Neighbours in Eastcote are celebrating because unplanned pillars built in to their community hall have been denied planning permission.
A retrospective planning application submitted to Hillingdon Council by building developer Taylor Wimpey to vary approved plans for a community centre on the Pembroke Park Estate was refused by councillors at a planning committee at Uxbridge Civic Centre last night (Wednesday, August 6).
Taylor Wimpey won the contract to build the estate in Eastcote, on the former RAF Eastcote site, under the condition they provide a fully functional community hall.
The community hall plans were approved in April 2008 as an open plan facility, which was considered acceptable by the council’s planning committee.
But according to neighbours who petitioned against the retrospective application, the developer added a number of pillars without consulting the public or Hillingdon Council.
The planning officer’s report informed councillors sitting on the Major Applications Planning Committee: “the introduction of nine columns sub-dividing the hall would render the space unfit for its intended purpose.
“The community hall ‘as built’ would fail to deliver a flexible, functional and practical use of the space which could be utilised for a variety of purposes including as a meeting hall.”
Suzy Killip, vice-chairman of the Pembroke Park Residents’ Association, said neighbours wanted a community space that could be used in many ways - as a much needed youth club to prevent anti-social behaviour on the estate and as a central meeting point for social and cultural activities - but the pillars were preventing this.
In a statement before the meeting, Taylor Wimpey said: “In order to construct the building as per the approved plan, it would have been necessary to use a concrete transfer slab which would have raised the building’s ridge height.
“To avoid this, a series of internal structural columns were used instead. Any suggestion that this was as a result of subsidence is completely false.
“There is no policy requirement, or legal agreement which requires the community hall to be open plan.
“Indeed, there has never been an identified end-user of the facility; however, Taylor Wimpey has engaged in discussions with planning officers to seek a pragmatic resolution to these issues.”