Waddon House - Residents' objection to proposed development in our car park

Waddon House - Residents' objection to proposed development in our car park

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Amardeep Gill started this petition to Sutton Council Local Planning Authority

We, the residents of Waddon House, strongly object to the proposal DM2020/00781 on the following grounds:

1.       Undue loss of privacy: The proposed development of a three-storey building will still cause severe undue loss of privacy for residents of Waddon House, particularly those on the lower floors, whose flats will be directly overlooked by a three-storey development such a short distance away. The higher floors of Waddon House will also overlook the proposed development, which will have balconies, again compromising the privacy of potential residents – many of which can be reasonably assumed to be young families as the plans are for 1 and 2 bedroom flats.

2.       Loss of sunlight/daylight: For the reasons mentioned above, the residents of Waddon House will experience loss of sunlight and daylight from the proposed development. In particular, the majority of flats facing south-west will be severely impacted as the new development will block afternoon daylight. A proposed development of a three-storey block of flats is extremely inappropriate and excessive in the area proposed.

3.       Increased traffic and access problems: IDM propose that the new development will decrease the number of parking spaces by six, from 66 to 60. This also means when combined with Waddon House, 95 properties will have 60 parking spaces available. Removing parking spaces for eight new flats is not appropriate according to Sutton’s Local Plan, especially considering some of the new flats will have two bedrooms so residents may own multiple cars. Cutting the ratio of spaces per development means more overspill into surrounding areas.

IDM state the reason for building this development in the car park as ‘Parking spaces not bought by residents’. As mentioned by multiple residents in objections to the previous application and to the appeal, the reason why the uptake of car parking spaces has been limited is due to cost and discouragement from IDM. A number of residents have recently enquired about renting car parking spaces are being quoted different amounts. For example, this varies from £150-£250 per month, or if purchasing, quotes have been provided for £10,000, £12,000 and £25,000 – with no obvious pattern or explanation. IDM justified their quote to one resident by stating nearly all parking spaces had sold out – clearly misleading the resident and at odds with claims in the proposed plans.

Given our experience with IDM it is inevitable that similar issues of misleading residents will occur for the potential residents of the new development.

Stafford Road and the surrounding streets are already hugely congested. In addition, a number of vehicles are already parked on yellow lines on Kings Way. Trying to access and exit the car park from Waddon House is extremely hazardous due to the lack of visibility from parked cars on both sides. The developer needs to ensure car parking options are affordable and accessible for residents to help ease congestion in the local community, rather than add to the problem by removing off-street parking options.

In the appeal for previous planning applications on the site, the inspector noted that Stafford Road and Kings Way have a constant flow of traffic which increases at peak hours, although did not see any impact on the safe functioning of the local highway network. However, this was just a snapshot and does not reflect actual residents’ experiences of Stafford Road and Kings Way. Since the previous application, there has been no additional traffic calming measures on Stafford Road, resulting in increasing risk for residents – for example, a major incident took place in October 2019 at the traffic lights outside Waddon House, involving multiple cars just metres from the proposed new development.

IDM often use the car park area for vehicles to support with maintenance work which reduces the number of spaces available during that time. Currently, Milestone Communications are performing work on the roof of Waddon House and will be using 22 spaces for their equipment for the month of January, meaning current occupants must move their cars. This will be prohibitive in the future with reduced parking spaces – meaning residents may be forced to park on nearby streets for extended periods.

In addition, the proposed layout for the bin store does not show enough space for a refuse lorry to safely collect and dispose of waste. Currently, the refuse lorry can comfortably access the bin store, which is directly accessible from the parking entrance. In the proposed plans, the refuse lorry has two rows of cars between it and the bin store, including three disabled parking bays, potentially disrupting disabled residents. The lorry will also have to drive to the end of the car park and reverse back out onto Kings Way with extremely limited room to manoeuvre, potentially causing traffic incidents.

4.       Inadequate means of enclosure: The proposal of the new development includes access from the pavement on Stafford Road (in the bin and bike stores). This is entirely inadequate – Waddon House has already experienced a number of issues of vandalism, trespassing and anti-social behaviour, including drug-use, which IDM have been unable to adequately and safely address. For example, a number of bikes have been stolen in previous break-ins. The risk of future break-ins increases with additional on-street access.

Both front and back doors have had to be replaced as they are inadequate for use. We have also recently experienced problems on the weekends where our back door was locked causing health and safety issues but this wasn’t resolved for number of days. There will be a significant increase in security risk to existing and new residents, and both during the construction and after.

5.       Noise: The noise impact report is dated February 2018 and has not been updated given this new application. It also doesn’t take into account the number of noise complaints made by residents to the council in the past 6 months about excessive noise from building works and refuse vehicles at unreasonable hours (e.g. 4 am every Thursday).

6.       Inappropriate design/layout: As mentioned above, IDM have failed abysmally to properly secure Waddon House for residents, and residents have experienced copious amounts of anti-social behaviour. The design for this new development proposes a part-covered area of the car park. This will simply create hidden areas that will enable, and perhaps proactively encourage, anti-social behaviour.

I am also aware that the LPA cannot consider ‘inconvenience or other problems caused by building works,’ but this will undoubtedly causes serious health and safety issues to residents of Waddon House. There are a number of young families living in the building – the heavy machinery, hazardous substances and fumes on site pose a serious danger, particularly to children. We have already experienced this as the car park was still a building site when I moved into Waddon House in November 2016. On a wider note, the building works will add to the congestion, traffic and pollution on Stafford Road.

We would like to note a discrepancy in the information provided by IDM; the current plans state that there are 66 spaces at Waddon House and this is reflected in the existing site plans. However in reality space 49 does not exist and there are in fact 65 spaces.

We would also like to note IDM have made no attempt to communicate how the proposed development will affect service charge and ground rent for both new and existing residents. For example, it can be reasonably assumed that the cost of shared services (e.g. bins, gardening, cleaning of car park) may be affected and possibly increase. The potential knock-on effect is that those renting parking spaces may have to stop and park on the street in order to account for increased costs.

To reiterate, we strongly oppose this proposed development.

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