Application 17/02812 - Land including Thames Auto Sales,

Comments on Application 17/02812 - Land including Thames Auto Sales, The Amber Centre and former Unit 5 Oldfield Road.

Outline application for demolition of existing buildings, erection of a 3 storey building in the southern part of the site, erection of a part 2/part 3/part 4 storey building in the northern part of the site to provide 67 residential dwellings and associated parking

We commented on the similar withdrawn application 16/03446 on 21st December 2016. Our objections to this new application remain largely as before. We note that the Design and Access Statement for this current application refers to improvements being made in four areas: bulk and massing along Oldacres, flooding, drainage and impact on trees. However the essential issues regarding the excessive number of apartments, the height, bulk and mass in the larger northern block, and the substandard size of many of the apartments have not been addressed.

The total of 67 dwellings is excessive and beyond the 30 dwellings what were originally proposed as the combined identified capacity in the January 2014 Preferred Options site allocations. This proposed density represents overdevelopment in an unrelenting drive to deliver numbers, with little regard to the quality of life, internal living space, outdoor amenity space or the impact on neighbours. As stated in our letter of December 2016 we believe that this site supports a number of units between the Preferred Options total of 30 and the proposed number of 67 - say 45 dwellings.

A reduction in the number of dwellings will enable the height of the northern block to be reduced. The height should be restricted to three storeys, and a lower number of dwellings might facilitate a reduction in parking spaces, so that undercroft parking is not necessary. Fewer units will also make it possible to increase the size of many flats which are below the National Minimum Standard. 50 sq. mtrs. is required for a 2 person 1 bed flat, and 70 sq. mtrs. for a 4 person 2 bed apartment. The schedule of accommodation shows that of the 67 proposed dwellings a total of 20 are below these standards. Some plots are only marginal - but the worst example is Plot 12 in Block B which is only 58 sq. mtrs. against a recommended 70 sq mtrs. The RBWM should not allow undersized dwellings to be added to the housing stock. Unless minimum standards are enforced by the planning authority, developers will always try it on.

In summary we OBJECT to this proposal on the grounds of height, bulk and mass to the north of the site, the substandard size of many apartments, lack of amenity space and the resultant overdevelopment which a total of 67 apartments generates.