Tuesday, 10 December 2013

St Clement's Hospital Site - Tower Hamlets Council considers planning application 11 December 2013

Councillors will consider the report on the planning application
At the meeting of the Council’s Development Committee
On Wednesday 11th December
In The Council Chamber
At Town Hall, Mulberry Place, 5 Clove Crescent, London E14 2BQ
The meeting is open to the public

MERA will be representing the views of local residents as one of the two people selected to speak on the application at committee
The meeting starts at 7pm and finishes when all business is done or 11pm
However The report on this planning application is the last one of the agenda and
consideration may not start until as late as 10pm
The MERA Brokesley Street Representative will be there from 8.30pm

Concerns about the impact on local residents living in Brokesley Street with respect to:
·      Noise from 4 years of construction in particular late night deliveries to the site and impact on children’s sleep
·      Overshadowing and loss of light due to building new units up to the boundary wall separating Brokesley Street homes from the hospital site. Omission of Brokesley Street housing from lighting assessment
·      Adequacy of local school provision to meet demand from people coming to live in the new housing
·      Impact of construction traffic on safety of entry/exit from Brokesley Street

AND OFFICERS REPORT  pages 165 – 212 of the publicreports pack


Below you can read the summary of our detailed response which was submitted in August

Overall conclusions

In general, we are broadly supportive of the proposed development. 

·       It’s very important to increase the amount of affordable social housing in the borough

·       It’s important to integrate social housing with opportunities for shared ownership and private accommodation to promote better communities

·       We welcome new initiatives involving the Land Trust and the Ricardo Trust and see these both as positive new initiatives.  We trust they will grow and develop to fulfil their aspirations.

·       We very much endorse the use of the building fronting onto Mile End Road as a suitable place for community focused activities.

·       We agree it’s very important to preserve the character of our local heritage – particularly that within a recognised and existing Conservation Area. 

However we remain concerned about a number of aspects of the planning application.  Some of these can be dealt with under delegated powers as part of the Construction Management Delivery Plan. 

Others need a clear steer from the Committee as to what is and is not acceptable in relation to assessing

·       The impact of the construction contract on local residents

·       The assessment of the impact of the development given some serious omissions of data and serious misunderstandings about the nature of the neighbouring properties

Clearly, it’s inappropriate to build new quality homes while having a serious impact on the quality standards of recently built new homes and other neighbouring properties.

Our concerns – in summary

Matters that concern us about the planning application for the proposed development on the St Clements Hospital site include:
·       Noise control:  It’s expected this project will be on site for up to 4 years. We are now much more aware than we used to be about how intrusive and wearing noise can be when experienced on a daily basis over a period of years. It’s vital to the wellbeing of the community to ensure that the disruption to amenity and people’s quiet enjoyment of their homes is minimised during the construction process.  We’re not yet convinced that the developer has thought through how this can be as considerate a construction process as is possible.
·       Site traffic management and site deliveries:  In our view it completely inappropriate and insensitive to ask for an extension in normal working hours for site deliveries.  Some 30+ children live in Brokesley Street and the proposals means intrusive levels of noise when parents should be able to reasonably expect that they can get their children to bed and to sleep. There is no option appraisal presented the planning application with respect to alternatives and it’s clear other alternatives have either not been examined or need to be revisited.
·       Overshadowing and impact on natural light and sunlight levels
o   There are very serious inaccuracies and omissions in the data used in the report with respect to the lighting assessment. It excludes both residential units and back gardens which will be seriously affected by the development.
o   Adding height and building up to the boundary wall has considerable implications for light. Overshadowing has an impact on the wellbeing of families and their ability to provide fresh vegetables for their families
o   The development also appears to place more priority on retaining a low level building of extremely limited heritage value over the needs and wellbeing of existing local residents. 
·       Opening up the site – and use of gates: we need to recognise that this development proposes a change of use from long-term incarceration to habitation.  It’s imperative that this site is also opened up to promote integration with the rest of the local area. The use of gates in this context is inappropriate and we would like to see the gates only retained as heritage features rather than as ways to create a boundary around the site.  We’d also like to see more reduction in the height of the boundary wall next to the British Street estate and Hamlets Way.
·       Design and usage of the buildings at the front (John Denham Building and Bungalow): We think this aspect needs to be looked at again so that it better supports the objectives of the core strategy for this area.
·       Adequacy of local school provision:  We’re concerned that the development may aggravate the existing deficit in provision of local primary school places for local children who are currently being schooled all over the borough.  We can find nothing in the application that identifies the impact on demand for local schools and we can see nothing from Education that identifies scope to meet demand.  The failure to make a connection between creating homes for families and checking to see whether local infrastructure can meet the demand it creates is irresponsible.


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