Feedback from Meet the architects events

 

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Silchester East and West

Report on feedback from ‘meet the architect’ events held on 30 November 2015 and 18 January 2016

 

Introduction

 

The Council has commissioned an options appraisal for the area shown in Appendix One, known as Silchester East and West. CBRE has been appointed to provide the client side team and has appointed Porphyrios Associates to carry out the architectural modelling aspect of the project.

 

As part of the development of proposals there have been two opportunities for local residents and other stakeholders to meet with Porphyrios Associates. This report summarises the feedback from those events. The first event was held on 30 November 2015 and the second on 18 January 2016.

 

The events

Leaflets were distributed to all tenants and leaseholders living in properties owned by the Royal Borough inviting them to meet the architects on Monday 30 November 2015 between 4pm and 7pm at the temporary marketing suite in the arch opposite Latimer Road Station. A number of residents queried why those residents who live in the non council owned properties that are potentially affected were not invited and in response it was decided to widen the invitations for the second event. The second event was held on 18 January 2016 in the Latymer Community Church on Bramley Road and invitations were sent to all of those residents potentially affected.

 

For both events, residents were informed that the architects would not have any proposals to show at either session. It was also explained in the publicity that the sessions were to provide residents with a chance to talk to the architects and share what they like about living in the area plus identify anything they would like to see changed.

 

Representatives from Porphyrios Associates were present at the events and supplied visuals of other similar schemes they have worked on in the past. Council officers from Housing Regeneration and Corporate Property were also in attendance. Residents were invited to complete a feedback form which is shown in Appendix Two.

 

Feedback

 

A total of 33 tenants and leaseholders attended the first event and of these, 12 completed feedback forms. One person from a local voluntary sector organisation also attended and completed a form, and one additional attendee completed the feedback form but did not state their connection with the area.

 

At total of 92 people attended the second event. Of these, ten were not residents but had other connections with the area and a further 17 were residents who do not live in the area directly affected. This leaves a total of 65 residents who live in properties potentially directly affected. 35 of the attendees completed a feedback form and of these 18 said they were either tenants, leaseholders or freeholders living in the area directly affected. Nine said they were residents of the surrounding area. One worked for a voluntary organisation, one said ‘other’ and the remaining six did not respond to this question.

 

The table below shows the geographical distribution of attendees amalgamated for both events.

 

 

Block/Road Number of attendees
   
Balliol Road 1
Barlby Gardens 1
Bassett Road 1
Bramley Road 3
Bramley House 10 – 2 people attended both drop ins
Bracewell Road 2
Charlotte Mews 1
Darfield Way 4
Dixon House 4
Elgin Crescent 1
Finstock Road 1
Frinstead House 4 – 1 person attended both drop ins
Grenfell Tower 1
Kelfield Gardens 1
Kingsbridge Road 1
Kingsnorth House 3 – 1 person attended both drop ins
Lancaster Road 1
Markland House 11
Mortimer Road 2
Oxford Gardens 1
Pangbourne Avenue 1
Shalfleet Drive 12
Silchester Road 5
Stanley Gardens 1
Wallingford Avenue 1
Waynflete Square 9 – 3 people attended both drop ins
Whitstable House 19 – 1 person attended both drop ins
Non residents 12

 

The form had three sections; the first asking attendees what they like about the estate, the second asking attendees what they would like to change about the estate and the last section inviting any further comments. For each of the questions on the feedback form, attendees were able to write about as many different issues as they wished. The comments made on the forms were a good reflection of the variety of issues and concerned raised by those who attended the two drop-ins.

 

The properties

 

Residents value, and would like to change, various aspects of the properties and there was a mixture of responses. Six people said the flats are spacious and a further five said that they had plenty of storage space. Five said that the properties are well designed. Three commented on the access to private outdoor space and two mentioned the view. Two said that the flats are well built.

 

With regard to things that they would like to see changed, seven said that they thought the tower blocks should either be refurbished or demolished and four people thought the flats need better soundproofing. There were a whole variety of issues raised regarding Bramley House including that the flats are too small, windows and pipework need attention, there is inadequate insulation and the block is dark and uninviting.

 

The estate

 

With regard to the estate the most popular response to what people like is the green space on the estate, with 14 people mentioning this, four others mentioning the Waynflete Square green space and five others mentioning the space for children. Five people said they think the estate is well maintained and a further three mentioned the low level of crime and antisocial behaviour. Of things people would like to see changed, seven said they would like safety to be improved and a further three said that antisocial behaviour and drug dealing should be dealt with more effectively. Six said that lift maintenance should be improved and three people said the roads should be better maintained. Four said they thought the buildings look dated, worn or simply unattractive.

 

Location

 

This has emerged as one of the key factors that people like about the estate, with 12 saying that it is a positive that it is local to everything. Four mentioned the sports facilities, three the local shop and two the local pub. Three people said they would like to see more local shops and places of entertainment and two said they would like a nursery.

 

Community

 

The most popular response to what people like about the estate was the community with 21 people mentioning this. 13 people also mentioned they like the diversity of the community, both in terms of background and ages and seven mentioned the fact that several generations of the same family have lived in the area for many years.

 

Five people said they would like to see more social or affordable housing developed in the area.

 

Those who attended were also asked if they had any other comments. A number of people commented that they think the area is a good place to live. One said:

‘The estate feels like a good place to live.’

Another said:

‘Whitstable House is a great building to house many people, in a big building tower. Saving space and great location near to tube and shops. It helps people with low income to be able to rent the social housing in a great area!’

 

A large number of people raised concerns about having to move. Some people said they did not want to move, others that if they had to move they wanted to move only once, there were concerns expressed about being moved out of the area and concerns about the community being broken up.

 

There were a number of concerns expressed about the motivation for redevelopment. One person said:

‘We should not embrace change just for the sake of it and knock down good properties.’

 

There were also concerns expressed about consultation. One said:

‘I value this opportunity for consultation, but am highly concerned that some previous consultations I have participated in have been box ticking exercises, in which the views of those consulted have not been listened to and I sincerely hope that this is not the case with regard to this consultation.’

 

Key conclusions

 

A number of residents feel that their homes are well designed and spacious, although some said that their homes have repair and design issues, particularly Bramley House and the four tower blocks.

 

The open space on the estate, and particularly Waynflete Square green space, is highly valued.

 

The location of the estate and the presence of local facilities is a key factor making it popular with residents.

 

The diverse and long settled community was the issue most often mentioned by residents as the thing they like about living in the area.

 

There were a number of concerns expressed through the open comments section, particularly concerns about having to move and the possible motivation for any redevelopment.

 

An extract from a copy of a letter sent by a resident to Porphyrios Associates sums up the views of many and reads as follows:

 

‘Regarding our estate, the three things we most like are:
1. Living in a mixed, friendly community. We have many friends on the estate who are tenants and leaseholders and we are concerned that we will lose our community as the Council is only saying that “whenever viable” they will consider offering an equity share option to resident leaseholders.
2. The large amount of green open space relative to the number of residents.
3. The fact that the open space is accessible to all. For over ten years we have had a community fun day in the centre of Waynflete Square and we love it that everyone can access the green space.

Even were there to be a commitment to keep the same amount of green space on the estate, there would still be a reduction in space per resident if the density increases.

Regarding the More West development, the residents of Frinstead House have suffered all the noise and disruption of living on a building site, their entrance door has been moved a number of times, they now have people living very close to them where before they had an open view and there have been various other site-specific issues. The only benefit that they can expect from all of this is access to the gated garden in the middle of the More West development.
As people who care passionately about our estate, we only want to see any regeneration if it means as good, or better homes for everyone on our estate, tenants, leaseholders and freeholders, low rise and high rise. If some blocks are to come down and not others we would expect the remaining blocks to have a significant amount of work done on them to bring them up to a similar standard as the new homes.

If the council is genuine in wishing to “provide better quality homes” and to continue with “mixed tenure” (Silchester East and West Newsletter number 1) we would like you to include within your viability study the costs involved in:

  1. Ensuring that any existing homes left on the estate after regeneration are brought up to a similar standard as the new homes.
    2. The offer of a shared equity option to resident leaseholders.
    3. Ensuring that part of the regeneration includes relevant and useful community facilities needed because of the increase in housing density e.g. nurseries/provision for children.

    In terms of the consultation, it is very important to find out whether people are from low rise or high rise homes as there may be significant variation in levels of satisfaction with current homes between these two groups of people.

In terms of your conduct as consultants/architects we would like you to:

  1. Treat us with respect and give due consideration to the emotional impact of losing our homes in the way that you communicate with us. So far this has not been the case with the council.
    2. Consult with us in a meaningful way, for example making sure that each time you consult with us you keep accurate records of the opinions that have been given and avoid generalisations.
    3. Use plain language and be truthful in your communications, for example making it clear whether reprovision of “floor space” includes cupboard and outside space.
    4. Be clear with us as to which aspects of design and provision are within your control and which are aspirational, for example the More West development showed the arches under the Underground line as becoming small businesses which has not happened, as this needed TFL’s involvement.
    5. Be open with us as to where you have reached in terms of making plans, and sharing with us timelines and dates for consultation or responses to ideas, where it within your control.

 

We are not confident that the Council has any real desire to consult with or involve residents in this process, but we are still hoping that we may be proved wrong.’
 

A full report of all comments made is shown in Appendix Three.

 

 

Appendix Two

 

Silchester East and West

 

To help the architects in their high level design work, we would like to find out what residents think about the estate at the moment.

 

Please use the spaces below to give us your thoughts.

 

What do you currently like about the estate?

 

What would you like to change about the estate?

Any other comments you would like to make

 

 

 

 

About you:

 

Please tick which applies:

 

r    I am a council tenant or leaseholder living on the Silchester Estate

 

r             I am a resident living in the surrounding area

 

r             I have a business in the local area

 

r             Other

 

 

Please hand your completed form to a member of staff or put it in the box provided.

 

You can also email any comments or questions to yourhomeyourfuture@rbkc.gov.uk

 

 

Appendix Three

 

 

What do you currently like about the estate?

 

Response No of people
   
The properties  
   
Bramley House is solidly built with thick walls so can’t hear neighbours 1
Tower block – good soundproofing 1
Flats have plenty of storage space 5
Flat is spacious 6
Amazing design of properties 4
Flats are well built 2
Outdoor space on roof terrace/balcony 3
Blocks are small so people know their neighbours 1
The view 2
   
The estate  
   
Green spaces 14
Waynflete Square green space 4
Community kitchen gardens 2
Spaces for children 5
Lots of ways to walk and exercise 1
It’s a nice size estate 1
Low level of crime and anti social behaviour 3
The estate is well maintained 5
All the properties are occupied 1
The tranquillity 1
The fact it isn’t smart 1
   
Location and facilities  
   
It’s local to everything/location 12
Local pub 2
Local shop with shopkeeper who knows everyone 3
Local sports facilities 4
   
Community  
   
Community 21
Several generations of the same family have lived in the area since first developed 7
Diversity of backgrounds and ages 13
   

 

 

What would you like to change about the estate?

 

Response No of people
   
The properties  
   
Flats need better soundproofing 4
Flats need refurbishing, floor, bathroom ventilation and plumbing all need attention 1
   
Roof leaking in Bramley House 1
Pipework in Bramley House is making a lot of noise 2
Bramley House is dark and dated 3
Flats in Bramley House are very small and stairs are cold and uninviting 3
Bramley House – windows that open and shut easily and are not draughty 2
Bramley House – improve insulation 3
Bramley House – install lift 1
Bramley House – paint exterior 1
Bramley House – improve communal areas 1
   
Demolish or improve the four tower blocks 7
Tower blocks are damp and windows do not close properly 1
Tower blocks are horrid 1
   
The estate  
   
The housing is very ugly 2
The look of the buildings, dated and worn 2
Frequently blocked drains 1
Improve pavements and roads 3
Improve access 1
Improve safety 7
Improve signage 1
Improve lighting 2
More facilities for children 1
Improve outside storage eg bike and pram sheds 1
Stop courtyard being used as a walkthrough 1
Deal with antisocial behaviour and drug dealing 3
Less disturbance from Harrow Club 1
Noise and pollution caused by A40 1
Improve lift maintenance/contracts 6
Have rules against spitting in lifts 1
Better maintenance 8
More parking 1
Parking should be underground 1
   
Location and facilities  
   
More shops 1
More pubs/bars/cafes 3
Nursery 2
Somewhere for older people to meet up 1
   
Other  
   
Low rise blocks ups to 7 storeys would be a good thing 1
More new social/affordable housing 5
More mixed tenure housing 1
Residents association meeting room back 1

 

Any other comments

 

Regarding our estate, the three things we most like are:
1. Living in a mixed, friendly community. We have many friends on the estate who are tenants and leaseholders and we are concerned that we will lose our community as the Council is only saying that “whenever viable” they will consider offering an equity share option to resident leaseholders.
2. The large amount of green open space relative to the number of residents
3. The fact that the open space is accessible to all. For over ten years we have had a community fun day in the centre of Waynflete Square and we love it that everyone can access the green space.

Even were there to be a commitment to keep the same amount of green space on the estate, there would still be a reduction in space per resident if the density increases.

Regarding the More West development, the residents of Frinstead House have suffered all the noise and disruption of living on a building site, their entrance door has been moved a number of times, they now have people living very close to them where before they had an open view and there have been various other site-specific issues. The only benefit that they can expect from all of this is access to the gated garden in the middle of the More West development.
As people who care passionately about our estate, we only want to see any regeneration if it means as good, or better homes for everyone on our estate, tenants, leaseholders and freeholders, low rise and high rise. If some blocks are to come down and not others we would expect the remaining blocks to have a significant amount of work done on them to bring them up to a similar standard as the new homes.

If the council is genuine in wishing to “provide better quality homes” and to continue with “mixed tenure” (Silchester East and West Newsletter number 1) we would like you to include within your viability study the costs involved in:
1. Ensuring that any existing homes left on the estate after regeneration are brought up to a similar standard as the new homes
2. The offer of a shared equity option to resident leaseholders
3. Ensuring that part of the regeneration includes relevant and useful community facilities needed because of the increase in housing density e.g. nurseries/provision for children

In terms of the consultation, it is very important to find out whether people are from low rise or high rise homes as there may be significant variation in levels of satisfaction with current homes between these two groups of people.

In terms of your conduct as consultants/architects we would like you to:
1. Treat us with respect and give due consideration to the emotional impact of losing our homes in the way that you communicate with us. So far this has not been the case with the council.
2. Consult with us in a meaningful way, for example making sure that each time you consult with us you keep accurate records of the opinions that have been given and avoid generalisations.
3. Use plain language and be truthful in your communications, for example making it clear whether reprovision of “floor space” includes cupboard and outside space
4. Be clear with us as to which aspects of design and provision are within your control and which are aspirational, for example the More West development showed the arches under the Underground line as becoming small businesses which has not happened, as this needed TFL’s involvement.
5. Be open with us as to where you have reached in terms of making plans, and sharing with us timelines and dates for consultation or responses to ideas, where it within your control.

We are not confident that the Council has any real desire to consult with or involve residents in this process, but we are still hoping that we may be proved wrong.

 
Positive comments about the area
 
The estate feels like a good place to live.
I love living on this estate I have lived in this area since I was born and I feel this is a fantastic place to live and the people in the estate are great.
The Silchester estate is an historic part of Notting Hill – and indeed of London. Much of it was destroyed in the 1960s as a result of slum clearance and the construction of the Westway. Roads and communities disappeared. Silchester Cross no longer exists. Nor do Latimer Road, Walmer Road, Silchester Road and Lancaster Road as they used to. I was frankly appalled on 18th January by the insensitivity of the “drawings” displayed by Porphyrios Associates, which seemed to be based on Highbury’s urban design. However, that is merely my aesthetic judgment. More importantly, I was dismayed to note that RBKC is so careless of our borough’s heritage it is ready at the drop of a speculator’s hat to destroy a landscape that is incredibly important to those of us who, like me, were born here and who have lived here all our lives.

 

Porphyrios Associates styles itself as an “urban design” practice but in reality has no interest in creating urban landscapes. By all means let them go and build stuff in the countryside (or in the past) but lay off our tower blocks!

 

Of course we all want more readily available/affordable housing but not at the cost of obliterating the heart of a community, whose extraordinary layout/history/creative energy is the main reason for the influx of oligarchs and tourists into Kensington and Chelsea. Don’t forget that. Notting Hill is fragile. We trust you to look after it.

Whitstable House is a great building to house many people, in a big building tower. Saving space and great location near to tube and shops. It helps people with low income to be able to rent the social housing in a great area!
 
Concerns about moving
 
Want to retain ground floor flat and want to retain green space
Would like reassurance that access for everyone, including disabled people would be built into all new development
I don’t wish to move (two people said this)
If I have to move I would only like to move once
If you go ahead and redevelop the area you ought to consider including the Charlotte Mews terraced houses in your plans, as any protracted redevelopment work around here would render these houses both unliveable and also unsellable.   My wife and I are in our sixties and we don’t want to get stuck here, for the next 10 years.
Residents must be kept and not shipped out of the area.
Local homes for local people – people with ties to the community.
No one wants to move – it is planned for regeneration so that greedy developers can make fortunes by erecting high rise ugly flats for sale only.
This seems crazy and disruptive. When you break up a community it is very difficult to put it back together.
I worry about displacing homeowners and families for long periods of time. Wonder if the plan should be carried out in sections.   So many years of displacement in the life of so many neighbourhood children – needs to be carefully and sensitively managed.
What will happen to all the school children whilst the building work is happening? Lots of people will leave because they won’t have a house. Also it will be noisy and disturbing.
Don’t want the community broken up with many residents forced to leave the area. Will have huge disruption and make it a less desirable place to live.
Adult children and grandchildren of Secure Tenants must be given homes. Elderly should have an extra bedroom to allow for carers.   Floor space and storage space must be replaced to the m2 in new homes.
 
Consultation
 
Involve residents more
Would like communications to have transparency
I value this opportunity for consultation, but am highly concerned that some pervious consultations I have participated in have been box ticking exercise, in which the views of those consulted have not been listened to and I sincerely hope that this is not the case with regard to this consultation.
 

 

 

 

Concerns about redevelopment
 
We should not embrace change just for the sake of it and knock down good properties

 

The only reason we can see to demolish Waynflete Square is so that greedy property developers can make millions by erecting ugly high rise flats for sale. Please do not demolish Waynflete Square it is a credit to this part of North Kensington.
Are you really keen to regenerate the area or are you simply looking to improve your statistics?
Any further changes will result in over development, overcrowding, loss of trees and therefore loss of wildlife, especially bird population, reduction in open spaces and insufficient parking spaces.
Too much development in the area. Massive disruption and the needless destruction of a smaller scale community with smaller scale streets and housing for a faceless alternative which is bland and impersonal will look like every other development across London. I also worry about the amount of affordable housing that will be lost and not replaced.
 
Concerns about disruption caused by building work
 
The Silchester Garages development has already taken its toll on the residents and the environment. On going, long term construction noise will render us all insane!
Regarding the More West development, the residents of Frinstead House have suffered all the noise and disruption of living on a building site, their entrance door has been moved a number of times, they now have people living very close to them where before they had an open view.
 
Other
 
I like the idea of the area being redeveloped.