The Member of the Society’s Planning Committee for Stanley Ward, Patrick Baty, wrote to RBKC as follows on 9th February 2017 :
158-168 Fulham Road, LONDON, SW10 9PR – Planning ref PP/17/00077
I am writing, on behalf of the Chelsea Society, to object most strongly to the proposals to redevelop Cavaye House. We do this for many reasons
1 Amenity. Our first objection is to the proposed loss of the open space in this area of the Fulham Road. We well remember how narrow the street was at this point and seem to think that, back in the 1970s, there was a plan to widen the road. Since then the extra space and light has become a definite local amenity and it forms a centre for this part of the Fulham Road. The open space provides a sense of identity to what would otherwise be a very narrow thoroughfare. We have enjoyed this benefit for over 40 years. The existing open space also allows the sun to reach the pavement at various times of the day. This would be lost if it were to be filled in.
2. Safety. The pavement on that side of the road is very narrow, being only about 2 metres wide. At the moment one often has to step into the road especially outside 170 and 172 and outside 156 to 152 Fulham Road, but these are only short stretches. At least with the present arrangement one can see a potential obstruction ahead and step back into Cavaye Place (at either end) or the open area itself. If the open area were to be lost there would be no escape. We believe that to build over the open space would be to the detriment of public safety
3. Health and Pollution. West London is already suffering from serious air pollution. The site in question is only 400 metres from the monitoring unit in the Kings Road where the average nitrogen oxide reading in 2016 was 76 micrograms per cubic metre (the EU annual limit is an average of 40 micrograms per cubic metre). It is 1200 metres from the Earls Court Road monitoring unit which recorded an average of 86 micrograms. Both of these measurements are double the annual limit. It will be interesting to see this year’s readings and to learn what the measurements were for the site on the corner of the Fulham Road and Limerston Street. To remove the open space would have the effect of trapping the nitrogen oxide and other pollutants emitted by the already heavy traffic. This would have a serious effect on the health of those working in the immediate area or passing through it. To knowingly contribute to a worsening of air quality would be both crass and irresponsible.
4. Survival of Local Traders. For most of the last 40 years there has been a large bookshop on the site of Cavaye House. It is a local asset and a site that brings people into the area throughout the day. This also benefits the local independent traders who rely on footfall. To replace a bookshop with yet another restaurant is surely counter-intuitive. All too many premises in the area have been converted into restaurants, clubs and bars, which are largely used in the evening. To lose this asset would change the nature of this stretch of the Fulham Road. It is essential that a healthy balance of business types is maintained otherwise the area will become nothing more than an adjunct to parts of the West End. This is a residential area and we need a mix of business types. The effects of introducing yet more A3 usage will lead to more noise, more smells and an increase in the traffic to service it.
5. Over-Development. Our understanding is that the building over Cavaye Place was allowed in order to compensate for the creation of a forecourt in front of Cavaye House. To now allow the building over of the forecourt is nothing more than over-development, greed and bordering on dishonest.
6. Design. We are not, at this stage, going to comment on the design, but any alteration to the site needs very careful thought and needs to contribute to the area. The current proposals do not.
For these reasons we consider that the proposals are completely inappropriate and actively oppose them.