Richmond ruined if planning laws change, say critics

Richmond could be destroyed by Government plans that allow property owners to change commercial buildings into homes without permission.

The new permitted development rights proposals are part of the Government’s package of measures to support economic growth but councillors warn they could have the opposite effect in Richmond.

People looking to change offices into residential properties will no longer have to apply to Richmond Council for permission to do so when the new rules come into force from spring this year.

This means that new residential developments will no longer have to provide a percentage of affordable housing or make any community contribution, as they currently do under section 106 of the town and country planning act.

Councillor Stephen Knight said: “These proposals could be devastating for the economy of boroughs such as ours – wiping out most of the small office sector and, over time, putting larger offices under threat as leases come up for renewal.

“This is bad for our local economy and does little to tackle overcrowding and homelessness, with no requirement for any of the new flats to be affordable, nor for any contribution to be made to the cost of extra school places.”

Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, said the plans would create conditions to support economic growth and remove barriers that stop local businesses creating jobs.

Councils have been given the opportunity to seek exemptions for specific areas but the Government said these will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

A Richmond Council spokesman said officers were considering areas where exemptions will be sought but said it was difficult as offices tend to be dispersed rather than concentrated in specific parts of the borough.

The spokesman said: “We are very concerned about the Government’s proposal because of the relatively high value of residential use in comparison to offices and the limited availability of employment land and premises in the borough.”

Comments (19)

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7:07pm Mon 11 Feb 13

ken elmes says...

It will also mean more luxury development instead of the affordable rented properties our Borough badly needs
It will also mean more luxury development instead of the affordable rented properties our Borough badly needs ken elmes
  • Score: 0

11:37pm Mon 11 Feb 13

Twickenham Bob says...

Many people who work locally will find they are made redundant as landlords will kick out the business and cash in on the increase in land values. Thousands of local people could get the sack over this change.

Commuting to work in the city center will be the only option for an increasing number of locals - thus effecting the lives of those with young children. The already rammed trains will be even more intolerable.

Council Tax will also have to go up, as they council will have to be paying higher private sector rents, rather than lower social sector rents. But then the Tory Party always likes to dole out fat subsidies to the private sector.
Many people who work locally will find they are made redundant as landlords will kick out the business and cash in on the increase in land values. Thousands of local people could get the sack over this change. Commuting to work in the city center will be the only option for an increasing number of locals - thus effecting the lives of those with young children. The already rammed trains will be even more intolerable. Council Tax will also have to go up, as they council will have to be paying higher private sector rents, rather than lower social sector rents. But then the Tory Party always likes to dole out fat subsidies to the private sector. Twickenham Bob
  • Score: 0

10:33am Tue 12 Feb 13

jeremyhm says...

The council has already stated they are against this policy.
Stephen Knight might do well to recall that the Government is a coalition of Conservatives with his party ie the LibDems (or if you prefer, Torys and Whigs), and many policies are driven by the left-wing agenda of the latter
The council has already stated they are against this policy. Stephen Knight might do well to recall that the Government is a coalition of Conservatives with his party ie the LibDems (or if you prefer, Torys and Whigs), and many policies are driven by the left-wing agenda of the latter jeremyhm
  • Score: 0

12:19pm Tue 12 Feb 13

Twickenham Bob says...

Its a Tory Led government and its very clear that this piece of deregulation is coming from the right-wing Conservative cohort. But the Liberals are playing a very cleaver game in making the Tories un-electable for a generation.

You would have thought the Tory's would have learnt their lesson over bank deregulation that nearly bankrupted the UK. But no, they still worship at the feat of Hayek, Freedman and Rand.

Lets look locally at the Conservative Party's planning record - its YES YES YES to every monster development.
Its a Tory Led government and its very clear that this piece of deregulation is coming from the right-wing Conservative cohort. But the Liberals are playing a very cleaver game in making the Tories un-electable for a generation. You would have thought the Tory's would have learnt their lesson over bank deregulation that nearly bankrupted the UK. But no, they still worship at the feat of Hayek, Freedman and Rand. Lets look locally at the Conservative Party's planning record - its YES YES YES to every monster development. Twickenham Bob
  • Score: 0

1:18pm Tue 12 Feb 13

Twickenham resident says...

Twickenham Bob - surely you haven't forgotten the Lib Dem's thoroughly rotten idea to flog off Twickenham Riverside for LUXURY PRIVATE HOUSING with not even a shed for social rented or affordable housing in site ?! Arrogant Lib Dem leader Sergio Lourie lost his job as leader and as a Kew councillor mainly because of it !

The Lib Dems fully support capitalism and exclusion when it suits them .

Residents should keep an eye on the proposals for the former sorting office site in Twickenham as this is also going to be flogged off for mainly luxury private housing .....
Twickenham Bob - surely you haven't forgotten the Lib Dem's thoroughly rotten idea to flog off Twickenham Riverside for LUXURY PRIVATE HOUSING with not even a shed for social rented or affordable housing in site ?! Arrogant Lib Dem leader Sergio Lourie lost his job as leader and as a Kew councillor mainly because of it ! The Lib Dems fully support capitalism and exclusion when it suits them . Residents should keep an eye on the proposals for the former sorting office site in Twickenham as this is also going to be flogged off for mainly luxury private housing ..... Twickenham resident
  • Score: 0

5:38pm Tue 12 Feb 13

twickersargyle says...

Yes, the post office site will mainly be expensive housing. So?

I think some of you lot seem to be labouring under the false impression that Richmond is the set of Call the Midwife.
Yes, the post office site will mainly be expensive housing. So? I think some of you lot seem to be labouring under the false impression that Richmond is the set of Call the Midwife. twickersargyle
  • Score: 0

1:23am Wed 13 Feb 13

Twickenham Bob says...

Twickenham resident... the Riverside development was far from ideal (it should have included some of the shops facing King Street too and ugly and out of place with its setting) - but they were going to provide some affordable housing funding from the proceeds of the development. Indeed its National policy to have linked sites where it would result in the tenants would be get a million-pound style flat that ordinary taxpayers would never be able to afford. A practice that is adopted widely in London.

In response to twickersargyle: There is far more poverty in Richmond Upon Thames than you think, and its costs everyone a lot of money. The council spends over £4 million a year on temporary accommodation for homeless people. Affordable Housing is offered to existing social tenants first, and this frees up the their vacated property to rehouse the homeless in accommodation that is far cheaper than paying private sector rents

See: http://www.richmond.
gov.uk/homelessness_
strategy_2012-16.pdf
Twickenham resident... the Riverside development was far from ideal (it should have included some of the shops facing King Street too and ugly and out of place with its setting) - but they were going to provide some affordable housing funding from the proceeds of the development. Indeed its National policy to have linked sites where it would result in the tenants would be get a million-pound style flat that ordinary taxpayers would never be able to afford. A practice that is adopted widely in London. In response to twickersargyle: There is far more poverty in Richmond Upon Thames than you think, and its costs everyone a lot of money. The council spends over £4 million a year on temporary accommodation for homeless people. Affordable Housing is offered to existing social tenants first, and this frees up the their vacated property to rehouse the homeless in accommodation that is far cheaper than paying private sector rents See: http://www.richmond. gov.uk/homelessness_ strategy_2012-16.pdf Twickenham Bob
  • Score: 0

9:20am Wed 13 Feb 13

jeremyhm says...

Bob says "But the Liberals are playing a very cleaver game in making the Tories un-electable for a generation."
However, the Labour Party, by their recent performance have mae themselves unelectable all by themselves!
Bob says "But the Liberals are playing a very cleaver game in making the Tories un-electable for a generation." However, the Labour Party, by their recent performance have mae themselves unelectable all by themselves! jeremyhm
  • Score: 0

6:17pm Wed 13 Feb 13

metis says...

Bob, wish you would get your facts right. I think you'll find that the majority of all MPs are Keynsians with very few exceptions. Wish they were followers of Hayak - we wouldn't be in this mess now.
Bob, wish you would get your facts right. I think you'll find that the majority of all MPs are Keynsians with very few exceptions. Wish they were followers of Hayak - we wouldn't be in this mess now. metis
  • Score: 0

1:06pm Thu 14 Feb 13

cllrjcoombs says...

Just for the record although the scheme for the Riverside did not go ahead the related affordable housing has been built.

Cllr. John Coombs
(Lib Dem)
Just for the record although the scheme for the Riverside did not go ahead the related affordable housing has been built. Cllr. John Coombs (Lib Dem) cllrjcoombs
  • Score: 0

1:42pm Thu 14 Feb 13

jeremyhm says...

Exactly how many affordable houses were built between 2006 and 2010, while the Lib Dems were in control?
Exactly how many affordable houses were built between 2006 and 2010, while the Lib Dems were in control? jeremyhm
  • Score: 0

4:11pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Julie Hill says...

Just for the record, the "linked sites" developments went ahead as stated by Cllr Coombs. They went massively over time and budget and the Developer stated that they do not like lots of small sites (eg 3 houses) as they are disproportionately costly to build, service and maintain and the accommodation and gardens are small - hobbit houses as Boris called them.
Just for the record, the "linked sites" developments went ahead as stated by Cllr Coombs. They went massively over time and budget and the Developer stated that they do not like lots of small sites (eg 3 houses) as they are disproportionately costly to build, service and maintain and the accommodation and gardens are small - hobbit houses as Boris called them. Julie Hill
  • Score: 0

4:12pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Julie Hill says...

PS They are social rented and not affordable, but worth around £650,000 + on the open market should they be offered for sale.
PS They are social rented and not affordable, but worth around £650,000 + on the open market should they be offered for sale. Julie Hill
  • Score: 0

9:55am Fri 15 Feb 13

jeremyhm says...

cllr coombs - is it a fact that the last LibDem adminstration here built 38 afordable homes, while the present Consaervative adminstration has built 129?
cllr coombs - is it a fact that the last LibDem adminstration here built 38 afordable homes, while the present Consaervative adminstration has built 129? jeremyhm
  • Score: 0

11:42am Fri 15 Feb 13

Scott Naylor says...

And Cllr Climbed you are proud of the Twickenham Riverside linked sites debacle? They also happen to be some of the ugliest out if keeping houses around, the same as that in Bell Lane, totally out of keeping, and passed by a Lib Dem administration that didn't care two hoots about the environment by forcing these properties through on political grounds, go and have a look.at them all, Bell Lane, Sherland Road, Railway Road and Shacklegate Lane, all are beacons of poor design,and stand out as social housing as no private developer would dare to do anything so awful and out of context. Look at their window structure and how it relates to the buildings next door and over the road.

Also only possible because excepting Bell Lane the land was paid for by the taxpayer, not the Homes Communities Agency which funds social housing typically. Now ask the residents to shut the windows in winter, they can't because they are too hot and themechanical ventilation is questionable how it works vs. natural flow, and the condensation in these places is legend, be interesting to see if these get the same reputation as 1960's tower blocks with growths on the walls which always happens when they have too much water kept in the air! in a warm environment, health too will be I testing to monitor.
And Cllr Climbed you are proud of the Twickenham Riverside linked sites debacle? They also happen to be some of the ugliest out if keeping houses around, the same as that in Bell Lane, totally out of keeping, and passed by a Lib Dem administration that didn't care two hoots about the environment by forcing these properties through on political grounds, go and have a look.at them all, Bell Lane, Sherland Road, Railway Road and Shacklegate Lane, all are beacons of poor design,and stand out as social housing as no private developer would dare to do anything so awful and out of context. Look at their window structure and how it relates to the buildings next door and over the road. Also only possible because excepting Bell Lane the land was paid for by the taxpayer, not the Homes Communities Agency which funds social housing typically. Now ask the residents to shut the windows in winter, they can't because they are too hot and themechanical ventilation is questionable how it works vs. natural flow, and the condensation in these places is legend, be interesting to see if these get the same reputation as 1960's tower blocks with growths on the walls which always happens when they have too much water kept in the air! in a warm environment, health too will be I testing to monitor. Scott Naylor
  • Score: 0

11:42am Fri 15 Feb 13

Scott Naylor says...

And Cllr Climbed you are proud of the Twickenham Riverside linked sites debacle? They also happen to be some of the ugliest out if keeping houses around, the same as that in Bell Lane, totally out of keeping, and passed by a Lib Dem administration that didn't care two hoots about the environment by forcing these properties through on political grounds, go and have a look.at them all, Bell Lane, Sherland Road, Railway Road and Shacklegate Lane, all are beacons of poor design,and stand out as social housing as no private developer would dare to do anything so awful and out of context. Look at their window structure and how it relates to the buildings next door and over the road.

Also only possible because excepting Bell Lane the land was paid for by the taxpayer, not the Homes Communities Agency which funds social housing typically. Now ask the residents to shut the windows in winter, they can't because they are too hot and themechanical ventilation is questionable how it works vs. natural flow, and the condensation in these places is legend, be interesting to see if these get the same reputation as 1960's tower blocks with growths on the walls which always happens when they have too much water kept in the air! in a warm environment, health too will be I testing to monitor.
And Cllr Climbed you are proud of the Twickenham Riverside linked sites debacle? They also happen to be some of the ugliest out if keeping houses around, the same as that in Bell Lane, totally out of keeping, and passed by a Lib Dem administration that didn't care two hoots about the environment by forcing these properties through on political grounds, go and have a look.at them all, Bell Lane, Sherland Road, Railway Road and Shacklegate Lane, all are beacons of poor design,and stand out as social housing as no private developer would dare to do anything so awful and out of context. Look at their window structure and how it relates to the buildings next door and over the road. Also only possible because excepting Bell Lane the land was paid for by the taxpayer, not the Homes Communities Agency which funds social housing typically. Now ask the residents to shut the windows in winter, they can't because they are too hot and themechanical ventilation is questionable how it works vs. natural flow, and the condensation in these places is legend, be interesting to see if these get the same reputation as 1960's tower blocks with growths on the walls which always happens when they have too much water kept in the air! in a warm environment, health too will be I testing to monitor. Scott Naylor
  • Score: 0

11:43am Fri 15 Feb 13

Scott Naylor says...

Apologies should be Cllr Coombes! Predictive text is a terrible blight to me!
Apologies should be Cllr Coombes! Predictive text is a terrible blight to me! Scott Naylor
  • Score: 0

1:54pm Fri 15 Feb 13

cllrjcoombs says...

Over 400 were built between 2006 and 2010.

Cllr John Coombs

(Lib Dem)

you can spell my name however you like Scott
Over 400 were built between 2006 and 2010. Cllr John Coombs (Lib Dem) you can spell my name however you like Scott cllrjcoombs
  • Score: 0

5:00pm Fri 15 Feb 13

Twickenham Bob says...

Most organisations learn by experience - which is even more proof that affordable housing & social housing ought to be a significant part of this large scheme.

The housing would save taxpayers money as it means the council can move people out of hotels, b&bs, and expensive private sector tenancies.

The real question to be asking is why the Conservative council wants to increase costs to taxpayers rather than reducing them?
Most organisations learn by experience - which is even more proof that affordable housing & social housing ought to be a significant part of this large scheme. The housing would save taxpayers money as it means the council can move people out of hotels, b&bs, and expensive private sector tenancies. The real question to be asking is why the Conservative council wants to increase costs to taxpayers rather than reducing them? Twickenham Bob
  • Score: 0

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