Councillors and committees
18/12119/FUL - 34 Surrey House, Eden Street
Demolition of existing buildings to provide 2,072sqm commercial floorspace (Flexible Use Class A/D1/D2) & 311 residential units, along with associated communal amenity space, public realm improvements, servicing, plant areas & extended car park to provide 4 additional half decks. This application is accompanied by an Environmental Statement.
Speakers on the application
Anthony Evans Kingston upon Thames Society
Toby Hiscock Kingston Town Conservation Area Advisory Committee
In their consideration of the report and the points made by the speakers, the Committee considered whether the proposed design would realise the potential of the site and the opportunities for contributing to the character and quality of the area.
The concerns expressed related to:
- the height, bulk, scale and mass of the development;
- the design quality;
- the impact on the Old Town Conservation Area and the degree of harm to the setting of the Old Post Office and the United Reformed Church;
- the significant shortfall in providing 30% of housing units which are family sized without adequately demonstrating that this is not financially viable;
- The proposed improvements to the public realm not reflect the aims of the Eden Quarter SPD 2015; and,
- the detrimental impact on the night time economy due to the loss of the Hippodrome nightclub is not outweighed by the proposed mitigation and financial contribution.
The independent specialist heritage advice on the potential harm to each of the heritage assets was considered carefully and whilst recognising the tests of harm in legislation relating to listed buildings and conservation, it was felt that there may be a case for reviewing the judgement of ‘less than substantial harm’ to the Old Post Office.
Taking account of the officer report, the policies applying to the site and the views of an independent design panel it was resolved that:
The Committee agrees that, had the application been before the Committee as the decision maker, they would have resolved to REFUSE planning permission for the following Reasons:
1. The built form by reason of its form, bulk, scale, detailing, mass, and materials is of a poor design and fails to take the opportunities available for improving the character and quality of the area and the way it functions. As such the development is contrary to Paragraph 124 of the NPPF, 2019, policies 3.5, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6 and 7.7 of the London Plan, 2016, policies CS3, DM10 and DM11 of the Core Strategy, 2012.
2. The public realm has not taken the opportunity to secure maximum urban greening and the built form does not activate and appropriately frame the public realm. As such, it is considered that the development fails to take the opportunities available for improving the character and quality of the area and the way it functions. As such the development is contrary to Paragraph 124 of the NPPF, 2019, policies 3.5, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6 and 7.7 of the London Plan, 2016, policies CS3, DM10 and DM11 of the Core Strategy, 2012.
3. The proposed development would result in less than substantial harm to the significance of the Grade II Listed Old Post Office and the Old Town Conservation Area. This harm is not outweighed by public benefits. As such, the development is contrary to Paragraph 196 of the NPPF, 2019, Policies 7.8 of the London Plan, 2016 and policies CS8, DM10 and DM12 of the LDF Core Strategy, 2012.
4. The development has failed to incorporate a mix of unit sizes and types to meet the identified housing needs of the Borough. The applicant has failed to demonstrate that the delivery of 30% of the units as family units would be unsuitable or unviable. As such, the development is contrary to Policy DM13 of the LDF Core Strategy, 2012.
5. The proposed development has failed to deliver the maximum amount of affordable housing units, thereby conflicting with Policy 3.12 of the London Plan, 2016 and policies CS10 and DM15 of the LDF Core Strategy, 2012.
6. Impact on the night time economy (and loss of community facility) - the detailed wording to be agreed in consultation with the Chair
To delegate to the Corporate Head of Planning, or duly authorised officer, powers to defend the Council's position at appeal. This delegation shall extend to the amendment of the Council's case where deemed necessary or appropriate. Any material changes shall be first agreed in consultation with the Chairman of the Planning Committee, or in their absence, Vice Chair of the Planning Committee. - the detailed wording to be agreed in consultation with the Chair and shall also extend to (the outcome of) a further assessment of the level of harm to heritage assets.