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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The Queensbury Development Rejected

The proposal to redevelop The Queensbury in Willesden has been rejected.  The Inspector's report is here

The Planning Committee originally gave three reasons for refusal: the sheer size of the building, the lack of onsite affordable housing and the failure to agree "planning gain".  This last was a technical reason that is generally added to any refusal like this.  The affordable housing objection appears to have been more or less settled by the time the matter got to the Inspector.  The main thrust of his report therefore is on the scale/character reason.

He emphasises the importance of the building in historical terms at some length.  Firstly, he sees it as a cornerstone of the Mapesbury Conservation Area.  He concludes that: "the building makes a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.  The preservation of this contribution would be desirable."  Interestingly, he also argues that the 110 Walm Lane building also helps mark a transition from the more commercial Willesden Conservation Area to the residential Mapesbury area.  Finally, he regards it as having a good relationship with the listed Willesden Green station.

He also argues that the designation of the area for secondary shopping makes this level of development appropriate, compared to a denser development.  This may be an important factor in future applications. 

He also comes down rather hard on the "tower" element, which was the main element I criticised when refusing it at Committee. 

The main grounds of refusal is therefore the effect on the historical character of the Conservation Areas and the station.

This is important as Fairview is likely now either to make another application, or possibly to sell it to another developer, who would presumably want to submit their own scheme.  If such a scheme could be made in a way that met the Inspector's historical concerns, it would be likely to be granted either by the Committee or on Appeal.

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