AGENDA

Meeting: CALA Homes, the new owner of Telephone House site, and Telephone House Neighbours

at 37 York Road, Tunbridge Wells,
on Friday 12.04.02 - 2:45pm

  1. Introduction:
    • CALA Homes
    • The Telephone House Neighbours Association
    • The support of MP Archie Norman
    • The support / role of Councillors

  2. Is CALA Homes prepared to file a new planning application?

  3. What would the Telephone House Neighbours support?

  4. How can Councillors help?

  5. Recap: - The story so far - the view of local residents

  6. A summary of objections to the planning applications for the site

  7. Why listen to the Telephone House Neighbours Association?


The Telephone House Development, Tunbridge Wells
An update presented to CALA Homes
by The Telephone House Neighbours Association


  1. What is the Telephone House Neighbours Association?

    A collective body of over 70 local residents
    Not development adverse
    Articulate, informed, committed
    Has its own comprehensive and informative Internet site (http://uk.geocities.com/telephonehouse)
    A determined group of people linked by the desire to achieve a single objective -
    "Telephone House Neighbours Association seeks to ensure there is sympathetic development of the Telephone House site that fully considers all views, issues and opinions of the local community"

  2. What would the Telephone House Neighbours support?

    • Density around 25 units (= 90 units per hectare)
      (compare e.g. Garden Road - Planning application TW/00/01673)
    • Development on York Road site should be set back from houses opposite to a minimum of 16 m, preferably 21m as Kent Design suggests
    • Integrate existing trees into the design
    • Allow Church Road to have its own traffic arrangements
      (sole access/exit via York Road is not acceptable)
    • Respect building heights of neighbouring and houses opposite on York Road
    • Restore the setting of Trinity Church as Landmark
    • Development on Church Road should envisage a more harmonious integration with surrounding listed buildings
    • Demolition and Construction traffic should be entirely excluded from York Road
      (Refer to the report of the Planning and Building Control Services Manager to WAPC -condition 17, October 2000)

  3. The story so far - the view of local residents

    First Planning application made by Crest Homes (30.11.1999)

    Local residents write to TWBC Planning Office urging them to reject planning application on numerous grounds including density (up to 11.01.2000)

    Local residents meet Crest Homes & local architects Fountain Flanagan, Briscoe (19.01.2000). They are assured residents will be consulted

    • First application refused by OFFICERS at delegated level (27.01.2000) on grounds of:

    1. scale, massing, roofscape, form, spatial characteristics, elevational treatment, building lines and impact on trees

    2. adverse impact on the setting of listed buildings in York Road and Church Road

    3. overbearing impact on the amenities of No. 27 York Road; the east facing elevation of the proposed Block 3 would have an unsatisfactory relationship with the existing building to the east, resulting in low levels of privacy and an overbearing effect; and the close proximity of both blocks to York Road would have an overbearing impact on the residential amenities of the dwellings opposite

    4. would involve the removal of significant trees

    Crest Homes appoint new architects, Sutters. New planning application made to TWBC. (21.07.2000)

    Local residents invited to attend meeting between developers & Civic Society. Only allowed to ask one question before meeting closed by Civic Society Chair Person. (27.07.2000)

    Many residents of the area submit their case for refusal of second planning application on the same grounds as the first one [THNA did not exist yet]

    Case referred to local Councillors of Western Area Planning Committee for decision.

    • Application rejected by Councillors (18.10.2000) on grounds of:

    1. scale, massing, roofscape, form, spatial characteristics, elevational treatment, building lines

    2. an adverse impact on the setting of listed buildings in Church Road

    The Telephone House Neighbours Association formed (02.12.2000) mainly to group the interests of individuals and to counter a possible appeal.

    Crest Homes appeal against decision (19.12.2000)

    Public Enquiry held (01.-04.05.2001).

    Inspector overturns Council's decision, Crest win case. Planning permission granted. (03.07.2001)

    Policy H6(a) of Local Plan Draft Deposit Copy approved by TWBC. (23.05.2001)
    Approves a framework for development of the site that ratifies the second application.

    Formal objection by THNA to Policy H6(a) (17.09.2001)

    TWBC holds internal review of planning processes (Lessons to be Learnt).
    THNA wishes to have an independent public inquiry to report to Council what went wrong and what lessons are to be learnt. (outcome not concluded)

    BT/Southgate sells to Crest (November 2001)

    Crest sell their interest to CALA Homes (April 2002)


  4. A summary of objections to the planning applications for the site

    Demolition & Construction
    - Heavy plant using York Road likely to cause structural damage to underground cellars and historic paving, plus unlikely to fit down narrow one way street

    Demolition
    - Asbestos removal - no clear proposals on how this would be managed

    Density
    - with 140 units/hectare : extravagant interpretation of government guidelines

    Density
    - far exceed levels of other comparable plots in Tunbridge Wells

    Loss of light
    - invasion of privacy for existing residents caused by wide building footprint and building height

    Mass & scale
    - offer no physical or visual amenity to the local community

    Building footprint
    - creates a "wind tunnel" of York Road

    Parking
    - poor facilities planned - bound to overspill onto already crowded street

    Access
    - By York Road only pushes all traffic into town centre via narrow one way street
    - A26 crossing problems

    Utilities
    - no surveys conducted to demonstrate that increased demand can be catered for

    Local contributions
    - none offered for education
    - no recreational amenities on site

    Habitat
    - No plans to replace existing trees with equivalent foliage

    Views
    - Main block still at a height where Trinity Church remains largely unseen from Mount Ephraim


  5. Why listen to the Telephone House Neighbours Association?

    Not development adverse
    Understands the views of immediate local community
    Able to gather wider support from significant numbers of town's population (800+ people of Tunbridge Wells wrote to the Planning Inspector objecting to the development)
    Internet site has over 20 hits a day - During 2002: we record 50-100 per day - In January 2003: we record 200 hits per day on the Internet site
    Story has interest of local press
    Local councillors believe we have made fair and reasonable points in articulate way
    Opportunity for CALA Homes to minimise risks during planning application and development phases
    Opportunity for CALA Homes to find a partner in THNA supporting a sympathetic development



    Notes of the Meeting : CALA Homes - The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Tunbridge Wells
    Peter Morse, Chairman of THNA, said that he is hopeful, because CALA Homes want to engage in a dialogue and it will be in the interest of all parties if CALA Homes see the possibility to review the plans which nobody in Tunbridge Wells finds acceptable


    Whom are we dealing with? - The developers of Telephone House, Tunbridge Wells

    The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Tunbridge Wells
    The aims are to heighten peoples' awareness and concern for the development on the Telephone House site, Church Road / York Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1