Brentford Football Club (BFC): Lionel Road Liaison Group Meeting
Notes of the meeting held in the Sponsors Lounge, Griffin Park at 7pm 18 March 2013
Attendees: Denis Browne (DB, Brentford Community Council), Bela Cunha (BC), Donald Kerr (DK, Brentford Football Club), Martin Tewksbury (MT, Friends of Stile Hall), John Ormsby (JO, WLRG), Dorothy Boland (DB), Derek Collett (DC, Brentford Community Council), Martin Taylor (MT, Kew Society), Richard Merrit (RM, BIAS), Kath Richardson (KR, Brentford Chamber of Commerce), Philip Marchant (PM), Marie Rabouhans (MR, West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society), Tim Luckett (TL, Ealing and Brentford Charities).
Project team: Brian Burgess (BB), Chris Gammon (CG), Steve Lancashire, Chair (SL), Patrick Kinsella (PK), Christina Naulls (CN), Mitch Cooke (MC), Ben Sykes (BS).
1.0 Welcome and Apologies
1.1 Apologies were received from;
• Andrew Dakers
• Tony Arbour AM
• Cllr Steve Curran
• Cllr Matt Harmer
• Cllr Ruth Cadbury
• Cllr Mel Collins
• Mike Simpson
• Susie Betlem
• Robert Hare
• PC Andy Miller
2 .0 Notes of 21 January 2013 meeting
2.1 Notes of the last meeting were accepted.
3.0 Matters arising
3.1 There were no matters arising.
4.0 Terms of reference
4.1 There were no further revisions to the membership.
5.0 Project update
5.1 BB asked if anyone had not received a newsletter and informed the group when the next exhibition is going to be and where. BB also made the group aware of a number of presentations that have been made to various groups and the council since the last meeting.
5.2 The following points were made and discussed
– The team are working very hard to bring interested parties up to date on the scheme and are working on trying to fix the maximum parameters of the scheme.
– BB explained the team have a difficult job in ensuring the scheme is financially viable. Decisions are being developed on the number of units, maximum height etc. with calculations being made on how to take into account local residents’ concerns and make the scheme financially viable. The project team are targeting finalising the proposals for a submission to LB Hounslow in May.
– One of key pieces of information at the forthcoming exhibition will be the most sensitive views and the visual impact of the scheme. The winter views will be from photos taken in January – BB agreed to upload all the views on the website, which will be fixed shortly. He apologised for the problems that had occurred trying just to re-use the same site as before. It was clear this wasn’t possible and he had just authorised that the site be rebuilt as a priority.
– KR offered to load the views and other information on to the TW8 website.
– DB asked for the team to share with the group what has changed from the consultations held previously. He said “our part of the world will fundamentally change a as a result – could you inform of what has been done to reflect these concerns”?
– BB explained there had been a number of design changes because of the various consultations the Club has had with a variety of groups. This includes further work on transport (more analysis into match day impact, in particular at Gunnersbury station, pedestrian movements, parking) and the visual impact of the scheme. The extent of the views to be shown at the exhibition reflected how the Club had taken the points made about visual impact very seriously. BB cited the Clubs negotiations for two further sites to reduce the height and density of the enabling development as an example of the Club listening to the local residents.
– DB said “you have made a good effort at information but not consultation. I have seen nothing of formal consultation, how can we comment on the impact with a proper understanding. I think your timetable is wrong – in May you are getting to the point of consultation, then have formal consultation respond to the community and then send the application off in September”.
– BB responded to this point and said the Club have from the very beginning been very open as their plans were developing and as well providing information have listened and made changes therefore he believed they had been consulting throughout the past 5 months.
– JO disagreed, and while he praised the Club for providing good information on its evolving plans, this could not in any way be construed as consultation in the formal sense as required by legislation.
– DB asked for a copy of the Environmental Impact Assessment – he feels the Club not sharing this proves the Club are not consulting properly nor acting in a transparent manner.
– SL said the Environmental Impact Assessment report had not yet been prepared because the analysis work was being carried out.
– JO commented that although the EIA has not been prepared, the EIA Scoping Report had been issued on 14th January, and LBH and other bodies had had an opportunity to comment thereon. He felt that the Scoping document was important in that it effectively set out the terms of reference for the EIA itself, and that the Group should at least of been informed that it existed and have had an opportunity to comment.
– BB informed the meeting the Club is absolutely committed to being a good neighbour, which is why the Club has been so open with this Group of community representatives about the scheme and the progress. This has involved providing information when it is available and listening to the points made in response to that information. There is always a balance to be struck between sharing information early when it was preliminary and later when it was finalised. He felt the Club had tried to err on the side of sharing information early in order to give residents the opportunity to comment.
– DB felt that meetings were just information sharing and that the Club was moving too fast.
– The outline planning permission the club is seeking on the enabling sites will restrict what developers can do.
– BB said the Club is committed to the community and being a good neighbour, but the Stadium can only go ahead with the enabling developments.
– The Club, as well as the planning requirements, has looked into the public realm and environment impact of the scheme – which will be presented in greater detail for comment later in the meeting by MC.
– BB was asked whether there was a financial plan b? What are the financial alternatives if the scheme can’t work.
– BB said the team will talk to the board and they will decide if it is financially viable to submit an application.
6.0 Planning Application
6.1 SL then introduced CN who explained and answered questions on the planning application process.
– CN explained the scheme will be a hybrid application – it will be a single application but different parts of the scheme will apply for different levels of planning permission.
– Detailed application: all the details for the scheme are fixed.
– Outline: a more streamlined application, illustrative but not fixed, although some parameters are clearly set. There will be a maximum height – which will only be able to be scaled downwards.
– The point was raised whether the Club will include land it does not own in the application and BB informed the meeting that the application will include land the Club does not currently own.
– It was pointed out that both residents’ and social amenities are very hard to meet with high density and there was no private open space.
– BS indicated the Club will be looking for some flexibility on the amenity aspect
– The developers to whom the Club will sell the enabling sites will decide (based on the restrictions in the outlined permission) how and when to develop the sites. The sales were likely to be staggered over time because it is very unlikely that a developer would buy the land, with outline planning permission, and choose to sit on the scheme. Also, although they could put the outline to one side and start again, they are much more likely to develop based on the outline planning application because they prefer to generate income quickly.
– A design code for the outline (enabling) sites is currently being produced; once it is completed it can be circulated to those groups who wish to see it. This document is not a statutory requirement but one that the Club has committed to prepare, in direct response to a request from the Brentford Community Council, in order to assist in achieving a high-quality, coordinated design approach across the enabling sites.
– The Environment Impact Statement will have to assess the most likely (as well as the maximum) scenario. The amenity spaces standards required by the London Plan are also being worked on.
– The viewpoints the Club have taken and used for the exhibition have been shown to Planning and Design Officers at the Council.
– MC agreed to follow up the point made by MR about the view from Kensington Cemetery and the Polish memorial.
– CN explained four copies of the application will be given to the Council who should make two available to the public at local libraries and the Civic Centre. DB said this wouldn’t happen. CN agreed to clarify the arrangements with the Council.
– CN explained there will be contact with the Council to ascertain how long community groups will have to respond to the scheme once it has been submitted.
See below for an addendum outlining the arrangements the Council have confirmed they will be making.
7.1 MC explained the scheme in context of the environmental impact.
– A number of environmental positives have been incorporated into the scheme, with as few negative impacts as possible.
– A sustainable viability assessment is currently being pulled together.
– The stadium is being designed to “very good” BREEAM standards. Use of recyclable materials and rainwater harvesting is being planned for the development.
– A design code is being produced for the outline planning permission site to inform future detailed applications.
– In the Soci0-Economic Assessment local labour will be considered, especially in regards to promoting an apprenticeship scheme for the construction of the development. This is something that is being encouraged with the main contractors requirements.
– During construction the Club will endeavour to ensure minimal conflict with the current levels and flows of traffic in the area through a construction management plan
– An exercise is currently underway to determine what renewable energy policies will be most appropriate and viable for the scheme.
– There is an existing strong community benefit associated with the Club which the new development will enhance. This will not only be in regards to the space offered to the Community Trust but also the functionality of the Trust’s activities within the scheme will be greatly improved.
– In response to a query from JO, MC displayed the “Environmental Topics to be Assessed” section of the Contents page of the EIA. JO asked which heading would cover the environmental impact of football fans, both before and after the match, on residential streets and public open spaces, particularly those in river-side Conservation Areas. MC said that there was no specific section for that, but the impact of pedestrians would come under “Transport”.
– BB reported that the previous Head of Planning at Hounslow Council had advised that Griffin Park was too small to be used as a Secondary School and not appropriate for a Primary School. The outline permission for a residential development had been renewed in 2012. The important thing for the Club was that it received the full residential market land value.
– Thames Water have been a consultee in the scheme and have discussed sewage capacity of the scheme The Mogdon treatment site the sewage will be sent to has been improved.
– The Club is currently working with engineers about the sewage of the scheme, but this will be more developed once the scheme has been granted planning permission. The scheme will seek to avoid overloading the system and will ideally create holding tank(s) to prevent any overloading.
Questions were raised about extending the stadium capacity beyond 20,000 if the Club got into the Premiership, where things were in relation to ground sharing with a Rugby Club using the stadium as a concert venue and the number of midweek games. The following points were made.
– Capacity: CG explained that capacity depends on performance. The average attendance in the Championship is 17,000 but similar London Clubs average 12,000. BB indicated the only physical option would be to buy land north of the site and build over the railway. This would be very expensive, but physically possible.
– Rugby club: CG explained having a top rugby club would help financially but at the moment there isn’t any agreement with one in the pipeline.
– Other uses: SL reported that the position was the same as reported to a previous meeting. There will be a 10 – 14 day window in May between seasons in which the groundsman would release the pitch and it could be available for outdoor concerts.
– Midweek games: DK reported that about 6 midweek games are scheduled in a normal season but other midweek games occur because of extenuating circumstances such as cup replays or postponement of Saturday games because of poor weather conditions.
9 Date of the next meeting and exhibitions
9.1 Agreed as Monday 22 April 2013, 7 – 9pm
9.2 Group members were reminded of the dates and venues for the next exhibition, due to take place later in the week on 21st, 22nd and 23rd March. The Club will hold the Saturday morning session(23rd) at the Fountains Leisure Centre, the Thursday and Friday (21st and 22nd) exhibition will be held at Griffin Park.
NB: Addendum on Council’s consultation arrangements when application submitted
A hard copy of the Hybrid Planning Application will be placed in each of the Brentford and Chiswick libraries – no appointment is necessary.
• A hard copy will also be available to view at the Civic Centre albeit an appointment will be necessary (usually made through planning admin).
• All submission documents will be uploaded onto the Council’s online planning register.
• The Council will be extending the statutory 21 day minimum consultation period and will consider comments from local residents up until the point of the Planning Committee.