Once again it is clear from this proposed development that Southall is being used as a ‘dumping ground. for refugees in the borough. The business centre and library is just a window dressing to make the scheme more acceptable. The Council should be working with the residents, businesses, police and transport authorities in any proposed development of Phoenix House to ensure that features/facilities are built into any new plan which improve the welfare of local residents and enhance the profile of Southall.
Some of the objectives listed in the Southall Town Centre Strategy are:
- Improve the overall accessibility of the town centre to all its local customers, businesses and local residents, particularly by public transport, cycling, walking and for those with disabilities;
- Make walking around the centre a more pleasant, safe and easy experience – day and night;
- Ensure an integrated approach to traffic and parking management, public transport, cycling and walking;
- Reduce traffic congestion and traffic flows within the town centre to make it a pleasant place and help meet local and national traffic reduction targets;
- Provide safe, secure and sufficient car parking distributed across the centre on and off street to enhance the town centre for residents and pedestrians. Car parking could be reduced as public transport improves, consistent with maintaining the centre’s economic vitality;
This proposed development fails to meet these objectives; in addition there are a number of concerns:
- Does the Council agree that Southall is already overcrowded, and that this additional residential accommodation will be used for transferring refugees from other more ‘sensitive’ parts of the borough?
- Was a traffic assessment report carried out to ensure the existing congestion on The Green and King Street and surrounding areas will not be exacerbated by this development?
- Are the flats in the development going to be rented or sold off? If rented, will the Council be using the flats to house people on their waiting lists, refugees and asylum seekers?
- Is there any stipulation as to who can be housed (or purchase) the flats (ie. could we end up in a situation where the new development is a refugee ‘ghetto’)?
- If shops are part of the development, will there be any restrictions on the trade to be allowed (eg nightclub, pub)?
- What facilities/amenities will be provided to cater for the families and their children living in the 149 new flats?
- will the existing library on Osterley Park Road be closed down as a new library / resource centre is being planned in the new development?
Therefore, this planning application should be opposed for the following reasons:
- for a development of this scale, there is nothing in the plan that improves the welfare and quality of life of local residents
- the area is already congested with a high volume of human and vehicle traffic. The road system will be unable to cope with the additional traffic generated by this development.
- there is already an acute lack of car parking spaces in the area and this development would inevitably have an devastating effect on the local residents. The stated figure of 109 parking spaces for 149 residential units is plainly insufficient.
- there is already enough nuisance/public disorder created by customers of the Tudor Rose club, the Mehfil restaurant and the Tyre and Car business, and the numerous Somali cafes in the locality. These need to be looked at and controlled rather than additional strain being put on the area.
- this seems to be a purely money making exercise with no regard to the effects on the local community.