Kennington residents oppose developers plan to add 52 flats to existing block

Residents are opposing a developer’s plan to build two new storeys of flats on top of their block.

The developer Hawkwise received planning permission to add another floor to Vanbrugh Court in Kennington.

Since then planning laws have been relaxed and the company now wants to add two storeys to the 1970’s building.

But residents are protesting the proposal, saying it’s just a money making scheme with no regard for the current owners.

Barrie Legge, 71, who has lived in the block for 23 years, said: “It’s purely a profit making scheme for the developer. There are absolutely no gains for the existing residents who bought in good faith.

“We know that with planning laws changing I think that’s partly the impetus for the freeholder to look into some way of making more profit out of it.

“In the true sense we’re a community and in the true sense it’s not an investment, it’s homes. People live here – it is about living here.”

The proposed plan will add 52 flats, many of which will be one bedroom residences.

The initial plans also included disabled access and social housing, but these have been scrapped in the updated proposal.

Residents are worried that they will then have a six storey building with no lifts or ramps.

Mr Legge said: “Obviously it puts more pressure on a staircase for a single bay – it’s 50 per cent more people on a staircase. 

“When you think about fire and when you think about the vulnerable people here who we’d have to help because some of them are very fragile – that’s not good, and emotionally we all worry about that.”

Building work may also take up to 18 months, and there has been talk of all residents on the top floor being decanted for the duration.

A spokesman for Hawkwise said: “Our current application is a Prior Approval Application under General Permitted Development Order, Part 20, Class A. Our proposal is in full compliance with the statutory requirements under this class, and in line with the government’s intention to increase the housing stock in London.

“It is worth noting that as part of our previous Full Planning Application for 16 new flats (approved at Planning Committee on 14/07/2020) we are indeed providing 4 affordable units, something the existing residents were opposed to on the grounds that it would “devalue their properties“. 

“They were also openly against the provision of a children’s playground (they thought it would be “too noisy“) and our proposed improvements in terms of accessibility through the provision of lifts serving all floors (considered to be “too expensive” by the existing residents). 

“We therefore find it surprising that the local residents are now objecting to our new scheme on grounds of accessibility and affordable housing, considering their opposition precisely to these provisions before.”

Pictured top: Residents outside Vanbrugh Court



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