Local Plan Is A ' Step Backwards'
Chiswick group says it will not protect quality of life for residents
The Society described the Plan, which outlines the planning policy framework for the development of the borough for the next fifteen years as "a step backwards" and criticises LBH for failing to put more resources into heritage and conservation work and for putting economics and housing growth over social and environmental sustainability.
Poor air quality and noise pollution are major issues for the borough and yet the Local Plan promotes residential development in known “black spots” such as the Great West Road, said the Society.
It is the second group to express concerns about the effect of the Local Plan, following its release for consultation and comment. The High Road Action Group in its response accused the Council of being more interested in attracting big businesses to Chiswick and allowing high-rise buildings at the cost of local small businesses and jobs.
Some of the key concerns of the WCGS are broadly similar, and state that economics and housing growth trump social and enviromental sustainability and do not protect the quality of life and health of residents. There was a " mis-match" between development and infrastructure. The Council also came under attack for failing to champion " heritage" projects and for a chronic lack of resources for heritage/conservation work within the planning department of LBH.
"The pressure and appetite for development as seen within this Local Plan, especially in parts of the borough rich in heritage assets, suggests that significant parts of the borough’s heritage (buildings, landscapes, landmarks and views) could continue to be at serious risk of being harmed.
The Society continues:
"In addition to the major miss-match between development and infrastructure - "putting the cart before the horse", policies relating to heritage, green-blue infrastructure and other major components of our quality of life are often weakly expressed and open to being diluted/disregarded.
"Economics and housing growth trump social and environmental sustainability. The policies in Chapter Five will not deliver "Sustainable Mixed Communities". We need policies that are capable of delivering the improved "quality of life and health of residents" as stated in the last paragraph of the vision (page 18) and of "protecting and enhancing the many great landscape, natural and built heritage assets and the distinctive established residential characters..” (page 25).
"The borough needs strong policies on backland and infill development and use of garden land as otherwise the housing targets will lead to the degradation of our established residential areas from insensitive intensification within as well as from inappropriate development without (high density, high-rise developments nearby).
"The Society fully supports the intention and objectives of this key policy [CC4 Heritage]. However, we have significant reservations as to whether the policy is deliverable due to the very serious “backlog” of work that is required to support it. The backlog has built up due to a chronic lack of resources for heritage/conservation work within the planning department and the lack of political will within the Council to “champion” heritage.
"Poor air quality and noise pollution are major issues for the borough and yet the Local Plan promotes residential development in known “black spots” such as the Great West Road. Measures such as internal ventilation and air filtering are energy demanding and insufficient; the poor air quality of private amenity space and community and play space will undermine outdoor activity, healthy life-styles and social cohesion.
"Another issue which needs addressing in the plan is off-setting. At present, each development is looked at in isolation and off-setting (of eg affordable housing, private/communal amenity space, play space, carbon) is permitted to compensate for an on-site deficit without necessarily identifying how or where the off-setting will take place. No regard is paid to the cumulative deficit this creates nor to the cumulative impact on, for example existing public open space. While some of the relevant policies state that off-site provision will only be permitted in exceptional cases, there is a real danger that the presumption of development means that the “exception” becomes the norm."
You can read about the Local Plan at:
May 14, 2014