Churchill Labour Councillors Shamim Talukder and Andrea Mann have raised theirs and residents’ concerns and questions over Westminster City Council’s current design proposals for the regeneration of Ebury Bridge Estate.
We have asked the Council to respond to the following:
- Building height – We and many local people we have spoken to are concerned that, at up to 19 storeys, some of the new blocks on the estate will be too high for the area (cf. Pimlico Road/Belgravia), dramatically altering the current view from east to west and also providing potential light and noise issues (see below). We would like the Council to confirm that the “community support” principle – outlined in the Council’s City Plan 2040 – will apply to decisions about the height of any new buildings in Ebury. ie that the height of the taller blocks genuinely reflects the wishes of the local community.
- Light and noise – Residents living in Cheylesmore House have expressed concerns to us about potential blocking of light to their building, due to the proposed neighbouring building being much higher than the current Doneraile House. We ask the Council to please listen to and address these concerns. In addition, we know from speaking to residents in high blocks further down the same railway lines (Woods House & Wentworth House on Grosvenor Waterside) that those living in tall blocks overlooking these lines suffer from noise issues as a result of trains speeding up/slowing down as they leave/approach Victoria station. Again, we seek assurances that these concerns are fully heard and addressed.
- Tenure – We seek confirmation from the Council that all new blocks will be ‘tenure blind’ – ie that the specifications and placement of the social properties within the blocks will not be detrimental in comparison to other properties. For example, that the highest flats and those overlooking the railway line will not automatically be determined to be for council tenants only.
- Play areas and green spaces – We ask the Council to ensure that there is at least one non-bookable activity area on the new Ebury Bridge estate for children and other residents to play and be active on (just as there is currently a non-bookable Multi-Use Games Area for them to use). This request is in line with the Council’s own ActiveWestminster strategy and its new City Plan. We ask Westminster Council to confirm how it is clearly applying both strategies in its proposals for activity & green areas on Ebury Bridge.
- Design quality – We call for outstanding architectural design quality rather than any off-the-shelf design that may be on offer. Churchill Gardens and Lillington Gardens are examples of estates in the area that have won architectural plaudits – we want Westminster Council to look to these and other outstanding designs as models for the new Ebury Bridge Estate.
- Need for more social homes – While we of course welcome the additional social homes being created by this scheme, we would like the Council to do more to tackle the dearth of social homes that Westminster so desperately needs (with currently over 4,200 households on the housing waiting list). When it was originally built, Ebury Bridge was entirely social housing; by 2018, it was 59% social housing; after WCC’s redevelopment, it will be just 34%. We would like more social homes not just to preserve the character of the estate but to help tackle the borough-wide social housing crisis.
- Transport and other local infrastructure – We support the estate being car-free; but due to this and the other two current/proposed developments in the area (Chelsea Barracks and Cundy Street Quarter), we seek assurances from the Council that they are working with Transport for London, developers and other stakeholders to ensure that the transport and community infrastructure needs of residents (both current and future) will be met, including access to services such as GPs. Thousands of new residents will be moving into this area over the coming several years, as a result of these three developments. We ask the Council to confirm that it is addressing and preparing for the additional amenity and infrastructure needs this will create.