22.02.2000 - File Notes by Chris Howe, Architect Trevor Sutters Partnership, London
submitted in March 2001 as Proof of Evidence for the Appeal Crest Nicholson/Southgate Developments versus Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

The Project :
Telephone House, Church Road and York Road, Tunbridge Wells

[BT's Southgate Developments / Crest Nicholson}

FILE NOTE:1.00 pm

CH spoken to Tunbridge Wells Boro Council Alan Legg
Conservation Strategy Officer, confirmed that the development brief for the site has now been typed but prior to any issue it has been agreed that it must be circulated through the planning team internally. AL suggests that it is likely to be ready for tabling at the proposed meeting 10.03.00.

Off the record we discussed the fact that as the developer has already been through the rejection and now reappointing design team for presentation that issue of a development brief at that meeting may be a little late in terms of defining the parameters which planning will impose. AL expects that it will be the yardstick used to measure any new proposals:

In answer to some pertinent questions put by CH:

  1. There are no density standards being applied / no HRPH figures etc.
  2. There is no minimum room sized under the Kent planning only work to common sense sizes. nom. urban min for
    1 bed - 50 sqm
    2 Bed - 65 sqm
    Both these figures need an uplift for regional 20% standard ie:60 sqm, 85 sqm

Some elements were weaned out of AL and particularly his design massing drawings prepared as part of the brief.

- Highway Site Access: single access is all that is realistic from York Road. Due to concerns over structural disruption to no. 27 it is felt that this must be in the centre of the site with 2-2.5 storey's to the Trinity House and 3-3.5 to No. 27 York Road.

- Internal site access to slope down under podium to lower ground level parking to front of site (upto rear of front block and perhaps under).

- Depth of front block shown in AL design as 14.5-15m depth (apparently double aspect although no real consideration has been given to the circulation and access.

- Overlooking this is anticipated to need to be reduced from 21 m to 16m

NOTE: it is confirmed that the planning officers clearly see the need to develop the site and that this brings with it a commercial viability factor. AL suggests that one view that may well be taken is agreement on the overall site configuration with negotiations on the final storey heights allowed, it is clearly accepted by the planning officers that in order to get the site developed that 'BIG' compromises must be accepted from planning standards.
The opposition to this is the members as a result of local resident pressure. View in Tunbridge is that any change is bad, even if it is for the better.

DENSITY - Cramming ? Lifestyle ?
The high density development of Telephone House, Tunbridge Wells

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

Back to William Bennett’s speech at the Public Inquiry in May 2001:
BT's Southgate Developments / Crest Nicholson versus TWBC