Kew Bookshop (Richmond Council ref. 15/1812/FUL)
Take a look at the Kew Bookshop next time you are passing – the refurbishment work to the exterior cladding is complete and it looks stunning! A vindication of the work in the community to protect this historic building from the inappropriate plans for re-development submitted last year which we opposed alongside the bookshop leaseholders. Well done Kew Bookshop!
This application for new timber cladding to the rear and side of the building which we supported has been approved by the Council.
Many residents and members will remember the application made by the landlord of the Kew bookshop for an extensive re-development which would have meant the much loved bookshop would have had to close. The application was turned down and we are pleased to see a new application by the Bookshop itself to undertake some appropriate renovation work on the building. We have supported the application. Maybe you would like to do this too to show the continued strength of support in the community for the bookshop – look under planning on the Council’s website (planning reference 15/1812/FUL).
Some of you will have seen that the Council gave 5 reasons for turning down the application to develop this site. They were that the development would be detrimental to this building classified locally as of “Townscape Merit” and to the setting and character of the area, the loss of car parking space at the rear and the consequent effects on street parking, the safety of pedestrians and of vehicles, lack of sustainability compliance for energy use, and the effects of overlooking on 35 Layton Place. We made several of the same points in our comments.
We are now discussing with the Council and with the Kew Traders Association the possibility of a more strategic study of the needs of the Village, building on the Council’s own Borough wide studies of retailing and its land use survey.
Many of you will have seen that the application to re-develop the Kew Bookshop has been turned down. We have yet to see the detailed reasons given by the Council for their decision. These will be made available on line shortly. We will look carefully at the reasons given and we are continuing our discussions with the Bookshop and the Kew Traders Association to support opposition to inappropriate development of the site which could threaten the much valued independent retailers which make Kew Village so special. We are also continuing our contact with Zac Goldsmith MP who is seeking a follow up meeting with the landlords. Our aim is to secure a long-term sustainable solution for the Village, preserving its unique character both architecturally and in terms of the retail offer.
I am sure most of you know that, since our last Newsletter was published, an application has been made to demolish all but the facade of the Kew Bookshop and to build a brick based replacement, extended to the rear with two storeys and opened up at the side, facing the Tap on the Line pub, with 2 windows.
The building is locally listed as of Townscape Merit which means there is a presumption that it will be preserved. The demolition is justified by the applicant on the basis that this building, and the other similar buildings comprising 1-8 Station Approach, is at the end of its useful life. Maintenance costs for the tenants are said to be more and more onerous and difficult to finance to the necessary quality.
There have been a large number of objections to the application. We think it is important to mount as strong a case as possible for rejection of this application and adoption of an alternative approach which addresses both the long-term maintenance of the buildings and the unique character of the Village with its independent retailers. We therefore arranged to meet with the Kew Traders Association and the Kew Bookshop to assemble as much evidence as possible. We also met the landlord to hear more of their intentions for the whole of Station Approach.
We have now submitted our objection to the Council. We urge you to go to the Council web site, using the case reference number 14/1452/FUL under planning, to add your own support to our objections, in your own words, under the headings we have identified, or simply saying you endorse what the Kew Society has said.
Broadly the case we have made is that:
- The applicant has not demonstrated that the presumption that this building of Townscape Merit must be preserved should be overturned
- The proposal to double the retail space will make it unlikely small independent retail outlets will be able to use and afford the space, contrary to the Council’s policies on maintaining small local retail and service facilities
- Side windows opposite the Tap on the Line will compromise pedestrian safety
- The loss of 2 parking spaces at the rear and with no loading facilities for a larger outlet nor mention of the impact on adjacent shops which use the area for re-cycling and for fire exits is not acceptable. Nor has disabled access to the proposed mezzanine level been addressed
- Development to enhance the retail offer and other facilities in the Village for its long-term sustainability should be based on proper consultation with existing retailers and the community.