Reverse granted planning permission for unsustainable Trafford Plaza development
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As Trafford community and residents we ask Trafford Council to revert the decision of granting planning permission for the new development for Trafford Plaza, 73 Seymour Grove - on a site between Seymour Park and Park Rise development.
(application 90711/FUL/17 - see https://publicaccess.trafford.gov.uk/online-applications/caseDetails.do?caseType=Application&keyVal=OM4P0IQLFXA00 for full details)
We believe that this development, as proposed, is out of scale and proportion , being a 16 storey high-rise building. It will have a detrimental effect on the local area and residents - resulting in the degradation of public space, living standards and public services for the area.
1. Inappropriate scale of the development
The development is 12 to 16 stories high. This is highly inappropriate for the area, which consists of low rise residential and mid-rise converted office blocks.
2. Effect on Seymour Park
The proposed development is planned to be built right on the western border of the historic Seymour Park, bordering it on two sides with up to 16-floor facades. The park is one of the very few green spaces provided for local residents and is a very valued asset in the area. The proposed development will cause:
- Significant overshadowing of the western area of the park, which hosts a playground and skateboarding facilities fewer than 50 meters from the proposed development
- A danger to the trees bordering the park, both during and after construction, since the elevation is placed too close to the line of trees
- A detrimental effect on the wildlife on this side of the park, again both during and after the construction. The existing ecological study does not consider the effect of the development on the park at all.
- Inevitable degradation of the public utility of the park during this construction
- Loss of light and views from the various areas of the park.
- A possibility of littering from the 16-story elevation bordering the park, that affects the quality of the public space and puts an additional strain on the council and public services.
- The existing townscape report takes only one location within Seymour Park as a reference point, again conveniently omitting the impact of the proposed development on other areas of the park.
- The use of black and dark grey cladding, especially on a development of this scale, will degrade the views from the park and other local areas.
3. Effect on the local residents, particularly those of the Madison Apartments and Park Rise buildings:
- Submitted daylight studies entirely ignore the impact on the ground level flats of the Madison Apartments, which will be affected most by the development.
- The study also does not provide any calculation for the winter months, when residents of Madison Apartments and Park Rise will be most affected.
- Since the planning application was previously submitted, the Park Rise development was converted from office to residential. No overshadowing study was done to measure the effect of the Trafford Plaza development, but we believe it will result in an unacceptable loss of daylight for residents of Park Rise
- There are no plans for when the construction works are to be carried out, meaning residents of both Madison Apartments and Park Rise are rightly concerned that building works will significantly disrupt their right to peaceful enjoyment during the construction period.
- Loss of direct sunlight - due to very significant overshadowing, there will be a huge loss of direct sunlight for many apartments in both blocks, and therefore natural heating - this will result in increased bills and carbon emissions as well as affect mental wellbeing of residents.
4. Lack of provisioned affordable housing and an unsustainable approach
- Contrary to the regional and national need for affordable homes, there is no provision of affordable housing included in the application. With the massive scale of the development, we find this to be absolutely unacceptable.
- We also think that the replacement profit-based proposal (that considers the developer’s contribution being part of the profits over 20%, only after all property is sold) is also not acceptable, since no viability studies were included in the proposal, and such commitments are often easily worked around by developers.
- The lack of Help To Buy scheme on the development, as well as marketing materials, so far suggest that the development is aimed at investors/ thebuy-to-rent property market. The residential composition of Park Rise development, which was part of the same planning permission, confirms that not only is the development propping up a buy to let market, but also that a very high proportion of properties are now marketed as short-term rent on sites like AirBnB. The mentioned lack of affordable housing or any other measures to encourage owner-occupiers in the building (as well as a huge shortfall of parking spaces) suggests a similar composition is desired by the developer of Trafford Plaza. We believe those residential compositions are not healthy for the community, and quite often result in a nuisance to residents of the block and local area. We believe Trafford Council should promote developments that encourage homeownership and build local communities.
5. Lack of provisioned public space
- Because of the very small scale of the plot, there is NO new public space or green space provided as a part of the development, nor the neighboring Park Rise conversion - this will only put more strain on the park.
- The replacement contribution of £2000 to create an orchard of 15 trees in the park is far from acceptable for a development that will allow developers to sell homes for a value of approximately £34,000,000.
- The name of the development “Trafford Plaza” adds insult to injury for a property that provisions ZERO public space.
6. Impact on local traffic and pollution, especially on Seymour Grove
- All local residents are aware of the traffic problem on Seymour Grove during rush hour when the queue of cars on Seymour Grove extends as far as to Ayres Road. A development of this size will make this problem even worse for the residents of both buildings, as well as everyone using Seymour Grove during their commute.
- As a side effect, the traffic on small residential streets like Humphrey Road is likely to increase too. All of this will have a negative effect on air pollution and noise pollution in the area, and possibly even the safety of the residential streets.
7. Impact on local parking spaces
- Due to the size of development and small size of the plot, there is not enough provision of car parking spaces for the development. There are only 91 spaces allocated to the proposed development of 64 x 1 bedroom and 110 x 2 bedrooms, which should require 284 parking spaces according to the council's own guidelines (SPD3: Parking Standards and Design). As a result, there is a possible shortfall of 193 parking spaces, which will have a huge effect on the on-street parking in the area. It is worth mentioning that on-street parking in the area is already experiencing irregular shortfalls (such as during football games). This is likely to result in the much-increased use of illegal on-street parking ie on double yellow lines, increasing various safety risks to residents of the area.
8. No considerations for the recent Greater Manchester Spatial Framework
- While the Commission Report acknowledges the existence of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework guidelines, there is no consideration of it in any aspect of the Commission’s report.
9. No considerations for more recent planning permissions granted and new developments
- With the original planning documents submitted more than 1.5 years ago, there is now no consideration of the other developments planned and being built in the fast-changing area. These changes could have a significant impact of the proposed development across many areas, including traffic and air pollution, a strain on local services and sufficient provision of housing in the area.
10. No consideration for previous residents' objections from the Trafford Council.
There was an unusually high number of objections from the residents during previous planning meetings in 2017, with absolutely no support for the development from the local community. However, all those concerns were disregarded by the commission, and not a single issue or condition was placed on developers to change the planning application.
We believe these issues raised previously are as valid now as they were then, and we implore that Trafford Council and the commission will now consider refusing the planning permission, given how badly the local area would be affected.
An alternative plan:
As local residents, we acknowledge that there is a need for new housing and that there are a restricted number of plots that allow new construction in the area; therefore, we are not opposing any new developments entirely. However, we demand that all of our concerns are taken into consideration. The placement of the plot right next (and bordering two sides of) to the Seymour Park could potentially result in a development that Trafford Council, the local community, and developers could be proud of, and that would set an example to all new constructions in the borough and the wider metropolitan area. To achieve that, planning should take into consideration:
- The scale of the building appropriate to the area and size of the plot, gradually descending towards the park to minimize the impact on public spaces
- The sunlight and daylight needs of residents of neighboring properties
- The use of materials and design that will brighten up, rather than darken and overshadow the local area
- Sufficient provision for affordable housing
- Sufficient provision of parking space, and minimizing the impact on local traffic and air pollution
- Considering the lack of any newly created public space, a very significant contribution to existing local public spaces, such as the regeneration and creation of new facilities in Seymour Park
- Cooperation with local residents on working towards the aims laid out above
It is clear that the proposed development achieves none of the this, and we believe that setting out such requirements is the only way to provide the housing the area needs, and get local residents on board.
If the development in it's current form is pushed through, disregarding the concerns of the entire community, it will be clear to residents that Trafford Council does not care about their needs, and instead is supporting the interest of developers and ticking off their housing targets.
We call on the Trafford Council and Planning Commission to refuse the planning application of Trafford Plaza in its current form.
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