Current and emerging planning policies set an important element of context for development of the Bath Road Car Park site, and should be considered in relation to proposals for the site. The LB Hounslow draft Local Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State in August 2014, and is expected for adoption in spring/ early summer 2015.
The draft Local Plan is a material consideration in planning decisions and provides the most up to date local policy background. However, the statutory plan for the borough consists of the Unitary Development Plan (2003), the Employment Development Plan (2008), the Brentford Area Action Plan (2009) and the London Plan (2011). The Draft Further Alterations to the London Plan have been consulted on and examined, primarily to address key housing and employment issues emerging since its publication in 2011, with expected adoption in February-March 2015.
Key planning policy issues
The key issues arising from the draft Local Plan 2014, the London Plan 2011, and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2012 are summarised below.
Core to the NPPF, the London Plan and the draft Local Plan are the themes of sustainable development, economic growth, regeneration of town centres and boosting signi cantly the supply of housing. Local authorities are responsible for allocating and promoting development on town centre sites to meet a range of town centre needs, as well as delivering residential uses on these sites, where appropriate.
The draft Local Plan sets out the Council’s intention to promote regeneration and employment growth in LB Hounslow’s town centres. It sets policy to ensure the future vitality of town centres, with regeneration focused in Hounslow and Brentford. Regeneration in Hounslow town centre should be taken forward with reference to the Hounslow Town Centre Masterplan (2013). This document proposes a high quality civic facility on the Bath Road site, with associated community and cultural uses with the potential to boost activity and vitality in the town centre. It also posits the idea of residential use on the site, which has been included in Bath Road’s site allocation.
The NPPF states that development should create a strong sense of place, with buildings and streetscapes designed to a high quality, to create attractive, comfortable places to live, work and visit. Guidance is included in this document, the Hounslow Town Centre Masterplan, the LB Hounslow Context and Character Study and the draft Local Plan on how design can enhance the public realm at and around the Bath Road site.
There are no statutory listed or locally listed buildings within the site. However 44-50 Bath Road, to the south west of the site, is a mid 18th century grade II listed building. It is unique in the area built in the Tudor gothic style with pointed arches on the ground oor and a crenellated parapet. To the south east of the site there are two locally listed buildings, 1 Bath Road (now Yates wine lodge) an early 20th century building with a dressed stone ground oor and brick upper oors and Neals Mansions, an early 20th century red brick mansion block with a prominent turret on the corner of Staines Road/Bath Road and Neals Corner. Immediately adjacent to the west of the site is a late 19th century gospel hall, this building does not have a specific designation but it does have some historic merit.
The location, scale and setting of these historic assets should be considered during the design development process for a new Civic Centre at the Bath Road Car Park site.
Loss of car parking
The impact of the loss of the existing car park at Bath Road needs to be considered in light of Policy EC2 Developing a Sustainable Local Transport Network contained in the draft Local Plan. The aim of the policy is to ‘secure a more sustainable local travel network that maximises opportunities for walking, cycling and using public transport, reduces congestion, improves the public realm and improves health and well-being.’
Policy EC2 therefore requires development proposals to:
- Demonstrate that adverse impacts on the transport network are avoided, through preparation of Transport Assessments for all major schemes and contributions or improvements to transport networks
- Demonstrate that suf cient public car parking remains or is re-provided in the area to serve local needs where there will be a reduction in off-street car parking. This could include consideration of available on-street car parking or involve the provision of an appropriate temporary facility. This should ensure that the development ultimately provides for existing local need, together with the resulting increase in demand arising from the development
The degree to which lost off-street parking at the Bath Road Car Park site will need to be re- provided will therefore be determined by the available alternative provision in the town centre at the time any planning application for the site is submitted. The location of the Bath Road Car Park site in relation to the location of other car parks in Hounslow town centre is important, as it acts to alleviate traf c at junctions from the west of the centre, and prevents it from congesting the town centre. Any re-provision of car parking on the Bath Road Car Park site should therefore be considered as part of a joined- up, planned approach to the regeneration of Hounslow town centre.
New car parking provision on the Bath Road Car Park site would be assessed in accordance with the criteria contained within Policy 6.13 Parking of the London Plan 2011. This states that ‘The Mayor wishes to see an appropriate balance being struck between promoting new development and preventing excesive car parking provision that can undermine cycling, walking and public transport use.’
The Parking addendum to Policy 6.13 contains maximum car parking standards which a new Civic Centre on the Bath Road Car Park site would be obliged to comply with.
In accordance with Policy 6.13 of the London Plan, a proposal should be accompanied by a transport assessment. This should consider the suitability of the Bath Road Car Park site for lower or car-free redevelopment. This would reflect the accessibility and connectivity to public transport of the site.
The location and design of new development should consider the impact of noise and mitigation to deal with the impact of noise. The Bath Road Car Park site falls into the 63 dB LAeq noise contour of Heathrow airport, and is also affected by noise from road traf c. It therefore falls into noise signi cance category C, where development should be avoided unless there are overriding economic and social reasons for it to proceed.
The regeneration potential of development at this site, outlined earlier in the brief, may be considered to provide these reasons. Development should minimise and mitigate the adverse impacts of noise, provide an Acoustic Design statement (to include a noise assessment) and meet standards for acceptable noise levels.
The policy context supports mixed use development that contributes to the future vitality of Hounslow town centre, and aids regeneration. Buildings should add to a sense of place, be of high design quality and enhance the townscape and streetscene.