Erection of single storey extensions, alteration and renovations together with the replacement of two dormer windows and installation of rooflights all in connection with use of premises as a day nursery with enclosed children's play area.
The Committee considered a report on the above application for the erection of single storey extensions, alteration and renovations together with replacement of two dormer windows and installation of rooflights all in connection with use of premises as a day nursery with enclosed children's play area.
Officers informed the committee that there would be a maximum of 80 children and 20 staff on site at any one time, in line with OFSTED regulations. The allocated parking for nursery staff would be provided in the allotment car park rather than the public car park.
Councillors expressed concern that there could be over 100 car movements per day associated to the proposed nursery in a public car park which was already busy at weekends and school holidays, and that local schools use the park for sports activities. Members raised concern that the park gates were closed at dusk which would not be in line with the opening hours of the nursery in winter.
Susan Desborough and John Baird, objectors, and Councillor Mary Burstow, a ward councillor, addressed the meeting under Standing Order 31, and Colin Shea, the architect replied.
The principal issues raised by Ms Desborough were:-
· The main concerns of residents were the parking and access to the park, particularly at weekends and during school holidays.
· There was already difficulty accessing Tudor Close and the proposal would increase issues.
· There was no sign in the park informing users of the proposal.
· Seven letters rather than the 11 stated in the report were received by residents.
The principal issues raised by Mr Baird were:-
· The park was bequeathed to the council and whether the proposal was in line with the bequethment.
· Biodiversity was not considered within the officers report, however Cheam Park had bats and stag beetles, which were endangered, in addition to a variety of other wildlife which the proposal would disrupt.
· The site should be a community asset and not to be an opportunity for private profit.
· Parking is an issue in the local area.
· The opening hours of the nursery would cause issues with closing the park.
· Lack of consultation with local residents.
· Moving the disabled toilets 200metres from the car park was not acceptable.
In response to Member questions Mr Baird stated that traffic into the park increased during the day, with the car park being full still at 6pm in the summer. There were concerns that in addition to the staff and parents car movements, issues would be caused by deliveries to the nursery.
Officers stated that site notices were displayed and an advertisement placed in the local newspaper. Over the past few years attempts had been made to let the building however no viable proposals had been received. The proposal of a day nursery would ensure the longevity of the building. The peak car movements were thought to be at the main drop off and pick up times and there would not be an increase in long term parking.
The principal issues raised by Councillor Burstow were:-
· Not against the proposal however there were concerns with regards to parking as during half term there were no available spaces for several hours in the public car park or on Tudor Close
· Cars currently parked on both sides of Tudor Close which caused tail backs to Malden Road.
· Concern regarding access for emergency services to the park and the proposed nursery.
· If parking spaces are allocated to the nursery then the owner would need to pay an annual fee.
· Local schools were encouraging parents to park in the public car park to drop off their children.
· There was a need to manage the parking during drop off and pick up times.
· Did not want parents to use the road along the back of the site as it was dangerous and so a bollard may need to be installed and raised during drop off and pick up times.
The Highways Engineer agreed that a lockable bollard may resolve some issues.
In response to Member questions Councillor Burstow stated that residents could be consulted on the introduction of a single yellow line on Tudor Close to improve access to the park. Directional lighting may need to be introduced which protected local residents and the children. Councillor Burstow suggested that parking spaces could be set aside if they were paid for, however the issue of the increased wear and tear of the car park would need to be addressed. In response to Member questions Councillor Burstow suggested that the application should be deferred to enable further discussion with the developer regarding access to the site and parking.
Some Members stated that the main issue was access to the site and the car park via Tudor Close and not parking as it would predominantly be pick up and drop off usage of the car park. Access by emergency services was raised as a concern by councillors which would need to be addressed.
The principal issues raised by Mr Shea were:-
· The inside of the building was in serious disrepair and would need around £300,000 investment to bring it up to a reasonable standard.
· Substantial annual rent would be paid to the London Borough of Sutton.
· Figures had been provided by the applicant on indicative traffic movement based on a similar nursery.
· The main issue was access to the site which was outside the application, however it was felt that the applicant would be happy to discuss proposals to improve access with officers.
Members of the committee stated that they had concerns regarding access to the site and the park, and the effect that may be felt at the junction of Malden Road if there was increased traffic movements in the area. Councillors suggested that ward councillors should liaise with residents further on future of the site.
Some councillors felt that the proposal was beneficial as it brought a derelict property into use through some substantial investment and the proposal was sympathetic to the original building. However access concerns needed to be addressed.
Concerns were raised by some councillors that the proposal was not sympathetic to the location and would change the feel of the park. Furthermore it would lead to the loss of a public asset.
A poll vote on a motion to defer consideration pending further discussion on traffic and parking concerns with the applicant, Highways and Parks officers was held in accordance with Standing order 31.4, when there voted:
To defer (6) Councillors Richard Clifton, Margaret Court, Patrick McManus, Jason Reynolds, Tony Shields and Graham Whitham
Against (4) Councillors Samantha Bourne, Kevin Burke, Vincent Galligan and Hamish Pollock
Resolved: To defer consideration of application No. A2015/71612/FUL.