The recent proposal for the development of nine apartments above the Co-op in Lower Road has been met with mixed reactions from Chorleywood residents. While some welcome the provision of additional housing, others have concerns about overdevelopment and sustainability as well as the likelihood of Chorleywood further losing its village identity.
But to the immediate neighbours, pedestrian safety related to the rear access road is one of the biggest issues and to demonstrate their worries they set up a dash-cam and filmed the possible outcome of cars crossing pavements as they leave the proposed new-build site.
Theo Papadopoulos who lives on South Road explains:
“This proposal makes me worry for my family’s safety. You just can’t see what’s coming on the pavement downhill as you exit the service track [onto South Road or Berks Hill] until it’s too late. My children use this pavement on a daily basis. Nobody seemed to have done a site visit, so I filmed it to show how dangerous it is now, let alone with 18 more cars using it. Imagine then sharing the potholed gravel track with wheelchair or buggy users who can’t access the flats via the stairs from Lower Road. It’s an accident waiting to happen! Safety issues were raised by Herts Highways in 2004 when they rejected plans for 6 flats using this same service track.
On top of this, 18 new bins from these flats will be lined up on the pavement of the adjoining roads as the refuse vehicles can’t get down the service track, making visibility even worse. The whole thing is a bad idea.”
Theo’s wife Sarah, mum of three, is aware of extra cars the development is likely to generate on our already stretched village centre and the frustration that it’s likely to cause
“There are less car parking spaces in the plans than there should be for a development of this size, not to mention visitors’ cars plus Co-op staff cars – there are 5 spaces currently assigned to employees. More cars are inevitable and parking in local streets is already impossible.”
The proposal on Three Rivers Website resulted in over 65 comments from the public with only two of these being in support of the plans. Many of the objections came from residents living in other parts of the village
Mum of two, Emily Sulkowski, of Carpenters Wood Drive is disappointed by the number of flats under consideration as well as the lack of amenities
“The proposed flats will be oppressive to live in – many of the windows will be frosted to prevent overlooking so there will be no views, and when the windows are open they will have a noisy 18 car-carpark with exhaust fumes coming in. There also isn’t any outside amenity space in the plans which new developments are meant to have. It’s just too many flats to squeeze into such a small site.”
Local resident Charles Perry is a sustainability expert and stresses that any development should address ecological and social issues and have a sustainability plan, including energy efficiency and renewables, to create a positive vibe amongst the community, giving them something to be proud of. Ideally it should be NetPositive, he says.
“ I maintain a neutral stance on this proposed development and voiced questions in the last meeting about the developer’s sustainability plans. The building needs to be eco-friendly with reference to energy, waste, noise, pollution, aesthetics and construction materials and I couldn’t see this in the plans . There was no reference to sustainability and, although this is not yet a requirement for planning permission, it should and will be with any new development post 2018. The building is at the heart of our village and should be something that the whole community can be proud of. Having seen the strength of opposition at the Rootz meeting, I reached out to the developer, Vic Grewal, to invite him to address the community on 4th October in Memorial Hall to listen to us, explain his intentions going forward and try to answer the many concerns. He is aware that he has failed to meet expectations in the past and has let a section of the community down but he has given verbal promises that he is willing to amend his plans in order to gain our support and proceed for the benefit of Chorleywood. Let’s see what he does.”
The consultation period has passed butplans can be viewed and commented on at www.threerivers.gov.ukPlanning app: 18/1510/FUL