Let’s not let a commercial development wreck the area and other threats…

1. Spring Place a distribution Centre?

Segro is a huge international property company – they boast they are the biggest in the UK with a capitalization of £11.7 billion. They want to open a warehouse and distribution centre at the old Addison Lee repair centre in Spring Place, the northern extension of Willes Road. Their planning application for change of use is now on Camden’s website and should be ringing alarm bells for many of us in the neighbourhood.

3-6 Spring Place London NW5 3BA
Change of use from industrial (Class B2) to flexible industrial (Class B2)/ storage or distribution (Class B8)/ light industrial (Class E), refurbishment of existing building including replacement roof, installation of PV panels; installation of wood cladding to parts of Grafton Road and Spring Place elevation; and installation of living wall and alteration to entrance on Grafton Road elevation.Application number: 2020/5913/P Application type: Full Planning PermissionClick here to View Application

On the feedback we have had so far from some of you, there is real alarm about this proposal, and on that basis we intend to object, and would urge as many of you as possible to do the same. We are working on this issue with residents in the streets that will be most affected, together with the two schools in Holmes Road, with people in West Kentish Town, Queens Crescent and Oak Village as there are implications for a wide area.

To summarise, there are a number of reasons to object to B8 (storage or distribution) use.

There is general agreement that while we welcome commercial development on the site, B8 use is not suitable for a number of reasons, below. We acknowledge that last mile deliveries are needed, but a much more suitable site would be a location such as the Regis Road industrial estate.

1. Traffic: The routes proposed for HGVs coming in and smaller delivery vehicles going out is shown on the application and is mainly Grafton Road and Holmes Road plus (incredibly, given the market) Queens Crescent. You can see the map as an appendix to the Transport Statement – click on the View Application link above, then click on the Documents link near the top).

Any increase in lorry and van traffic on already overloaded streets (Holmes Road in particular) is unacceptable. There is also a dangerous corner at the junction of Gillies Street and Queens Crescent, which is a main part of the route. The developer argues that there would be less traffic than was generated by Addison Lee (there are reasons to doubt the facts behind this and they were mainly just taxis). However the world has moved on and there are far greater concerns about pollution and road safety for cyclists and pedestrians (as evidenced by the extensive work Camden is carrying out on various routes around here and their commitment to Healthy Streets).

2Noise Many people now work from home, and this is likely to continue and has implications for the noise likely to be generated by the proposal. The proposal is for the site to be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with the only restriction being no external unloading between midnight and 5 am. It is not clear whether this is even allowed – the Control of Pollution Act 1974 enables local councils “to request sites use best practice and where necessary keep noisy works within certain hours. Normally the hours for noisy works are 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 1pm Saturday and no noisy works on Sundays and Bank Holidays.” Segro’s plans for 24/7 operations might well contravene these restrictions.

3. Health and safety: Camden’s ideas for Healthy Streets near schools are in direct conflict with the proposal.

The scheme for a depot poses a direct threat to the health and safety of children. Gov.uk says:

Planning policies and proposals may need to have particular regard to the following issues:

  • proximity to locations where children and young people congregate such as schools, community centres and playgrounds”

As well as the two schools on Holmes Road, CFBL (“The French School”) and St Patricks, there is also a nursery at the junction of Queens Crescent and Gillies Street and, at the moment, Carlton. The concession to avoid standard arrival and pick-up times at the schools completely ignores the reality of the existing staggered start times and nursery times.

In addition, every summer StayClub in Holmes Road hosts young language students who move around in very large groups (up to 100 people) at various times of the day. CFBL students also go out at various times of the day, again in big groups, to attend sport in The Dome (Queens Crescent) and Hampstead Heath. In normal times, all local schoolchildren use the proposed routes for access to Kentish Town Sports Centre throughout and after the school day.

The depot also poses a threat to wider members of the population using the GP Practice on Queen’s Crescent and the daily ‘Older People’s Services’ provided by Queen’s Crescent Community Centre.

4. Hollow promises? There are considerable concerns that, if B8 use is granted, the detailed proposals are unworkable and the conditions unenforceable.

Whatever Segro says about how the scheme will operate, in practice they will have no real control over any tenant they let to. They say:

Any future occupier must comply with these requirements. It is likely that these restrictions can then be closely monitored through the annual surveys as detailed above.

Strange meaning of closely …?

SO:….. if you want to comment on the application (and please do – we are always told that numbers really do count with the committee) click on “view application” and then on “add comments here”. The deadline for this is 5 February – only 20 days away.

Your objection does not need to be this detailed. Just put down some of the points plus any that you think of and can share with us. Please do copy your objection to us.

2. And to depress / enrage / energise you further … Yesterday we had notification of two planning appeals:

Huge Ariels looming over our area:

Monmouth House Raglan Street London NW5 3BX
Installation of 12 pole mounted antennas (2 each on 6 poles), 6 cabinets, 4 dishes and 1 GPS antenna at roof level, plus 1 ground based meter cabinet and associated works.Application number: 2020/3008/P
Application type: GPDO Prior Approval DeterminationView Application
Stay club building goes higher and higher
65-69 Holmes Road London NW5 3AN
Erection of 7th of roof extension to facilitate the creation of 27 student accommodation rooms (Sui Generis) to existing student accommodationApplication number: 2020/2406/P
Application type: Full Planning PermissionView Application

We have contacted the planning officers for guidance on a deadline for sending in objections, and whether these need to contain new information if you objected to the original application. We will keep you posted.

D & D