Northwood’s Voice Newsletter
Published 19 March 2019
Transport For London Development Plans For Northwood Town Centre
This Newsletter is to update Northwood Residents about what is emerging from TfL/Notting Hill/Genesis (under Northwood Quarter) about the proposed development of the TfL estate within our Northwood Town Centre Conservation Area.
On January 17th 2019 NVL including a team of Northwood shop owners plus a local Northwood resident met a Deputy Mayor for London, Heidi Alexander (Labour), for one hour at City Hall to express our very deep concern at the foretaste of the future plans of TfL at a much increased density than previous.
- Heidi Alexander is currently Deputy Mayor for Transport in London and reports to the Mayor of London (Sadiq Khan). She is also Deputy Chair of TfL.
We presented M/s Alexander with letters from Historic England dating back to the last TfL attempt to build in Northwood – TfL Planning Application of November 2015. NVL gave an update on the level of Nitrogen Dioxide pollution as continuously monitored in Northwood by NVL over the last 3.5 years (available to be viewed on our NVL website – published October 2018). The meeting was also presented with an alternative redevelopment scheme essentially involving upgrades, renovation of the centre, i.e. “beautification” to what currently exists, as an alternative to the complete destruction of the TfL part of our Conservation Area. In summary, we stressed to M/s Alexander that, in our opinion, it was not appropriate to bring an inner London housing approach to Northwood (where we are but a 10 minute walk from Hertfordshire).
On February 21st 2019 (AM) NVL, some Northwood TfL shop owners, plus a local Northwood Resident met Dr Sahota in Northwood to discuss our anxieties at earlier simulations by Notting Hill/Genesis. Dr Sahota is our Hillingdon & Ealing elected Assembly Member (Labour) where he represents us at City Hall. After our meeting Dr Sahota walked the local shopping streets of Northwood with us including Station Approach to see for himself the existing poorly maintained condition of the TfL empty shops and exactly where TfL are likely to propose a development.
More recently, on 7th and 9th March 2019, TfL, Curtin & Co. (planning consultants) plus Notting Hill/Genesis (TfL development partner) ran 9 hours of presentation in Churches along Hallowell Road for those interested Northwood residents who attended. Northwood Residents will be faced with the following.
It is yet again proposed to destroy all of the TfL block from Northwood Station, the Green Lane shops up to and including Taylor Made café and all the shops along Station Approach up to the Station Car Park would be demolished. The historic buildings, such as the former corner National Westminster Bank in this Conservation area would all be lost as would all the service shops and flats – including the Dental Practice. In their place they indicated that they would erect 6 blocks of flats (5 storeys along Green Lane, 6, 7 storeys along Station Approach. Hallowell Rd residents will be faced with 6 and 5 storey blocks.
A public space is proposed but this is to the North of a 7 storey block, with a consequence it will be in total shade except for a brief period in mid-summer. NVL also have concern how this will be used especially in the evenings.
This new estate would include 250 housing units of 1,2 and 3 bedrooms of which 35% would be affordable homes. The intention is for approximately 60 parking spaces for these 250 homes but no replacement Station Car Park (which would disappear) – the November 2015 scheme at least retained car parking spaces largely as now. Residents and commuters displaced from the existing Station car park would be obliged to make other arrangements for parking or travel (even to the Station). Local parking on roads around Northwood is already pretty full but traffic congestion, and traffic delays might then be expected to increase further unless the Council lays down many more parking restrictions. A comment on one of the posters at the consultation stated, “too costly to provide basement car parking”. The exhibition seemed to propose the Green Lane car park could be used by commuters as it was under used. This would surely reduce parking for people who come into the Town Centre to affect existing businesses. We would expect the Council would not tolerate the Green Lane Car Park used as a commuter car park. The cost could also be prohibitive.
We question whether any further traffic or environmental impact assessments have been done. The earlier ones in 2015 are well out of date. The previous Air Quality monitoring by TfL for the Nov. 2015 was questionable due to the siting of the monitoring tubes. Will any new planning application include new assessments for traffic, environmental or for Air Quality? If any have been done why have residents not had access to them?
Buses calling at the Station would turn into a new one-way loop road largely to be built in place of the existing Taylor Made (café) and then emerge at the existing traffic lights by the Station. The buses turning into this new road would be managed by “yellow boxes”in Green Lane which NVL feel would likely be a recipe for even more traffic congestion (and consequential pollution) in Green Lane.
NVL fears for the future of existing service shops who have served Northwood residents for many years (shoe repairers, dry cleaner, hairdressers, cafes, betting shops, dental surgery, car repairers,) and who make up the backbone of much of high street shopping in these internet days.
Rather than wait for a new detailed Planning Application from TfL/Notting Hill/Genesis we propose to commence a petition placed locally in Northwood shops to resist anything like the proposed destruction of our Conservation Area with consequential effects for all of us. We have no time to lose.
NVL does not believe these plans meet a local demand for housing. In fact, the London Borough of Hillingdon is exceeding its 5 year housing requirement until 2021/22, meeting the current London Plan. We consider these units will be taken up by people from inner London.
NVL are keeping Historic England advised of the above turn of events and also feed our pollution readings and other matters to LBH (London Borough of Hillingdon).
It is anticipated that the plans will radically change the town centre of Northwood, Please do not hesitate to voice your opinions to your local councillors. We would urge all residents to sign this petition – last time, re the 2015 TfL Planning Application, we delivered 3,000 signatures to Downing Street. Let’s make it many more this time !
We urge residents to exercise your democratic processes by writing to your MP ( Rt Hon. Nick Hurd, 32 High Street, Northwood, HA6 1BN or at firstname.lastname@example.org and your local Councillors (Cllr Scott Seaman-Digby at email@example.com to express your views whilst there is still time.