29.10.02 - Letter to the Planning Department, TWBC - Samuel McDowell

Samuel McDowell, London Road (York Road), Tunbridge Wells

Nigel Eveleigh,
Planning and Building Control Services, Town Hall
Royal Tunbridge Wells

29 October 2002

Dear Mr Eveleigh

Telephone House site: CALA Homes scheme of works:
references TW/02/02409/SUB/RCC and TW/00/01474

Thank you for the letter dated 15 October advising that you had received a revised scheme of works from CALA Homes. I have taken the opportunity to examine the submission in the Planning Office at the Town Hall, and I have to say that I was utterly dismayed that CALA Homes appeared not to have taken notice of concerns previously expressed.

Effectively, CALA Homes are estimating the need to remain on site for a period of time approaching three years - 103 weeks after completion of demolition. During much of this time a stretch of the footpath on the south side of York Road will be closed and some ten parking bays will be taken out of use permanently. Indeed, on occasion, York Road will be completely cleared of parked cars. York Road access and egress to the site will be required to be used by heavy vehicles since there will be periods during which access from Church Road will not be possible. I fail totally to understand why this should be so. Heavy plant and equipment will be delivered to the site by way of York Road, some of it to be unloaded onto the road itself (which has been resurfaced recently), and operated from the road. During the internal fit period lasting some 44 weeks, York Road will be used as the main access and egress for deliveries. After having spelt out all this quite clearly, CALA Homes say in their submission that they will make a concentrated effort to minimise the use of York Road !

There is mention in the submission of staff and visitors being encouraged \o make use of public car parks! Could they not adopt a firmer line that this ?

One of my principal concerns, which I have expressed on several occasions previously, is the unsuitability of York Road, particularly at its western end where the flats in which I live are situated, to carry the weight of any heavy or heavily laden vehicle, let alone a constant succession of them over a lengthy period of time.
Has anyone inspected this end of the road to examine its construction so as to be satisfied that there is no danger of its collapse under the kind of usage predicted by CALA Homes, or of the possible damage to the foundations or structure of the buildings by the weight of traffic or vibrations caused by the traffic ?
I am sure that when the house was built in the second half of the 19th century, the conditions which would prevail, involving the passage of high volumes of very heavy vehicles during the three year construction period anticipated by CALA Homes, could not have been envisaged. My own flat is at basement level in York Road and only two feet or so from an eight or nine feet high wall running some ten or twelve yards alongside the house edging the narrow footpath at this point in York Road, much too close for comfort. If, indeed, CALA Homes have undertaken such an inspection I, and I am sure others would like to be acquainted with its findings.

Have CALA Homes given any thought to the situation of residents holding car parking permits during the periods of partial or total closure of York Road ?
It is already difficult to find parking spaces and once the work were to commence it would on occasion be impossible to do so unless an alternative solution were to be offered.

It seems to me that CALA Homes have shown little regard for the protection of residents' amenities, or to the suggestion made during the Public Enquiry in May last year [2001] that some traffic be allowed access and egress to the site from York Road. The number and variety of references to the use of York Road for deliveries and bringing on to site of heavy equipment, made by CALA Homes in their revised scheme, convinces me that, approval of their scheme of works will be seen by them as the green light to use York Road as often as they see fit, and is intended to prepare everyone for what will become an inevitability. I am sure that they will always be able to come up with a plausible reason for doing so.

I believe that we have been over these matters before, and that CALA Homes just do not seem to be able to grasp the fact that the use predominantly of Church Road for access and egress is the only acceptable solution.

I hope that you will refuse this revised scheme.

Yours sincerely
S C McDowell

Objections to CALA Homes' Second Scheme of Works for the Telephone House Development

Is CALA really going ahead with THAT scheme?