Application 20/01409 - Statesman House / Braywick Gate
Comments on Application 20/01409 - Statesman House / Braywick Gate
A hybrid planning application including a FULL application for the demolition of Statesman House and the erection of an office Building A including car and cycle parking, landscaping, public realm and associated works. An OUTLINE application for the demolition of Braywick Gate and erection of 2 buildings - office Building B and residential building both with car and cycle parking, landscaping, public realm and associated works
We note that this application is in two parts - detailed permission for Statesman House and outline proposals for Braywick Gate and an additional residential block of flats on the current parking lot which serves the existing office buildings. We are commenting on the site as a whole.
This is a landmark site on the main approach road from the M4 and the south. The existing office buildings are distinctive and relatively modern. It is assumed that the reconfiguration of the site and the demolition and rebuilding of the two existing offices is to increase the total office space and facilitate office parking (largely underground) within the new office structures. It is not clear that this is ecologically desirable in carbon footprint terms - but of course it does free up the existing surface parking lot as a site for development.
In terms of height of the proposed offices the prevailing seven storeys is acceptable for the landmark location. In terms of bulk and mass the visual impact of the detailed schematic elevations of Statesman House (Building A) is more satisfactory and varied than the outline treatment indicated for Braywick Gate (Building B). The elevations indicated for Building B are uniform and block-like and lacking in variety and indentation. The Residential Block C at 9 storeys is of similar height to the offices and the elevations are heavily balconied - which adds interest to the facades.
Adequate parking provision is a key letting requirement for offices in Maidenhead - in spite of proximity to the railway station. Existing parking spaces for the two offices number 342, many of which are on the surface car park which is proposed as the site for the new residential block. The detailed application for Block A provides 141 spaces which are largely underground. This would appear to be satisfactory even for the increased office space. However, the outline proposal for office Block B - 49 spaces and residential Block C - 56 spaces is grossly inadequate. The Transport Statement indicates a RBWM requirement of 100 spaces for Block B and 70 spaces for Block C. In overall terms the total parking provision over the entire site has been reduced from 342 existing spaces to 310 - which is a significant reduction considering the much greater intensity of development. However many parking spaces are provided the proportion of electric vehicle charging points should be greater than the proposed10% if the switch away from fossil fuels is to be delivered.
Whatever the landscaping, public realm and amenity space proposals have for planting, it is regrettable that 41 trees are to be lost across a site that does not have that many. More effort should be made to retain existing trees.
It has to be queried whether Building C is a suitable location for a new residential block of 115 flats. In the Design and Access Statement it is referred to as being in danger of being a "left out space" in the Masterplan. It will be surrounded by office blocks to the south and west, the railway embankment to the north and an electricity substation and a multi storey car park to the east. Strategically RBWM needs to increase public parking capacity in the Stafferton Way area. The defunct Nene Overland site on Vicus Way is scheduled as a multi storey car park - which is largely unpopular with the residents of The Loftings. We would support a land swap or similar arrangement which we believe would be a better solution for the community by extending the existing MSCP westwards onto the site of Building C. The Vicus Way site could then be developed residentially. Furthermore, a pedestrian bridge link could then be constructed between the MSCP and Platform 1 of Maidenhead Station. We have long supported the idea of this safe and secure commuter facility.
As it stands we object to the proposal because of the inadequate parking provision across the scheme and the unsuitable location of Building C for residential development.