Emerald Gardens (Old Inland Revenue Site, Ruskin Avenue Richmond Council ref 14/1488/FUL)
Today we met with our new MP, Sarah Olney to introduce ourselves and to discuss a number of important issues we are currently dealing with, including concerns over the protracted negotiations with the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to secure funding for the fit-out costs for the move of the North Road surgery to the new space at Emerald Gardens. Despite agreeing in principle to the funding, the negotiations have still not been completed and sufficient funds identified. We have over the last 18 months been asking for updates on progress and have now asked Sarah Olney to pursue this too. She has agreed to approach the CCG. We will continue to press for action so that these much needed facilities are secured, in line with NHS policy to provide more care facilities locally, taking pressure off the acute sector.
We have been keeping in touch with Richmond Council on progress with the move of the North Road Surgery from its current location to the Old Inland Revenue site. The NHS has agreed to fund the fit-out costs for 680 square metres of the space available which will meet the needs of the current patient list size and allow for a possible increase in numbers if all 390 potential new residents at the site join the practice. The space also allows for a further 10% growth factor. No other funds are available from the NHS at the moment and the North Road Practice is not taking on the additional space itself.The remaining space from the original plans (190 square metres) therefore needs another, community use, tenant to be identified and the developers are pursuing this.Once negotiations between the developer and the district valuer’s office are complete, the business case and funding for the fit-out and additional rental costs at the new site can be completed.This is expected to be soon.
For those who could not get to the public exhibition you can view the display boards prepared by Taylor Wimpey here: Old Inland Revenue Site, Bessant Drive. Building work is now expected to start in August. Discussions are on-gong with NHS England for the fit-out costs of the new GP surgery as part of the scheme. This will provide expanded accommodation for the current North Road surgery which has specified their requirements at the new site. The surgery needs to move from its current location as its lease expires.
Taylor Wimpey are holding a public exhibition of their planned re-development of this site at the National Archives from 15.00-19.00 on Monday 6th July.
They expect to start work on site in July following the signing of the Section 106 agreement and formal granting of consent by the Council.
The developers, Taylor Wimpey, for this site have told us that they expect building work to start in late April/early May. Before the work starts there will be a public exhibition so that all can see the detailed plans. Some preparatory work will start now – clearing the scrub, disconnecting utilities, erecting tree protection and hoardings and breaking out existing slab. We will let you know the time and location of the exhibition as soon as this is confirmed.
Richmond Council approved this application at its Planning Committee meeting on 10 December. It excluded provision of new lighting near the towpath which we and others had objected to. This has been a long vacant and controversial brownfield site, previously an Inland Revenue sorting office which was demolished in 2009. The last application for re-development was turned down on appeal, based on some design and layout issues. The new developers, Taylor Wimpey, engaged with us and other community groups on their proposals and held two public exhibitions with options on designs before submitting their application.
We spoke at the Planning Committee alongside the North Road Surgery in support of the application with certain conditions. Though we did not particularly endorse the new elevation design we paid attention to what the Appeal Inspector had said on the last application and we accept that Taylor Wimpey has addressed the issues raised, following its consultation with the community.
In our comments we asked for a condition to be included in approval of the scheme to require the GP surgery to be functioning before any flats are occupied. This condition has been included. The space for the surgery is a trade-off with the space for affordable housing which at 16% of the total number of units, is very low. We hope that this condition will mean that if, for any reason, the GP provision does not proceed, the % of affordable housing can be reviewed. Whilst the low level of affordable housing is disappointing, it does mean that the community will get much needed GP facilities including space for 7 consulting rooms, two treatment rooms and space for minor operations. At the Planning Committee the North Road Surgery said that this was the best opportunity they had identified for space in Kew in the last 10 years of looking. We are very pleased that we facilitated this by putting Taylor Wimpey in touch with the surgery during the pre-application discussions. The Surgery are now pursuing funding for the fit-out costs from the NHS.
We also asked the Council to do all it can to ensure that key workers, such as teachers, are given priority for affordable housing when the Provider for this accommodation is appointed. And we asked them to ensure that Thames Water takes the opportunity, when implementing drainage connections for the new development, to address long-standing problems with foul water connections to adjacent drainage system affecting the National Archives and nearby roads.
We asked the Planning Committee to consider how it might support, in its approval of the application, additional tree planting between the new development and Defoe Avenue, already discussed and agreed in principle between the National Archives and Taylor Wimpey at our suggestion. The planting would be on National Archives land, on the edge of their car park near the re-development site. The Council did not pick up on this, saying that existing planting was sufficient. Though landscaping is included in the scheme, it does not provide the planting here which we think would soften the transition between quite different character areas – one medium rise modern, the other low rise Edwardian – and it would reduce lighting impacts from the new development. We are continuing a dialogue with Taylor Wimpey and the National Archives to see whether they will nevertheless implement this proposal.
A substantial Community Infrastructure Levy of £4,514,065 has been agreed. The bulk of this will go towards infrastructure schemes across the Borough and for Cross Rail. But some (about 25%) will come to local initiatives in Kew. The Council are considering the best way to engage with the community on proposals for use of this money. We will continue to pursue our suggestions for a feasibility study of a pedestrian/cyclist bridge alongside the railway bridge near the re-development site, improvements to the Thames towpath, and improvements to the footpath joining Mortlake Road to the Thames towpath. There may be additional ideas in the community and we have asked to be involved in further discussions once the Council have considered their approach to local consultation on the best use of this funding.
We asked the Council for an update on when this application is likely to be considered. They have told us that discussions are on-going with the developers on the financial viability case. This affects things like the % of affordable housing included in the development. We will continue to keep an eye on progress.
The developers, Taylor Wimpey, submitted an application on 7 April 2014 to Richmond Council for re-development of this site after input from the community at two public exhibitions and several meetings with representative groups including the Kew Society. The proposed redevelopment of this long derelict brownfield site will include 4 blocks of 170 flats ranging from 1 to 3 bedrooms. We were very pleased that Taylor Wimpey took up our suggestion to discuss with the North Road Surgery their need for new primary care premises. The plans include new health care facilities which will provide the expanded space the surgery needs, 2-3 times larger than their current facilities. We also suggested to the National Archives and Taylor Wimpey more landscaping of the site, using the edge of the National Archives car park facing Defoe Avenue. The National Archives and Taylor Wimpey have agreed a memorandum of understanding on this.
We have now posted our comments on the scheme to redevelop this long derelict brown field site next to the National Archives on Bessant Drive.
We had 3 meetings with the developers, Taylor Wimpey, before the application was made where they presented their evolving plans and fed back to us and other community groups the responses made by people who came to 2 public exhibitions they had organised. We made several suggestions for changes and are very pleased that two specific proposals – the inclusion of much expanded facilities for the North Road surgery, which had been searching for some time for new premises, and additional soft landscaping, in collaboration with the National Archives, between the site and Defoe Avenue.
We have checked that issues such as density, building heights, play areas, design and the number of people employed at the site comply with Council policies and have regard to the decisions of the Appeal Inspector on the application made by the previous developers for the site. Our comments to the Council include several suggestiions for conditions to be applied to any approval, including the percentage of units for affordable housing and for key workers.
We have asked the Council to look carfeully at the assurances by Thames Water on drainage for foul water and to explore with them the resolution of existing problems with adjacent drains before any new drainage work is undertaken.
We have also referred to comments made by the Kew Riverside Park residents which we support, particulalry on traffic which is a significant concern and on the use of Section 106 monies. We have suggested some modifications and additions to the proposals on traffic and have voiced strong oppostion to the suggestion of lighting on the towpath. We have proposed instead a feasibility study for a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists over the river, running alongside the railway bridge, and sympathetic improvements to the road leading to the river and along the towpath. The idea of a pedestrian bridge was raised by residents at the recent Kew Question Time and we support the idea. A feasibility study would ascertain whether the proposal is practical.
Taylor Wimpey will be present at the Kew Fete on June 21st on Kew Green where you can ask them more about the scheme.
Taylor Wimpey have now submitted their application to Richmond Council for re-development of this site. We will be looking at it carefully and have a further briefing meeting with Taylor Wimpey shortly. We are pleased that Taylor Wimpey took up our suggestion to discuss with the North Road Surgery their need for new premises. New health care facilities are included in the plans, providing the expanded space the surgery needs, 2-3 times larger than the current facilities. We also suggested to the National Archives and Taylor Wimpey more landscaping of the site, using the edge of the Archives car park facing Defoe Avenue. The Archives and Taylor Wimpey have now agreed a memorandum of understanding on this. Among the issues we will focus on when we see the submitted plans are the problems of sewerage highlighted by both the Kew Residents’ Association and the National Archives who have direct experience of the current problems.
We met again with Taylor Wimpey, the developers for the site, to discuss their proposals and see the feedback from the public exhibition and how Taylor Wimpey were responding to the community views expressed. 99 people came to the exhibition and we hope more will come to the exhibition on Friday and Saturday this week. We are very pleased that Taylor Wimpey have followed up on our suggestion that the community part of the scheme should include primary health care provision and that this is looking promising. If you come to the exhibition you will see the detailed designs which currently include 170 units of accommodation (within the Council’s density standards) to a maximum height of 5 floors with set-back of the top floors, especially on the aspect facing Kew Riverside. Some affordable housing will be included. The design takes account of the “urban grain” – the designs of adjacent Kew Riverside, Kew Riverside Park and the National Archive. The plans include landscaping and play facilites for young children. Taylor Wimpey are conducting a traffic impact survey and will take account of the Brentford Football Stadium and enabling development proposals which will impact on traffic in Kew. They are also in discussion with Thames Water and we have drawn to their attention to concerns over the capacity of the sewers in the Mortlake Road Gypsy corner area. The estate manager for the National Archives is also closely involved. Taylor Wimpey expect to submit their application in April.
The developers, Taylor Wimpey, have organised a second public exhibition to be held in Conference Room A at the National Archives, Ruskin Avenue on Friday 7th March from 13.00-17.00 and on Saturday 8th March from 10.00-14.00.
The exhibition will contain more detailed proposals, building on what people said at the previous exhibition. We hope as many people as possible will go along to feed in their thoughts.
The developers, Taylor Wimpey, expect to have prepared their more detailed proposals for this site in the next few weeks. There will be another public exhibition, probably in March, where you can give your views on the scheme. We will notify you of the date and venue as soon as we know it.
We have been meeting with Taylor Wimpey, the developers for this site, to hear their proposals and input our comments before a planning application is made, expected to be this Spring. Some of you attended the exhibition where Taylor Wimpey presented options on possible layouts for the scheme for all to comment on. A further exhibition will be arranged, probably in February when they have digested comments. This will include a lot more detail on design solutions proposed and we hope as many as possible will go along to make their comments directly to Taylor Wimpey.
We support development of the site, done in the right way and in sympathy with the area.
The site is designated by the Council as for mixed use, not just for housing. We are pressing for primary health care facilities to be included given the shortage of provision in this part of Kew after the closure of the Kew Gardens Surgery and the need for the North Road Surgery to find new premises when its lease expires. We have also told Taylor Wimpey that our primary concerns when we look at the application they will submit are likely to be housing densities proposed, proportions allotted to different unit sizes and to affordable housing, play areas and facilities for children over 11 years old, parking, traffic (particularly in light of any Brentford Football Stadium proposals), sustainability, design, and landscaping. In view of recent emergency work on the Mortlake Road sewer, we will also want to know whether additional sewerage capacity will be needed. We are asking Thames Water for their assessment of the position.
Taylor Wimpey are the new owners of the site and will be putting in a planning application for development, probably in the Spring next year. Together with the Kew Residents Association and the Kew Riverside Residents Association, we met with Taylor Wimpey to discuss their plans. We would like to see the site developed in a way that fits well with the surrounding area and to include appropriate community facilities – possibly primary care facilities and/or facilities for older people – as well as housing. Taylor Wimpey are working up their proposals and will be engaging with the community through a public exhibition shortly. We will let members know where and when the exhibition will be held so that all can express their views.
As most of you will know, previous proposals for re-development of this prime site have been refused after protracted debate. The land is now being sold again. A number of potential developers have bid for the land and 5 have now been short-listed. We expect the preferred bidder to be selected in the next month. We will want to work with whoever is selected to try and get proposals agreed that are acceptable to the community and in keeping with the architecture of the surrounding area.
The GLA recently asked people to notify them of sites in London that might be suitable for development. We remain concerned to see the former Inland Revenue site near Ruskin Avenue developed in a way that meets our community needs and is sympathetic to the local environment, unlike the previous proposals which we successfully opposed. We therefore arranged a meeting with our local ward Councillors and the Chair of the Kew Residents Association to consider putting forward this site. We have now put forward the site suggesting it would be appropriate for housing, including affordable housing, and some community use such as a care home and medical facilities provided the development is within sensible density limits and sympathetic in design to the local environment. We hope in this way to work at an early stage with any developers who come forward with high quality proposals.
The most recent application for development of this site into a very dense mixed use area, with 200 flats, a care home and offices was turned down by the Council in March 2012. We spoke against it at the Planning Committee meeting.
We monitored the situation in collaboration with the Kew Residents Association and also sought Counsel’s opinion on the strongest arguments we could mount should the developer appeal. The time limit for an appeal has now passed. We would like to see the site developed but in a way that would be in keeping with the character of the area.