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EGVRA objection to new Harvest Rd student accommodation

09/08/2018

 

Submission from Englefield Green Village Residents' Association re RU.18/1122

 

Dear Louise Waters,

Please find below the reasons for objection by EGVRA to planning application RU.18/1122.

Impact of the application proposals upon the character and appearance of the area (including the designated 'Area of Landscape Importance').

I understand that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) seeks to always secure a high quality of design in new developments. New residential schemes should seek to respond to local character and add to the overall quality of an area. The application site also falls within 'An Area of Landscape Importance' (saved policy NEB of the local plan) where this authority requires special care to be taken in relation to any development to ensure that its siting, scale, height, design and materials are in keeping with the surrounding landscape. In addition, the need to safeguard tree cover and require extensive landscaping of new proposals is also required.

I submit that the design does not come close to reflecting the height, massing and design of existing neighbouring buildings. The existing dwellings fronting Harvest Road are single storey in design. Proper consideration has not been given to the scale and design of the proposals and the impact upon existing views from Harvest Road and the wider surrounding area.

The planning application details raise concerns given the proposed layout of the development and the impact upon the character of the area. The proposed development would not result in a scale, layout and form of development which would respond to and enhance the existing local character. The proposed buildings range from 2 to 5 storeys whereas the properties to be demolished are single storey.

The existing dwellings fronting Harvest Road (to the west of the application site) are much lower in height. The proposed development would be located in close proximity to the rear boundaries of these existing dwellings. The 2 storey height, rising to 5 storeys, would have the potential to result in a form of development which would be both visually prominent and detrimental to established views from Harvest Road.

EGVRA is of the opinion that this would be an inappropriate development of the site.

The impact of the proposed new development upon the setting of the neighbouring locally listed building

The proposed development is located within the curtilage of The Church of the Assumption, a locally listed building. The NPPF advises that both protecting and enhancing the historic environment is an important component of policy within the NPPF. Saved policy BE13 of the local plan states that proposals that detrimentally affect the character or appearance of a locally listed building or its setting will not normally be permitted. Given the positioning and scale of the development proposals, EGVRA is of the opinion that the proposals would have the potential to impact upon the setting of the neighbouring locally listed building and adjacent Jurgens Centre.
 

Impact upon ecology

The proposed development site is not overdeveloped at present, with the existence of mature trees in the local area. If this planning application was granted these could be put at risk with the attendant loss of wildlife habitats.

Impact upon highway safety and parking

There would likely be an impact upon highway safety if the application was granted. Harvest Road is a narrow village road with vehicles usually parked all along the western side kerb and some cars parked up on the pavement on the eastern side (the side of the proposed development). As with many roads in Englefield Green, it is already very difficult to navigate one's way along Harvest Road. There are frequently people with a vehicle door wide open to facilitate the safe positioning of a child in a seat. The siting of the entrance to a large development in such a road does not at all stand up to risk assessment.

The provision of so little parking for 166 units of accommodation is outrageous and is way, way less than would be required. RHUL will say that students are informed that they should not bring cars to the University unless they can park with its grounds or have somewhere else specific to park. EGVRA residents know that this is widely ignored and students park where they will. On roads such as Harvest Road access for emergency vehicles is minimal at best. Parking and additional traffic movements (including construction traffic) would be an area of great concern for local residents.

Impact upon neighbouring residential amenities

The application proposals provide for new 2 to 5 storey residential development in close proximity to existing residential bungalows fronting Harvest Road. The existing dwellings to the south of the application site have very small rear garden depths. This would raise concerns given the close positioning of the new development to these existing neighbouring dwellings and their garden areas.This close positioning, coupled with the orientation, would be likely to result in an overbearing form of development which would be likely to result in overshadowing and/or loss of light. In addition, there is also the potential for overlooking and loss of privacy to these neighbouring dwellings and their garden areas.

The proposed block at the front of the site in no way reflects the architecture and scale of properties on that side of Harvest Road. No clear image of the proposed configuration and appearance of the entrance to the development is provided on any of the plans. This could very seriously affect the visual amenity of local residents and other villagers who use the road.   

The impact upon existing trees

Tree Preservation Order 172 covers existing trees towards the rear of the planning application site. In addition there are a number of significant trees along the side boundary of the application site.

I cannot see that a detailed Tree Survey and Arboricultural Statement has been provided as part of the planning application.

Potential noise impacts

The proximity of the proposed student accommodation development to the existing Church requires careful consideration to be given to any potential noise impacts of the new residential units upon the Church.

Site drainage

The nature of the soil in parts of Englefield Green with pockets of clay result in flash flooding from time to time. The scale, overdevelopment and attendant footprint of what is proposed, along with the associated infrastructure, would not help this situation.

In conclusion, I submit on behalf of EGVRA, that the subject application does not meet the tests of the foregoing text. It is against the belief of our Residents' Association that we should seek, in a number of areas, to preserve what remains of the Heritage of our village. We are keen to see that any building work in the village is in proper context and respects the character and established streetscape of the location involved. I strongly urge you to reject this planning application.

 

Yours sincerely,

Keith Bendall - Chair EGVRA

C/O The Village Centre, 68 Victoria Street, Englefield Green. TW20 0QX

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Please note that the official deadline date for comments to the Council is Friday August 10th. Comments received after that date will also be considered. Comments can be emailed to planning@runnymede.gov.uk