Agenda item

Bowling Club and Collins Lodge, King Edward VII Park, Park Lane, Wembley (Ref. 14/4208)

Decision:

Deferred for wider consultation and consideration of alternative sites within the park for land-swap.

Minutes:

PROPOSAL: Change of use of the bowling pavillion and adjoining land (Use class D2) into a primary school (Use class D1) also including the erection of a single storey classroom block, and part change of use of the land adjoining Collins Lodge (Use class C3) into parkland (Use class D2)

 

RECOMMENDATION: Grant Consent subject to conditions as set out after paragraph 38 of this committee report.

 

Rachel Murrell (Area Planning Manager), in reference to the supplementary report clarified the issues raised during members’ site visit.  The Area Planning Manager informed members that the application would not secure the use of any additional space beyond the application site as this would be subject to separate agreement with Sports and Parks Service. The application had been submitted on the basis that the site would be of a sufficient size to accommodate the school.  She continued that Property and Asset Management had confirmed that the site would remain in the ownership of the Council. Should the proposal be granted planning permission, an agreement would be put in place for the Welsh School to manage the buildings and a lease entered into (provisionally for 15 years).  Rachel Murrell then clarified issues raised about consultation received from residents and given the specialist nature of the Welsh School, from others who reside outside the Borough.

 

Members heard that the Welsh School looked into Collins Lodge as an alternative site but it was not considered that the existing building would be appropriate to accommodate the school.  Rachel Murrell added that the adjacent site was not available as it had been allocated within the agreement with Veolia as a depot site.  She advised members that the use/management of the car park could be secured as part of the School Travel Plan.  She also advised that given the size and location of the proposed school, it was not considered to detrimentally impact on the surrounding road network.  The Area Planning Manager then referred to officers’ responses to other matters raised following the consultation as set out in the supplementary report including a recommendation for an additional condition to restrict opening hours of the school.

 

Denise Cheong (objector) stated that wider park users were not consulted on the application for the Welsh School, majority of which would be residents of the Borough.  She continued that the proposed change of use of part involving the removal of trees would prejudice the use of the park.  Denise Cheong urged members to either defer or refuse the application.  In response to members’ questions, Denise Cheong stated that park users had not been given an opportunity to comment on the application.  She added that the application failed to evaluate the highways impact of the proposed change of use in particular, access for emergency services to Princes Court and Keswick Gardens.

 

Paolo Dipalo (objector) echoed the sentiments expressed by the previous objector adding that no tree survey had been submitted with the application and that the proposal would result in a loss of community facilities.  He continued that the use of the site for a school was inappropriate as it would give rise to child protection issues which had not been considered.  For the above reasons, he urged members to refuse the application.

 

In accordance with the provisions of the Planning Code of Practice, Councillor Stopp, Ward Member, declared that he had been approached by residents of Princes Court, Barnet residents and representatives of Welsh School.  He informed members that although he had no personal prejudice against the school, he outlined the following key concerns about the application:

(i)        The use of the park for a school would set an undesirable precedent for others to follow.

(ii)        The use would give rise to increased parking demand and traffic.

(iii)       The applicant had not explored the availability of alternative sites.

(iv)       The site would be inappropriate due to community space deficiency

(v)        The site should be given to the state rather than the private sector. 

 

Councillor Stopp urged members to defer the application.

 

Gwyn Richards (applicant’s agent) stated that the Welsh School was a registered charity with services open to residents of Brent and other Boroughs.  He continued that other sites were looked into but were not considered appropriate.  He clarified that the classrooms would be tucked away in the interest of privacy and that a travel plan would be submitted which would seek to address the concerns on highways grounds raised by objectors.  In response to a member’s question, the applicant’s agent stated that the admission policy of the school would permit everyone with a passion for Welsh language to apply for a school place.

 

Councillor Marquis (Chair) enquired as to whether an alternative land swap had been considered as it did not match the quality of the land in question, or attempts had been made to secure alternative sites thus ensuring that the Bowling Club could continue at the site.  She also referred to concerns expressed by Sport England regarding the future use of the bowling green and clarity around its future status and whilst they advocated that the site remained in sporting use, other sporting uses should be considered ahead of non sporting uses. Councillor Marquis put forward a motion for deferral of the application for wider consultation and consideration of alternative sites within the park for land swap.

 

Prior to voting on the amendment, Stephen Weeks (Head of Planning) stated that the consultation undertaken for the application was wider than the statutory minimum.  He added that detailed advice received from Parks Service confirmed that the proposed use of the site would not prejudice sports users for which there was a known demand.

 

Members voted unanimously for deferral of the application for wider consultation and further information on the consideration of alternative sites within the park for land swap.

 

DECISION: Deferred for wider consultation and consideration of alternative sites within the park for land-swap.

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