Dozens of Wembley residents have been left ‘dismayed and concerned’ over plans to knock down a row of garages to build new council homes. They fear the two-storey properties would overlook the existing houses, harm trees and wildlife, 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 aims to deliver affordable homes and reduce the boroughs 25,000 long waiting list. A decision will be made on whether to approve the scheme at this week’s planning committee meeting (November 15).
Around 50 people have objected to the scheme over its potential impact on trees, wildlife and parking spaces, as well as noise, privacy and residents’ mental health. Residents have called the plan “a disaster waiting to happen” and are calling on the plan to be scrapped.
Resident Marc Etukudo called the application “misleading, inaccurate [and] full of design flaws”, which he claims will lead to a problematic development and “impact the lives of both existing and new residents”. He suggests the council’s ecological report was “completely flawed” and the trees are home to protected species of bat.
Maddox and Associates Ltd, the agents acting on behalf of Brent Council, has made changes to the original scheme after push back from the council’s consultees. Officers raised concerns about the impact of parking over-spill and the tree line.
The number of new homes has subsequently been reduced from seven to five, an increase of on-street parking spaces from 12 to 28, and the number of trees removed down to eight from 13. But locals still feel the development would have a “devastating impact” on existing houses, particularly for those living in the adjacent Grendon Gardens properties, and the surrounding conservation area.
Marc claims the parking increase is not enough to prevent cars having to park on the surrounding streets and slammed the reduction of green space. Some residents have also criticised the “overbearing nature” of the plans, with one calling for “more sympathetic” single storey properites over fears they will “ have a two-storey house within a metre of my back garden”.
Another said: “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.”
The site, comprising eight blocks of 34 single storey garages, is a long thin strip of land along Newland Court and backing on to 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.
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. It 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”.