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HomeNewsSeven-storey apartment block for 41 flats approved in Wembley

Seven-storey apartment block for 41 flats approved in Wembley

A seven-storey apartment block for 41 flats has been given the go ahead after scraping through a vote, despite concerns over a lack of affordable housing and a loss of light to neighbouring properties.

One councillor said the scheme offered ‘nothing positive for residents’ but still voted in favour of it.

Property developers Daejan Investments can now move forward with its plans to demolish eight retail units at Sevenex Parade and London Road, in Wembley, to make way for a part-six, part-seven storey building comprising 41 flats after it was approved by Brent Council’s planning committee (May 8). Dozens of nearby residents had called for the scheme to be refused due to the potential negative impact it will have on them and the value of their property.

The developers’ solicitor, Paul Beresford, described the plan, which will see the construction of 20 one-bedroom, nine two-bedroom, and 12 three-bedroom apartments, as the ‘culmination of years of hard work’. However, councillors on the planning committee echoed the concerns of residents regarding light, as well as raising an issue with the number of affordable housing the scheme offers – zero.

Cllr Arshad Mahmood called the lack of affordable housing ‘a very big drawback’. He said: “We aspire to get as many as possible because we have a long list of people waiting to be housed.” The London Plan and Brent Local Plan outline a 35 per cent affordable housing threshold that must be met for new developments, however, this relates to the entirety of homes being delivered in the borough, not on a case by case basis.

A financial viability assessment concluded that providing any affordable housing units would make the scheme ‘unviable’, which means it can still go ahead.  If this development met the affordable housing target, the assessment concluded that it would have a deficit of £1.88m.

Mr Beresford told the committee that a late stage review mechanism has been put in place in the event the scheme becomes ‘viable’ for affordable housing in the future. He said: “Ultimately, as the scheme progresses build costs can go down, sales values go up, then that review mechanism will make sure that any changes in the viability position is captured and if viable at the time it would provide a financial contribution towards off-site provision.”

Seven-storey apartment block for 41 flats approved in Wembley Harrow Online
London Road Development CGI. The seven-storey building will provide 41 new flats. Image Credit: Brent Council. Permission to use with all LDRS partners

Cllr Michael Maurice said he was ‘very concerned’ about the impact the development will have on the amount of light some of the neighbouring properties will get. He said: “I’ve been told they are going to suffer quite severely in some cases.”

One neighbour feared it will create ‘a complete wall’ in front of their building and restrict light to more than 50 homes. They said: “The proposed construction of a seven storey building is too close to our flat and therefore it will create a complete wall in front of us blocking any natural sunlight at any time of the day and in fact we will come under shadow of it.”

However, Mr Beresford described the situation as ‘a degree of normal’ in a highly developed urban area, with some of the properties set to be impacted ‘already hav[ing] relatively low levels of sunlight and daylight’. He added: “Whilst there are a number of units that have a level of reduction which is a little bit lower than the guidelines’ 20 percent, what those residents will experience after the development is built is not dissimilar to residents of other units in the local context.”

The properties are expected to cost between £389,000 and £620,000. Vice-chair of the committee, Cllr Saqib Butt, said there is ’nothing here for our Brent residents that is positive’ and that even market rents would not be affordable to most people.

Despite this, Cllr Butt voted to approve the application, which meant it passed by one vote with four councillors voting for it and three against. Those voting against highlighted additional concerns with the schemes green credentials and issues with privacy.