INQUIRY PROCEEDINGS, 26 Feb 2004|
Mr Paul Freer, for the Council
Mr Freer read his Summary and Conclusions and was then cross examined by Mr Maurici.
Mr Freer agreed that the Council's short-term proposals were in accord with the Inspector's UDP Modification Report and that nothing in the Draft London Plan affects these proposals. He confirmed that the Planning Committee would determine approval of the scheme on the advice of the Planning Officers. Referring to river-related issues, Mr Freer confirmed that the PLA had raised an objection to a pontoon for reasons of possible interference with navigation.
With regard to designating the pool building as one of townscape merit (BTM), Mr Freer confirmed that it did not fall within the BTM designation even though a large number of local buildings had been so designated since 1984, and a subsequent invitation to the community by the Council to add to the list had not included the pool building.
Mr Freer confirmed that there would be planning consultations for the T1 Brief.
There was discussion with the Inspector about the technical possibility of modifying the drawings to include the pool building entrance canopy which was otherwise shown outside the site boundary.
Concerning Guidance RPG3 in the London Plan the Inspector commented that it was inevitable that the Plan would be adopted during the course of this Inquiry. Mr Freer was aware of the Plan which he had received only on 10 February. A short adjournment was taken for the Inspector, Mr Wren and other parties to study the Plan. After the adjournment Mr Freer defended the short-term scheme as falling within the Plan.
Mr Wren contended that the scheme does not promote river-related uses. Mr Freer referred to para 4C.12 (Sustainable growth priorities for the Blue Ribbon Network). Mr Wren suggested that demolition of the pool building might preclude them in the long-term. Mr Freer replied that all evidence proves that it is not a viable building. Mr Wren suggested that while the short-term appears to accord with policy, it might be frustrating river-related uses. Concerning paras 4C.13 / 14 (Passenger and tourism uses on the Blue Ribbon Network & Freight uses on the Blue Ribbon Network) Mr Freer confirmed to the Inspector that the short-term scheme does not prejudice the long-term. Mr Wren, referring to para 4C.18 (Support facilities and activities in the Blue Ribbon Network) suggested that there must be 'somewhere for their resonableness' if the Council supports the Plan.
Mr Freer confirmed that the testing mechanism in the Thames Policy Area looks at uses and appearance and that, in his opinion, the short-term scheme is appropriate. 'Relationship of buildings to the Thames is key,' suggested Mr Wren, 'the 18th century buildings, the village core, narrow streets, the whole Conservation Area demonstrates the history. Historic associations affect the Conservation Area'. Mr Freer agreed that in the T1 Brief leisure is key - the 'prime objective' and that enabling development will achieve this objective but enabling development was not part of the short-term scheme.
Mr Wren accepted that the pool building had not been put up by the community for Building of Townscape Merit listing but had the conservation groups put it up for listing at the time would the Council, he asked, have agreed to do so. Mr Freer replied, no. Two Inspectors had reported that the building was undistinguished and the Council was of the same opinion. Mr Freer described Mr Wren's witness' letter concerning the retention of the pool building as irrelevant and even the publication 'Farewell my Lido' does not mention the Twickenham Pool building at all. The Inspector reminded all parties that he has to come to his own conclusion about the merits of the building.
In replying to Ron Chappell's question, Mr Freer said that in planning terms the Council believes that the short-term scheme meets the criteria in PPG15 conservation areas guidelines to 'preserve and enhance' and the part of the site that remains is still acceptable because it's being 'preserved'.
Mr Freer felt that, in broad terms, the Council's current proposals are appropriate and meet the step-by-step approach recommended by the Marks and Spencer Inquiry Inspector in 1991 ('take a long-term view, making temporary steps for temporary uses which do not preclude a satisfactory use in a satisfactory form of development at some future time'). He admitted that this is not what the Council had done up to now.
Mr Freer believes that the short-term scheme is valid in planning terms and that there is no need to include the whole site in a short-term scheme.
Asked by Mr Chappell whether the TRTG scheme could appropriately be used as 'an interim use of the site brought forward at this time', Mr Freer replied that their scheme was not viable. He added that the quality of the Embankment is impacted upon in a negative way, particularly by the pool building but also by other factors such as the high walls in Wharf Lane and parking. Removing the pool building would help most and significantly improve the Public Open Space.
Judith Lovelace, Twickenham Society Group (TSG) asked why the process and timetable for the UDP First Review would take so long? It is:
Robin Walters asked about the process of the public consultation. Mr Freer replied that he was not yet aware of what form it might take. The Inspector stated that it was not part of his remit at this Inquiry.
The Inspector asked Mr Freer what weight he should attach to the UDP First Review and whether there was a difference between the T1 Brief and Modification. Mr Freer replied: yes, the building was not to be retained.
Mr Maurici, re-cross examining Mr Freer, asked whether this scheme prejudiced river related uses for the future. Mr Freer replied that one of the entrants for the Twickenham Challenge, The Environment Trust are proposing a River Centre and had never objected to this scheme or objected to the demolition of the pool building as being prejudicial to their proposals.
(n.b. this report is drawn from the notes made by members of the Twickenham Society Group during the Inquiry, and we are responsible for any errors or omissions.)
|page last amended 27/5/11|