The St Margarets Community Website has recieved a copy of an Objection Letter to the Council from the residents of Broadway Avenue for the proposed wine bar under Streets that we reported earlier. In an effort to provide a balanced discussion of this issue we have decided to publish it here, along with a parking survey the residents provided.
OBJECTION TO PLANNING APPLICATION 05/2442/COU
Change of use of the Lower Ground Floors of No 125-131 St Margarets Road to a Wine Bar (A4) with Ancillary Retail Sales.
From: All the residents of Broadway Ave St Margarets TW1 1RH 25th September 2005 email: firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 020 8744 2377
To: John Brown Planning Officer RUTC Planning Committee RUTC Cllrs Annie Hambridge, Simon Lamb and David Porter Robert Angus Development Control Manager RUTC Joe Sadhu Transport Planning RUTC Malcolm Lock Licensing Officer RUTC Cllr Robin Jowit, Mayor of Richmond Dr Vincent Cable MP Supt. Ian Edwards Met.Police Borough Commander Paul Mortimer Editor Richmond & Twickenham Times St Margarets Community Website
If accepted, this application like the previous one would not only have a detrimental effect upon the quality of life in Broadway Avenue, but also upon the whole of St Margarets village.
We agree with the applicants that “this isn’t just not another bar”. At 435 sq metres the area proposed for the wine bar/club is enormous. This is greater than the previous application of 374 sq metres in which the applicants planned to accommodate up to 166 people. It would therefore be a very large venue and quite out of proportion to what a small community could comfortably handle and what’s required on top of the present eating establishments, the two local pubs, and two other outlets selling wines and spirits, as well as an off-licence – all three within 60 metres. The small entrance on St Margarets road would mean people spilling out into an area already overcrowded at certain times of the day, that is also close to a station entrance and a pedestrian crossing. This part of St Margarets is not a “busy high street” as described, but contains clusters of shops. The busiest cluster is currently around Tescos, close to the soon to be opened Superdrug and the proposed wine bar entrance - all within the Phelps ‘block’. The application also mentions Gymboree, housed between Tesco’s and Superdrug, which is not primarily a retail outlet as stated. In Gymboree’s own words it provides “play, music and arts for newborns to under 5’s”. Their play area would be the immediate neighbour to the proposed bar.
The applicants are keen to promote the continued use of the name ‘Phelps’, who ran an established “cherished” local family business. However, since the original application the Phelps family have been responsible for introducing two multi-national outlets into the village. The arrival of the Tesco store has particularly led to an increase in general traffic congestion with huge lorries parked daily both legally and illegally. No doubt these problems will escalate with the opening of the Superdrug store.
Although the site under consideration is at lower ground floor level in the St Margarets Road, it is at ground level in the Broadway Avenue mews, just metres away from residential homes. It is proposed that mews access to the premises would be limited to the disabled, and daytime customers collecting boxes of wine. There are several concerns. These include the long-term control of rear access use, leakage of noise from the premises - which can never be totally excluded especially with lower ambient background noise in the evenings. There would be additional traffic access, and in the late evening possible increased misuse of the mews. Close neighbours have been constantly complaining about the noise coming from the air conditioning plant installed by Tesco, and further aircon units will only add to the problem. Double glazing may offer a reduction in noise but is certainly not a cure. There are few of us who want to live and sleep in a house with permanently closed windows.
All traffic entering the mews has to reverse out of it via a blind corner onto an incline. Broadway Avenue is a one-way road, and the vehicles will therefore be backing out onto traffic coming down the road. Young children especially on bikes and scooters often ignore their parents warning to stop at the pavement edge to the mews, or are indeed oblivious to it, especially when they come down Broadway Avenue from the St Margarets Road. Even at their business peak Phelps deliveries and pickups were limited and caused far less concern. The volume of traffic using Broadway Avenue has considerably increased since that time, especially with the addition of the business unit at the end of Winchester Road. Any additional mews traffic is therefore undesirable and also a potential danger to adults, toddlers and the many young children who use Broadway Avenue as their main route to and from two local primary schools.
Whether you accept the parking survey related to four immediate roads, submitted with the previous and present applications, or our own findings (details attached and supported by an enclosed DVD video); those of you with any local knowledge are aware that residential parking is a huge problem especially in the evenings. To suggest that the majority of these patrons will walk to this new venue is at best misguided. The bursting car park of the St Margarets Tavern disproves that theory every night of the week. In fact the Council’s own Transport Planning department considered the previous application “would be a potential source of car borne traffic with its detrimental impact on the local amenity of the area”. They recommended refusal, and their survey was August 2004 during the holiday period, and before the introduction of Tesco and Superdrug.
Like many local roads Broadway Avenue is narrow. The houses and therefore the bedrooms are close to the road. Even with the present limited licensing laws we are often disturbed by noisy passers-by at night. These are not necessarily the younger element but often customers who have left the two local pubs, and like many do not realise that the volume of their conversation increases in relation to their alcohol intake. Even the more sophisticated St Margaretarian (that the applicants suggest they are trying to attract) is not immune from displaying inconsiderate behaviour after a few glasses of wine. The applicants say that they will run their wine bar within “normal” licensing hours, which are soon to be potentially 24 hours a day.
When the applicants withdrew their application last year many of us received a letter from them suggesting that we had misrepresented their views to the council’s officers. Whilst we’re pleased to see that this is not repeated in their present application, several phrases used paint an inaccurate picture of the local environment and village community. This community feel is one of the reasons that people come to live in St Margarets and not to frequent a large “club” (the applicants word).
Over the years the residents of Broadway Avenue have worked hard together with Richmond Borough Council to promote a peaceful and safe environment. This has included the creation of a one-way system to ease congestion, road humps to slow the traffic, the prevention of large lorries using the road as a cut through, and the introduction of controlled parking (after taking the brunt of commuter parking from St Margarets station for years).
We’ve had some sympathy with the Phelps desire to rent their large commercial premises, but despite their long and “cherished” relationship within St Margarets, they have shown little empathy with our community of residents and traders. The wine bar/club should obviously be located in either of the busy Richmond or Twickenham town centres, both of which are in easy walking distance for St Margarets residents.
There comes a point where a planning application becomes a community issue, and where all parties need to stand up and be counted. In this instance those parties are us as residents, and you as our elected representatives. We are all responsible for protecting our living and working environment, especially in relation to an application that clearly departs from Unitary Development Plan ‘policy for a conservation area.’
All the residents of Broadway Avenue, St Margarets.
Here is the ‘parking survey’ from the residents.
|AMYAND PK RD *||BRIDGE RD||BROADWAY AVE||WINCHESTER RD|
|Actual spaces||Actual spaces||Actual spaces||Actual spaces|
|Sat 10 Sep 05||3||1||1||1|
|Sun 11 Sep 05||7||6||3||4|
|Mon 12 Sep 05||8||6||2||3|
|Tue 13 Sep 05||3||O||1||1|
|Wed 14 Sep 05||4||4||2||3|
|Thu 15 Sep 05||3||6||2||2|
|Fri 15 Sep 05||4||2||O||1|
|Sat 16 Sep 05||3||4||4||3|
|Sun 17 Sep 05||7||5||2||4|
|Mon 18 Sep 05||9||7||3||4|
|Tue 19 Sep 05||5||6||2||2|
|Wed 20 Sep 05||5||3||2||2|
|Thu 21 Sep 05||6||4||3||2|
|Fri 22 Sep 05||4||3||1||O|
* From the junction with the St Margarets Road to the railway footbridge