A 5-storey building 17m from residents' windows

Residents will lose privacy and light together with increased traffic, parking problems and security risks

Sinclair Road garden:
hundreds of windows will block the sky light at the back

  Lynda Trapnell bought her flat at Sinclair Road 18 years ago because it had plenty of light. It was exactly what she was looking for: a basement flat with its own entrance -and therefore more privacy- and a cozy garden in the back creating a pleasant ambience to work since her office is at home. Now her garden is threatened by the shadow of a five-storey block of flats that St George is planning to build at the Olympia car park. What is most important, her flat's light and privacy will be gone too. That's one of reasons why Lynda and 96% of the residents surveyed by Sinclair Road Residents Association (SRRA) are against St George's plans.

The cons

Traffic congestion - Increased traffic congestion with the introduction of an additional of at least 250 cars (1 car per flat), adding to the already excessive traffic load, resulting in gridlock in the area and compounded by the Olympia lorries, which would now be pushed onto the surrounding streets.

Parking - Insufficient off-street car parking provision. Increase on existing high parking stress levels in surrounding streets. This will be further amplified by the demand of the existing Olympia car park users decanted onto the surrounding streets.

Road safety - Reduction in road safety through increased incidents of double parking and a narrow 400m+ long unsafe estate road cul-de-sac, without provision of a pedestrian walkway. Increased danger to pedestrians and cyclists in the area.

Public transport - Shuttle tube service from Olympia is infrequent and usually overcrowded. Increased traffic in the area would cause delays in local bus services.

Scale of development - Proposal excessively large, with high density, resulting in overcrowding and crammed streets. It would be an over development of a backland site, covering almost the entirety of the site with buildings and hard surfacing.

Design - No respect for architectural integrity of locality and harming the visual quality of the residents' environment. It would affect Sinclair Road and Blythe Road Conservation areas.

Nature conservation - The proposal would destroy 90% of the existing woodland and diverse flora and fauna, comprising mature trees, plants, flowers, birds and animals, including a number of protected species.

Residential amenity - The proposal would cause unacceptable overlooking and loss of existing high levels of privacy. The proposed building would be too tall and too big, resulting in increased sense of enclosure and oppressiveness, night-time light pollution, overshadowing of rear gardens and overlooking, as well as loss of outlook, openness, skyline, daylight and sunlight and private rights to light.

Local services - Nurseries, schools and GP practices are overloaded and the proposal would put a pressure on these and other local facilities and services, including supply of water, gas and refuse collection.

Noise - Building would create a noise tunnel effect on both sides resulting in increased noise disturbance. With regard to the Sinclair Road residents it would threaten their environment, as the car park is closed at night and despite the occasional transitory train noise, replacing it by the constant noise of the residents and their comings and goings at close proximity.

Air pollution - This densely populated area already suffers low standard air quality. The proposal would remove the existing woodland, a green lung in the area, while the car fumes would be experienced within a more enclosed area, resulting in increased incidence of asthma, especially in children.

Open space - Proposal would provide no gardens, no green space, no play area, no leisure / recreational facilities for new residents, their children and their pets in this area of open space and play areas deficiency.

Security - The proposed use and site layout would pose an increased security/crime risk to Sinclair Road residents.

Local community - Overall the proposal would harm and not benefit the local community, resulting in a reduced quality of life for local residents.

Read also: Woodland under threat
Habitat of a number of protected species menaced by St George development plans

Sign up for our free weekly newsletter

Comment on this story on the forum

The redevelopment of the site includes a total of 251 residential units, comprising studios, 1, 2 and 3-bed units and a row of 172 car-parking spaces, covered by a series of carports, sited against the rear boundary wall of the Sinclair Road properties. A 430m long access road cul-de-sac would run down the middle. The proposal would introduce hundreds of windows, and balconies or terraces, which would overlook the Sinclair Road properties' windows at close proximity.

It means that Lynda would be facing the new neighbours windows in a "monolithic nasty piece of architecture", as she calls the St George's building plans. No wonder why she quite concerned about her privacy at her own home. All flats from nos. 2 to 150 Sinclair Road, from basement to top floor flats would be severely affected. "At present we look out onto woodlands. If the development were to take place we would look out onto other flats and be overlooked by them, affecting light and privacy", says Monica Aroma, resident at the no. 128.

According to the report by Case Officer Niko Grigoropoulos to LBHF Planning Committee, "the separating distance between Sinclair Road flats and the new development would range between 17m and 20m. In addition they would overlook all the rear gardens at a distance of about 11m. A large proportion of the windows would be full height, exacerbating further the adverse effects on residents' privacy."

A building of such height and scale will also have adverse effects on light. "The proposed building would be too tall and too big, resulting in increased sense of enclosure and oppressiveness, night-time light pollution, overshadowing of rear gardens and overlooking, as well as loss of outlook, openness, skyline, daylight and sunlight and private rights to light", says the document to HF Planning Committee, which unanimously rejected the application to develop the Olympia Car Park. Kensington and Chelsea council also rejected the planning application and now a Public Enquiry will be held. The Olympia Battle, as the Public Enquiry is called by Sinclair Road residents, will start on the 3rd September.

In the document "Key reasons: Why planning permission should be refused" to be presented at the Public Enquiry, SRRA identified the main consequences to residents if the development goes ahead. It includes increased traffic congestion, road safety, reduced parking space, air pollution, noise, the loss of the woodland and its fauna and flora, overloading local services, problems with public transport and security risks.

"I can't see anything good about it", says Lynda.
"It will be incredibly claustrophobic and very dark and very depressing. Having a great big building blocking the sky would be just awful.
The whole idea is so ugly with no thought to the surroundings and certainly about the effects that it would cause to other people."

"I am absolutely opposed to St George's plans (and indeed to any development on that land). St George's proposal is for ugly high-density flats, which in height, volume, appearance and materials would be utterly out of keeping with the Sinclair Road/Blythe Road Conservation area", says Alan Jenkins, a literary editor who lives at 130 Sinclair Road. "I think we are fortunate in living in an area that retains - just - a sense of neighbourhood and community rather than a faceless urban thoroughfare and I believe the St George proposals would be extremely detrimental to that - from the chaos and nuisance we would have to endure during the actual building to the presence of what would be, precisely, a faceless urban thoroughfare driven right into the heart of the community. 'Top of the market' - St George's words for 'expensive' - or not, this development would be a very nasty barrack whose inhabitants will live on top of the railway line, with no green space and no amenities, and the impact of that on the existing residents' quality of life would be huge."

Traffic congestion, with an additional 250 cars (assuming 1 car per flat), would affect not only Sinclair Road but the whole area, including Maclise Road, Blythe Road and Hazlitt Road, and the development would result in the loss of in excess of 200 parking spaces. "The current St George plans do not address this issue and the resulting detrimental impact on several hundred exhibitor car, vans and lorries without parking would cause to the Brook Green area", says the document by SRRA.

Jenkins says: "It would pose traffic and parking problems of nightmare proportions - all the surrounding streets are already highly congested and this development would put at least 200 more cars into the equation, not to mention the lorries of Olympia's exhibitors who currently use the carpark. For residents in my house it would mean huge loss of amenity in terms of light, privacy, and air quality; increased noise from the two-lane approach road for the flats, both from their putative owners' cars and from service vehicles; added fuel pollution and a very real problem vis-a-vis security. At present only trespassers on the railway line have access to the gardens to the rear of Sinclair Road, not a frequent scenario. The development would expose the rear of the houses to anyone who felt like climbing over a low wall."

Lynda is also concerned about security: "We will be far more open to burglars than we have been in the past. Although I have an alarm, it makes me very anxious. They will be able to climb on top of this car park roof and get over our fences. I don't think it is being neurotic to suspect that at all."

Monica Aroma doesn't consider neither "that it is safe to build so closed to raillines on such a narrow strip of woodland: It will allow people to access basement flats and take away the safety they currently enjoy."

Hammersmith and Fulham Council received 345 letters against St. George's planning application. SRRA also submitted a petition with 427 signatures objecting the proposal. The Hammersmith and Fulham Historic Buildings Group, the Hammersmith Society, Brook Green Association, Holland West Residents Association, WWF and Palace Mansions Residents Association also have raised strong objections. But the Olympia Battle will re-start at the Public Enquiry.

For more up-to-date information on how to stop St George development: SRRA Web site