Garage Site Re-development - Whittington Road
Brentwood Borough Council housing department has recently embarked on a new project to build much needed affordable housing in the Borough. We have now completed seven properties in Hutton, the first that the Council have built in over 25 years, and this is a great milestone for the area and its residents.
We are now moving on to the next stage of the project, and proposals have now been drawn up for three garage sites in Hutton North, in the Whittington Road area, for possible re-development for housing. The project will not only offer homes but also potential for additional parking for the surrounding neighbourhood.
These sites offer the chance to help alleviate some of the demand for new housing and the pressure on parking, while also improving the environment for existing and future residents.
We held an initial engagement event with local residents back in June 2017, to share the development proposals and gain some initial feedback. To follow on from this and demonstrate our commitment to engaging with local residents, we evaluated all the feedback and amended some of our initial proposals. This information was then shared with all residents and a second engagement event was held on Thursday 9th November 2017, to enable residents to view the amended plans.
The information below outlines the initial proposals, and the changes we have made as a result of the local resident engagement.
Site 1- Barnston Way
Initial proposal: Three, two storey, two-bedroom townhouses.
- Concerns around the possible overlooking and privacy issues with regards to the existing residents.
- The Council are squeezing housing into a very small site, when there may be other areas that are more suitable.
- These properties should be single storey only.
- Concerns that the entrance road is too small to accommodate vehicles safely.
- Residents do not want to see increased traffic and more cars on the road.
- The planned layout meets all planning requirements and does not involve any overlooking. In addition to this, all top floor windows will be orientated to the front of the property.
- Underutilised garage sites often attract many types of anti-social behaviour. They are ideal locations for small developments which can not only address these problems, but also provide much needed housing. They are very popular with Local Authorities and Housing Associations whose goal is to create housing which is in great demand.
- It is essential that we build properties that reflect the housing needs of the Borough, and make the most of the different locations. The Council is seeking to balance houses with bungalows to achieve a mix. Given the outlook over the green, the orientation of the properties with windows away from existing dwellings and the avoidance of overlooking, it is considered that houses are a good fit for this location.
- The entrance road is viable and the layout will need to be designed appropriately.
- The site accommodates two vehicles for each property, plus two visitor’s spaces. We are aware that parking is an issue in the area and therefore parking is being incorporated to reduce extra vehicles on the road.
This site design will remain as three, two storey, two-bedroom townhouses.
Site 2- Hawksmoor Green/Whittington Road
Initial proposal: Four, single storey, two-bedroom bungalows for retirement living.
- Further concerns around increased traffic and vehicles on the surrounding roads.
- Most responses agreed with single storey properties.
- It was felt that it is unrealistic to remove 38 garages for only four homes, some garages should be retained for the occupants to carry on renting.
- The size of the site and the housing proposal are not a good use of money and resources.
- This proposal includes not only allocated parking for residents of the new properties and their visitors, but also extra parking bays for local residents. It is our aim to look at both the housing and parking need in the area and maximise the results. We feel that this is making a good use of the site incorporating much needed parking spaces.
- Due to planning guidelines, this site must be single storey due to overlooking issues, as we would not meet the required distances between properties with a two-storey building.
- At present only 50% of the garages in total over the three selected sites, are tenanted and providing an income for the Council. Most of these garages are also used for storage only and not to park a vehicle, and therefore reduce the number of cars on the road.
- We do however understand the legitimate concerns from residents around losing the garages on this site. Along with the statements in the previous point, at present the garages are an area of high expenditure for the housing department, as there are ongoing repairs, loss of rent from empty garages and an element of asbestos management. However, as a result of resident feedback, we have carried out an exercise to look at what the costs would be to modernise the garages, creating secure and practical storage facilities and garaged parking facilities, including the removal of any asbestos. Based on this cost exercise, although they are only provisional sums, it would not be economically viable to build new garages, as this would be an extremely costly task. Although the refurbishment of the garages is a reduced cost, it is felt that the cost outweighs the need for this, and it would be more beneficial to create extra parking spaces for the local area. Other garage sites that are not suitable for housing development may be looked at in the future.
This site proposal will remain as four single storey bungalows with additional parking,
Site 3- Rear of Carpenter Path and Coram Green
Initial Proposal: Two, three bedroom, two storey properties.
- Concerns in relation to the new build properties being in very close proximity to existing homes. This would cause great privacy and overlooking issues.
- Single storey properties would be less intrusive.
- The access road is very narrow and could cause safety concerns.
- Residents who have rear access to their properties from the site are concerned about losing their access and do not feel this is fair.
- The loss of garages does not seem to outweigh the benefits of the housing. It is felt that the Council would lose out on a large amount of income and a compromise would be to retain some of the garages.
- This would create an increase in traffic and vehicles on the road.
- Residents who currently have the back wall of the garages as their boundary wall are concerned about security if this was to be removed and replaced with a fence.
- As with site 2, we investigated costing around modernised storage facilities to accommodate the loss of the garages.
- The proposed layout of the site will not remove any current rear access onto the site.
- Any concerns around the access road would be addressed before the planning application stage. The road is currently able to accommodate a car, and alternative arrangements would be made for refuse collection.
- The removal of the garages has been completed at another site we are currently constructing on, where the neighbouring residents had the garage back wall as their boundary wall. Measures were put in place to ensure privacy and security was maintained whilst new fencing was put in place. We therefore have a procedure in place for this that would have minimal impact on residents affected.
- We understand residents’ concerns about the proximity of the new properties. Although the proposed plans do not include any rear windows, and all other windows would be facing frontwards towards the access road, we have listened to residents and altered the proposal to alleviate these concerns.
This proposal has been changed to three, two bedroom, single storey bungalows with additional parking on site. Amended plans will be available on the plans web page.
As well as the additional parking on the development sites, we also discussed creating extra parking on other areas around Whittington Road, including Hawksmoor Green and Coram Green.
- These proposals were agreed with in principle, providing the green areas were protected by bollards, and not too much of grass areas are taken up.
- Concerns were raised that the green will not be able to be used to play on if inset parking is created.
- Current inset parking is underused, so any additional parking would need to be enforced and allocated.
- Residents did not feel that extra spaces should be included on the green in front of Carpenter path as this is already congested and there is parking on the other side of the green area already.
- Other areas to consider included the green area in front of the existing flats in Whittington Road, Fielding Way, Birkbeck Road and the other area of Coram Green at the bottom of Wilkes Road.
- This whole project is to look at housing and parking hand in hand, the project cannot go forward without including both elements.
- It is understood that enforcement and allocation would be beneficial in ensuring that the additional parking is utilised to its greatest potential. This will be looked at at a later date, when it is confirmed how many parking spaces we are working with and their location.
- We are in agreement that the greens need to be protected by fencing or bollards, so that the green itself is maintained and anyone on the green is safe at all times.
After considering the feedback, we will not be proceeding with any extra parking at the front of Carpenter Path, but pursuing the following possible parking locations.
- A feasibility exercise has been competed with regard to the green area in front of 110-156 Whittington Road.
- The green area in Hawksmoor Green will also be selected for additional parking, with two rows of parking bays on two sides of the green.
We will now be working towards applying for planning applications for these sites. Once applications are submitted, residents will have the opportunity to respond in the formal consultation procedure in partnership with planning.
We would like to thank residents for all the feedback provided and your attendance at the previous engagement events.
Should you have any further questions regarding this, please contact Lauren Kealey on 01277 312 500 or email email@example.com