Ruislip Lido Car Park Planning Application
Questions and Objections raised by residents
Lack of Proper Consultation
Three large petitions (over 2000 signatures in total) have been submitted to the Council requesting that its improvement programme be subject to proper consultation before the car park planning application was submitted. These, however, were ignored by the Council.
When the planning application for the car park in the grounds of the Lido was submitted by the Council to the Council’s Planning Department, consultation letters were sent out only to residents in Reservoir Road and the immediately surrounding area.
The Planning Department are not prepared to extend the consultation on the planning application to a wider area to cover the addresses of signatories of previous petitions against the Council’s proposals. This is mainly on the grounds of cost but the planning department also considers it has already exceeded the statutory minimum requirement for consultation and sent consultation letters to over 200 residential properties as well as other business premises in the vicinity of Reservoir Road.
Residents have particularly requested that consultation be extended to properties in Broadwood Avenue/Sherwood Avenue and Kings College Road as there are access points through the woods to the Lido less than half a mile away. A request has also been made that consultation should be extended to properties along the Cannon Brook which are understood to have suffered flooding in the past. Residents are still awaiting a reply to this request which has apparently been referred to the Council’s Sustainability Officer.
When further details have been submitted the Planning Department will re-consult those residents originally consulted together with any other residents who have written in submitting objections. This re-consultation will however be limited to 14 days and it is unlikely any other residents will get to hear of the re-consultation on this planning application in time to make any comments.
Submission of the application is premature in advance of the full improvement proposals
Residents consider that the car park application should not be determined before details of the full improvement proposals have been submitted. Arguably, if the Council proceeds with many of its improvements there may be a significant rise in visitor numbers. Also, if the Council raises the water level as planned, it may cause a greater risk of flooding to the new car park.
The Planning Department however intend to consider the planning application for the car park based on present visitor numbers in the absence of any details being provided for other proposed improvements.
Flood Risk Assessment
Residents have pointed out that the Council’s proposal to raise the water level would impact upon the level of the car park and extent of any compensatory flood storage required.
The Planning officer has agreed that the Flood Risk Assessment note (see foot of page) submitted with the application is inadequate and is seeking a full Risk Assessment for the car park application.
Compensatory Flood Plain
In addition to the area of land on which the car park is to be built being cleared of its current trees and vegetation, another area at least as large is likely to be required to be cleared to provide compensatory flood storage space according to the Flood Risk Assessment note. However, the application originally submitted did not provide any details of this.
The Planning Officer is seeking information on the location of the compensatory flood storage area referred to in the Flood Risk Assessment note. The application would be considered on the basis of the current water level of the Lido.
If therefore the Council subsequently decided to raise the water level this may need further consideration to raising the level of the car park and increasing the extent of the compensatory flood storage area! No doubt this is what the Council means by joined up thinking!
Traffic Impact Assessment
The Planning Officer apparently does not consider that a full TIA would be needed. However, a Transport Statement will be required. The Highway Engineer has been consulted and would advise on traffic generation on the public highways.
Residents asked whether the Highway Engineer would have carried out any surveys in the summer holidays at the height of use of the Lido, as otherwise it would be difficult for him to appreciate the level of congestion generated. Subsequent enquiries of the Council (See Correspondence with the Council) have confirmed that the Council did not undertake any car parking survey during peak periods in 2010. The Council has so far refused to answer further questions under the Freedom of Information Act about what information on car parking is held by the Council.
Car Park Management, Opening Periods and Charging
The Planning Officer has indicated that he is seeking information on the operation of the car park. Residents have also asked the Council to advise whether it intends to charge for use of the new car park (See Correspondence with the Council). There is a concern that this may lead to more on-street parking and congestion as car borne visitors try to get into the current free car park and drive out again to try to park on the local roads if they find they have to pay.
Despite the obvious relevance of this to the proposal to build the new car park and indications given by the Council earlier in 2010 that charging might be introduced for non-borough residents, the Council refuses to give any answer to this question.
Safety and Conflict between cars and pedestrians
The Planning Officer recognised the need for more information on separation of vehicular and pedestrian traffic bearing in mind use of the adjoining lawns by visitors, use of the existing path by wheelchair users and pedestrians and the location of the entrance to the narrow gauge railway crossing the proposed route to the car park.
He has requested further information on these points and considers that the boundaries of the application site should be extended to include the access road. Questions he has raised with the applicant include:
i) Is a dedicated pedestrian route proposed?
ii) The need for a pedestrian crossing at the entrance to the railway station.
iii) Traffic calming measures.
iv) Widening the access road.
v) Hours of operation of the car park?
vi) Control of the car park.
vii) Whether pay and display arrangements are to be introduced?
viii) Arrangements for the traffic terminus and bus turnaround at the end of Reservoir Road.
Conflict with the Council’s Climate Change and Car Parking Strategies
Surprisingly, despite the existence of two bus services to Ruislip Lido, the Planning Officer apparently considers public transport accessibility is not high. He is understood to consider that providing access to recreation may be used to justify provision of the car park. A Transport Statement would be required to support the application.
It is residents’ view that there is a clear conflict between the Council’s plan to build an additional 160 space car park in the Lido grounds and the Council’s own restraint based policies on Climate Change and Car Parking. The Council has so far shown no justification for departure from its own policies to permit additional parking.
The Planning Officer has sought further information on bats likely to be present in the area and a reptile survey. Planning Department would require the results of such a survey to be available before the application is determined.
Residents are most concerned about the scale of destruction to a large area of the Lido grounds which would be necessary to build the proposed car park. Another area at least as large may also need to be flattened to provide the required compensatory flood storage.
What to do if you have concerns about these or any other issues on this planning application?
Write to the Council: K. Dafe, Planning Department, London Borough of Hillingdon, Civic Centre, Uxbridge, UB8 1UW or email firstname.lastname@example.org stating your concerns. This should ensure that you are included in the re-consultation when all the additional information required has been submitted by the Council to its Planning Department.