This represented a big win for the neighbourhood as the site has been plagued by application after application without any work ever beginning. Clearly those who controlled the site have been seeking to hold out as long as possible with speculative proposals while the area around them increased in value. They have had an approved plan for the site in place since 1995!
Led by Committee Chairman Paul Convery, the Committee felt that the last approved plan for the site, granted to the same developer back in 2002, really set the outer limits for development of this site. And while the Committee was generally pleased with the character of the newly submitted plan, the consensus was that it represented overdevelopment for the size of the site because of its proposed height and mass. However, the Committee made it clear that they would consider the new application more favourably if it was re-submitted as a smaller version – something that all the objectors would also most likely support.
Although the new 2007 plan was refused, the Applicant’s representatives told the Committee that they had now commenced work on the 2002 approved plan (which would have expired two days ago), by paying the Council £150,000 in S106 monies, and by starting their foundations. However, local residents remain sceptical, as the relatively small-sized hole recently dug looks suspiciously like another attempt to try to extend the life of their 2002 approval. Progress on the site will now be closely monitored to ensure work progresses.
The success of residents gaining refusal of this new yet larger plan was down to the work of many local folks who wrote letters (56 letters for both the initial and secondary consultations), attended the planning meeting last night, who spoke at the meeting on behalf of those who could not attend.
An important note of thanks should also be extended to our Caledonian Ward Councillors: Paul Convery (Chair of the Committee), and Rupert Perry, and Emily Fieran-Reed (Councillor for St. Mary’s Ward). Each spoke eloquently detailing their objections to the plan and on the rocky history of this site. All stressing the Council’s and the resident’s desire for the Applicant to get on with building under the existing approved plan.
The saga continues, watch this space for future developments.