Development at 204 -210c Cambridge Road and part of Kingsmeadow: Application 20/02216
Yet another issue for Norbiton and overdevelopment in an Area of Deficiency to access to open space: loss of biodiversity, development of land destined for leisure but a very sad destruction of a population of slow worms.
1) the ecology survey (July 2020) does not appear cover the site under application, missing a substantial portion, which has subsequently been added and taken from land belonging to Leisure Services. As a priority protected species was discovered the ecology survey requires updating to cover the entire area.
2) The same is almost certain to apply to the tree survey, which although provides no diagram showing the position of the site trees (unprofessional), was conducted on 06.05.2020, before the ecology survey.
3) I agree with the Council's Design Panel recommendation that "the applicant is encouraged to place a financial value on trees to ensure their value on site is considered" Why isn't this happening? The recommendation was just ignored completely.
4) I agree with Kingston's design review panel - the soft landscaping and gardens should be in the South and the car parking in the North, not the opposite, as proposed. An additional reason, not mentioned by them, is the lack of direct sunlight on the proposed garden area to the North and NNW; it will be in almost permanent shade from the building itself and colder, especially during Winter. Hardly the environment that reptiles would thrive in (although the area is small for the number of residents, let alone allowing any wildlife, apart from a few insects.) Residents are not likely to enjoy it (people like south-facing gardens for good reason) and the garden and play area are also sited closer to the air pollution of the Cambridge Road. Why not have these amenities to the South, looking towards the current green space? It seems very poor design.
5) This application seems very rushed and versions are unclear to me and I assume to anyone else reading the documents submitted by the applicant, or their more limited public consultation. Even the council officer responding to the design brief consultation says as much in Barton Willmore's Design & Access Statement Part 6: "Development Brief: the below mentioned 4 projects are only the first four of 16+ projects to come forward. As such, it is important that all lessons learnt are being applied in the future 12+ projects. This also highlights the importance of the brief previously being developed and the client requirements set out. In the DRP the brief was presented as a "draft" and it wasn't made clear whether the applicant is still working on that document or has it now been superseded for the 12+ potential sites in the future as well: would be good to get some clarity on this as a lot of work went into the development of that document and we've been previously involved in this document's development too."
Please could the documents be re-submitted with the chronology/dating made clear for the public, and where there have been major changes (such as site boundary expansion) an explanation plus a clear description somewhere of the evolution of the design. The boundary changes are not in B&W's explanation on the evolution despite some of the surveys being done within the previous site's boundary.
6) A large part of the site is not brownfield - as described in the application. I am very concerned that the additional land added part way through the design of this development is not brownfield but land belonging to Kingston Leisure Services, which I understand from nearby residents, is used for recreation. This was only discovered recently by looking through the application and seeing a different site boundary in some documents. Nowhere in this application is this made clear and as such it is a disingenuous and undemocratic planning application. Residents should be allowed to comment knowing the land classification, that there will be a loss of leisure service land for the development and have an explanation as to why, especially if a protected species is to be at risk of elimination.
7) The cumulative impact of development and planned development (school, Arrow Plastics) is unacceptable for this area, already very deprived of open space. There is too little for people and even less for any wildlife. The area adjacent to this site should be enhanced as green space for both; there are few opportunities to provide such and this is a rare opportunity to do so.
8) With this particular development, there are only recommendations as to ecological plans and nothing in response from the developer in the application documents. It is unacceptable at this stage of the planning process to have no declared plans in mitigation. The ecology report suggest the slow worms could be encouraged to move on - but to where? Where are the suitable grassed areas? There is no room on this site. Even if somewhere adjacent and suitable is found, this and the potential developments (school, Arrow Plastics) will occupy much, if not most of the area. Slow worms and any other existing wildlife will be eradicated - they, like humans require more than 'pocket' grassed patches because they have to have a certain amount of land to sustain their population with food.