There are five principal reasons for Objecting to this latest application covering Buildings G & H.
First there is an excessive increase in density.
Second a significant loss in office space is proposed.
Third the proposed 31 storey tower block is out of all proportion.
Fourth no space has been allocated on site for educational, health or social infrastructure.
Fifth there is a fundamental mismatch: overbuilding homes and not building key community assets.
By any measure a DENSITY of 332 dwellings per hectare and 870.4 habitable rooms per hectare is excessive for G and H, the density of Buildings A – F being a good deal lower. If the proposed mix of homes in Buildings G and H (I-3 bedroom homes) will create 699 bedrooms it is strange of the applicant to indicate that “the estimated future population is likely to be 717 residents” because 35% of these dwellings are supposed to be affordable. For the other 65% of units this low number of residents assumes strangely that many single people will be rattling around in family sized homes or that would-be full cost purchasers may mainly be intending to buy to rent. Given the average household size reflected in the last Census and the shortage of affordable homes these new homes could surely accommodate at least twice the figure above of only 717 residents which would be a much more desirable outcome.
Crucial to the REGENERATION of an old industrial site like Chelsea Creek is that local employment in modern businesses should be created alongside new homes. Central to the September 2011 proposals was that there would be a 85,000 sq ft office building (Building H) and that “the development will deliver about 670 jobs”. It is therefore very retrograde now to eliminate virtually all this much needed office space which could house new enterprises and generate fresh jobs. According to the last Census in 2011 the Sands End Ward had the third lowest rate of economic activity in the Borough with just under 72% of the economically active age group working or looking for work, 4.6% of residents aged 16-74 being unemployed or looking for work.
The September 2011 proposals (following local consultations) announced a decision to reduce the height of the now existing tower block “to make it the same height as the nearby Belvedere Tower at Chelsea Harbour”. It is therefore even more regrettable that the Applicant is now proposing a 31 STOREY TOWER BLOCK to “match” the 25 storey tower. It will stick out like a sore thumb and be no more a gateway or an iconic structure than the existing tower. To justify its height and negative impact on the wider landscape by reference to structures yet to be built on an adjoining site is implausible.
Most to be regretted is the total absence of any recognition of the paramount need to cater for the NEEDS OF THIS NEW COMMUNITY by matching the new housing with the provision of space on site for essential social infrastructure in the form of health care and educational facilities, as well as community and recreational facilities. Without such provision Chelsea Creek will not grow into a thriving community but become a dormitory at best. The lack of green open spaces as distinct from hard surfaces throughout most of the site will also add to the risk of flooding.
OVERBUILDING HOUSING in this way at the expense of providing necessary community assets and employment space is an acute form of “beggaring my neighbour”, putting undue pressure on existing educational, healthcare and other community assets which like employment space is in increasingly short supply in surrounding areas. The Applicant is in effect attempting to free load by failing to set aside specific space on site for the essential social infrastructure referred to above.
Martyn M Baker
Planning Committee Member for Chelsea Riverside Ward
For and on behalf of the Chelsea Society