Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Banking On Flats

There have been whisperings and rumours but this afternoon it appears confirmed that the owners of 2-4 Green Lane may have changed their mind and would rather build flats than a Mosque on the site - if they are indeed still the owners...

A full planning application was recently received by Sutton Council planning department, detailing plans to turn the building into 3 self-contained flats, or 5 if an additional floor extension could be added. The application can be seen on the council website although not all documents are expected to be available there until next week. Thanks to Cllr Hookway for passing this information on to me.

While this will be welcome news almost universally, it is an odd development for a building where the owners fought so hard to get something and then seem to want now to just let it go. Speculation has already begun that perhaps it's a ruse to build an extra floor and then revert to the Mosque application again in a larger building. Of course the application which was allowed on appeal was for a limited number of worshippers due to the well known local traffic and parking problems on which the original objections were based, so it is unlikely that this is the case, given that a larger Mosque would create no real advantage for them. However given the mysterious recent history of this building, anyone could be forgiven for thinking that nothing can really be 'considered off the table'.

While we're on wild speculations, perhaps other are wondering if they had planned for flats all along and the whole Mosque proposal was just a ruse to soften up the community so that when they finally proposed a three story block of flats we all throw our hands up and yell yes please, yes please!

It has also been noted that the plans do not seem to include any provision for car parking so that if any of the new flat owners have cars, they will be parked in the street nearby. So this still isn't an ideal plan. Of course many people in London don't have cars and if it so happens that if this goes ahead, all the new occupants also don't have cars, it would work out rather well. But there can never be any guarantee of that. As was pointed out during the Mosque appeal, Worcester Park may have good transport links, but some places are still reached far more easily by private vehicle. Public transport is only good when both the start point and the destination are served by good, interlinked transport links.

The applicant in this case is a Mr Danish Hanif, so not the original Mosque applicant. Perhaps the building was quietly sold?

Either way I think few would disagree that out of the present alternatives, this is easily the most favourable one for the community.