Brent committee approves 21-storey tower in Wembley Park in ‘breach’ of planning policies
- Credit: Archant
Brent’s planning committee has approved a 21-storey tower in Wembley Park, despite objectors claiming it is in “flagrant breach” of the council’s own policies.
Councillors gave the go ahead to the application, which will see the Wembley Park Station Car Park and Train Crew Centre in Brook Avenue replaced by five tower blocks, at a meeting on November 26.
The car-free development will have 454 new homes, with 73 flats at London affordable rent levels and 79 shared ownership flats with a minimum 125-year leasehold.
The tallest of the five towers is 21-storeys high, which objectors said was in breach of the council’s Wembley Area Action Plan, adopted by the council in 2015.
Toby Huntingford, Brent’s planning officer, said: “We see this as a transition site.”
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He said it would “balance those two characters” of high rise and low rise in Wembley Park.
Historian Philip Grant, however, pointed out that the local plan describes the station car park as a site “inappropriate for tall buildings”, where only “up to 10 storeys will be considered acceptable” as it sits on the suburban side of Wembley Park.
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Mr Grant added: “Committee members, please don’t allow yourselves to be fooled into accepting an application which doesn’t comply with the policies adopted by Brent Council after consultation with its residents.
“This application is a flagrant breach of those policies, and you can, and should, refuse it on those grounds.”
Local objector Nicoleta Benga said it would lead to overcrowding, a shortfall of community spaces and congested street parking.
Cllr Daniel Kennelly (Lab, Preston) took a neutral stance - he welcomed affordable housing but said the development was not in keeping with the local area.
“Shared ownership is not my preferred preference due to the potential pitfalls,” he said, adding the tower “dwarfs neighbouring buildings by almost three times”.
Cllr Suresh Kansagra (Con, Kenton) said “so much time and effort was spent” on the Wembley Action Plan, adding: “Then something like this comes up and you discard it completely.”
Katie Savin Taylor, speaking on behalf of the agent and Transport for London (TfL) said as well as “40 per cent affordable housing”, there would be retail space on the ground floor and would contribute to a “vibrant public realm”.
David Glover, planning officer said the “benefits” should be “weighed up” adding: “If you reduce the development from the site you reduce its viability, reduce the affordable housing on the site.”
All but one councillor, Cllr Michael Maurice (Con) approved the scheme.