Felnex reserved matters application approved

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Hackbridge & Beddington Corner
Neighbourhood Development Group

Press release – Thursday, 8th September 2016

Sutton Council’s planning committee has approved the reserved matters elements of Barratt Homes’ planning application for an 805-unit estate at Hackbridge Corner, on the site of the old Felnex Trading Estate.  This was despite objections from Hackbridge and Beddington Corner Neighbourhood Development Group (H&BC NDG) and other local residents.  Outline planning permission was granted in 2009.

Lysanne Horrox, chair of H&BC NDG, said: “Whilst we understand the need for more houses, this should not be at the detriment of existing residents.  This scheme could have been altered to alleviate our main concerns.”

Much of the discussion at Wednesday’s planning committee meeting focused on the likely impact of the development on parking in the surrounding neighbourhood.  A council officer said proposals could be brought forward for a controlled parking zone in Hackbridge.

But there was little discussion of the increased scale of one part of the plan in particular. The plan had changed from a 90-bedroom care home to 80 individual assisted living flats. This increased the size by more than half from 3,051 to 7,740 square metres and from three storeys to five storeys.

NDG chair Lysanne Horrox told councillors at the planning committee on Wednesday night: “The changes made to the assisted living block are the most significant and extreme.  Little thought has been given to the design of this block and the impact it will have on the neighbourhood.  If the building is approved, it will further accentuate the already overbearing streetscape dominance of Saxon House and the proposed supermarket block and flats on the two-storey twelve Victorian houses opposite.”

In the officer’s report on the planning application, the case officer says: “Although both the previous approvals and the site allocation permit buildings of up to six storeys there is no stipulated maximum height.”

In Sutton’s Core Planning Strategy DPD (dated December 2009), Felnex is described as an “area with potential for mid-rise development”.

According to core planning policy BP13 – Taller Buildings, the glossary of terms defines mid-rise buildings, “in absolute terms, as in the region of four to six storeys (12 to 18 metres)”.

But while residential storeys are calculated at 3m per floor, commercial floors are higher. Accordingly, the number of storeys above the retail units ought to be reduced, to keep the roofline below the 18m limit.  Instead, this application goes for a roofline 21.4m above street level, well into the “taller buildings” range.

“Does Sutton have a policy on the height of buildings or not?” asks Lysanne Horrox.

“Why the insistence on the duplex flat, which takes the height well above the mid-rise range?  Does Barratt Homes relish the idea of selling – presumably at a premium – a luxury penthouse to someone with deeper than average pockets?”

This development is important to Sutton Council as part of its strategy for Hackbridge to become a district centre (rather than a local centre, as it is at present).  But H&BC NDG members believe the plans fall short of providing the amenities which could be expected in a district centre – such as another mid-price restaurant.  All the retail units in the plan are designated A1 rather than the A3 classifcation required for restaurants.

“The plan will not allow for more takeaway outlets or gambling shops, and that’s a positive thing,” said Horrox.

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Press release issued by Hackbridge and Beddington Corner Neighbourhood Development Group

E: hackbridgeandbc@gmail.com

Supporting documents

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