MRA Chairman Councillor Stuart Selleck has written to Elmbridge Council raising concerns about the current application for the Hampton Court Station & Jolly Boatman site. His letter is is copied below.
Letter from Councillor Stuart Selleck to Elmbridge Council
As Chairman of the Molesey Residents Association, I am writing with our comments and objections to this proposed development.
The comments are not in any particular order of concern as all the points highlight the serious problems that we have with the current application.
1. Height and Massing of the Buildings.
In our view, the height of the proposed scheme exceeds that of the old Gladedale design. The developers have admitted that it’s 5ft 10in higher though we think it is even higher as there is some disagreement as to where the residential base line begins as car parking is to be provided in a basement floor and an undercroft .This is clearly visible from Alexpo ‘s drawings which shows the development to be at least one level too high.
The density of the development has increased from the Gladedale scheme as the space for the Care Home has been replaced with 97 residential units.The proposed Hotel on Hampton Court Way has increased the number of bedrooms to 84 and with the residential units, the building has a much larger footprint than the 2008 scheme.
The overall design, especially along Hampton Court Way, is poor. It has no empathy with the surrounding buildings ,the Palace nor the Station itself. There is a lost opportunity for a challenging design to get away from soulless slabs of brick for this very important site.
2. Car Parking Provision
Simply put…the development ‘s car parking provision will be totally inadequate.
We have serious concerns about how the developer arrived at the proposed number of parking places, the surveys which were carried out and their timings which has produced un realistic results.
Of the 207 spaces advertised by Alexpo, only 169 are unrestricted which would have to accommodate the parking needs of 97 flats and guests, 84 bedroom Hotel guests and staff as well as the current users of the Station car park , including visitors to the Palace, and shoppers at the supermarket and retail units. Common sense shows this doesn’t add up.
Parking in Molesey is a major problem for our residents and any added cars will only put further parking pressure on all the surrounding roads.
3. Affordable Housing
Alexpo’s scheme for 97 market value homes will only provide 12 affordable units set aside as “ shared equity “ . The Council Strategy seeks to provide 40% affordable housing on developments like this determined by particular circumstances including financial viability. The developers viability statement draws its comparison with the 7units agreed under the Gladedale scheme , but conveniently forgets that officers “ reluctantly “ accepted the lower figure because of the provision of the Royal Star and Garter Home with its social and charitable status when deciding on the application.
The current number is way below that which the Council should accept on this type of intensive development irrespective of its position in the Borough.
It’s difficult to make a complete accurate set of costing for the development, nor assumptions on potential sale values of the properties so we would respectfully recommend that the Council undertakes an independent review of the projects viability to challenge the low number of affordable units being provided.
4. Hampton Court Station
In the 2008 scheme, there was much debate about the refurbishment of the Station ,particularly the maintaining of the heritage features within it. In this application there is very little detail as to what is proposed for the Station which is worrying as it is an integral part of the overall scheme. We believe that it is essential that Network Rail provide comprehensive details on how they intend to repair and upgrade the Station.
5 . Other Issues.
It is not apparent that there has been much consideration of potential environmental features, namely solar panels , green roofs , recycling water etc…Nor of any proposals to tackle the increased air pollution resulting from extra traffic which would be generated on and around the site.
The 1999 Development Brief did take into account the Act of Parliament which restricts the height of buildings in and around Hampton Court Palace. Whilst it might be considered secondary to the planning process, in our view the covenant is still a crucial element in the determination of the height and scale of any buildings constructed in the area.
We have never been opposed to any development on the site if it is of an appropriate scale and design which reflects its location and the heritage of the area. Whilst we are pleased to see the ‘ jolly boatman ‘ area landscaped, it should not distract from the fact that this development is too dense, lacks necessary parking capacity, , lacks quality design , lacks environmental credentials and does not provide sufficient real affordable housing.
We urge the Council to reject this Application.
Chairman of the Molesey Residents Association.