At the Planning North Committee Meeting on the 23rd of June the Committee voted in favour of approving the application for 12 flats, incorporating a tower higher than the adjacent buildings, on the site of the Reindeer Public House, following the advice of Planning Officer Karl Dafe.
The Residents’ Association was represented at the meeting by the President, Alan Prue, who spoke to the residents’ petition, specifically identifying two areas where the Association was convinced that the proposal failed to comply with two of the Council’s stated policies.
In the first instance the development proposal could not provide adequate amenity space for children resident in the flats to play and whilst accepting that this problem could be overcome under normal circumstances by the developer providing Section 206 funds to improve local park play space the Council’s policy in such circumstances specifically requires that the distance to such a play area is a maximum of 400m distant and that neither the children nor their supervisors should be required to cross a major road. Unfortunately the nearest park is 500m away from the site and requires the crossing of two heavily trafficked roads to reach it.
In the second instance the design of the proposed flats allows the residents of several flats to have a clear and unobstructed view into the living areas of neighbouring flats in the complex. This is expressly forbidden under Section 5.14 of the Hillingdon Design and Accessability Statement.
It was notable at the hearing that neither the Council’s Chief Planning Officer nor the applicant’s agent addressed the points raised by the Association. The Planning Committee members asked no questions and our arguments were ignored. Following the hearing the Association was informed that the Council’s policies are purely for guidance and can be overturned by the Committee. It would appear that the ability to ignore these policies works only in one direction. It has this feature in common with the appeal process, which allows appeals by developers but not by the local community once the Planning Committee has ruled.