04.12.02 - Statement of Case to Planning Inspectorate, Bristol
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council refused CALA Homes' Scheme of Works on 9 September 2002
Notification of the Appeal was issued by TWBC on 5 November 2002

Appeal by CALA Homes against the refusal of their Scheme of Works (1st) for Telephone House site, Royal Tunbridge Wells

37 Church Road
Royal Tunbridge Wells

e-mail: telephonehouse@aol.com
internet: http://uk.geocities.com/telephonehouse

Planning Inspectorate
Kite Wing, Temple Quay House
2 The Square, Temple Quay
Bristol BS1 6PN

4 December 2002

Dear Sirs

Statement of Case
in support of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
CALA Homes (South) Ltd versus TWBC

It is our opinion that the appeal by CALA Homes (South) versus Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, against the refusal of the scheme of works TW/02/01710 should be closely scrutinised, in particular and with regard to the following criteria:

  1. CALA Homes acquired the Telephone House site, Church Road, Tunbridge Wells, including a planning consent, granted by an Inspector following an appeal by the previous owners (Southgate Developments Ltd. / Crest Nicholson plc).
    - CALA has to comply with the Appeal Decision in full and cannot separate inconvenient parts. One would assume any deviation from the original planning consent or Appeal Decision would require a new planning submission by CALA Homes. The question must be asked,have CALA Homes not deviated beyond the Appeal Decision already and is a new planning submission not required?
    - CALA Homes recognized and confirmed, in correspondence, that heavy traffic during demolition and construction should and would go through Church Road.

  2. Para 29 of the Inspector’s Appeal Decision and Formal Decisions para 35 conditions 3, 11, 15 are material considerations. The wording of the Appeal Decision was not challenged.
    As a matter of fact condition 15 stems from a suggested condition by the previous developer filed at Western Area Planning Committee, 18.10.2000 and at the Public Inquiry, May 2001 (core document Statement of Common Ground).
    - This proposed document is almost identical to the inspector’s condition and is enclosed for reference.

  3. The refusal of the scheme of works by TWBC, is supported by our Association.
    - THNA representation to TWBC 18.08.02 is enclosed for reference.

    1. CALA Homes’ Land Director, Arthur Mann, admitted on his first meeting on 12 April 2002 with MP Archie Norman, Cllrs Bullock and Price and representatives of THNA, that it would be logical for traffic to go via Church Road. He added a crane would be on site to assist.
      - Notes of this Meeting, which had not been rebutted by CALA Homes, are enclosed for reference.

    2. In a letter of 22.04.02 (ref: DAM1/fh) addressed to Peter Morse, the chairman of the Association, Arthur Mann of CALA Homes writes:
      "I agree that heavy construction and demolition traffic using York Road would have an adverse impact upon the residential amenity of those residents living in York Road which may result in structural damage especially with respect to underground cellars extending under the road. As discussed we are in the process of finalising our demolition and construction methodology for the site and these points are very much at the forefront of our considerations. As a matter of course, we will undertake a survey of all-abutting adjacent buildings and structures, which may be affected by the demolition process. By doing this all parties involved appreciate the current state of affairs should anything occur whilst CALA are active on site. As we discussed further, the most preferable point of access for demolition and construction traffic would be from Church Road and we are in discusions with the various authorities to establish that this is indeed the way forward."
      - Document is enclosed for reference.

    3. One of the main worries of residents was the removal of asbestos, which formed part of the scheme of works in appeal. The asbestos was removed in October, despite the refusal of the very same scheme. To our knowledge CALA’s self imposed condition of sealing windows was not followed. Tunbridge Wells Borough Council had not been notified about the works, which were carried out without recourse to or supervision by the Health and Safety Executive. Suspicion about previous removal of asbestos from the building,could not be clarified to the satisfaction of residents.
      - This takes the whole exercise of filing a scheme of works to absurdum and must draw into question the reliability of CALA Homes to adhere to any scheme of works they present.

    4. At the moment this document is finalised, we receive notification of a third scheme of works submitted by CALA Homes, possibly coinciding with the refusal of the second one refused on 25th November 2002. Not having examined this emerging document in full due to the overlapping of the proposal of the new scheme and the submission of this statement of case, it seems that CALA Homes has now filed an application which looks more acceptable in principle. We look forward to comment on this new proposal.

    1. Taking condition 3 and 11 of the Appeal Decision into account, CALA Homes’ appeal against the refusal of the scheme of works seems unreasonable. At the time the scheme of works was refused, no decision had been taken with regard to landscaping, nor are we aware that a discharge of condition 3 had been given. Clearly, CALA Homes’ proposed landscaping forms part of the submitted scheme of works (Phase 3).
      - Therefore, how could the submission of details within the scheme of works be accurate if conditions 3 and 11 are not discharged?

    2. Consideration has to be given to what appellants proposed and agreed at the Public Inquiry with regard to condition 15 of the Inspector’s Appeal Decision.
      QC Richard Phillips pleaded in his closing speech for the appellants:
      "The total prohibition on use of York Road is not justified. Yes all demolition material can and should be removed by Church Road but there is no good reason why employees vehicles and some construction traffic [he referred to this as white vans] should not use York Road. The prohibition would be costly and increase the construction period by 6 months - hardly in the best interest of residents. - The suggested revision to C.17, is surely to be preferred. The Council still retain absolute control but a welcome measure of flexibility is introduced."
      - This document is enclosed for reference, see as well 2.)

    1. The core document C.17, which formed the base of condition 15 of the Inspector’s Appeal Decision has to be considered as the previous owners’ agreement to condition 15. It is obvious in QC Phillips statement that safeguarding amenities of residents was a consideration and he clearly said in his closing speech: "that the Council still retain absolute control over the scheme of works. "
      We are pleased that TWBC exercised this in refusing the scheme of works, which lacked clarity and which did not demonstrate sufficient protection for the residential amenities of occupiers of properties in York Road. CALA Homes scheme of works contradicts the original proposal C.17 of Crest Nicholson from whom they acquired the site. CALA Homes are not adhering to the Inspector’s Appeal Decision. They should be formally invited to re-submit a new planning application.

The Telephone House Neighbours Association maintains an updated Internet site:

Documents referred are in digital form on URL:
- Enclosure 1
- Enclosure 2
- Enclosure 3
- Enclosure 4

We would be pleased if you could forward us a copy of the Inspector’s report.

Peter Connell
Consulting Architect for
The Telephone House Neighbours Association

Is CALA Homes really going ahead with THAT scheme?

Whom are we dealing with? - The developers of Telephone House, Tunbridge Wells