My objections sent in with a little help from Houghton Regis Planning Applications Facebook Group
7th August 2017
CB/17/03450/FULL – 74-76 High Street, Houghton Regis
Site of Former 74 to 76, High Street, Houghton Regis
New build to create 3 x 1 Bedroom Apartments and 2 Studio Apartments (5 in total).
1. The site used to house a commercial building that was demolished because it was unsafe. Demolition was permitted in CB/13/01129/DEM. Because there is archaeological interest in the site, the decision notice specified that "The Council's further express planning permission is required for the removal of the building foundations in connection with the redevelopment of the site." The application is therefore premature as there has been no application specifically for the removal of the building foundations.
2. Houghton Regis has a continuous record of almost all of its town centre shops being occupied. The proposed development is out of character with the immediate area which is predominantly commercial in character. The trend is to rejuvenate high streets as retail and commercial centres so this would represent the loss of a potential retail unit.
3. It is unclear from the supplied documentation where Cycling and bin storage areas are to be provided. If communal bins are to be provided at the rear, the applicant has not demonstrated that the Council is able to supply bins that can be manoeuvred along the narrow alleyway to the front of the property. It is unclear who the onus of moving the bins to a collection point and back again will be done by.
4. Growth of developments in town centre locations that are built without adequate parking spaces increases pressure on neighbouring streets for parking restrictions, resident only parking, and civil parking enforcement which in turn becomes a burden on Council administration in terms of parking complaints, staff time and costs. In that respect accommodations without parking are unsustainable.
Central Bedfordshire Council’s Parking Strategy, forms part of the adopted Local Transport Plan 3 (LTP3) covering the period between April 2011 and March 2026. This specifies that a 1 bedroom dwelling should have 1 parking space per unit allocated as a minimum, plus visitor parking of 0.25 spaces per unit. Therefore this application for three 1 bedroom units plus 2 studio apartments should have at least 6.25 spaces. No parking spaces are provided which is wholly unacceptable.
5. For the alleyway on the western elevation, it is not indicated whether a lockable gate is to be provided or not. Being on a high street the alleyway could become a target for anti-social behaviour, therefore a lockable gate should be provided, to secure the route as a private one for the residents. In turn that would help to secure any cycles parked at the rear, and improve personal safety.
6. The application lacks a management construction plan detailing how the site is to be accessed during construction, codes of conduct for scaffolders, where construction traffic is to park, hours of construction operation, arrangements for pedestrians during construction, and who to contact for any breach of management construction policy.