Westfield and Hammerson Are Dragging Their Feet – Part 3

Continued from previous posting.

Transportation, Access and Parking

The new proposals are for one continuous car park at roof level with northern and southern access points as before. (Para 5.43), but

  • the southern access point from Wellesley Rd will be wider.’ (Para 5.44)
  • the northern access point is being reconfigured to enter and exit the site from Wellesley Road at a point opposite the junction with Sydenham Road.

‘This would require the provision of a right hand turn from the southbound carriageway on Wellesley Road and a new signalised junction at this point. The latest plans show a revised highway layout for Wellesley Road to accommodate this junction, with two lanes of general traffic and a bus lane northbound and on the southbound side of the carriageway, there would be 2 lanes of general traffic and south of the Sydenham Road junction, also a bus lane. The central medial would achieve a width of 7 metres along much of its length, in line with the Councils planned public realm improvement works on Wellesley Road.’ (Para. 5. 45)

‘The changes to the northern access mean that the eastern end of Poplar Walk can remain as one-way for vehicular traffic. This means that there is opportunity for public realm improvements and the planned contraflow cycle lane (forming part of Quietway 5, between Waterloo and Croydon), can remain and be more readily achieved along the full length of Poplar Walk. This, along with the proposed area of public realm and the potential for improving the setting and views of the Grade I Listed church, is seen as a positive aspect of the proposed changes to the scheme.’ (Para 5.46)

Discussions continue on the need to ensure that ‘there is no significant detrimental impact on the safety of pedestrians using the western footway on Wellesley Road.(Para 5.47)

The proposed plans have taken the Council’s planned Wellesley Rd public realm improvement works into account.

(P)edestrian modelling will be needed ‘to assess the acceptability’ of proposed pavement widths, and the impact on visitors to the shopping centre and on bus passengers using the stops on Wellesley Road. (Para 5.48)

‘The developer has been undertaking traffic modelling work with Transport for London (TfL).’ Para 5.49)

(M)odelling will be used to determine the acceptability of the revised layout on tram, traffic and bus capacity and movements on Wellesley Road and the surrounding network.’ (Para 5.49)

Other information the developer will need to provide is on:

  • the service arrangements for the residential component
  • how the service vehicles would access and exit the site
  • the number, location and access to blue badge parking for the residential component; (Para 5.50)
  • proposed car and cycle parking
  • a parking strategy detailing management of internal car parking, blue badge, electric vehicles and servicing
  • assessment of all parking and traffic proposals on achieving ‘air quality neutral or better objectives.’ (Para 5.52)
  • construction Impacts (Para 5.53)

Improvements  will be secured under the Section 106 agreement. (Para 5.54)

Public Realm and Landscaping

The developer ‘will need to ensure that’ the Council’s public realm works ‘are retained’. ‘Discussions are ongoing with the developer in relation to how the proposed building form will meet the site boundary along Wellesley Road and the back edge of the pavement on the western side of Wellesley Road. The developer is exploring ways to provide an enhanced pedestrian environment as part of the proposals.’ (Para 5.55)

‘More information is required in relation to understanding pavement widths, the pedestrian environment and how pedestrians are able to cross vehicle access points. Wellesley Road needs to be considered in its entirety to understand relationships between pavement widths, the location of bus stops and how these interact with the entrances to the retail centre and individual residential tower entrances. Options for how the building line can step in and out at lower levels to accommodate entrances, street furniture and landscape proposals and to ensure there is sufficient space on pavements to accommodate uses and users, while maintaining a legible and consistent building line above to define and enclose Wellesley Road needs to be fully examined and justified. Design development by the developer has started looking at how the building line can be set back and landscaping areas created. The locations of bus stops in relation to these areas are also starting to be explored. Discussions are ongoing on this matter and further design development will need to take place to develop initial concepts.’ (Para 5.56)

‘Discussions have not progressed to a stage where this “design guideline‟ level of detail has been finalised for the current proposals. However, the pedestrian north-south route remains and the three pedestrian east-west routes remain in a similar location as that consented. Few details have been provided …. but more detail has been provided in relation to the 24 hour pedestrian east-west route.’ (Para 5.59)

‘The 24 hour pedestrian east-west route in the approved scheme is predicated on a key design principle of a high quality strategic route from East Croydon station to Old Town. A galleria “street like‟ character was previously proposed, the character being derived from its legibility, scale, height and openness, albeit in a covered context. There is a concern that doors at either end of the route reduce the extent to which the route could knit seamlessly into surrounding streets and provide an acceptable strategic route in design terms, and most appropriately breaking down the previously impermeable block of the Whitgift Centre. The importance of this route is derived from both its provision of a physical route for pedestrians, but also because it opens up views from one side of the urban block to the other with no walls or doors at either end to impede physical or visual connections. The design guidelines for the approved application reflected the importance of this principle by specifying that this route would be a minimum of 12m wide at ground floor (16m above), open at both ends, covered with a glazed canopy (allowing a maximum of 30% to be nonglazing) and publicly accessible 24 hours a day. This was to ensure an environment and character that read as close as possible as an external space protected only by a glass roof and open at both ends.’ (Para 5.60)

‘However, the information submitted to date for the currently proposed 24 hour pedestrian east-west route incorporates doors at either end of the route and solid spans across the majority of the roof so to accommodate roof level car parking on the eastern side and leisure uses on the western side. This results in development across the roof of the route for the majority of its length. This would mean that the concept of an open galleria street like route would be significantly compromised, without changes to the plans. The doors would provide a physical barrier along this route, impacting on the connectivity of the surrounding townscape, and the predominantly solid roof covering created by the insertion of new food courts at first floor level and above on part of the western side of the 24 hour pedestrian east-west route, which risks creating an enclosed internal mall like character which is contrary to the design guidelines for the approved application. Plans that have been discussed to date show that the height of the roof of this route is only 6 metres high at its lowest point (which is to the west of the north-south route alignment) and also appears narrower than the route in the approved scheme. The resulting scale, nature and roof height of the route as seen at this stage is therefore considered inadequate and unsatisfactory. On a positive note, changes have been made to the internal ground floor level of the route, with it now proposed as being gently sloping up from North End to the Wellesley Road level. This is a great improvement on the approved scheme and the earlier iterations of these proposals, when the level change between North End and Wellesley Road was dealt with by way of escalators and stairs. The gradual change in levels is a more sophisticated design response, facilitating ease of access and is an improvement. However this gradual ramping of floor levels has exacerbated the overall lack of height from floor to ceiling, specifically a pinch point to the western side of the alignment of the north-south route.’ (Para 5.61)

The ‘officers remain to be convinced that the currently proposed characteristics of the 24 hour pedestrian east-west route are an acceptable solution.

  • The development principles of the current approved scheme for this route ‘should not be compromised’
  • The route should be open and galleria street like as is the case in the consented application design guidelines, as well as providing a strong visual connection between North End and Wellesley Road.’ (Para 5.62)
  • ‘It is important to avoid creating a preference of the north-south route over the 24 hour pedestrian east-west route in retail attractiveness as far as possible and to avoid an unacceptable detrimental effect on North End.’ (Para 5.63)

Effects on Residents

Given the changes in the northern area near the scheme site such as Saffron Square and Delta Point being converted to residential (Para 5.64), the ‘proposed development will need to ensure’ that it ‘limits any detrimental impact on these residential occupiers’ of these schemes. (Para 5.65)

‘Discussions have not yet reached the point where specifics of residential layouts have been discussed.’

  • No external communal residential amenity space is shown.
  • The uppermost floor of car parking would be open to the elements, rather than covered by a deck.
  • ‘This removes the possibility of utilising this space for residential amenity or any other use.’
  • ‘The developer has indicated that residential amenity space would be provided vertically within the proposed residential towers.’

‘Officers are concerned that the proposed roofscape is a lost opportunity to provide external residential or public amenity space, the incorporation of sustainable design concepts/ green roofs and the encouragement of biodiversity. There are concerns that the visual amenity of the adjacent apartments would be poor. (Para 5.66)

‘Given the scale of the roof as a “fifth elevation‟, the lack of covering or screening has adverse impacts on the visual amenity of not only future occupants of the residential towers of the scheme but also of other taller adjacent developments.’ (Para 5.67)

‘(P)particular attention needs to be given to the location and quality of amenity spaces to ensure that appropriate floorspace and amenity are provided and that innovative design solutions are employed to avoid a proliferation of single aspect units. (Para 5.68)

Environment and Sustainability Issues

The Planners make it clear that the new proposals will require evidence with respect to environmental and sustainability issues.

  • ‘The sustainability aspects of the development have not been discussed in detail at this stage.’ ‘Required elements will be secured by condition.’ (Para 5.69)
  • Connectivity to any future Croydon District Heating Network can be secured through the S.106 Agreement and by conditions on pipe work. (Para 5.70)
  • A flood risk assessment and sustainable drainage solutions will be required. (Para 5.71-2)
  • The Environmental Impact Assessment will need to include assessment of the contaminated land, air quality, and noise and vibration and wind and microclimate impacts of the development. (Para 5.73-5 & 8)
  • A ‘Phase 1 habitat survey will be required to assess the new proposals and also to make sure that the nothing has changed on the site that may have an impact on biodiversity.’ (Para 5.76)
  • ‘The roof of the proposal has the potential to incorporate green roofs and improve biodiversity. This needs to be further explored by the developer…’ (Para 5.57)
  • Given the construction of tall buildings, ‘provision will be required to be made in the  S106 agreement ….. for mitigation, should interference or deterioration occur to television signals in the locality.’ (Para 5.79)
  • ‘The proposed development is a major development and therefore ….. must strive to intercept, store and attenuate as much surface water as possible, working to achieve as close to greenfield runoff rates as possible. (Para 6.75)

Other Issues

The Planners make it clear that the developer will need to:

  • ensure the scheme is ‘accessible to all and provide an access statement. Para 5.80)
  • engage with the Metropolitan Police ‘ to ensure that’ the design ‘minimises and discourages crime.’ (Para 5.81)

Phasing

‘The latest plans are for the residential elements along Wellesley Road to be constructed independently from the retail/leisure elements of the scheme. Whilst this has positive features in terms of ease of construction, sufficient meanwhile uses for the residential land and strong design of the eastern elevation of the retail/leisure element will need to be provided and secured by planning condition to ensure an acceptable appearance until the residential phase comes forward. The separation of the residential and retail uses also puts pressure on the development space which contributes to the identified lack of external amenity space …. Further discussion with the developer is needed in this respect and it will be important to deal with the timing of the residential phase in relation to the retail/leisure phase.’ (Para 5.83)

CIL and S106 Agreement

The Council’s CIL charge schedule adopted April 2013 will apply and there will be a Section 106 agreement. (Para 5.84-5).

‘The starting point for the Section 106’ discussions will be the mitigation measures that were secured for the consented scheme. Any additional impacts as a result of the changes will also need to be mitigated.’ (Para 5.86)

Affordable Housing and Employment

The Planners state clearly ‘There is a strong officer expectation that negotiations would need to take place around the delivery and level’ of:

  • affordable housing
  • ‘employment and training clauses alongside an appropriate level of financial contributions to reflect the Council’s approach to job brokerage – making sure that training and recruitment is directed proactively towards local people seeking work and related training opportunities. Early discussion in this respect is strongly encouraged.’ (Para 5.87)
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About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly, and am a member of the latter's Environment Forum. I am a member of the 5 Norbury Residents Associations Joint Planning Committee, and a Governor of Norbury Manor Primary School. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and advise the North East People's History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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One Response to Westfield and Hammerson Are Dragging Their Feet – Part 3

  1. Pingback: Croydon Patrnership’s revised plans for Whitgift development… | CCC

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