PG Group have submitted a new planning application for Blocks E and F – the two blocks of houses at the rear of the site. Full details of the planning application can be found on the Council’s website. There will be a community meeting to discuss the proposals – see end of this post for details.
The proposal is to replace the 3 x 4 bed and 5 x 3 bed family sized houses (given planning permission in 2015), for which there is probably limited demand in this location, with a single block of 28 affordable flats.
The proposed flats will comprise 20 x 1 bed two person flats and 8 x 2 bed three person flats.
More affordable units will help meet local housing needs and is something that CAG and the community have been pushing for for a long time.
The final development will now comprise:
- 95 x 1 bed flats
- 35 x 2 bed flats
- 8 x 3 bed flats
- Total 138 flats
- Of which 38 (28%) will be affordable. There will be 25 x 1 bed affordable flats and 13 x 2 bed affordable flats.
The affordable flats will be managed by Sovereign Housing Association, along with the shared ownership units in Block D.
The CAG Liaison Group was shown early plans just before Christmas for a scheme comprising 19 social rent and 14 shared ownership flats. We submitted comments on these proposals at the time since when the scheme has been amended.
Details of the proposals are as follows:
Housing tenure: The existing 2015 planning permission was for 8 houses for market sale or rent. The proposed changes shown to us before Christmas comprised a mix of social rent and shared ownership flats. It is now for affordable shared ownership flats only. “Affordable” = 80% of market value.
Footprint: The two blocks are now merged into one ‘L’ shaped block. The footprint is slightly larger, mostly with the south west facade extending further towards the south west.
Height: At its highest point the building is now one storey higher than the 2015 permissioned scheme. There is also a new lower ground floor, although this does make use of the existing ground levels, which are 2.5m lower at this end of the site, whereas the permissioned scheme would require the ground level to be increased by the equivalent of one storey. Most of the building is therefore five stories in height, with the lower part four stories.
Massing: The merging of the two blocks with the loss of the gap in between, the greater height and the additional lower ground floor creates a larger mass than the permissioned scheme.
Daylight: No shadowing details have been provided, but the higher building will inevitably lead to increased shadowing, especially of the Brigstocke Road gardens. The lower ground floor flats will have limited natural daylight. The ground floor flats have rear windows looking directly at retaining walls.
Parking: As in the 2015 scheme, there are six spaces reserved for disabled drivers. The configuration has been changed which could result in them being blocked by other vehicles e.g. delivery vans. However, this situation was only marginally better in the 2015 scheme.
Security: While the pathway behind the building has restricted access there appears to be open access to the area around the lower ground floor which is largely hidden from observation. Also risk of tagging on the brick walls. Need comments from the Secure by Design team.
Materials and finishes: Buff and grey brick. This seems a rather austere choice.
Planting: The permissioned scheme included a pocket park in front of the houses and gardens to the rear. The pocket garden has been replaced by a sunken courtyard with planting and planting beds close to the parking. To the rear of some of the lower ground floor flats there are planted courtyards with crab apple and rowan trees. The lack of direct sunlight to the courtyard areas will limit the choice of plants. The sustainability statement states that the building will have a green roof, although this is not referred to elsewhere and is not shown in the roof plan.
Drainage: The application states that all surface water will be discharged through the main sewers. There is no provision for soak-aways. It is not immediately clear how surface run-off adjacent to Kuumba, which is the lowest point on the site, will be handled.
We will be holding a community Zoom meeting on Thursday 25 February 7-8pm. We’ve invited PG to present their proposals after which there will be a chance for questions. If you would like to take part in the meeting please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request the Zoom link. If you have questions it will help us manage the meeting if you can submit them in advance using the same email address.