The Chelsea Society has commented as follows on the Conservation Area Appraisal to
Mr. Graham Stallwood,
Executive Director of Planning and Borough Development,
Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea,
Town Hall, Hornton St.,
London W8 7NX
10th December 2018
Dear Mr. Stallwood,
THAMES CONSERVATION AREA APPRAISAL
The Chelsea Society agrees with the Cheyne Walk Trust that it is essential that the CAA incorporates and builds on the existing River Thames Conservation Area Statement 1983, including the Appendices, and updates and commits to implementing its proposals where appropriate. This should include incorporation into Planning Policy to ensure appropriate application.
The views of the Conservation Area from the south bank, particularly Battersea Park, are important. Therefore no more tall or otherwise inappropriate buildings should be constructed on the Chelsea side of the river as far north as the King’s Road or even beyond. We agree with item 5.11 of the CAA.
The views along the River from the bridges need to be considered in relation to both sides of the river together, as well as of each side.
We agree with the Cheyne Walk Trust that it is essential to record and safeguard important and historic views across the river and along its length as well as from the bridges. These should be taken up with the GLA for inclusion in the London Plan View Management Framework and the next review of the Local Plan, as well as be shown in the CAA as long views into, out of, across and along the Thames Conservation Area. It is essential that this consideration includes consultation with Wandsworth London Borough Council, the Battersea Society and the West London Rivers Group.
The trees along the Embankment should be seen as an avenue on the Chelsea side, and in addition the trees on both sides of the river together constitute a unique vista.
The appraisal should set out an aspiration for existing trees and to augment the conservation area with additional trees.
The Thames footpath passes under Albert Bridge, but is obstructed by the approaches to Chelsea and Battersea Bridges. These should be redesigned so as to remove the obstructions (Item 5.7)
There is a need to address danger to pedestrians at major junctions, including Albert Bridge/Cheyne Walk and Battersea Bridge/Cheyne Walk and to include remedial measures in the RBKC/TfL work programme for 2019/2020.
There is a traditional cabman’s shelter immediately to the West of Albert Bridge (Item 3.11 of the CAA). It is a rare survivor of an historic characteristic of the London streetscene. It is in a poor state of repair, and the Chelsea Society would be willing to help to repair and maintain it, but it has not been possible to reach agreement with its owners. We therefore think that RBKC should serve notice under Section 215 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 requiring the owners to remedy the neglect before it is too late.
Some of the benches on the embankment are in a poor state of repair (eg photo on page 49 of CAA). They should be restored and properly maintained by their owners (RBKC or TfL).
Statutes and other artefacts
These should be properly maintained. The Chelsea Society will consider replacing the statue “Boy with a Cat” at the south end of Lawrence Street which has been stolen (Item 5.3 of CAA).
The missing metal studs and coping stones should be replaced. (Items 5.4 and 5.5)
We agree with item 5.13 of the CAA that there are a number of statutory undertakers’ cabinets and Council storage containers whose appearance would be improved by proper maintenance. They should also be reduced in number and relocated in unobtrusive positions.
The road sign on the east side of Albert Bridge should be relocated/redesigned, as it is harmful to the setting of the Grade II* listed Albert Bridge.
The Thames Conservation Area/Chelsea Embankment should become an Area of Special Control for Advertisements, pursuant to Reg. 20 of the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007. In particular, the two large internally illuminated dynamic advertisements at the intersection of Lots Road, Cheyne Walk and Cremorne Road should be removed (Item 5.8).
The bus shelters on Chelsea Embankment have also recently been changed and now display internally illuminated advertisements. We agree that they should revert to plain bus shelters without advertisements (but with an electronic bus-service indicator) and that this would enhance the conservation area.
Piers and Boats
In considering significant views, the impact of boats on the conservation area is an important issue. These need to be considered from the perspective of each bank and from each bridge. There should be a separate section on Cadogan Pier and Chelsea Reach.
The Conservation Area appraisal should address the form and size of piers and boats within the conservation area. Any other conservation area appraisal on land would consider the significant built-environment and the appropriate restrictions on it, including height, size and volume.
Our detailed views on Cadogan Pier and Chelsea Reach are as follows:
CADOGAN PIER (Located downstream of Battersea and Albert Bridges)
1.This is primarily a working pier for vessels navigating the river and inshore waters.
2.The Pier shall comply with the Thames Conservation Area Policy Statement of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea 1983 (as amended from time to time) and with any advice given by Historic England in view of its location adjacent to the Grade II* listed Albert Bridge. It shall also comply with the terms of any license granted by the Port of London Authority.
3.At least six berths of not less than 12 metres each shall be reserved for vessels visiting for less than 48 hours
4.Each vessel moored at the pier shall:
(a) have the appearance of a vessel constructed for navigating the river and/or inshore waters, and shall make a voyage under its own power or under sail on at least five occasions in each calendar year. All such voyages shall last not less than 48 hours without return to the mooring, and shall be recorded in the vessel’s log book, which shall be produced for inspection on 24 hours written notice.
(b) not display any tree, bush, flower, television aerial, or any other object not normally carried on a vessel navigating the river and/or inshore waters
(c) have an overall length of not more than 12 metres.
(d) have a height (excluding masts and funnels) of not more than 6 metres above the waterline
(e) be painted only in suitable colours and/or in marine wood-varnish.
(f) be maintained in reasonable condition and not show any substantial area of rust or flaking paint
(g) be securely moored so as not to cause damage under adverse weather or water conditions to itself or other boats, or to gas, electricity, or water connections.
(h) not be occupied as a residence. Any sleeping accommodation in the vessel shall not be used for more than four nights in any calendar month.
(i) not be let or licensed as short-term living accommodation, and especially not on Air B&B or any similar short-term letting scheme.
(j) not be used for business purposes other than for the carriage of goods and/or passengers
(k) not be used so as to cause a nuisance or annoyance to other vessels or people on shore
(l) have available to it at reasonable charges a metered supply of electricity and potable water, and refuse-disposal facilities
5. The pier and the vessels and the area between high and low water shall be kept clear of rubbish
6. A suitable berth and gangways and a ticket office and covered waiting area shall be provided at a reasonable charge for the river bus and kept clear at all times when the river bus is scheduled to call at the pier. We agree with the CAA (item 5.10) that better use of river transport should be made through provision of a frequent daily service from Cadogan Pier to points upstream and downstream
7. No structures other than the two existing cabins and the entrance gates and gangway shall be erected on the pier. The cabins, gates, and gangway shall be painted in suitable colours.
8.The pier shall not be extended upstream or downstream.
CHELSEA REACH (located upstream of Battersea Bridge)
- This is an area for use by static houseboats. It should comply with the Thames Conservation Area Policy Statement of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea 1983 (as amended from time to time). It shall also comply with the terms of any license granted by the Port of London Authority.
2.Each boat must:
(a) have planning permission for use as a residence
(b) be registered for Council Tax
(c) have available to it at reasonable charges a metered supply of electricity, gas, and potable water; and telecommunications and refuse-disposal facilities
(d) not be let or licensed as short-term living accommodation, and especially not on Air B&B or any similar short-term letting scheme.
(e) not be used for business purposes other than as a home-office
(f) have an overall length of not more than 8 metres.
(g) have a height of not more than 5 metres above the waterline
(h) have an appearance consistent with the unique charm of Chelsea, and in accordance with Appendix 9 paras. 9.6 – 9.9 inclusive of the Thames Conservation Area Policy Statement 1983
(i) be maintained in reasonable condition and not show any substantial area of rust or flaking paint
(j) be painted in suitable colours and/or in marine wood-varnish.
(k) Points (i) and (j) shall apply to gangways and other equipment used with the boat as well as the boat itself.
(l) not be used so as to cause a nuisance or annoyance to nearby vessels or people on shore.
(m) be securely moored so as not to cause damage under adverse weather or water conditions to itself or other boats, or to gas, electricity, or water connections.
- The buildings and commercial berths within the site should continue to be used to preserve the traditional use of the site for boat-building and boat-repair, and to continue to provide employment and apprenticeship opportunities in those trades.
4.The boats, and the area between high and low water marks, shall be kept clear of rubbish
- A gap should be maintained between the two clusters of boats so as to provide views of the river and beyond.
Chairman of the Planning Committee