Sheldon Square resident objection to Baltic Wharf plans
Sheldon Square resident objection to Baltic Wharf plans

Labour supports residents’ objections to Baltic Wharf overdevelopment

The Hyde Park and Little Venice Ward Labour Councillors have submitted an objection to the revised Baltic Wharf proposals from Travis Perkins and Unite Students.

Travis Perkins and Unite Students plan to replace the current Travis Perkins builders’ merchants at the junction of Harrow Road and Bishop’s Bridge Road with high-density housing for students.

Councillors Judith Southern, Paul Dimoldenberg and Sara Hassan say:

“We are continuing to support local residents in their campaign against the revised proposals from Unite Students and Travis Perkins. The proposed changes are minimal

  • The proposed buildings are still 20 storeys high
  • The number of student rooms is still too high at 605

We have 5 objections to the revised Travis Perkins/Unite Students proposals, as follows:

  1. Gross Overdevelopment of the site

The defining feature of the Paddington Basin area is the Canal and the development of new buildings along the Canal should respect this clear and defining context.

The only justification put forward by the Applicants for a building of 20 storeys is that there are already buildings of that size in the close vicinity. The Applicants cite buildings of around 20 storeys in evidence in their favour, rather than the more important and much lower Sheldon Square residential buildings immediately opposite the Baltic Wharf site.

The proposed ‘stepped’ 4–20 storey proposal is a contrived design which inherently admits that it is inappropriate for such an important and sensitive site. The architecture is bland and uninspiring – just another featureless high-rise building,

In short, the proposed building is far too massive and far too tall. It is the wrong building in the wrong place.

  1. Out of scale with the low-rise residential Little Venice section of the Canal

The proposed 20 storey building would ruin the current pleasant Little Venice section of the Canal environment which is characterised by a collection of modern low and mid-rise developments.

This lower-rise section of the Canal is clearly apparent from the Bishops Bridge Road bridge which creates a strong divide between the low-rise part of the canal at Little Venice and the taller office buildings (such as the Brunel building) associated with the Paddington Station area. In this respect, the high-rise Brunel Building should be the last 20 storey building at the west end of the Canal.

  1. Creating an overbearing ‘Canyon’ effect

Because of the proposed gross overdevelopment of the Travis Perkins site, the resulting development would create an overbearing and depressing ‘Canyon’ along this part of the Canal. The canal side walkways, cafes and bars would become less enjoyable to visit. The moored barges would be dwarfed and totally overwhelmed by the towering 20 storey building.

The Applicants have previously admitted that the lower residential floors of the Sheldon Square buildings would be detrimentally impacted by their proposals with  daylight and sunlight to existing flats comprised. The Applicants claim that these detrimental impacts on residents should be accepted because of the wider ‘regeneration benefits’.

Why should Sheldon Square residents have to bear the brunt of the damaging impacts when they get none of the ‘benefits’? Moreover, these detrimental impacts go beyond the loss of residential amenity and will affect existing Canal side Sheldon Square businesses, as well as Canal walkway visitors.

  1. The wrong use for the site

While there is support for the retention of Travis Perkins, no justification is made for the proposed major student accommodation development, beyond the general need for London.

There may well be a need for additional student accommodation in London, but the overwhelming residential need in Westminster is for more homes for those who need to rent a home locally at a rent they can afford. The site could provide the opportunity for more homes and it is of real surprise that this opportunity is not being taken.

  1. Not an appropriate location for 605 students

We question whether this is an appropriate location for a massive 605-bed student accommodation block.

Sheldon Square residents have, for many years, lived above the many bars and restaurants that create regular late-night noise and disturbance. The efforts of the Council’s Noise and Anti-Social Behaviour Teams and the local Hyde Park Ward Police team cannot cope with the current scale of noise and ASB. The on-site Management Team are powerless to deal with the regular problems faced by residents.

How can it be reasonable or fair to add a further 605 potential customers to the local bars and restaurants, when it is abundantly clear that the available public and private provision cannot cope with the current demands on their reduced and inadequate resources?

We urge the Planning Committee to refuse planning permission for this inappropriate development which is clearly unwanted by residents in both Hyde Park and Little Venice Wards.

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