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The Group

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The Sandy Lane Site Action Group was formed in 2004 to fight an application from Linden Homes to build a massive development on the ex-Seeboard site in Sandy Lane, Teddington. See Map. After lengthy negotiations with us and other parties, Linden submitted a more reasonable and well-designed scheme. The new application was approved by Richmond Council in November 2005, helped by support from us and other groups. Galliford Try bought Linden in 2007 and announced plans for a new and bigger application. SLSAG has re-formed to fight this.

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Any new information we discover about any forthcoming planning application from Galliford Try will be posted on this site.

The Site

This site was launched on the 9th May 2007. Please return on a regular basis as we intend to add additional content and make regular updates as the campaign progresses.

If you have any comments or questions on the content of this website, please contact
David Harnden at david.harnden@slsag.org.uk

 

 

Page banner: The Sandy Lane Site Action Group

We stopped the Sandy Lane expansion!

We Won!

Please note this site is now historic and no longer supported.

Some of the action group with Cllr James Mumford outside the development
Some of the action group with Cllr James Mumford outside the development - 29th Oct 2008

Update 28th October 2008:
"I dismiss this appeal" - four short words that have brought joy to residents of Teddington and Hampton Wick and users of Bushy Park. Linden Homes have failed in their attempt to increase the height of five of the buildings on the Sandy Lane site to five storeys.

In her decision letter of October 28th, Planning Inspector Mary O'Rourke turned down Linden's appeal because of:

  • the considerable harm that would arise as a result of the proposed changes to the development, in terms of its increased height and massing, on the character and appearance of the Conservation Area, on the character of the Metropolitan Open Land, the setting of the listed park and on the street scene;
  • its impact on visual permeability and on the outlook of those living in School House Lane and users of The Orchard, and on the outlook of future occupants of the nursing home; and
  • concerns about the adequacy of the mitigation measures proposed to prevent harm to bats.

It's good news that the Inspector's reasons for dismissing the appeal include the increase in height and mass and the infilling between Blocks B/B1 and C/C1. These issues were the main reasons why Richmond Council turned down Linden's planning application and opposed (very effectively) the subsequent appeal.

There is nothing to stop Linden from filing another application, but the Inspector's verdict significantly narrows their options. Let's hope that Linden see sense and stick with the approved application for four-storey buildings. As the Council's appeals team argued at the public inquiry, the approved application (11 blocks of four-storey buildings, plus a three-storey nursing home) is the maximum that this site can bear.

This has been a massive community effort. Local groups such as the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks, the Hampton Wick Association and the Teddington Society have played a pivotal role, while Hampton Wick and Teddington councillors have consistently supported us (particular thanks to Cllr James Mumford, who spoke at the appeal). The local press and radio station covered the issues fairly and thoroughly, while our MP, Vince Cable, has given much help over the years and spoke up for us in talks with Linden's management.

And well done all of us, who have collectively achieved so much - both as individuals and under the auspices of the Sandy Lane Site Action Group. George has done a brilliant job running this website and taking photographs; Ian was a tireless secretary; Trevor always hit the spot with his press releases; Steven used his architect’s brain to great effect; Pieter defended the interests of Bushy Park valiantly; Peter brought his engineering expertise to the party; Jane put up with my moods; and 1001 people pitched in with tasks like photocopying, leafleting, petitioning, analysing documents, researching and buying the next round (the Lion was the perfect campaign HQ).

The struggle against Linden has been time-consuming, frustrating and at times disheartening, but the Inspector's decision makes it all worthwhile. Just as importantly, it's been a great way for the neighbourhood to get to know each other.

David Harnden

Update 14th October:
The Public Inquiry into Linden Homes' new application for the Sandy Lane site has been heard again. The original Planning Inspector was taken ill after the April inquiry and has been unable to write his report.

The planning inspector (Mary O'Rourke) expects to reach her decision on Linden Homes' application for the Sandy Lane site by the week ending November 14th. We will let you know as soon as we hear whether the development will stay at four storeys under the approved scheme, or whether Linden will be allowed to build a fifth storey on five of the blocks and to fill in the gaps between four of the blocks to create two mega-blocks running the width of the site.

The planning inquiry into the appeal (the application was turned down by the council) was heard on October 8th and 9th, and the site visit took place on the afternoon of the 13th. The council opposed the application because of the impact the height, bulk and density of the five-storey blocks would have on Bushy Park and the surrounding streets and properties, and the loss of 'visual permeability' due to the in-filling between the blocks.

Other speakers opposing the application included Pieter Morpurgo, chairman of the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks (impact on biodiversity and views from the park), Ian Jones-Healey (the architectural incoherence of the scheme, impact on School House Lane orchard, and inadequate provision for sewerage and surface water flooding), Cllr James Mumford (inadequate provision of one-bedroom flats and affordable housing), Steven Gillespie (the overbearing impact of what has already been built, and errors in the drawings and visual representations of what the new buildings would look like), David Harnden (inadequate sustainability proposals) and Jane Harnden (inaccuracies in Linden's figures and the fact that block D's function as a 'focal building' would be diminished by raising the height of the other blocks).

All in all, we and the council did everything we reasonably could to oppose this application. Let's hope we win, but even if we don't we have the satisfaction of knowing that by identifying inadequacies in the application we’ve made Linden jump through far more hoops than they were expecting and forced them to make far more commitments than they would have wanted.

A big thank you to everyone who has helped with this campaign - it really has been a neighbourhood effort.

Update April 24th 2008:
In the Public Inquiry on April 23rd and 24th, Richmond council defended its decision to refuse the application on the grounds of mass and height and the resulting impact on Bushy Park and neighbouring streets, plus the loss of permeability (ie, lines of sight and pedestrian access) inside the site.

Members of SLSAG and others presented additional reasons for refusal. Cllr James Mumford spoke on the application’s failure to meet council requirements on the number of small units and affordable floor space; Pieter Morpurgo, chairman of the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks, voiced their opposition to the scheme because of the visual impact on Bushy Park and the potential harm to wildlife; Ian Jones-Healey spoke on the worrying problems associated with surface water flooding, the sewer system and water supply system; Steven Gillespie addressed the design flaws and inaccuracies in some of the plans; and David Harnden spoke on the shortcomings of the Sustainability Appraisal and the renewable energy proposals.

The Planning Inspector gave no clue as to what his verdict will be. We gave it our best shot, but in many ways the system is biased in favour of the developer, since most shortcomings in an application can be ‘solved’ by making them a condition of approval. In other words, the developer can fail utterly to get something (sewage, sustainability, even the plans) right for a year, but this can be magically cured by making it a condition that they fix it.

 

View of buildings under construction
View of buildings under construction overlooking Bushy Park - 11th March 2008