Letter from Barton Willmore Planning Partnership to TWBC - 18.09.2000

Evidence filed by Trevor A Sutters Partnership Architects, London
- Documentation resulting from Local Authority Consultation and Briefing Information -
for the Telephone House - Public Inquiry, 1 May 2001

Barton Willmore Planning
35 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent ME19 4BW

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Planning Department, Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells Kent TN1 1RS


18 September 2000

Dear Sirs,


I write with reference to the above application, as made valid on the 13th July. Having regard thereto, following the numerous meetings with yourselves and the Civic Society, and given your letter of the 6th September, please find enclosed herewith a full set of revised drawings. These drawings have been amended to accord with the comments received from the Civic Society, and your conservation colleagues, such that the front elevation of Block A has been revised to give a more clearly defined and 'apparent1 separation between the two elements of the block. The block itself incorporates 2 curved blocks with vertical window emphasis of traditional proportions as shown on the colour rendered elevations. Also included are contextural elevations along Church Road and York Road that illustrate the scale, form and materials of the proposed development in the context of both Church Road and York Road, which we trust you will find of assistance in proceeding to determine this application.

In addition, the revised drawings also address the comments raised in your letter of 6th September, in that they clearly indicate the manner in which the proposed parking spaces can be allocated to the individual apartments. The access width has not been reduced as requested given that in our opinion the width shown on the application drawings is necessary for adoption purposes. Similarly we have not chosen to increase the level of parking provision for the affordable housing units. As you will no doubt appreciate PPG 3 (housing) clearly indicates at paragraphs 60 and 61 that developers should not be required to provide more parking than they consider necessary to serve the needs of a development especially in urban areas where public transport is available.

This site is situated close to the town centre, and thus in our opinion is a sustainable location within which lower parking standards should be applied. Policy VP1 of the Local Plan refers specifically to the county parking standards, which acknowledge that parking standards are now a maximum rather than a minimum requirement (paragraph 1.5 of the 1999 standards), and that the level of provision may be altered allowing for the nature and location of any specific development. Given this site's location we trust that you will agree that there is no need in this instance for a greater level of parking provision to be made than that shown on the application drawings.

This aside, we will endeavour to forward plans detailing the current parking arrangements on site by the end of the week. These plans clearly indicate that the level of parking provision currently available on site greatly exceeds that proposed, and that similarly the current use of the site could potentially result in a greater level of traffic generation at peak times than the proposed use.

The revised drawings have also taken on board your concerns as to the potential for overlooking of the properties in Clarence Mews, such that the first and second floor balconies previously shown on the rear elevation of Block C have been removed and the plans amended to make provision for a small screening balustrade feature at first and second floor levels, to retain consistent sill level. As you will be aware from our discussions, we are of the opinion that the manner in which this proposed development reflects the traditional pattern of urban development is such that relationships like that between Block C and Clarence Mews are not atypical. Indeed this type of relationship is reflected in other situations close to the application site. Thus we trust that you will agree that the relationship between Block C and Clarence Mews is now satisfactory, and that the proposed development would not lead to any adverse harm to the amenities of the occupants of Clarence Mews. In this respect we would also ask that you have regard to the existing relationship between Telephone House and Clarence Mews where the proximity of Telephone House and degree of overlooking is significantly greater than that proposed by this development. Tree landscaping will also contribute to screening and amenity value for adjacent sites.

With regard to your concerns as to the proposed roofscape of the development, I can confirm as far as I am able, that there will be no external air conditioning units/plant, or lift mechanisms on the roof. On this basis, we would be happy to agree to a condition restricting the introduction of any roof-mounted equipment or housings without the prior written permission of the local planning authority.

With regard to your concerns as to the provision of the Health and Safety regulations, I can confirm that under the COM Regulations (1994), Crest Homes and its appointed Designers are obliged to undertake risk assessments identifying significant risks to all those who are involved in building, maintaining or repairing the structures proposed on this site, together with any other persons affected by these works.

We can confirm that any permanent fixings or protective measures required by these works be subject to the approval of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.

In addition to the above, I can confirm that discussions have recently taken place between Crest Homes and the owners of 27 York Road. These have established that the existing buttresses are not satisfactory, and Crest have therefore agreed to replace these as part of the development, in agreement with the owners. Whilst detailed matters of access and maintenance have yet to be fully resolved, there is clearly a willingness on behalf of both parties to ensure that this issue is resolved. This said, we do not feel that this relationship results in the need to serve notice on the occupants of this property under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development Order) 1995. We are also pleased to confirm that the proposed development has been designed in the full knowledge of the cellars both under the application site and under 27 York Road.

The proposed revisions also include a schedule of materials, and landscaping details. As agreed, we will endeavour to provide you with examples of the proposed materials for the committee meeting on 18th October. In the interim, following Schatunowski Brook's letter of the 11th September (copy enclosed), we can confirm that the sunlight and daylight calculations did include the form of all the roofs on site. Given your request for additional sunlight and daylight studies, we also have pleasure in enclosing details of the sunlight and daylight situation for June and September, from which you will note that the level of sunlight and daylight reaching the properties in York Road remains above the BRE guidelines, and there would be no adverse impact on the occupants of York Road.

Whilst we trust that the enclosed amendments and comments above will enable you to proceed to recommend this application favourably at your committee meeting on 18th October, we also understand that you need further clarification on certain maters raised by consultees, in particular the provision of children's play space, and associated provision of youth/adult play space. Whilst we understand that Policy R2 of the Local Plan, and your council's supplementary planning guidance require developers to make provision for children's play space, as well as adult/youth play space, we would question the need for the provision of such facilities on this site, or the need for off site contributions, given the nature of the proposed development. As you will no doubt appreciate, this development is for the construction of luxury apartments, and as such the nature of the intended occupants are not likely to include those with young children, or families. On this basis, we feel that the level of open space provided on site, and the site's proximity to Mount Ephraim is such that additional provision is not necessary on site. In addition, given the nature of the intended occupants of this site, we do not feel that there is a justification in this instance for any commuted payment in lieu of on site provision, as such a contribution would not be fairly or reasonable related to the proposed development, and thus the contribution would fall outside of the terms of circular 11/95. We would ask that in considering this matter further, you have regard to the fact that this development in facilitating improvements to the character and appearance of the conservation area, has had to accommodate certain economic realities, such that it is impractical to make provision for any form of play space.

This aside, we acknowledge the need to enter into a legal agreement to facilitate the transfer of Block D for affordable housing purposes, and would similarly like to enter into an agreement either unilaterally or via a Section 106 agreement to secure the routing of construction traffic through Church Road so as to preserve the amenities of the occupants surrounding properties during the construction period. In this respect, we can also confirm that we would be happy to discuss with you the wording of a suitable condition to control the construction hours, again to preserve the amenities of the occupants of surrounding properties.

On the basis of recent discussions, we trust that you will find the enclosed revisions satisfactory, and look forward to receiving confirmation from you that this application will now be reported to committee with a recommendation for approval on the 18th October. In this respect we would also appreciate the opportunity of discussing with you the most appropriate manner in which material can be presented to members at the committee meeting.

Yours faithfully

July 2000 - The footprint / layout of the proposed blocks of flats in comparison:
present Telephone House - 1st and 2nd planning applications submitted by Crest Homes (South East) Ltd and Southgate Developments Ltd

Back to Paul Huxley’s speech at the Public Inquiry in May 2001: Telephone House, Tunbridge Wells
Crest Nicholson (Agent: Barton Willmore) joint with BT's Southgate Developments versus Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

Back to Barbara Clarke’s speech at the Public Inquiry in May 2001: Telephone House, Tunbridge Wells,
Crest Nicholson (Agent: Barton Willmore) joint with BT's Southgate Developments versus Tunbridge Wells Borough Council