Community concern over Westminster’s University Technical College plans

Churchill ward Councillors and the local community have expressed concerns about the plans for a University Technical College on Sutherland Street in Pimlico. Despite Councillors being promised full community engagement only two public exhibition sessions were organised by the Developers, Bougyues and Redrow on Thursday 27th November – 2pm-8pm and Saturday 29th November – 10am-2pm ahead of the UTC’s proposed opening in September 2016.

Local ward Councillor Jason Williams has written to Councillor Danny Chalkley, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, raising the local community’s concern over the lack of a full public consultation for the proposed UTC development. Councillor Williams said “we support the UTC as it will provide high quality vocational training but residents must be fully engaged in any consultation and they must have an adequate opportunity to make their views heard.”

Councillor Williams said “we also seek assurances that there would be no loss of parking in the area and that there is a full transport assessment undertaken before the scheme goes to the planning committee to ensure there isn’t an undue burden on the existing transport infrastructure. The community are also rightly concerned about the proposed height of the residential building and the impact on the surrounding buildings in the conservation area.”

The UTC was given the go-ahead by the Department of Education earlier this year and will offer courses for 175 12-16 year olds in its first year offering vocational and academic qualifications.

Letter to Councillor Danny Chalkley

Dear Councillor Chalkley,

I am writing to express concern over the time frame for the public consultation for the University Technical College (UTC) proposed for Sutherland Street.

We support the UTC as it will provide high quality vocational training locally but do have concerns over a number of issues including the public consultation, the effect on parking provision, the height of the proposed building and the lack of social housing provision.

When Councillor Talukder and I met with Benjamin Budd from Bouygues and Giles Martin from Redrow in November 2014 we discussed there being a public consultation at the Thamesbank Centre. We had hoped that this would afford all in the Community adequate time to view and comment on the plans. However the two sessions were organised on Thursday 27th November – 2pm-8pm and Saturday 29th November – 10am-2pm which are insufficient to enable everyone who wanted to see the plans to attend. We therefore do not believe that the consultation process has given residents adequate chance to make representations.

Residents are also concerned at the tight timescales in the expected grant of planning permission for redevelopment and the UTC’s proposed opening in September 2016.

During our meeting with the developers in November we raised residents’ concerns about the impact of the development on parking. We were told that the developers wouldn’t want to encourage parking on the street and would have car club spaces. We are now hearing from residents that on-sire parking provision will only be 30 space on site and this will place an additional burden on the on-street parking provision. We seek assurances that there would no loss of parking in the area and on Sutherland Street itself.

During the meeting we raised the issue of a transport assessment and the developers said they would be doing this and had a transport consultant on board. We would seek assurances that a thorough review of the impact the development will have on transport in the local area including on the C10 bus route.

We also seek assurances on the height of the building and its impact on the surrounding buildings in the conservation area.

We very much hope that the Council will look again at these issues and ensure that the views of the local community are fully heard in the consultation process.

Councillor Jason Williams
Churchill Ward

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