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Get your objections in!

July 11, 2019

The application for the "regeneration" is live. Make your voice heard and get your objections in as quick as you can. 

 

Below is our Vice-Chair's objection. Please feel free to use it for inspiration. The section on Nature Conservation is especially worth using - firstly because it concerns vulnerable species of bat that need our protection, and secondly because it is a damning instance of the council and developers ignoring the advice of the experts they commissioned.

 

We object to the proposal on the following grounds:

 

LOSS OF LIGHT AND OVERSHADOWING AND LOSS OF PRIVACY

Nine-storey buildings will block out sunlight for existing residents on Laverstoke Gardens and the other side of Roehampton Lane. Those residents will also lose privacy, because the windows of the new blocks will face directly into theirs.

 

TRAFFIC GENERATION

During the decade of building works, traffic on Danebury Avenue will continually be blocked by construction vehicles, making commuting virtually impossible for residents.

 

LOSS OF TREES

From your own visualisations, the middle section of Danebury Avenue goes from being spacious and tree-lined to having buildings right up to the pavement. 

 

DESIGN, APPEARANCE AND MATERIALS, AND EFFECT ON LISTED BUILDING AND CONSERVATION AREA

The Alton Estate attracts visitors from all over the world with its pioneering brutalist architecture inspired by le Corbusier. If your disastrous scheme goes ahead, we lose the iconic Allbrook House. The new blocks are utterly characterless and detract from the cohesiveness of the estate's architecture. This destruction has already received criticism from experts such as Richard Rogers and the Twentieth Century Society.

 

DISABLED PERSONS' ACCESS

The new courtyard will use shared surfaces. Roehampton has a sizable number of people with sight problems: a large proportion of residents are elderly, and there is specialised housing for blind and partially sighted people in Pocklington Court and the development that will replace it. Shared surfaces have been singled out for condemnation by the Royal National Institute for Blind People, because they make it impossible for a visually impaired person to tell which area is for pedestrians and which for vehicles, and stray into traffic. It is dangerous and inconsiderate to put disabled residents at risk.

 

NATURE CONSERVATION

In the Case File is the experts' "Bat Activity Transect" report, which you yourselves commissioned. It identifies three protected species of bat in the demolition zone: "Certain species of bats including the noctule Nyctalus noctula, brown long-eared Plecotus auritus and soprano pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus are also listed as a Species of Principal Importance (SPI) for the Conservation of Biodiversity in England under Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006. Under Section 40 of the NERC Act (2006) public bodies (including local planning authorities) have a duty to have regard for the conservation of SPI when carrying out their functions, including determining planning applications."

 

Consequently it says, "Bat foraging and commuting habitats within the Site, in particular lines of groups of mature trees, should be maintained as far as possible. If habitat clearance is required, it should be compensated for on at least a like-for-like basis, ensuring the functionality of the habitat for bats is maintained." Rows of mature trees will be cut down on Danebury Avenue and Harbridge Avenue. The paltry replacement green space is split up into private courtyards for particular blocks. Clearly, the application does not protect bats' habitat.

 

Here are some of the report's other statements of what is needed to conserve bats and their habitat, together with my comments:

 

"Features suitable for roosting bats to be incorporated into the new buildings." The plans do not provide any of these.

 

"Provision of bat boxes onto buildings and retained trees." Ditto. "Landscaping should be designed and managed to maximise invertebrate biomass and diversity and foraging opportunities for bats." It clearly has not been, given the net loss of green space.

 

"Increasing the number of mature deciduous trees and the area of deciduous woodland." We are losing rather than gaining trees and woodland in these demolitions.

 

"Installing green walls and green and brown roofs, and planting climbers and creepers to soften walls and railings." No sign of these in the plans.

 

"Maximising hedge and groundcover planting." Ditto.

 

"Creating ponds, possibly as part of SuDS." The plans do not create any ponds.

 

"Planting flower-rich meadows and scrub." No meadows or scrub in the plans.

 

"Increasing the connectivity of the landscape for bats, by filling gaps in lines of mature trees for instance." Instead, you are destroying lines of mature trees. Respected experts have taken the time to detect protected bat species and say what needs to be done to protect them. The plans ignore this entirely and show an irresponsible disregard for conserving British wildlife. Stop the demolitions and go back to the drawing board.

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