Friday, 6 March 2015

New Plans For Victoria House

What is happening at Victoria House? To that question posed by numerous people of late (and sometimes even of early), answers seem now to be in the offing.

At last nights CNWP (Cheam North and Worcester Park) Local Committee meeting (on which I sit as a non voting member), Homegroup, the new and current owners of the site brought forth a display of their new plans for the site. I managed to photograph a few of the presentation slides and as you can see from the above one, the new plans are very different to the old ones.

The most noticeable difference is the big gap in the middle. This, we were told is to allow the sun to get through and reach the areas at the back. It will also give more window space to the residents.

The plans are for there to be around 90 dwellings, with most of them being 'affordable housing'. There will still be the retails shops at ground level but these will be a little shallower that in the previous plans due to space for parking (more on that in a moment.)

My main concerns about the new plans, which I raised at the meeting, were the following:
  • The previous plan had underground parking for the residents (approximately one space per dwelling) plus additional time limited parking for shoppers during the day which would revert to visitors' use in the evenings. The new plans will not have fully underground parking and look to have far fewer parking spaces.
  • The previous plan took into account the art-deco influences of the other buildings on the North Cheam crossroads there. While the design of this building doesn't look unpleasant in itself, it doesn't look like it will fit in well with or compliment the surrounding buildings. It is still early days and the drawings were (as you can see) still only line drawings - and they claimed to have looked at the design of other building in the general area. However, I'm not convinced it will look right on that corner. They have said they will take this into account when selecting the building materials though.
  • Some multi story residents' blocks like this end up becoming no-go areas and attracting crime and antisocial behaviour. North Cheam is a nice area and people want it to stay that way. Homegroup, who said they will be directly managing the development, answered that apparently they manage thousands of other similar buildings and do so very well.
Other people brought up several other issues including the security of the existing site and the problem with Ladbrokes being there.

The timeline also makes an interesting read. They apologised that the previous deadlines had been so badly missed. Here you can see that demolition of the exiting eye-sore looks like it will take place between October and the end of the year, with building commencing in January. The public consultation will be at the beginning of May so if you want to have your say about the new plans, please be ready to voice them then...