Wednesday, 5 December 2007

The Hamptons - planning permission refused

So, common sense prevailed at the planning decision meeting on Monday evening in respect of St James' application to slap another 184 dwellings on the site of The Hamptons development in Worcester Park (with wind turbines) taking the site 30% over the capacity for which original permission was given.

The common sense was, mind you, coming solely from local residents and traders - unlike Sutton Council's 'Development Control Committee' (DCC) which originally recommended permission be granted for this further expansion.

A massive 300 objections to the development were received, the main objections being

  • The effect on road traffic and parking

  • Noise pollution from the wind turbines

  • Further strain on local services (schools, doctors' surgeries etc).
In the end, the application was refused on on all three of the above points.

But what a close shave we had. The DCC's original recommendation poo-pooed all of these conerns. What all a load of silly worry worts we must all have been as they orignally reassured us that:

'The proposed parking and access arrangements and other initiatives to promote sustainable transport would not result in an increase in parking pressure or congestion for the surrounding road network.'

Hmm... well parking pressure may not be an issue but the 'initiatives to promote sustainable transport' issue had me convulsing in laughter (or was I just choking on the exhaust fumes?). This, presumably, refers to their vain hope that a few woolly 'go green' messages, bike racks and signposted foopaths will tempt us out of our cars and back onto public transport.

It strikes me that they're missing the whole point - Worcester Park traffic is already so diabolical that most people for whom public/alternative transport is a practical option are already using it.

In the 15 minutes it takes us Worcester Parkers to crawl one-eighth of a mile down one of the 'feeder roads' onto Central Road in the morning, our fellow commuters are already aways past Clapham Junction on their train journey.

Then there's the 'access arrangements' - the majority of traffic from The Hamptons will continue to be funnelled out of Green Lane (the only access point currently) and snarl itself up in the traffic queues of Green Lane, Longfellow Road, Caverleigh Way and others. And then there will be a secondary access point for use by traffic from 100 or so of the homes in the proposed Pase 5c development which will be able to escape via Boscombe Road but then have to navigate onto the same streets to empty onto Central Road.

It seems that people power prevailed in Worcester Park. No doubt there will be an appeal pending - having bought up such a vast area of land, there's no way that St James will let this go without a fight.

Ding ding, Round 2....