The St Margarets Community Website has recieved a copy of the reply to an Objection Letter to the Council by the St Margarets Association of Residents for the proposed children’s soft play area in the St Margarets Business Centre that we reported about earlier. In an effort to provide a balanced discussion of this issue we have decided to publish it here.

16 March 2006

Dear Ms Ivory

PROPOSED INDOOR PLAY FACILITY AT UNIT 2, ST MARGARET’S BUSINESS CENTRE, DRUMMOND PLACE, TWICKENHAM TW1 1JN

Thank you for your letter concerning the above planning application. I am replying on behalf of the applicant to the points you have raised. I should emphasise that in selecting these premises he considered all these issues and was satisfied with its suitability based on the information gathered.

Adjacent tenants

In planning law a B1 use must be one that “can be carried out in any residential area without detriment to the amenity of that area by reason of noise, vibration, smell, fumes, smoke, soot, ash, dust or grit.” If this description is being infringed by Mears or Powerhouse Engineering, then the detriment affects all the surrounding residents, not just the proposed occupants of the new play facility, and the Council is obliged to take action.

With respect it would not appear reasonable to oppose a planning use because of possible non compliant operations by neighbours.

In any event, we have been advised by the managing agents that any unauthorised spraying that might have taken place will not be repeated and is against the terms of the lease.

Mears have reported that as per their working practises, their “fleet” is based off site and come into the business park mainly in the mornings and leave by 9am, with the odd vehicles returning during the day, whereas the play centre will only open at 10am.

Working Hours

The application does not seek to change the “working hours” – although if the facility is successful a later application might be considered. Parties for young children will take place within the specified hours and this is in keeping with the age range the centre is aimed at.

Congestion and Parking

The applicant expects to increase work opportunities for local residents and as such many of the staff would come to work on foot or by public transport. The six parking spaces directly in front of the unit are supplemented by some 30 spaces in the business centre (not including spaces at the front of the other six units). These are located within its boundaries of the park and are:
along the fence by the railway line, and
at the parking area at the Winchester Road entrance

At no time does the applicant envisage the need for customers to park in the adjacent streets. To clarify the soft play unit can support up to 200 children but this is a number we envisage attending over the entire day as opposed at any one time.

As already mentioned the vans used by Mears mostly enter and leave the business centre early in the morning before the opening hours of the proposed play facility.

Conclusion

The application is for a much-needed community resource and will also create local employment. This seems to me to be preferable to the alternative of a purely commercial business use that could be allowed at unit 2.

As a member of the local community the applicant aims to create a safe and healthy environment for its children and maintain a good relationship amongst its members.

Yours sincerely

ANDREW ROGERS