Weybridge residents viewed plans to develop St Catherine’s House in Beales Lane, at a community consultation on 15 November. We saw plans for 30 flats, comprising 1, 2 and 3 bed dwellings, with a total of 59 bedrooms, and parking spaces for 28 cars behind the block, accessed via an entrance mid-building.
The architects were seeking local reactions, willing to listen and seemingly willing to consider adjusting designs.
What stood out immediately was the size and style of the proposed building, which is uncompromisingly rectangular, vertical, and flat roofed — no gables, no eaves — unlike other buildings in the area. Its central section would be four storeys tall, stepping down to two storeys where it adjoins existing Beales Lane houses.
The bulk of the proposed building would be much closer to the road in Beales Lane than is the case with St Catherine’s House, although the section nearest Thames Street would be set back to accommodate the existing tree.
The consultation and exhibition were organised by Harper Planning, on behalf of PA Housing. The design team spoke with interested members of the local community, answered questions and discussed concerns.
PA Housing, owners of the site, intend to apply for planning consent to construct a mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments, following demolition of the current buildings. There would be a mix of private ownership, shared ownership and social housing.
Initial reactions from residents have included:
- surprise at the proposed density and appearance
- concern at excessive height and mass
- worry about impact on parking for local residents
We have heard strongly expressed views that the design does not fit with the local street scene and is oppressively massive. It would loom over Beales Lane. Most local buildings are brick built two storey dwellings with traditional pitched roofs, many with relatively low eaves. Beales Lane leads into historic and diminutive Church Walk.
Parking will be a very sensitive issue in an area with extremely limited on-street parking. More flats and private/shared ownership mean many additional residents are likely to have cars. Some residents in neighbouring Church Walk, Jessamy Road and Thames Street, where parking space is at a premium, have to resort to finding a parking space in Beales Lane when needed.
There are also concerns about the loss of the paved space at the front of St Catherine’s which is currently used by many vehicles for turning, as Beales lane is a cul-de-sac without a turning space at the end.
We hope local views will sway the architects (contactable via firstname.lastname@example.org) and that any planning application will reflect local reaction.