Some Wembley residents are furious over plans to knock down a set of garages to build a row of new council homes ‘within a metre of their back garden’.
Nearly 100 objections have been lodged against the application over fears the two-storey properties would overlook the existing houses, destroy trees, and exacerbate parking issues.
The plans to demolish all of the ‘vacant and underutilised’ garages at Newland Court in Wembley to build five new properties is part of Brent Council’s ‘New Council Homes Programme’, which it claims will deliver affordable homes and reduce the massive waiting list of more than 25,000 residents.
However, residents have suggested the plans will have a ‘devastating impact’ on the existing houses and the surrounding conservation area. Documents submitted by Maddox and Associates Ltd, agents acting on behalf of Brent Council, show a number of trees will need to be removed along the adjacent Grendon Gardens boundary to facilitate the development.
One resident said: “The trees have, for many years, been appreciated by Grendon Gardens residents, and, no doubt, many of the residents of Newland Court. These trees also provide a buffer against the traffic noise from the main road.”
They added: “These trees are owned by the residents of Grendon Gardens and they do not expect a developer instructed by Brent Council to come along and wilfully damage them in any way. All trees within a conservation area are protected from damage for good reasons.”
The site, comprising eight blocks of 34 single-storey garages, is a long thin strip of land along Newland Court and backing onto the rear gardens of Grendon Gardens – 400 metres from Wembley Park station. If approved, the development would see five new two-storey houses built – two four-bedroom and three three-bedroom.
Other residents believe the influx of new residents will impact on parking spaces and criticised the “overbearing nature” of the plans. One called for “more sympathetic” single-storey houses after claiming they are “now to have a two-storey house within a metre of my back garden”.
Another added: “Aside from overfilling an already busy estate with up to another 30 residents, there appears to be little thought for the well-being and health of the new residents. They will be moved into properties which are too small, majority of which will have no reasonable outside space so will be expected to utilise the significantly smaller space already here.”
Brent Council has made a commitment to either build or facilitate the building of 5,000 new affordable homes by 2024, including 1,000 new council homes, through a grant of around £100m from the Mayor of London and more than £200m from the council purse.
The council believes the Newland Court development would deliver ‘tangible benefits’ that ‘weigh heavily in favour’ of the plan. Planning documents claim it will deliver the “optimisation of a sustainable brownfield site”, which would “release pressure on more sensitive greenfield sites within the borough”.
They also detail how “none of the garages are currently being used for car parking” so there would be no loss of parking spaces as a result of knocking down the existing garages and point to only two properties having windows on the first floor that face Grendon Garden homes. The documents state: “[…] those windows [can not be opened] and have obscured glazing to prevent the possibility of overlooking”.
This is an amended plan following a backlash to the original scheme, which proposed the building of seven homes. A decision on whether to green-light the latest plan will be made by the council at a later date.