Many thanks for your help on the phone on Friday afternoon. You have indicated that you are unwilling to give specific detailed answers on this particular planning application for commercial reasons, but as you are the RBKC Planning Officer responsible for Affinity Sutton's proposal it would be extremely useful to have your guidance to the following points. Please excuse me if these questions seem naive, but us mere residents don't have the same expertise, access and resources as your office and the developers.
2. The Core Strategy talks about housing units but the planning department seems happy for there to be a fall in social housing units as long as square footage is maintained. Is this correct and could you please give me the Core Strategy reference that justifies this decision.
3. Since there will be a substantial decrease in social housing in Chelsea under the Affinity Sutton proposal how does your office reconcile your advice in accepting and promoting this reduction with the RBKC Core Strategy Chapter 35.1.2 which calls for an increase in affordable housing?
4. In a meeting with Kings Road Association of Chelsea Residents on 10th September, Cllr. Coleridge stated that any plans which reduced the number of social housing units in the borough would be rejected. Since you say that developers need only provide the equivalent square footage and not units, is our elected Councillor's understanding of the Core Strategy mistaken?
5. Similarly Chapter 35.1.3 calling for diversity of housing and 35.3.1 calling for a net increase in housing of 600 units per annum; or does the planning department feel that the luxury flats fulfill that requirement.
6. Under the Affinity Sutton and your offices proposal, gardens which are at present open to all will be walled and closed off solely for the benefit of the private investors. Is this acceptable to the planning department.
7. In the Affinity Sutton proposal on which your office advised the number of parking bays for residents will be severely reduced from its present levels, and there will be underground parking spaces for all the private housing, will the private housing have the right to RBKC parking permits?
8. Since the potential profits from this development and the sale of property formerly for social housing are in excess of £1/4 billion, are there any provisions for that profit to be invested in social housing in the borough?
9. Affinity Sutton are on record saying that there will be profits above and beyond that which is necessary to redevelop the estate, and that these will be used elsewhere. Is this taken into consideration by the planning department when so many social housing places are to be lost to the borough, or is it considered of no consequence. This is particularly important in case Affinity Sutton are working with you to breach any of the Core Strategy requirements through the use of their Financial Viability Assessment.
10. If a Financial Viability Assessment has been used to justify any of Affinity Sutton's proposals, will you make that assessment public, as your office was required to do by the courts with Capco's Earls Court development?
11. The Affinity Sutton proposal is generally recognised as at best an architectural mediocrity, totally out of place in Chelsea. Does your office make no judgement on the architectural merits of a development, and in working with Affinity Sutton does your office advise on architectural suitability?
Greg Hands MP
Cllr. Nick Paget-Brown
Cllr. Tim Coleridge