Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Wednesday 16th September 7.30pm

Development Control Committee

Country Skips, 79-83 Beddington Lane, Beddington: The planning department had been working with the developers of this site for a number of years to achieve the right facilities and minimise the potential impact on the area. The application planned to enable the facility to expand its operations to deal with more waste, but the operations would now be housed within buildings. The plans for the site showed a much improved aspect. There was a question over the designation of a piece of the land which had been concreted over but which had originally been designated part of a conservation area. As this land now had little conservation value and the application included contributions to nearby conservation projects it was felt acceptable to permit industrial use of this land. Questioning drew out the fact that there was likely to be minimal impact on traffic volumes and I ascertained that work was ongoing to reduce any impact on air pollution. I voted for this application and it was granted by the committee.

Sutherland House, 29 Brighton Road, Sutton: This was an application to transform an empty high rise office block close to Sutton Railway Station into a taller facility with retail and housing units together with a hotel and top storey bar and restaurant. The design was modern with the exterior able to be lit up at night in a variety of colour schemes. There had been some objections to the plans from neighbouring residences on the basis of reduced daylight and impact on parking. The opposition members concentrated on these objections to the scheme and we heard from local residents concerned about the impact the building would have on their homes. The report noted that efforts had been made to mitigate any negative effects of the building on its neighbours within the design and the effect on daylight was felt to be minimal as the building was already tall. I made the point that we had to balance the potential effects on the small number of local residences with the benefits that the conversion would bring. These benefits were additional housing, including affordable housing where there was currently none; employment opportunities for local residents; the improvement to an area which was run down and suffering from graffiti and other anti-social behaviour; and the fact that it was a gateway building that marked the start of the rejuvenation of Sutton town centre. As the existing building was empty and ugly I felt that the benefits outweighed the negatives and voted for the application. It was granted with a majority vote.

49-67 and land at rear Fellowes Road, Carshalton: This application was to demolish ten pre-cast Orlit houses and build thirty three-bedroomed and four four-bedroomed houses on the same site and on the overgrown & derelict land to the rear of the site. Having visited the site I felt that this was a much needed improvement and I was pleased to see three and four bedroomed houses being planned rather than flats. The development was in keeping with the area. As each house would have its own parking space the impact on residential parking was likely to be minimal & the gardens were of a good size & likely to improve the green attributes of the area rather than detract from them. I therefore voted to grant the application and it was approved by the committee.

48-50 Benhill Avenue, Sutton: This application was for the demolition of the Conservative Club building and its replacement with two blocks of flats. The development was within a controlled parking zone and had just two parking spaces provided on the grounds that as a town centre building residents would be able to use public transport. There were no objections to the loss of the Conservative club and it was not seen as a loss to the community because it was a private members club & therefore not open to the general public. Local residents made an impassioned plea about the effect the development would have on an already congested area in terms of parking. The resident next door to the development was extremely reasonable and only requested that the fencing separating the two properties should be more robust to prevent access from the flats to her property. It was proposed to make it a condition that residents occupying the flats would not be allowed to apply for a local parking permit. I was very concerned about the lack of parking spaces and pointed out that whilst it may not be necessary for the occupiers to have a car the reality was that many residents may still want to have one, and with or without a parking permit that would impact on the existing problems in the area. I therefore voted against the application, however the application was granted with a mixture of votes in favour from both sides of the political divide.

We had run out of time by this point so the remaining items were postponed with the exception of those applications from the Council which had been granted en masse earlier in the evening.

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October 19, 2009 - Posted by | Committee Meeting

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