Issue - meetings

Provision of Housing at West Wickham Library and Station Road Car Park, West Wickham

Meeting: 05/11/2019 - Renewal, Recreation and Housing Policy Development and Scrutiny Committee (Item 45)


Additional documents:


Report DRR19/053


Members considered a summary of the initial feasibility work undertaken in relation to the current site of West Wickham Library and Station Road car park in West Wickham to provide approximately 34 residential units and 500sqm of commercial unit.


The report recommended that further feasibility work be undertaken in order to fully assess the viability of the scheme and a procurement exercise be run concurrently to appoint a multi-disciplinary design team.  The results of this further work would be reported to a meeting of the Executive in spring 2020.


Members also considered additional confidential information set out in the accompanying Part 2 (Exempt) report (DRR19/054).


The Head of Town Centre Renewal drew Members’ attention to the immense pressures on the borough in relation to housing supply and specifically in relation to affordable homes and housing for temporary accommodation.  As a result, the Executive agreed that Council-owned land would be reviewed in light of its potential for residential development which included Council owned car parks.


The report identified development potential at the site of Station Road car park, West Wickham.  This potential could be maximised if it was expanded to include the current site of West Wickham Library, two rear land parcels and a private road.  The report summarised the initial feasibility work undertaken to date that suggested the site was financially viable with the provision of up to 34 units but only if no car parking was retained.


Additional feasibility work was needed to build a full business case for the scheme.  The report sought a political mandate to continue to look at the site together with the allocation of resources to undertake the additional feasibility work set out in paragraph 3.24.


Members’ attention was specifically drawn to recommendations for the following work:-


·  That a more detailed assessment of the traffic and economic impact of the loss of car parking would be completed.


·  That options would be considered for the re-provision of the library on an interim basis.  It may be that the outcome of this work recommended a phased approach to the residential scheme for example, to avoid relocating the library twice.  It was not anticipated that the library would close except to facilitate the transition between venues.  The Head of Town Centre Renewal clarified that there were no plans to relocate the library to a porta cabin in the car park of the leisure centre.


·  That the massing examples provided with the report were indicative; in response to the informal feedback from planning colleagues, the massing would be reconfigured to address concerns about height and loss of privacy for residents whose properties were adjacent to the land parcels.


The outcome of this and the other items of additional work outlined in paragraph 3.24 would inform the final business case to be reported back to Members, at which point officers would recommend whether or not the site should go forward for development.  It was emphasised that it was not a forgone conclusion that the scheme would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45