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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Rejected planning application sets ‘dangerous precedent’

Hounslow Council has rejected a developer’s planning application to add two extra storeys to a housing block after councillors said approval would set a ‘dangerous precedent’. Whitelocke House on Lampton Road, Hounslow is a converted commercial space with 32 homes – the developer’s plan was to add eight more and use a local park to make up for the lack of communal space for residents.

However, the plan received 13 reactions from neighbours, including people who live underneath the planned expansion. Three of them attended the meeting at Hounslow House to explain their opposition.

They told councillors that the building was already facing issues with maintenance including the lift constantly needing repairs, leaks from the roof, the building shaking when planes fly overhead, and poor waste management. One of the objectors said: “[Management] can’t keep up with the current demands by the current number of residents.” This, they said, was despite the landlord ‘doubling the service charge’.

He added that the lack of waste management means ‘our flats stink, to put it bluntly’. Residents reasoned that if the population density of the building was to increase it would only deepen the issues many are facing.

Neighbours were also worried about living underneath a construction site for months. In the developer’s representation, it insisted that it met the standards required for things like bins, as did its expansion plan.

2-4 Lampton Road rjected plans for two storey extension. Permission for use by all LDRS partners. Image: Hounslow Council

The project’s representative added that measures would be taken to limit the amount of disruption the construction would cause including a dust and noise management plan and constructing some parts of the project off-site.

He added that the plan ‘provides much needed housing’. However, the concerns over population density resonated with councillors who had their own issues to do with the amount of amenity space offered to residents of the new flats.

In the plan, recommended for approval, the developer would have to pay a fee to make up for the fact that it had not provided enough communal space for new residents. This amounted to a payment of around £5,300 to the management of Lampton Park, which would be used for outdoor space by the new residents who had insufficient communal space at home.

Cllr John Stroud-Turp zeroed in on the plan’s use of Lampton Park to seemingly bend regulatory rules. “Personally, I am not sure this is a road that we would want to go down in so much as it opens the door to any park being a usable communal space.”

Cllr Tony Louki said the payment to the park should be at least doubled and that the developer has got off ‘lightly’. Cllr Stroud-Turp reiterated this sentiment saying it would be ‘dangerous’ to set a precedent where this was acceptable and adding that residents ‘deserved better’.

“How much would 95m2 actually cost a developer to put in? A lot more than 5000 quid in fact probably 10 times £5,000,” he said. “We are being bought off this by throwing Lampton Park into the mix. £5,000 wouldn’t even get us a new set of signs for Lampton Park let alone new amenities.”

After some back and forth between council officers and the meeting chair, the vote was brought forward and the plan was rejected.

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