Flats plan raises con­cerns

Coun­cil­lor be­lieves peo­ple liv­ing nearby will not support it

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Will Ack­er­mann will.ack­er­mann@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A FOR­MER post and sort­ing of­fice dat­ing back to the 1930s will be con­verted into stu­dent flats, if plan­ning per­mis­sion is granted.

The de­vel­oper, Mango Plan­ningandDevel­op­ment, had pre­vi­ously pro­posed turn­ing the build­ing in West Dray­ton town cen­tre into 10 shops, but those plans were with­drawn.

Now the firm wants to cre­ate 29 en-suite stu­dent rooms, each with its own kitch­enette, at the listed build­ing at the cor­ner of Sta­tion Road and Swan Road.

Coun­cil­lor Do­minic Gil­ham, (Cons) West Dray­ton ward, said those liv­ing nearby were un­likely to support the plans.

He said: “I do not ex­pect it to be wel­comed by lo­cal peo­ple. To change the ac­tual us­age from re­tail to res­i­den­tial – once it’s changed it doesn’t change back.”

He added: “This is a re­tail unit on the high street. Per­son­ally, I would like it to re­main in re­tail use.”

The build­ing is cur­rently oc­cu­pied by Neat Autos, but the car parts whole­saler is sched­uled to move out shortly.

The

de­vel­oper

said the prop­erty is un­likely to at­tract new ten­ants, and has now ap­plied to Hilling­don Coun­cil for per­mis­sion to con­vert the build­ing into 17 rooms for those study­ing at Brunel Univer­sity and else­where, as well as a com­mu­nal liv­ing room, kitchen and laun­dry.

A fur­ther 12 stu­dent rooms would be cre­ated on the first floor.

The de­vel­oper said that un­der its plans the build­ing’s ap­pear­ance would re­main in­tact, with the ex­te­rior chang­ing only min­i­mally.

In doc­u­ments lodged with Hilling­don Coun­cil, the company sais: “The ex­ist­ing ten­ants are due to re­lo­cate shortly to other premises and the build­ing in its cur­rent form is un­likely to at­tract new ten­ants/uses. More­over it is likely to de­te­ri­o­rate if left empty.

“The build­ing there­fore needs to evolve, par­tic­u­larly to re­flect the re­fo­cus­ing of the re­tail core away from this outer edge of the town cen­tre.”

The orig­i­nal plans, which in­volved con­vert­ing the prop­erty into 10 re­tail units and eight flats, were with­drawn ear­lier this year.

A plan­ning com­mit­tee is sched­uled to rule on the new plans on Tues­day, De­cem­ber 16.

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