Application 20/01129 - Moorbridge Court and Liberty House at 29 to 53 Moorbridge Road
Comments on Application 20/01129 - Moorbridge Court and Liberty House
at 29 to 53 Moorbridge Road
Construction of 5 residential blocks comprising 130 units together with associated landscaping, car parking and infrastructure - following demolition of existing buildings.
These two office blocks have current Permitted Development for change of use to residential units - Moorbridge Court for 40 units with 51 parking spaces and Liberty House for 30 units with 49 spaces. Many of these residential units were below the Nationally Described Minimum Space Standard offering unsatisfactory restricted living space. The building footprint was unchanged it was possible to offer an adequate level of parking provision on the site (1.3 spaces per dwelling).
This application, whilst an imaginative concept is for a much more intense development of the site. The footprint area being built upon to deliver 5 blocks has been increased, as has the overall height of the residential blocks which range from three storeys to ten storeys. The total proposed units number 130 with only 66 parking spaces representing 0.51 units per dwelling.
It is appreciated that Block E on the southwest corner of the site has been limited to three storeys to protect the setting of the listed building - previously the Gardeners Arms. The bulk of the development is 4 to 6 storeys in height which is acceptable. We do not accept that a "landmark" block of 10 storeys is acceptable or desirable. The site is away from the town centre and it is not desirable to extend 10-storey buildings to the east of Forlease Road. Indeed the Area Action Plan for the town centre envisaged high rise developments to be concentrated to the north and west of the town centre. If this development is permitted, the approach to Maidenhead from the east - along Bridge Road will be visually dominated by the 10 storeys of Block C. The Planning Statement refers to the ongoing developments permitted or under construction in York Road and St Ives Road but these are limited to 7 or 8 storeys. The proposed 10 storey block is excessive and indeed the St Cloud Gate application (of a similar height) to the north of the "ring road" has already been refused.
The scheme comprises 73 x 1-bed, 53 x 2-bed and 4 x 3-bed dwellings - totalling 130 units. Maidenhead is experiencing an oversupply of 1 and 2 bed flats. In the year to March 2019 of the 705 new dwelling units completed in Maidenhead 507 were 1 or 2 bed flats - 86%. The site does not support 130 flats and neither will future market demand. The scale of the development should be reduced by up to one third by limiting the height of the 10-storey block, and reducing the number of blocks to 4. The released ground area should be used to provide increased parking. Although the vast majority of proposed dwellings benefit from a balcony, the proposed amenity space is limited for the number of dwellings and should be increased. We object to the height, mass and volume of this overdevelopment and would prefer a scaled back scheme of maybe 90 units with 90 parking spaces.
A schedule of accommodations has not been identified within the documentation. It is to be hoped that all residential units will be of the minimum size as specified by Nationally Described Space Standards.