’t know when building work will start but hope that the contractors and Council officers will be proactive in keeping us informed more than they have done so far with the Nishkam School. We will put any information on developments on the OWGRA website

WORK HAS STARTED ON THE NISHKAM SCHOOL

Work on the Nishkam School started on Friday 28 October with clearing of some trees and bushes from the boundary of the site.

We had not been informed of this, and it was only when a local resident spotted diggers on the site and made enquiries that we got a short e-mail from the Education Funding Agency (EFA) to say work had commenced and that BAM Construction would be starting on site on 14th November.

We are now in touch with Hounslow Council and the EFA to set up meetings with the construction company to ensure that the work is carried out in a way that causes the least disruption to local residents and that there are agreed protocols about the work (e.g. start/finish times, dust/dirt/mud reduction, lorry routes, noise and lighting levels and much else) before the work begins in earnest.

As soon as we have more details we will post them here, including a phone number and e-mail address to contact if there is any disruption due to the building works.

Residents should be aware that the EFA has signed an agreement about how the work will proceed and how residents should be informed. You can read it here. If you think the developer is in breach of any of these items then please let us know.