Planners dismissed objections that design proposals to redevelop garages in to a block of three storey houses were unconventional after residents complained it would be like looking at a ‘prison’ complex.
Dozens of residents objected to plans to replace 10 garages which sit at the rear of 42-50 Chipstead Avenue and border homes on Quadrant Road, with four detached houses built over two and three-storeys.
Residents on Chipstead Avenue and Quadrant Roads who will be affected by the development have described it “at best as being like a warehouse and at worst prison like.”
Their main objections were on the grounds of: overdevelopment, the negative impact on neighbouring properties, design, emergency access and the impact on car parking.
The proposed ‘car free’ development would use heavy stone and green corrugated cladding, which architects Office S&M say they chose as a reference to the ‘historic use of the site as gravel pit’ and the ‘later use as garages’.
Local resident Simon Carter spoke on behalf of residents opposing the plan which the virtual planning committee of only five members voted 3-2 to defer. Labour members defeated Conservatives who wanted to refuse the application as they said it was out of character with the neighbouring properties and resembled an ‘army camp’.
But the Labour councillors Paul Scott, Leila Ben-Hassel and committee chair Chris Clarke favoured the ‘innovative, creative, and modern interpretation’ but wanted the deferral to address the distribution of floorspace and the necessity for a third floor feeling it would work better as a terrace and provide a ‘more sensitive relationship’ with neighbouring properties.
The application was referred to the Planning Committee because of the number of objections, with 47 received against and two in favour. The planning officer had recommended the development be given approval relying on the need for more homes and the precedent set by the other neighbouring Brick by Brick Flora Court development, which offers 27 flats over three and four storeys.
MP Steve Reed has also backed the residents campaign but it is unclear at this stage whether the revised plan will go back to the planning committee for decision or be delegated to an officer.
Joseph and Margaret Scanlan, who are long term residents of Quadrant Road, said: “To deliver the developers’ desired unit size the proposed buildings end up being of an intrusive height of three storeys.
“In addition to the impact of the excessive and looming height, the development would be located just 10.3metres from the back wall of our property, whereas Croydon’s ‘Suburban Design Guide’ sets out a minimum back-to-back separation of 18metres.”
The garages are accessed by a narrow entrance between two existing houses and were originally the location of two houses, which were destroyed in a Second World War bombing raid. Residents say that the access to site should be at least 3 metres for emergency services to get through..
In a letter to the council objectors say this is a measured response to a scheme that has “ignored” not only the council’s planning policies and standards, but also the consultative and advisory role of the London Fire Brigade.”
Property owner and developer Omo Ayoade, has been prosecuted twice by Southwark Council for being a ‘negligent landlord’.
He already has planning permission to demolish two large houses at 30-32 also on Chipstead Avenue from February 2020 when approval was given to replace the houses with a part three-storey, part four-storey building comprising of eight flats (pictured above) using the same firm of architects.
On Companies House Mr Ayoade, describes himself as a property developer and is the director of several companies which are based at 30 Chipstead Avenue including Chipstead Garages Ltd which was incorporated in April 2019. In June of the same year Chipstead Garages Ltd had a Registration of Charge against it with Commercial Acceptances Ltd, which is a loan secured against the business.
In February 2019 Mr Ayoade was taken to court by Southwark Council and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs.
He appeared at Camberwell Magistrates’ Court for failing to apply for a landlord license and following complaints from his tenants.
A resident living in one of his three flats in Camberwell had complained to Southwark Council about bed-bugs in November 2017 and then the council learned that a collapsed ceiling hadn’t been fixed after falling in following a leak eight months previously.
This wasn’t the first time the council had taken action against Mr Ayoade. In 2013, he was told to pay costs and fines totalling £1,938 over failing to comply with an improvement notice after a various problems with his homes came to light.