Case Study: 170 apartments, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames

Background

Our client sought to build 170 apartments on a one-hectare brownfield site in the London suburb of Kew.

Challenge

Two applications by a previous developer to redevelop the site for residential use had failed at planning committee, attracting considerable opposition from ward councillors, surrounding residents’ associations, the local civic society and the Member of Parliament. Our client assumed the application would be rejected at committee but could be consented at appeal.

Solution

  • SP Broadway organised a series of meetings with residents’ associations, encouraging them to ‘invest’ in the scheme through regular input into the design process and incorporating some of their suggestions into the plans, including provision of space on-site for a doctor’s surgery.
  • We organised meetings with ward members and the MP, after which one ward member spoke in favour of the site in an open public meeting to the Leader of the Council.
  • We held two 2-day public exhibitions in December 2013 and March 2014. This first exhibition outlined the constraints and opportunities of the site and sought residents’ views on a range of design options and potential community uses. The second exhibition outlined our client’s final proposal having taken into consideration feedback received at the first exhibition. Approximately 50% of respondents provided positive comments.
  • We used constructive engagement with high level political decision makers to swiftly end the deadlock when major delays in the planning department of London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and TFL threatened a timely planning committee date.
  • We drafted a hard hitting pre-committee briefing letter and designed an A4 colour briefing leaflet for key councillors and stakeholders outlining positives of the scheme and detailing the widespread community support; following this we undertook final pre-committee briefings by phone.

Result

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames Planning Committee voted unanimously to consent the development in December 2014. Three of the community groups which had previously opposed development of the site spoke at Planning Committee in support of the application.

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