Neighbours band together to see off St John's Wood housing scheme

Objector: 'We call it St John’s Wood, not St John’s concrete jungle for a reason'

Friday, 10th March 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya

StJW Neighbours celebrate after plan is thrown out

Objectors celebrate after plan was thrown out

NEIGHBOURS are celebrating after community action saw off an “incongruous” development project.

The plan for three new houses in William Court in Hall Road, St John’s Wood, was thrown out by a planning committee at a packed-out meeting at City Hall on Tuesday.

There were more than 160 objections to the “excessive” and “un­neighbourly” development which residents in neighbouring Hamilton Gardens and William Court said would have been just a few feet away from their homes.

After the meeting on Tuesday, St John’s Wood resident Maya Mehta said: “Our conservation area – we call it St John’s Wood, not St John’s concrete jungle for a reason. It is a precious gem in central London and that was going to be severely compromised by this development.”

She added: “There was no social purpose to it, it would have been multi-million-pound houses at the expense of existing residents. It would have exploited the elderly and the vulnerable who could not make sense of these complex plans.”

There were complaints about a sense of enclosure, overlooking, height, loss of light, amenity, privacy and many other issues if the houses were to go ahead.

Neighbour Priya Khanna said: “This is an example of where the developers have brought a community together to protect their neighbourhood from overdevelopment.”

The chair of the St John’s Wood Society, Dick Schumacher, said: “We strongly objected to this proposal because of the overdevelopment of the site and the sense that they wanted to shoehorn into a space that was inappropriate way too much density. It is thrilling that the committee rejected this unanimously. There is going to be greater development in Westminster but it’s got to be done sensibly and this was not sensible.”

Resident Maureen Sutherland Smith said it had been “a very nice by-product” that the community had been brought together to fight the plans.

She added: “It was described as being a low building but it actually blocked four storeys of William Court, where the light was blocked. That was massive, a really big impact.”

The application was deferred earlier this year so the committee could carry out a site visit.

Developer Mansley Ltd’s spokesman said: “We are naturally disappointed that members of the planning committee decided to overturn their planning officers’ recommendation for approval.”

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