Planning Hearing 16th May 2012

We spoke on two developments at this hearing.  Our speeches are below

Walthamstow Stadium Car Park HCT Bus Depot E4

Speech read by Gail Penfold (Chair) and Lloyd Richards (Rushcroft Road)

We request the matter is deferred.  We believe insufficient information has been given to make valid decision.

(1)   The site is D2 category and a final decision has not been made on Walthamstow Stadium. The letter from Mr McEllistrum dated 1st September 2010 states that the consideration of development of this site must have regard to the situation at The Stadium Site.

(2)   additionally the London Fire Brigade have not returned their comments and according to an email received today do not appear to have received consultation letters.

(3)   documentation requested has not been provided in the New Entrance Impact

(4)    no road safety audit has taken place. With a school nearby & as well as a large
        supermarket surely road safety audit is mandatory.

These were included in our speech for the last hearing.

Walthamstow Stadium Area Residents Community Association ask that the Planning Committee reject the application.

The physical and utility infrastructure is already in place within LBWF and is not required by new development because at the time this was first brought before committee there was no new development in the locality and currently there is no new development, unless of course the Reporting Officer’s presumption at the time of writing the report was that Walthamstow Stadium Banbury Park and other developments in the system will all be approved.

Approval would be contrary to planning policies The proposed development is contrary to planning polices in terms of change of use from the D2 classification.

If applications have to be considered on their own merits CS3 does not apply.  There is no increase in local population growth - Banbury Park and Walthamstow Stadium have not had final decisions so CS3(a) doesn’t apply.

There is no justification for giving “minimal weight” to Core Strategies as suggested by the applicant in item 6.3 (ii)  All the core strategies were put together for specific reasons.

We argue that minimal weight should NOT be given to the change of use from D2 as the number of extra jobs it will be providing is insufficient.  The scheme DOESN’T maximise opportunities to deliver ADDITIONAL  facilities or jobs. They will not be providing 270 new jobs as the routes are already in place as are their drivers.  The trainers are already employed, the workshop will be operated by the staff who are being moved out of Ash Grove which is closing. 

Their group, using Waltham Forest locations only, already have operator licences for 118 vehicles.  Taking the workshop space which using their principles can accommodate far more vehicles for storage/working on,  means all 118 vehicles can be accommodated on site.

Their operators licence for Walthamstow Stadium Car Park is for only 28 vehicles. If this is not already being used this would mean that there will be only 28 new vehicles - needing drivers - which does not reflect 270 new jobs -  most already appear to be filled.

These facilities are all ready provided by HCT and their subsidiaries / associated companies.  Training is provided at Low Hall Depot and Ash Grove, we were told the training team would be transferring from Low Hall Depot to the stadium car park. The routes proposed are already in place.  It is not providing anything ADDITIONAL   (Notes:- not read out unless asked for justification)

Hackney Community Transport LTD have Under PK2003213
2 low hall depot
8 ash grove
15 in W10
Totalling 25

They then have a further  under PK1033726
53 at south access road E17
35 at quarter mile lane E10
28 stadium car park Chingford Road
2 low hall depot.
20 at Brixton
85 at ash grove
12 Dartford

There is ACTUALLY a FINANCIAL LOSS  to Waltham Forest Council if they move out of Low Hall Depot. We’ve found no evidence of any requirement or reason for them to move out of there, no eviction notice has been served.  A contract will be in place for the vehicles to operate out of Low Hall Depot because there has to be, to satisfy the Operator Licence conditions as they don’t own the land. I do not have access to this information but councillors can obtain it for themselves.

On noise & pollution the noise assessment document requires updating. Documents state 273 expected bus movements per day - yet nothing is said about night time bus movements. The noise assessment report did not include tests in the roads outside those that were initially consulted nor did it cover the sounding of 106 horns which are part of safety checks  - which will need to be done early morning prior to pulling out for the first time. 

With regard to CO2 levels pollution the Officer’s report is wholly wrong when it states emissions would be reduced.  There are currently no emissions whatsoever from the site caused by vehicles and there hasn’t been for years so anything will be an increase. There is no excuse for all vehicles NOT to comply with low emissions regardless of any exemption in place.

There have been Rushed & Inadequate Expert Consultations. As with English Heritage, the fire brigade also were not originally consulted and this occurred once we brought this to the Planning Authority’s attention.  It seems odd that the applicant and/or their companies would apply in advance for an operators licence for 28 vehicles but not apply for the appropriate London Fire Brigade consent which is needed prior to occupation, before a planning decision is made.

With a site so close to Sainsbury’s Petrol Garage residents have concerns should things go terribly wrong.

The plan itself is questionable. The site in Walthamstow Avenue adjoins the North Circular and Chingford Road.  These are the two roads that vehicles can exit onto however there is only one road all vehicles will travel on to return.  That is Chingford Road.

HCT attended our meeting on 23rd April however, according to the Officer’s report we were given wrong information.  We were told buses would return and exit from the North Circular Road.  According to the Officer’s report there have been major changes that have major impact on the local community that we have not been consulted on.

The shortest diversion route when Chingford Road near the billet is blocked is via Grove Park Avenue and Empress Avenue both of which are not equipped to deal with these vehicles.  When the Billet is blocked - which it frequently is, if Chingford Road is not accessible where are these 108 vehicles going to go, there is nowhere locally to stack them and there are times when local roads been blocked for 5-6 hours during murder, fatal accident and serious incident occurrences.  There is nowhere locally to on street stack these vehicles.

It is interesting in our road that since the 23rd April meeting curtain side vehicles have been coming around Empress Avenue and Grove Park Avenue, you are welcome to come and see the damage done witnessed by other residents as well as myself.

Related potential of financial risk. As a responsible and sensible group we believe this application will cause HCT to be fined if approved. By granting this application you could be setting the company up to fail and Councillors should not contribute to that. According to their Chief Executive all the contracts have financial defaults.  This means that when the Billet becomes blocked for any time or when (not if) access to and from the site is blocked for hours due to accident/incident,  the company can be penalised financially or heavily fined for delays and failure to provide service.  

If they are a genuine charity (nothing untoward meant by this, but we have not checked this side of things out) to waste charitable money and donations etc on fines is quite criminal and should be designed out before the scheme is approved.

Report comparisons with previous use are flawed – based on wrong assumptions. The residents association find the Officer’s report completely flawed.  This is because the report compares the application, in a number of places, to  its previous use as a car park for Walthamstow Stadium.

It’s use as a car park was linked to leisure and is a case for maintaining the leisure classification.  There is a need for additional leisure facilities in South Chingford.

The most recent and actual last previous use of the stadium car park was as a motorcycle training school.  In order to provide a fair and accurate report therefore, facts should be been based on comparisons against the car parks last actual use which was as a motorcycle training school/centre whatever you want to call it which allowed people to qualify to use their bikes for leisure.   
Had these comparisons been done, the outcomes of the report would have been very different.

Resident Views on the future use of the site differ.

This is a D2 classified leisure site.  Some feel that instead of the million plus going the other side of the billet to fund the pool and track, that the money should be spent on leisure on the stadium side of the Billet the car park being ideal with the D2 leisure classification. 

Some want it to remain in its current format hoping the stadium will be returning to dog racing, Some would prefer a bus depot instead of housing, some feel the car park site due to the archeological points raised should be turned into a museum or heritage centre AFTER proper investigation. Perhaps the shallow foundations could be exposed and viewed in situ with a museum displaying all the artifacts found. 

There could also be a section on the history of the iconic national and international Stadium – still existing or not – on the opposite side of the road as well as exhibitions on the changing face of the local area

Perhaps school & family based activities related to the history of the area  could take place – linking with other historical sites in Waltham Forest and Essex – a place where local children could walk to ……. This could provide at least as many jobs, create a new “landmark” in the area, and benefit all Waltham Forest – and London residents – with minimal negative impact and bring people into the borough to spend money.

We hope you understand why we want the scheme is refused.

If you decide to approve the scheme the residents insist that the hours of operation are reduced to normal business hours. At least this will ensure the priest and other local residents will get sleep and the hotel will not lose customers.

Banbury Park, Billet Road E17

Speech read by Karen Thwaites Street Representative

Although the development of the old Kimberley Works, or new Banbury Park site is outside of our area, we are commenting tonight because we feel it will have an impact on our area.

Our concerns relate to the increase in traffic in Billet Road, Chingford Road and the nearby areas to these highways.

People from this site will use the Billet Roundabout to access, Shops at Chingford Mount, Schools, nurseries, Morrisons, Sainsburys and the new Tescos at Highams Park.

If the traffic on the Billet Roundabout is not managed correctly and it comes to a standstill, the eventual knock on effect is that people will give up using it unless they really have to.  This will affect the local businesses including shops in Chingford Road continuing up to Kings Head Hill and Wadham Road.

Increase in traffic also means increase in pollution in an area which already has extremely high pollution levels.

As a responsible group we also wish to bring to the planning committee attention the amount of “other use land” ie land that wasn’t originally designated for housing, that is having its designated use changed.

Shops in Wood Street have been turned into flats, Businesses in Sutherland Road replaced with housing as two different examples, and  one small, one large, but both with economic knock on effects to other local businesses and to the Council relating to Business Rates.  If Councillors do not ensure that land used for business or industrial purposes is kept as business land, and land used for entertainment and/or leisure is kept for those uses, then the Borough as a whole is in grave danger of becoming one big housing mass with little else to support it.  

Thank you for allowing our Association a voice. We hope you take our concerns seriously both now and when considering future applications.