Objection Comment

Mrs J Leclercq
10 Eden Close
London W8 6UW
Executive Director
Planning & Borough Development
The Town Hall
Hornton Street
London W8 7NX
2 July 2015
Dear Sir,
Re: Allen House Development, Application Ref. PP/15/03474
I am writing to express my grave concerns about the above proposed redevelopment of Allen House,
which is situated in Edwardes Square, Scarsdale and Abingdon Conservation Area.
The building was originally built in 1908 with the aim of accommodating 24 properties. Behind the
beautiful façade is a grey-bricked (London stock) building typical of the late Victorian/Edwardian
period, with white wooden window-sills, decorated with red-bricked, layered arches, in keeping with
the architect, Paul Hoffman’s design, and providing harmony to the adjacent terraced properties in
Allen Street.
From 24 to 44 flats (planning permission NOT granted!)
Allen House was the subject of much public outcry in the early 1980s when the owners decided to
alter its internal layout to accommodate 44 short-term holiday let apartments (planning permission
was NOT obtained to do this!), effectively altering the building’s use and making it a unique case.
The developers could refurbish the existing building to accommodate around the same number of
the original 24 flats, thus eliminating the need for demolition, and cancelling out the requirement for
an underground car park and extensive, deep subterranean excavations, which I believe could cause
long-lasting structural damage to surrounding properties, as well as the façade.
The developers claim that refurbishment of the existing structure would be difficult. However, this
would not have appeared to be the case when the building was modified from 24 to 44 flats!
Destruction of a mature garden
The existing, mature garden at Allen House, described quite rightly as an “oasis of tranquillity”,
provides a calm habitat for a huge range of bio-diversity, is essentially square in shape and southfacing in nature; it is set back from the building’s windows, features which attract rare birds,
including bearded tits and falcons, tree creepers and woodpeckers.
The wide range of flowers, shrubs and trees, which have flourished over the years due to their
predominant southerly position, also attract a host of butterflies, invertebrates and bees, providing
an invaluable food source for migratory birds such as blackbirds (nesting in the garden) and robins.
For years, the garden has been advertised on Allen House brochures as an “attractive oasis of
tranquillity” and was one of the reasons visitors came. For the developers, therefore, to suggest that
the garden is ‘poor’ is a convenient and opportunistic argument as proper maintenance and pruning
is their responsibility and this has not been carried out for well over a year.
Far from being ‘enhanced’, the garden’s current shape and southerly aspect will be destroyed and
replaced by two adjacent rectangular, East-facing strips of land, much of which will now be in the
North end. East/North-facing land holds little value for encouraging the growth of lawn, flowers,
shrubs or trees. Hence, the existing garden’s rich biodiversity will be severely compromised,
particularly as the new building would be much taller, causing severe loss of light, shadowing and a
considerable feeling of enclosure. Some of the proposed garden will NO longer be communal and
parts of the garden will be paved over.
I believe that the proposed destruction of the existing building and garden constitutes a serious
environmental issue, which contravenes London’s plans for biodiversity. Furthermore, the
developer’s idea of an underground car-park is unfounded.
New development NOT in line with local architectural context
Furthermore, there is NO demonstrable need for demolition of a sound and serviceable building,
which currently blends in perfectly with its surroundings. The new building would resemble a
charmless, municipal building and hold no architectural value. The above ground works would NOT
comply with policies CL1 requirement to respect the context of the development and CL3a to
preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.
Over-dominance of new building and loss of privacy
The new building would also be one storey (nearly 3 metres) higher than the present Allen House,
causing it to become over-dominant. The proposed balconies and additional windows would
severely compromise our rights to reasonable privacy and cause light and noise pollution.
Contrary to the developer’s claims, the majority of the new build would be NEARER to our property
and neighbouring properties, rather than pull away from them!
The above ground works would NOT comply with policy CL5 to protect living conditions including a
loss of reasonable privacy, which would occur to my property and neighbouring properties in Eden
Close and Phillimore Terrace.
Loss of daylight and increased sense of enclosure
Regarding loss of light to our property, the proposed plan would decrease our VSC (Vertical Sky
Component) by 8.28% at ground level (daytime living area) and, according to the APSH (Annual
Probable Sunlight Hours), a reduction of 15% at ground level and 15.38% on the 1st floor (main
daytime living area)! These figures would be worse for some of our neighbours (a reduction of more
than 17%).
The above ground works would NOT comply with policy CL5 to protect living conditions including an
increased sense of enclosure, which would occur to my property and neighbouring properties in
Eden Close and Phillimore Terrace.
Traffic congestion
According to the Transport and Traffic Management Plan, there will be 40 lorry movements per day.
The North end of Allen House will be regularly closed or simply become obstructed for several years,
meaning that Adam & Eve Mews (a quiet, cobbled residential street) will become a rat-run for all
traffic wishing to gain access to the High Street. This will put the safety of the public (there are
schools in Adam and Eve mews and no pavements) at risk for a long time. How can this be of public
Pedestrians are frequently obliged to cross the road to avoid cars and vans whose access along Allen
Street has become obstructed by skip lorries blocking the road outside 12 Phillimore Terrace.
Before, that, the same thing happened outside several other basement developments in Phillimore
Terrace and, shortly afterwards, in early May of this year, a worrying hole appeared in the road
(probably a sink hole), which needed immediate remedial attention by the Council (see enclosed
photograph). How will these proposed major works improve the situation? Why should the public
have to pay for remedial road works, probably caused by developers?
Increase in noise and pollution
Noise and vibration levels will be alarming, if not nerve shattering, to say the very least. I work from
home, and many of the neighbours are retired or at home all day.
To conclude, I believe there are NO justified grounds for NOT using the existing house and garden.
Yours faithfully,
Julie Leclercq (Mrs)
Allen Street damage caused by lorry 6th May 2015