Plans to demolish two Edwardian semis to build a 24-bed modern apartment building on Radcliffe Road West Bridgford have been recommended by council. The final decision will be made at a Development Control Committee vote this week.
The application was submitted in September 2015 and after various changes and amendments, including a reduction in the number of apartments from 30 to 24 – comes before the Rushcliffe Borough Council planning committee on February 16th.
The application has 61 comments from the public and ward members with 54 in objection.
‘I write to object to the revised application to demolish existing residential apartments and construct 24 x 2 bedroom apartments at 128-132, Radcliffe Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 5HG. Although the revised plans show some attempt to address concerns that were raised by a wide variety of interested parties, a number of objections that were raised have simply been removed or rephrased in the Design and Access Plan. These issues have not been addressed and again this seeks to be misleading; a concern raised about the original proposal. The specific reasons for my objection are as follows:
1. Character of the area
The development remains out of keeping with the area. The document still references the striking difference between the current buildings and those in the vicinity compared to the new proposal (p13) and there has been no attempt to address this issue. Therefore concerns clearly remain that the new building would be completely incompatible with the area. It would replace buildings which have historical significance to the area and ones that are in keeping with the surrounding architecture. There is no precedent on this part of the Radcliffe Road for such buildings.
The footprint is now even larger than in the previous proposal. This remains around twice as large as the footprint of the existing buildings and also significantly oversized for the scope of the plot. Additionally, the footprint extends noticeably further backwards on the plot towards those properties on Ella Road to almost double the distance than is currently the case.
There has been no attempt to address the height of the building which, at four storeys, is much greater than the existing buildings and is one or two storeys higher than the buildings immediately adjacent to the right and left respectively as viewed from the Radcliffe Road. This concern raised by a number of interested parties appears to have been totally disregarded in this reviewed proposal and the new document still tries to claim that this is of similar height and scale which it clearly is not.
As previously, the sheer size of the property cannot help but have a negative impact upon the character of the area and on the views of neighbouring properties.
The height of the building has remained as in the previous proposal which is significantly overbearing for neighbouring properties. Although some attempts have been made to set back the stories as they rise up, realistically this only starts happening from the 2nd storey as the balconies will maintain living space to the existing footprint up until that level. This means neighbours will be overlooked and their privacy compromised.
The balconies which continue to exist at the rear of the proposal compound this problem and represent an unreasonable loss of privacy for properties on Ella Road. It is not acceptable to expect these once private gardens and houses to be completely overlooked.
Reference is made in the plans regarding screening but this continues to only focus on the property to the south on Radcliffe Road (p11). Although a small garden area has been proposed for the north-west corner of the car park, the plans make reference to only one tree remaining, this being vaguely referred to as “in the middle of the car park” (p12). Although planting appears to exist on the site plan and visuals it is unclear which trees will be removed or retained as only one tree is referred to in writing yet the site plan appears to contradict this. There is no reference in the documents in terms of what planting there will be, whether it is intended to be the current screening or new planting, its height and the proposed maintenance of this planting.
There needs to be an agreed ongoing schedule of works for lopping and topping of trees to be used as screening. Currently the trees within the site boundary are totally unmaintained by the landowner and have caused damage to property on Ella Road as they damage boundary walls. This screening is essential for privacy, security and noise reduction and therefore it needs to be clear what is being proposed.
There continue to be concerns regarding the transport arrangements for the property. Although this new document removes many of the misleading comments made initially about the impact of increased traffic, it has not addressed the issues which exist. The parking spaces remain very small for modern vehicles. The number of spaces remains too low for the number of properties. In addition, there is no provision for visitor spaces which is surely a basic consideration. The Nottinghamshire County Council Highways Authority indicated that the original proposal would generate the need for around 42 parking spaces. Even allowing for the downscale of the property by 6 apartments, this would still leave an estimated 33 spaces required which are not provided by the plans. Clearly this will have an impact on the surrounding roads. The roads in the area are already heavily parked and there is simply not space for extra vehicles. The spaces themselves and the turning area between them remain very small, meaning the additional concern, raised by the Highways Authority, that this would compound the issue regarding street parking still remains.
There have also been further concerns raised by Nottinghamshire County Council Highways Authority regarding turning out of the property which need to be addressed, although it is pleasing to note that attempts have been made to safeguard the lives of the children attending the adjacent nursery which were previously not considered.
A token gesture has been made to maintain a small garden area at the rear of the car park. However, this does not compensate for the loss of the current substantial garden area and the positive impact this has upon wildlife in the area.
5. Population density
The new proposal indicates that the number of flats has decreased from 30 to 24, whilst continuing the claim from the initial proposal that this is comparable to the current number of dwellings (p13). As stated in my previous objection, this is misleading as the current properties are bedsits. 24 properties with 2 double bedrooms in each has the potential for over 80 residents, which is clearly not comparable in any way. This will put an increased pressure on local services, such as schools in the area which are already oversubscribed in all cases.
It is more likely that the number of apartments has been reduced to this number in a cynical attempt to remove the requirement to provide social housing within the development.
The new statement continues to use unsuitable precedents for comparison. Christonian Court on West Bridgford Road has only one neighbour so issues of privacy are significantly less. Even so, this development does not have balconies or windows overlooking the only adjoining property unlike the design suggested for the development on Radcliffe Road. In addition, the building is not significantly higher than the only adjacent property and it replaced a dilapidated and unoccupied building. The parking arrangements are also considerably better than those which are proposed for Radcliffe road, including parking both at the front and rear of the property.
The property in figure 10 on Pavilion Road is located in a mixed use area which includes bars, businesses, the Borough Council offices and the City Ground for Nottingham Forest; this can hardly be compared to the impact that this development on Radcliffe Road would have on the entirely residential buildings surrounding it. Even so, greater care seems to have been given here to ensuring the building was comparable in scale to the surrounding buildings, unlike in this proposal.
The property on the Radcliffe Road used in figure 8 is in Gamston and not in West Bridgford as implied by the document. This property does however give much greater consideration to scale and height than the Radcliffe Road proposal, as it only rises to three storeys, dropping to two stories when it is even vaguely within sight of a neighbouring property. However, this property does regularly highlight the problem with parking in larger blocks of flats as, although this does include a small amount of visitor parking, cars are regularly left dumped on the road and on the verges outside this property.
The precedents on Wilford Lane can again hardly be called comparable as they overlook either main roads or the river, rather than being crammed into a residential area overlooking neighbours.
The Regency Point development is the most comparable of those used, but there are still significant differences which make this development less offensive. Firstly, stylistically, Regency Point has been designed to blend. Secondly, the site at Regency Point is significantly larger and therefore the building does not impact upon neighbours so grossly. There are no balconies on the back of Regency Point meaning there is noticeably less loss of privacy for neighbours. Finally, there is clear and substantial screening provided at Regency Point, as agreed as a condition of the planning application, which is adequately maintained by the management company.
Finally, allowing this plan to proceed would effectively condone moving forward the demolition of any of the housing stock along Radcliffe Road as developers would seek to use this proposed development as the precedent. There is no need for these existing houses to be destroyed for any reason other than the greed of the developer. This is something which should not be allowed to happen.
As such we maintain our objections to the planning application for 128-132 Radcliffe Road.’
I object to this planning proposal on revised design, as my original grounds for objecting, the scale and density of the proposed flats which I believe will lead to both privacy and parking issues, remain issues. The revised plan still shows that the property will be significantly higher and deeper than current buildings in the area. Balconies to the rear of the proposed development, will surely overlook properties on both Ella Road and Mabel Grove. The plan also shows removal of a number of trees/ bushes, again, affecting privacy. The style of the proposed flats, is out of keeping with the surrounding areas Edwardian / Victorian feel. I realise that a number of modern developments have already been constructed, though at what point will the council strike the balance between development needs and retention of the period identity of the area.