I just received a letter from Lewisham Planning telling me that the planning application for a housing development on the Timber Yard site of Springbank Road that I had opposed has been refused.
You can read details of this development and the reasons of my objection here.
Posts Tagged ‘Springbank Road’
Tomorrow Saturday 21st November there will be another round of pruning and clearing and planting at the Hither Green Station railway embankment along Springbank Road organised by Hither Green Community Association.
If you’re interested please email Joanna at firstname.lastname@example.org with your boot size, she must make sure that there are enough steel-capped boots for everyone.
I didn’t clear all that by myself, I only arrived after lunch actually, I wish I could have got there earlier but children’s meals are sacred, and I was the one doing the cooking. Anyway, for the hour or so I was there I had a brilliant time playing with proper gardening tools and picking up the strangest litter.
A great thanks to everyone involved with organizing it at HGCA, especially Johanna that took the lead, everyone at Enviroworks Lewisham and of course Network Rail for trusting we wouldn’t have chopped a major main by mistake.
The job there is not finished, it will proceed in stages, next time flowerbeds will be placed where it’s been cleared this time and at the same time the clearing will proceed further down the embankement, and we already have an appointment, it’s for Saturday 21st November.
From the Hither Green Community Association:
HITHER GREEN STATION EMBANKMENT PROJECT
Clearing, pruning and planting…
Please come along and help us improve the embankment along Springbank Road and Hither Green station. Plans include clearing the litter, pruning the trees, cutting overgrown vegetation back and planting wildflowers. Network Rail has given us permission for the project and has put in an access gate on platform 1; the project has been granted £5,000 from the Mayor’s Fund and Lewisham Biodiversity department at the Council will include the project under their insurance.
- Date: Saturday 31st October 2009
- Time: 11:00am – 3.00pm
- Location: Springbank Road / Platform 1 Hither Station
Steel-capped boots and high-visibility vests will be provided on the day.
For further detail and/or to confirm attendance please email: email@example.com
Last night I submitted my objection to the proposed development of the Springbank Road Timber Yard.
I’m writing to object to the planning application DC/09/72316/X for the development of the Timber Yard site on Springbank Road into a residential develpment of 33 flats.
My main concern is the nature of the proposed development that as purely residential does not include any commercial space.
The site in question is next door but one to a busy entrance to Hither Green Station, an important commuter approach and as such is highly suitable for substantial commercial development.
It is my opinion that the shopping offer on Springbank Road does not reach that critical mass that makes it a viable option for shopping or entertainment for the large number of commuters that daily walk by and that one can safely assume would appreciate being able to buy their shopping on their way home from work.
The redevelopment of this site could offer the opportunity to remedy to the inconvenience that this lack of provision involves, but not with this proposal.
I quote from the Planning, Design and access statement (Ref L/LEW/525/SC/JA/CL67):
The Council concluded that although the site does have potential for redevelopment there are concerns over the loss of the commercial use from the site. It was suggested that a mixed use scheme would be most appropriate. However it is not considered a commercial use would be viable on the basis of demand.
I assume that the ending sentence of this paragraph are considerations of the developer and I disagree with them.
This is a site outside a busy commuter station and provided of a bus stop placed on a very generous widening of the pavement, a small piazza in its own right, a remnant of the time when this was a station entrance.
If that is not commercially viable then nowhere is.
In paragraph 2.23 the developer refers to a rather inconclusive survey of local availability of light industrial premises as a justification to move away from the current use, and in paragraph 2.25 it refers to the vacant units at Meridian South as a reason for not including a commercial component.
Well, a mix development would not include light industry and unlike the units at Meridian South this site is not enclosed in a residential development, a location that makes it hard to derive trade from beyond the immediate surrounding.
Both arguments don’t justify the choice of a purely residential site.
Regarding the visual impact the point of view of the prospective drawing provided gives an image where the highest point of the development is in the drawing lower than the nearby houses, despite this development reaching 5 storeys and the nearby houses only 2, one wonders if these drawings express the impact adequately. The side views appear to be very bulky and the drawing k57/09/09 shows a relationship with the nearby building that is not particularly harmonious.
Another concern is the car park provision. It is obviously a perfect site for non-drivers but 5 parking places for 33 dwellings sounds very low especially when the development includes 16×2 bedrooms and 13×3 bedrooms, suggesting a presence of families and a total count of 75 bedrooms.
A planning application for a residential building on the site of the Timber Yard on Spring Bank Road, just a few meters from the entrance to platform 1 of Hither Green Station, has been submitted. The designs are not available yet but what details there are of this outline planning application can be seen here. The proposal is for:
The demolition of existing buildings on the Builders Yard site, Springbank Road SE13 and construction of a five storey building comprising 33 residential units (4 x 1 bed, 16 x 2 bed and 13 x 3 bed) incorporating balconies/terraces and landscaping, provision of refuse/bicycle store and 5 car parking spaces. (Outline Application, but with only landscaping treated as a reserved matter).
This is an important change of use for the site, it’s currently designated for employment and there isn’t much going on around here. Hither Green is becoming more and more a purely residential area and this is a trend that is not really appealing and that once established is very difficult to invert. A local economy is a precious thing and shouldn’t be dismissed lightly. On the other hand I’ve been told that recently trade has been terrible for them, it’s a sad state of things when businesses want to throw in the towel, but can you blame them for trying to make an exit landing on their feet if things are so bad that they risk to go down altogether?
But putting these considerations aside I don’t think that this proposal makes the best use of this site. It’s a sizable plot in a rather strategic location and I think that at the very least it should incorporate some commercial space at the ground floor. Being just outside a station entrance makes it highly suitable for some form of retail to serve commuters coming back from work and Springbank road would surely benefit form having an enhanced variety of shops outside the station. If a critical mass of shops would form then the whole street could take off as a well functioning shopping parade, as it is now it’s a bit patchy and lacking some basics, and that’s the reason why despite being a very busy commuters’ approach it struggles to fulfill its potential.
As for the protection of employment areas, that’s another thing that need to be considered, but in a wider view. What is the Council’s policy about employment areas? It seems to me that all that’s happening is that they are being converted into housing. How can trades and businesses prosper if a policy to help them succeed is not deployed? There are a lot of big speeches made about apprenticeship schemes and trainings for people to go into plumbing of other trades, but once you’ve been trained what are the opportunities for employment if those businesses don’t have space to grow?
Again, the critical mass, if trades move out of the area then suppliers like the timber yard stop working, then cafes lose trade and so on and on and the whole area becomes poorer.
The space around Hither Green Station is now very valuable if converted into housing, and it can be a positive for the local community if converted into an appropriately balanced mixed use, but these conversions should not come at the cost of the destruction of the local economy. Maybe employment areas should be protected, just like green spaces, if a site is being converted into housing then another of equal size must be found nearby for the same use.
Thanks to the ever alert Biccy (second mention on this blog) for posting about the application on the Hither Green Forum.