Kings Road HMO application refused!

I am pleased to report that this application was refused on Tuesday, unanimously, and you can see me protecting Brentwood West here.

But after the meeting, things took an unexpected turn when I spoke to the beleaguered, and most pleasant, applicant and his agent.  You see, my main objection to this one were the proposed living conditions but it seems that they were pushed in to this type of application by officers.  I’m not happy with this and have suggested we meet before they put in another application so we can look at what is right for the area.  They were warm to this idea and I hope to hear from them soon so we can get this building back in to use, to complement the area around Brentwood station.

Unless I had been actively looking at what is proposed in my ward, this would have just gone through – see I don’t wait for residents to call me, I am there working on your behalf and protecting your interests wherever I can.

Kings Road – House* of Multi-Occupancy application

Tomorrow, I hope to be at Planning to speak on the application to squeeze thirteen “living spaces” above the shops in Kings Road in former office space.  This is a nasty application and this is my referral:

I am not satisfied that this meets the parking guidelines or that this will offer acceptable living accommodation for those who could potentially reside there. No bath facilities are offered – only showers – and this does not seem appropriate. I also feel that this is an application that will give rise to further accommodation conversions from office accommodation in an area that is already over-subscribed in terms of residential and will see a continual loss of office accommodation in the area around Brentwood station. No provision has been made for parking or visitor parking – as well as no provision made for deliveries, health visitors, relatives in an area that currently has serious parking availability issues. No provision has been made for recycling or communal bin areas. I am dubious about the increase in sewer provision given the increase in toilet provision. It states in the report that the property has been marketed since 2009, but in the application that the office use only ceased in 2012. It also states no increase in residential units when this is an application to add 11 units?

This is about protecting the area around Brentwood station as well as being about living conditions.  To cram this many people in a floor like this is inhumane to me – I would be relaxed about 5-6 but 13, just too many people in too small a place with not even decent access to the outside….horrible.

I will be urging members to refuse this application.

* also, it’s not even a house!

Planning recommendations week ending 2nd April 2015

 

lego-house

In #Brentwoodwest this week there is a recommendation in Kings Chase and an update on the proposed takeaway on Warley Hill:

Please note THIS IS NOT yet a decision – I am able to refer to planning committee now.

44 Kings Chase: SINGLE STOREY REAR EXTENSION AND INCREASE IN RIDGE HEIGHT TO ACCOMMODATE LOFT CONVERSION AND TO INCLUDE REAR DORMER AND ROOFLIGHTS.

Recommended for REFUSAL

If you have any issues with the above officer recommendation then please get in touch with me as soon as possible. The deadline for referral is midday on Monday 13th April 2015 to refer the above item to the Planning Committee for further discussion.

PLUS some good news from the other side of Warley Hill in Warley ward:

118 Warley Hill: CHANGE OF USE FROM A1 (RETAIL) TO A3/A5 RESTAURANT/TAKEAWAY

Recommended for REFUSAL

This is going to be a relief for residents in Brentwood West and Warley – a takeaway next to the already difficult Tesco store would have caused a nightmare for residents.  The summary also contained a letter from my Lib Dem colleague Cllr Jill Hubbard, working on behalf of residents as you will find our lot do:

A letter of objection has been received from Cllr Hubbard which, in summary, raises the following concerns; concerned about the access; the service road behind the houses in Warley Hill should not be used. The lives of residents have already been affected by Tesco. It is hazardous and residents suffer from cars parking outside their houses, leading to congestion and dangerous traffic incidents. This proposal would make this situation worse. Cars would be a constant nuisance and source of noise close to gardens, residents would be affected by cooking smells and littering and there is already a Fish and Chip Shop opposite Brentwood Station. There are considerable parking problems further down Warley Hill due to the restaurants and take-aways.

For more information on the planning process, please see my advice here.

Planning recommendations week ending 27th February 2015

lego-house

In #Brentwoodwest this week there are recommendations in Downsland Drive, Junction Road, Clements Park and Kings Road.

Please note THESE ARE NOT yet decisions – I am able to refer to planning committee now.

22 Downsland Drive: TWO STOREY SIDE AND REAR EXTENSION AND ENLARGED WINDOW TO LOUNGE.

Recommended for REFUSAL

Church House, Junction Road: DEMOLITION OF EXISTING GARAGE AND CONSTRUCTION OF A SINGLE STOREY FRONT EXTENSION WITH CANOPY TO FRONT, DOUBLE STOREY SIDE EXTENSION AND SINGLE STOREY REAR EXTENSION

Recommended for REFUSAL

5 The Chapel, The Galleries: REPLACE EXISTING GLASS WINDOWS, FRAMES TO STAY THE SAME .

Recommended for REFUSAL

5 Drovers Mead: CONSTRUCTION OF A SINGLE-STOREY REAR EXTENSION.

Recommended for APPROVAL

147 Kings Road: CHANGE OF USE FROM RETAIL (CLASS A1) TO MASSAGE THERAPY CENTRE (CLASS D1)

Recommended for APPROVAL

If you have any issues with the above officer recommendation then please get in touch with me as soon as possible. The deadline for referral is midday on Monday 9th March 2015 to refer the above item to the Planning Committee for further discussion.

For more information on the planning process, please see my advice here.

Parking Fees reduced!

 

 

one hour successParking charges to go down under the Accord Administration!

With the Lib Dems, I can’t remember a time when we weren’t fighting to make parking fees more reasonable!  Now we have done it – and the Tories voted AGAINST our plans!

We pulled this off by being fair – we introduced an overnight parking charge of £2 to capitalise on the TOWIE visitors.  This has yielded around £60,000 in income which has meant we can do the following:

  • Reduce the all day car parking fee from £10.50 to £8.00

  • Introduce a new Saturday workers fee of £4 in Westbury Road Car Park

  • Introduce a new £30 weekly charge in the William Hunter Way Car Park

This will take around ten weeks to introduce once it is advertised and consulted upon.

It is unbelievable that the Tories voted against on the basis that we hadn’t reduced it enough, despite them voting for a 117% increase in the one hour charge in 2012 (and that includes current Brentwood West Tory Cllr Will Russell, who’s up for re-election in May).

It’s also interesting to see that another Tory scaremongering activity didn’t come true.  Back in 2011, two days before I lost my seat, they put out a leaflet in Brentwood West saying that, should a night time charge be introduced then people would be forced in to the side streets to park and, therefore, we would all be wading around in “rivers of vomit”.  Yes, they put that on a leaflet and people believed it!  So, watch what they say when it comes to May’s elections!  It turns out not to be the case, so just as well no one opened up a Wellies Shop in anticipation.

 

Planning recommendation week ending 20th February 2015

 

lego-house

In #Brentwoodwest this week there is an application in Kings Road and, despite there being no resident objections, I have referred it to committee myself:

POTENTIAL HOUSE 149 – 157 KINGS ROAD BRENTWOOD ESSEX CM14 4EG USE OF VACANT SECOND FLOOR OFFICES AS A HOUSE OF MULTIPLE OCCUPATION.

Recommended for APPROVAL

This is my email of referral:

 I am not satisfied that this meets the parking guidelines or that this will offer acceptable living accommodation for those who could potentially reside there.  No bath facilities are offered – only showers – and this does not seem appropriate.
I also feel that this is an application that will give rise to further accommodation conversions from office accommodation in an area that is already over-subscribed in terms of residential and will see a continual loss of office accommodation in the area around Brentwood station.
No provision has been made for parking or visitor parking – as well as no provision made for deliveries, health visitors, relatives  in an area that currently has serious parking availability issues.
No provision has been made for recycling or communal bin areas.
I am dubious about the increase in sewer provision  given the increase in toilet provision.
It states in the report that the property has been marketed since 2009, but in the application that the office use only ceased in 2012.  It also states no increase in residential units when this is an application to add 11 units?

Councillor candidate news

I am delighted to announce that Brentwood West resident, charity worker, carer and artist Alison Fulcher will be our candidate for the May 2015 ward councillor elections.  Alison would join County Cllr David Kendall, Cllr John Newberry and me working for local residents as your local councillor and continue the work of The Accord administration.  I am sure you will welcome her to the team.

Alison Fulcher

ALISON FULCHER 

Alison has lived within the Brentwood West ward with her family for several years, attending senior school at the Brentwood Ursuline High Convent School (1982-1989).

Alison has considerable experience within the care sector and wishes to contribute this knowledge and experience in her potential role as Councillor. Her past experience includes working alongside patient experience groups for Community Healthcare Services and Inclusion Support work for the local charity The Frontline Partnership.

Having studied Fine Arts as a mature student – Alison has combined her own Art practise with her care work experience. Alison has also supported and run Sensory Art projects, community drawing and drama workshops within schools and community venues within the local area.  Further to this experience Alison is a media representative for the national charity Gingerbread and works for a well-known Humanitarian Charity in Brentwood.

If elected Alison, following the example of the Accord, will support cross party collaboration. Listening to residents’ concerns and needs with an awareness of local business and charitable support with a keen willingness to find a solution wherever possible – her promise of relentless hard work and commitment will ensure that she is worthy of your vote and a potential Councillor for keeps.

Allison hopes are that residents will contribute their views and opinions freely as she has done and wishes to see Brentwood’s future shaped in a way that represents the community as fully as possible.

Alongside priority issues such as crime, anti-social behaviour and care in the community whilst paying close attention to the needs of local businesses Alison would also like to see the cultural needs of the community continuing to be met – believing that this is an important way of bringing together community and engaging those sometimes feeling more isolated.

Planning recommendations week ending 9 January 2015

lego-house

In #Brentwoodwest this week there are applications Weald Road and Kings Road,

Please note THIS IS NOT yet a decision – I am able to refer to planning committee now.

LEIGH HOUSE, WEALD ROAD: OUTLINE APPLICATION TO EXTEND THIRD FLOOR AND CREATE ADDITIONAL FOURTH FLOOR FOR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT ON  FIRST,SECOND, THIRD AND FOURTH FLOORS TO CREATE 11 x 1 BED FLATS. (ACCESS, APPEARANCE AND LANDSCAPING RESERVED MATTERS).

Recommended for REFUSAL

If you have any issues with the above officer recommendation then please get in touch with me as soon as possible. The deadline for referral is midday on Monday 19 January 2015 to refer the above item to the Planning Committee for further discussion.

For more information on the planning process, please see my advice here.

IN ADDITION there are is an application on the border in Brentwood South on Kings Road opposite Premier Inn which I would have to ask one of the Brentwood South councillors to refer:

1. CONSTRUCTION OF FOUR AND A HALF STOREY BUILDING COMPRISING A COMMERCIAL UNIT AT GROUND FLOOR AND A RESIDENTIAL UNIT ABOVE. CONSTRUCTION OF A SMALL OFFICE ABOVE PARKING SPACE TO REAR.

Recommended for REFUSAL

Brentwood’s future: The most important consultation ever

 

Today is the launch of the Strategic Growth Options Consultation – it might sound dull but it really is something you should read, consider and engage with by completing THIS response paper.

Listed in this consultation are all the sites to be considered for development because Brentwood Council is required to meet local housing needs. Evidence, from central government, suggests that need is around 360 new homes per year, or 5,500 new homes over a 15 year period. The capacity of brownfield sites in urban areas over 15 years is 2,500, some 3,000 short of total need and we have to find places to build them.

Please be absolutely clear that this is NOT necessarily where we, as the administration, WANT to develop and in some cases it would be good to see them totally and finally disregarded as sites for development.  Although many Tory councillors will say differently as they accuse of us of trying to build in your back yard.

One clear example of this is Hopefield Animal Sanctuary…over my cold, dead body (and those of Cllr Aspinell, Newberry, Carter, Quirk, Mynott, Sapwell and many more) will anyone build anything here but the Tories are now whipping up a storm and saying that that is what we want.  That’s not true.  I will be making my own very strong representations on this one and this site will, I hope, be rejected as a development site.  However, we leave this, or any inappropriate site, off the list for consideration and it is open season for any developer for fifteen years because it is left in a developmental abyss of “no status” and we cannot argue effectively against a housing proposal.

If a site has been considered and rejected as part of our local plan, that has more chance of holding up against a planning permission appeal.

The following sites are listed as Brentwood West, but you may want to look at the list for those near you that are in other wards that adjoin West (namely Brentwood North, Brentwood South, South Weald, Warley) and anything else that might be important to you:

  • Land north of Highwood Close, Brentwood
  • Land north of Highwood Close including St Georges Court, Brentwood
  • Brentwood railway station car park
  • Land at Honeypot Lane, Brentwood
  • Westbury Road Car Park, Westbury Road, Brentwood
  • Site on corner of High Street / Western Road, Brentwood (Former Napier Arms)
  • Land adjacent and rear of 207-217 Crescent Road, Brentwood
  •  18 Westbury Drive, Brentwood
  • Land at Crescent Road (open space), Brentwood
  • Victoria Court, Victoria Road, Brentwood
  • Hubert Road Industrial Estate
  • BT Offices, London Road, Brentwood
  • La Plata Grove, Brentwood
  • 14-16 Westwood Avenue, Brentwood

I also think it is worth pointing out these, in South Weald ward that are near West (but not all of them in that ward):

  • Land rear of The Bull Public House, Brook Street, Brentwood
  •  Land adjacent 50 Spital Lane, Brentwood
  • Brook Street employment area
  • Academy Place, Brook Street/Spital Lane, Brentwood

and these in Warley ward that are near West (but not all of them in that ward):

  • Former Mascalls Hospital, Mascalls Lane, Warley
  • Land adjacent to Carmel, Mascalls Lane, Warley
  • Land adjacent Hill Cottage, Warley Road, and Mill House, Mascalls Lane, Warley

Once again, please be absolutely clear these are not our intended or favoured sites – they are for consideration and we need your input so we can reject those that are just WRONG!

As an example, let’s look at 14-16 Westwood Avenue.  To my knowledge, there have been four recent attempts at putting an inappropriate development here.  There is no way I want this to be a development site so I will ensure that my feelings are known based on the work I have done with residents in Westwood Avenue.  That being done, should it be rejected as a site for development, it makes it much easier to say NO next time a greedy developer tries to build half a dozen houses there.  If it is not included – open season….we stand no chance.

My views on the other sites are varied – some may be appropriate and some certainly aren’t.  I am not here for my personal opinion though – I am here to represent you and to form a view based on weighing up the views of the people I represent.  So please let me know what you think and let me argue for you but, the most important thing you can do is to take part in this consultation and make sure you get the Brentwood you want in the future.

I am here for advice and discussion if you need me – the consultation ends on 17th February 2015.

William Hunter Way consultation – a reminder

whw sign

 

Over the weekend, each household will receive a letter addressed to whoever is on the council tax account about the William Hunter Way consultation and here’s why…

On 1st September 2014, after the failure of the former Tory administration’s town centre development (along with eight wasted years and hundreds of thousands of pounds) the Accord administration launched a very genuine consultation – developed in consultation with local residents – that would go to every household in the borough.  It was initially launched online with a paper consultation planned to go through every door.

All was going to plan until a couple of weeks ago when we started to get calls and emails from residents to say they hadn’t received the consultation paper – what’s worse is that this was in areas very close to the site such as Wellesley Road, Weald Road, Gerrard Crescent and huge areas in Warley.

We hoped this would right itself but, with a week to go until the consultation ends in the past week we were still hearing this from our residents and a lengthy conversation on www.streetlife.com confirmed our worst fears.

On Saturday Cllr Russell Quirk, chair of the William Hunter Way Working Group (WHWWG), called an urgent meeting of this group tonight (6th October).  Councillors Quirk, Baker, Mynott, Sapwell and I met with officers at 7pm to discuss how this was going to be sorted out.

And sort it we did.

  • The deadline for the consultation is to be extended to 5th November 2014.
  • Every resident on the council tax register will now receive a letter reminding/informing them to complete this important survey
  • They will be able to complete it on line or have a survey sent to them
  • We will ask for further help from the Brentwood Gazette, Brentwood Weekly News and Phoenix FM (which may include taking out advertisements)

 

I am so pleased that we have been able to find a way to promote this consultation further at this late stage.  What’s better is that these “belt and braces” actions still keep us well within budget for the consultation project and assures residents that we have done everything we can to make sure every one of them has an opportunity to give us their views on the future of their town.

Make no mistake – this is important as it is about the long term future of the town which is why we are not taking it lightly.”

However, even with this unfortunate series of – now solved – problems, officers have confirmed that with well over 2,000 responses already this is the best response for a Brentwood resident consultation since records began.