OpinioN8

Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information

Do you want Kwik Fit demolished and replaced with a block of Flats?

I attended a Development Management Forum last week in the Art Gallery in Hornsey Library. You can see the full purpose of the Forum in the link but part of the leaflet states:

Its purpose is to allow participants to raise issues of concern and obtain answers toquestions about the particular application.  The aim is to allow early discussion byCouncillors and members of the public on planning issues related to these planningapplications and to explore the scope for agreement between all parties in a positive and constructive way prior to the later decision being made at the Planning Committee

 

The subject of the forum was the proposal to demolish Kwik Fit and replace it with a 5 storey block of flats and some commercial premises. 

I was one of the members of the public present at the meeting and (somewhat abbreviated) it seemed to go like this. Judge for yourselves how useful and constructive I thought it was.

Wealthy Looking man in a suit: I'm the Landlord and I want to go on being wealthy and i want all my children and their children to go on being wealthy too, so something's got to be done.

Architect/Consultant (A/C): This a tired out unattractive building with a very negative use at the moment, so we plan to knock it down and replace it with some lovely dwellings and shops.

Member of the Public (MotP): But its too tall!

A/C: No, its not

MotP: It will overlook my garden

A/C: No , it won't

MotP: Its not a negative form of employment - it has apprentices, provides a useful service and brings people into the area

A/C: Its very negative. Wouldn't be allowed nowadays

MotP: Its not a tired building - its an interesting Art Deco counterpoint to the Modernist Town Hall

A/C: You might think that

MotP: Crouch End doesn't need any more shops - there are plenty standing empty now

A/C: The commercial space is very flexible

MotP: Crouch End doesn't need any more dwellings

A/C: The dwellings conform to the standards set out in the London  Plan

MotP: The dwellings are too small

A/C: The dwellings conform to the standards set out in the London  Plan

MotP: The houses just up the road haven't sold yet

A/C: The dwellings conform to the standards set out in the London  Plan

MotP: It'll change Crouch End completely

A/C: No, it won't

MotP: There are not enough car parking spaces

A/C: There are none, exactly the right number, very sustainable

MotP: Its an unattractive design

A/C: That's a very subjective judgement

MotP: You'll disturb loads of asbestos during demolition

A/C: We'll be very careful

 

I've just read A/C's response to the meeting. Based on this I don't think I've misrepresented what went on, but I can spell.

Tags: 163, 163 tottenham lane, bubbles, kwik fit, lane, meb, tottenham

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Not sure what you mean by bias. Obviously the titular question is unbiased and Cupcake (see below) has chosen one of the possible answers. Otherwise the only bias on view comes from most of the participants in the 'debate'. The public came armed with its objections - many of which appear on the Haringey Planning application page.  There are now 56 responses - the great majority in opposition to the proposals. The architects came armed with the drawings which also appear on the planning page, and a reading of the Unitary Development Plan (UDP) which supported their proposals. I have made no effort on this page to set out a case for one side of the argument or the other, having already set out my opposition to the Kwik Fit demolition here. My comment here is on the description "positive and constructive" - I detected neither attribute from either side, nor even the slightest shift in position. The hope is that the planning department (who acted as referee on the night) will choose a reading of the UDP which gives a satisfactory outcome. I don't know which mood is in the ascendancy at the moment:

Localism / The Big Society - which might see the proposals rejected altogether based on residents' views

OR

The desperate need for housing to accommodate a burgeoning number of households

 

I wouldn't have any objection to some flats and shops in its place. It's hardly greenbelt land is it?

It certainly is not green belt. It is a complex of thriving businesses all of which wish to continue trading and providing employment on the very edge of a town centre. 

This letter from the proprietor of Bubbles sets out the links that the site has with, for example, the YMCA, and the contribution it makes to schemes such as YTS. The evidence from this letter is that neither Haringey nor the landlord have informed the current tenants what is going on! 

I think its also worth including in this context the story of the little girl who can't get into Coleridge. This is not an isolated case. The proposal is to build 22 1 and 2 bedroom flats and seven 3 storey houses.  In the worst case if all the flats were occupied by single parents and the houses by families, all with children under five there could be a further 36 applications for places at Rokesly, i.e. more than a complete form. I grant you this is on the edges of possibility, though not impossible, especially if Haringey rents all the buildings for social housing. This would put the mockers on any one as far away as Fairfield Road getting a place!

So, some flats and shops perhaps, but maybe not quite this many.

Will it be social housing? I don't think that's a problem. Why would flats being occupied by single parents be a worst case?  I thought Ashmount were moving their school to Mount View Road - that would alleviate the schools problem.  Presumably these single parent familes with children under 5 are already being housed somewhere in N8 so would only be being moved to more suitable accommodation, ie. not in private tenancies so technically the school problem wouldn't actually exist.
You are right, I have conflated two questions by referring to single parents. Any number of parents with the specified number of children would give rise to the problem. And yes again, new schools in the area would be necessary to educate these children, who may or may not be in N8/Haringey/London/the UK at present.

A couple of clarifications.

The "merits" of any planning application will and must take into consideration its impact on the environment in all its forms, and that includes pressure on schools, doctors' surgeries, public transport, emergency services, and so on.  Therefore, extrapolating from the proposed housing to the likely impact on school admissions is potentially a strong argument, not a weak one.  On this and other related matters I would recommend all to read Haringey's Pre-Application Planning Advice, which is available on their website. 

In the scheme of things, submitting a planning application for any site is relatively inexpensive.  The 'putting the money on the table' comes when one actually has to develop the site as agreed.  Look to 159 Tottenham Lane: the latest application was granted two years ago, but there's no sign of development yet.  However, what is very common, is for owners to obtain planning permission prior to putting a site up for sale - and in this context, submitting a planning application for redevelopment of a 'tired' site can not only be very inexpensive, but also extremely profitable.

You're right, the location is crying out for some much, much better than the current proposal, which is, to my mind, a lowest-comon denominator approach in terms of architectural merit, is residential cramming in its terraced housing at the rear, and is too tall (a point of view which has been aired by all and sundry in Crouch End for the last 10-15 years at least, and should be, once and for all accepted by Haringey).

On the costs you can rest assured.  The applicant would not be willing to spend whatever sums they are currently encountering if there were no hope for profit.  As for the cost of the site itself, you need to remember that one doesn't need to own a property in order to submit a plan for its redevelopment - it's just part of the same equation for expected ROI.

It's also worth noting, in any case, that speculative purchases of land don't always work out the way developers (including property owners) intend.  I'm sure there are certain sites not far from this one that were bought at the height of the market and remain undeveloped because financial circumstances and opportunities are not what they were.

I do agree that the area needs waking up.  However, it's not about highstreet names, nor piecemeal developments.  It's about Haringey having a practical strategy that enhances the area in all its respects, and sets the ground rules for sympathetic regeneration.  For this, I think architecture is highly important, given the build heritage of the surrounding conservation area,Topsfield Parade and Crouch End in general.

 

 

OpinioN8 has received the following information from Haringey via Cllr Weber
Dear All
 
The application for 136 Tottenham Lane (the Kwik Fit, MEB Motors and Bubbles site) will not be going to the November Planning Committee meeting.
 
It was anticipated that this application would be heard at the November planning committee however following the DM Forum and a complete assessment of the application there are some significant concerns about the scheme, particularly in relation to the amount of development proposed.
 
Planning have suggested that the applicants meet with Michelle and Paul Smith to discuss the issues.  A specific date for this meeting has not yet been set. 
 
Should significant changes be made to the current planning application, I have been assured that another consultation will occur.
 
I will keep you inform you of any further developments. 
 
You are welcome to forward this email to interested local parties.
 
Well done to all who took part in the DM Forum. 
 
Regards
 
Cllr Lyn Weber

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