Hampton’s village feel could be ruined after planning permission was granted to tear down part of the former police station and build 28 flats in its place.
The old station will be part demolished after councillors approved the project this week, despite concerns over traffic, noise and affordable housing.
Residents had complained that the conversion of the old station in Station Road, Hampton would create excess traffic, noise pollution and would ruin Hampton’s “village feel”.
Councillors raised concerns at a planning committee meeting on Wednesday, April 5, after officers ruled it was no longer viable to have two of the flats housing – a little over 7 per cent of the block – designated as affordable housing.
Council officers had also stated that the flats’ design was inappropriate, the flats would have a “negative” impact on nearby Hampton Village Green and there was insufficient parking provision.
But six councillors voted in favour of the project, pushing the application through against two councillors abstaining and one voting to reject the application.
The old Hampton police station in Station Road
Councillor Martin Seymour, who chaired the planning committee meeting, said all members were “disappointed” that current legislation prevents the council from blocking an application on the grounds of affordable housing.
An independent advisor supported the applicant, development company Barton Willmore’s claim that it was not economically viable to include affordable housing.
But if the station’s price increases between now and the point of sale, this would be made available for affordable housing in the future, Cllr Seymour explained.
He said: “It is very disappointing that in a development of this size, we couldn’t put in any affordable housing.”
Liberal Democrat Councillor Piers Allen agreed: “At the moment, if it is not economically viable we don’t have to provide it.
“We want that changed because the borough is in dire need of affordable housing.”
From February 2014: Historic police vehicle procession to mark Hampton police station closure
Residents were up in arms at the application when it was first published last year.
Jane Cook, who has lived in Station Road since 1973 said: “Eighteen months of construction with traffic coming up towards the level crossing, turning left, then turning right into that narrow path will cause chaos.”
And Bronwyn Janes, who also lives in Station Road, said there is not enough parking provision included for the number of additional houses and visitors.
She added: “This area of Hampton is difficult to park in and most shoppers resort to parking on double yellows, if they wish to stop already.
"With so many new homes and a lack of provided parking for visitors and residents, this problem will only get worse.”
Conservative Cllr Seymour this week sought to allay their concerns. He said: “There will be builders coming and going, so there will be some disruption in terms of building noise, but that should be reduced as much as possible.”
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