Northwood’s Voice Newsletter-No 2
TfL Planning Application For The Northwood Town Centre Conservation Area
Information on the Withdrawal of the TfL Planning Application
(LBH Reference: 71083/APP/2015/4037)
Northwood’s Voice wishes to update residents on the position of the TfL planning application filed with Hillingdon Council on the 2.11.2015. Amendments were filed to the application dated the 8th February 2016, 7th March 2016 and the 14th March 2016.
1. History: The planning application proposed.
Hybrid planning application for comprehensive redevelopment of the site comprising full planning permission involving demolition of existing buildings to provide 94 residential units (C3) and associated car parking, 1,240 sq m of new commercial space comprising up to 250 sq.m A1 (food), up to 500 sq.m (A3), up to 50 sq.m (D1) and the remaining floorspace as flexible A1 (non-food)/A2 uses. A new operational railway station (sui generis) with step free access and associated station car parking; new bus interchange and a new piazza. Outline planning consent for up to 34 residential units, car parking (all matters reserved apart from access) and refurbishment works to existing retail units along Station Approach. (14 day consultation following receipt of revised air quality)
2. We know from the Pre-Application Advice from LBH to TfL:-
“That bulk, scale and massing, is a key issue that will need further discussion with our conservations and design colleagues.”
3. The application was due to be heard on the 12 April 2016 by the Major Applications Committee (MAC) of Hillingdon Council with a Recommendation for Refusal by Planning Officers to the Committee. It was withdrawn from the agenda at the request of TfL.
4. A letter dated 13th May 2016 from TfL challenged the concerns raised previously by officers in the Council’s letter of April 2016 and also requested that the application be taken to committee for determination.
We became aware of the following points quoted verbatim from actual correspondence in June 2016 from LBH planning department.
a) The application remains pending. It is anticipated that it will be taken to planning committee for determination in mid July (precise date yet to be confirmed for this new committee). There has been no further changes to the scheme since its withdrawal from the planning committee on the 12th April 2016. Therefore, should it be presented to planning committee the officer recommendation would be for refusal.
b) TfL have not sought to address the concerns raised by officers through the submission of any changes to the scheme since the application was withdrawn from the planning committee of the 12 April 2016.
c) There was a meeting after the withdrawal of the application from the MAC to set out the concerns of officers to TfL. This was followed up with a letter, which set out those concerns.
d) Despite discussions continuing with TfL, no changes to the scheme are likely to be forthcoming prior to the application be presented at committee.
“Northwood’s Voice Meeting” With Hillingdon Planning
Officers on Wed. 24th August 2016
We were informed by Officers the application would be heard by the MAC on the 13th September 2016 with a Recommendation for Refusal to the Committee. Reasons stated by officers to NVL at our meeting for recommending refusal were, “Conservation, Massing, Objections by Historic England, Local Conservation Panels, Northwood and Ruislip Historical Society and residents objections”
In correspondence to TfL, The Council also stated in their view, “that the proposed benefits of this scheme do not outweigh the substantial harm that the scheme will have on Northwood Town Centre/Green Lane Conservation Area.”
The Council further stated , “the proposal would demolish buildings of collective significance within the Northwood Town Centre/Green Lane Conservation Area and by virtue of design, layout, height and scale of the replacement buildings, the development is unsympathetic and out of keeping with the character and appearance of the conservation area and surrounding area resulting in substantial harm to this designated asset.”
The Council were also concerned that the loss of trees would have a detrimental effect on the character and appearance of the area.
The Council also considered, “it has become apparent that the Council do not have sufficient background information to robustly substantiate the claimed public benefits that a larger station and step free access would create.” The Council requested further information on the station redevelopment from TfL.”
The application was then due to be heard on the 13th September 2016 at the Major Application Committee (MAC) with a Recommendation For Refusal by Hillingdon Planning Officers. TfL withdrew the planning application on the 5th September 2016. TfL had given no reason(s) to LBH for the withdrawal of the application. As the TfL application was withdrawn the Hillingdon Planning Officers Report on the TfL application for the meeting of 13 September 2016 was not published.
The application is still available to view on www.hillingdon.gov.uk
Mayor of London Position
Once an application has been submitted, and if it meets the Mayor of London Order Criteria for referral, the local planning authority (Hillingdon in this case) is required to refer it to the Mayor. This application met two of the criteria and was referred. The Mayor has six weeks to provide comments on the application, assessing whether it complies with the London Plan policies. This is a consultation response known as Stage One.
The application is then considered by the local planning authority at its planning committee, where it decides whether to grant or refuse permission.
Following its consideration, the local planning authority is then required to refer the application to the Mayor for his final decision, known as a Stage 2 referral. The Mayor has 14 days to make a decision to allow the local planning authority decision to stand, to direct refusal, or to take over the application, thus becoming the local planning authority.
In making his Stage 2 decision, the Mayor may be content to allow the local planning authority to determine the case itself, subject to any action that the Secretary of State may take. In such an instance he would therefore not wish to direct refusal or direct to become the local planning authority.
web site http://www.northwoodsvoice.org.uk
21 November 2016