Minutes of the Meeting between CALA Homes (South) / TWBC / THNA on 13th August 2002

Where we have gone over the same subject twice or someone has interjected another subject part way through a discussion I have tried to edit what has been said into a more logical order. Otherwise I have minuted what was said very much in the order it was said.

for The Telephone House Development, Tunbridge Wells

Roy Bullock (Chairman), Cabinet Member (Planning and Transportation) - Tunbridge Wells
Leonhard Price, Councillor Culverden Ward - Tunbridge Wells
Adrian Ekins-Daukes, Councillor Culverden Ward - Tunbridge Wells
Nigel Eveleigh, Head of Planning and Building Control Services, TWBC
Ruth Chambers, Area Team Leader, TWBC
John Allan, Managing Director Cala Homes (South) Ltd
Arthur Mann, Planning Director, Cala Homes (South) Ltd
Malcolm Baker, Construction Director, Cala Homes (South) Ltd
Daniel Bech
Peter Connell
Annemarie Topliss
George Lawson

  1. The Chairman opened the meeting and welcomed all attending. Eveleigh reminded those present of the purpose of the meeting which was to examine the Scheme of Works submitted by Cala Homes in accordance with the directive embodied in the Appeal Inspector's letter setting out his decision. Eveleigh further reminded the meeting of the Inspector's comment that the total prohibition of construction traffic from York Road was unreasonable. He went on to say that whilst there was no statutory requirement to hold this informal meeting and no binding decisions could be made by it, he hoped that it would lead to a clearer understanding of the Cala Homes submission. He asked that the anticipated receiving a response from the THNA reach the Council by Monday 19th August.

  2. The Chairman the opened the meeting for general discussion. Connell asked how binding was the Scheme of Works document and could it be changed without further consultation? He went on to say that the document was ambiguous in several places and if it was to be subjected to strict interpretation the THNA would be seeking to have it amended. Eveleigh replied that the Scheme of Works was subject to amendment with the approval of the Planning Authority, as circumstances required. He thought that the THNA were right to raise any areas of ambiguity in their response to the Cala Homes submission. In reply to further questioning he stated that whilst he would not expect to consult other interested parties on all changes to the scheme but he would consult if he felt that the changes were sufficiently important. Price raised the question of exactly what was the Planning Authority. Eveleigh answered that in this context, as Head of Planning and Building Control, he had delegated authority to deal with such matters.

  3. Bech asked if, as stated, the Appeal Inspector's letter had been taken fully into account, can we now discuss certain errors of fact that formed part of that decision? The Chairman ruled that such a discussion was outside the remit of this meeting and that the matter was now one for discussion between THNA and Cala Homes.

  4. Item 3 - Demolition and site preparation

    1. Cala Home representative took meeting through Drawings relating to this phase. In answer to question he confirmed that York Road would be used for light deliveries only during this phase of the development.

    2. Connell asked how the site boundary would be secured? Cala Homes representative replied that this would be done with 6 ft translucent panels mounted on concrete or hard rubber feet.

    3. Price expressed some concern over the adequacy of the water supply on the site and the effect on the supply to local residents of the additional demand the site would create. Cala Homes Construction Director assured Price that they had gone into this matter and were satisfied that the water supply was adequate to meet the demand.

    4. Topliss asked at what stage the Trees on the York Road boundary of the site would be cut down. The Construction Director confirmed that this would be one of the first tasks prior to securing the site.

    5. Connell asked about the extent of the presence of asbestos on the site. The Planning Director for Cala Homes stated that Asbestos was confined to the basement area. He agreed that all broken windows would need to be sealed during the asbestos removal operation.

    6. Topliss asked what was removed from the site in Feb/Mach of this year? Cala Homes stated that this was before they had become owners of the site but they would make enquiries and endeavour to find out.

    7. Bech asked how Cala Homes proposed to control the dust generated by the demolition and the construction processes? The Managing Director of Cala Homes replied that whilst they would do their utmost to control the generation of dust it was impossible to completely eliminate dust when engaged in demolition and construction operations. To minimise this problem was one of the purposes of drawing up a Scheme of Works and they would like to be informed of any departure that scheme.

    8. Price raised the question of compensation in the event of residents suffering loss or damage as a result of the demolition/construction process. The Managing Director of Cala Homes stated that whilst they could not be specific on the matter of compensation for the consequences of future events they were a responsible company and would accept liability for their actions if they were at fault.

    9. Connell asked how the demolition contractors proposed to get debris from the upper floors to the ground floor for removal from site. The Construction Director said that they would use Bobcats to transfer debris to lift shafts. The outer shell would be crunched and pushed in to the centre of the building.

    10. In response to a question from Bech the Construction Director confirmed that work would commence on the North side of the building and all demolition material would be taken off site via Church Road.

    11. Topliss asked whether it was the contractor's intention to remove the basement slab.

    12. The answer to that question was yes. Following this question Connell asked how they proposed to avoid the transfer of mud on vehicle wheels once the slab had been removed. The Construction Director stated that this slab would be removed fairly late in the demolition process and that they did not anticipate any problems of this nature would arise.

    13. In the course of discussion some confusion became apparent over exactly what was meant by "perimeter hoarding". The Planning Director explained that this term referred to vertical boarding along the perimeter of the scaffolding designed to prevent debris falling outside the envelope of the building.

    14. Bech asked how many skip journeys would be needed to evacuate all demolition debris? Cala Homes did not know the answer to that question but were able to say that each skip had a capacity of some 40 cubic yards, weighed around 7 tons empty and 40 tons full. They were unable to quantify the number of lorry journeys.

    15. In general discussion the effect on the surrounding are of the Town centre of a large number of lorry movements was raised. Eveleigh stated that he did not believe that the effect of Lorry movements outside the immediate York Road area was relevant to this meeting.

    16. Topliss raised the matter of access to the site from York Road and sought confirmation that this would be confined to deliveries from light vehicles except for the initial arrival of plant before work commenced. This assurance was given but during the course of discussion it was pointed out that no mention of egress had been made. The question was asked - did the condition restricting entry to the site via York Road also apply to vehicles leaving the site? It was agreed that the omission of any mention of egress was an error and we would need to raise the need for an amendment to the scheme to cover this point in our response to page 6 of the scheme document.

    17. Following the point immediately above it was pointed out that whilst the last bullet point on page 6 of the scheme document referred to "no demolition removal will be made from vehicles parked in York Road" there was no reference to loading vehicles. It was agreed that this was another drafting ambiguity which would need correction.

  5. Construction

    1. Topliss raised the matter of the purchase of No 27 York Road by Cala Homes and asked who this property was to be integrated into the development? The Managing Director of Cala Homes assured the meeting that there was not intention to seek planning consent for the incorporation of this property into the development. It would be used initially for office accommodation (sales office) and would be subsequently refurbished and sold on as a separate dwelling house.

    2. Connell raised the matter of road closures. The Chairman stated that no submission had yet been made on the matter of road closures which in any event was a matter for the Highways Authority. When asked whether there would be any consultation with interested parties he replied that he was unable to speak on that point. Eveleigh pointed out that Highways had no obligation to consult on the subject of road closures and the Chairman suggested that the THNA should write to the Highways Authority on this matter as soon as possible.

    3. Connell raised the matter of possible damage to basement flats and cellars of houses at the West end of York Road as a result of its use by vehicles delivering heavy plant. The discussion was inconclusive on this point and it is clear that this another matter for inclusion in the THNA response to the scheme document.

    4. Some general discussion ensued concerning the need to close York Road for some three days whilst large pre-cast concrete units were delivered to the site. This process would involve a mobile crane being situated in York Road whilst the units were craned off vehicles and on to the site. No satisfactory reason was given for it being necessary to station the mobile crane in York Road and not on the site. The Chairman asked why the Luffing Crane could not be used for this task. Cala Homes Construction Director stated that the use of the Luffing Crane for this purpose would halt all other work on the site during the unloading process and was therefore not a practical proposition from their point of view. The Chairman felt that this was a major point which needed to be raised in the response to the Cal Homes scheme submission.

    5. Connell raised the matter of the Windows of site cabins overlooking Houses in York Road as would appear to be the intention given the wording of the scheme document. Eveleigh suggested that the deletion of the words "York Road" from the document would effectively deal with this problem.

    6. Connell raised the matter of the location of lockable containers (page 10). Where would these containers and other storage facilities be located? Cala Homes gave an assurance that all storage would be with the site boundary.

    7. Bech asked whether the mobile crane would be permanently on site? Cala Homes stated that this would only be used for the three days when the concrete slabs were to be delivered.

    8. Topliss asked whether radios would be allowed on site. Cala Homes answered that there was a total ban on radios on their sites.

    9. Connell referred to Page 11 first bullet point, line three, as asked what plant was involved. Cala Homes stated that this concerned only one item of plant for one occasion only.

    10. Topliss asked Cala Homes to confirm that the 18 metre 8 wheel trucks referred to on page 8 of the scheme document were only to be used via Church Road and not York Road.
      This assurance was given.

  6. Ground Floor Slab.

    1. Bech asked whether parking bays outside 30 to 42 York Road that were to be closed would be available for the use of residents overnight? The answer was no.

    2. Eveleigh asked what arrangements were being made to enable residents or members of the public experiencing difficulties as a result of building operations to contact a responsible contractor's representative. Cala Homes stated that they would be writing to all residents with a list of telephone numbers they could use for this purpose.

    3. Price asked what authority would be used for control purposes. Cala Homes replied that NHVC would be used.

    4. Price also asked what steps would be taken to monitor the site work. Eveleigh replied that the TWBC Compliance Officer would be undertaking these duties on behalf of the TWBC but it would be necessary to clarify the role and responsibility of each party concerned nearer to the time of construction.

  7. Phase 3

    Cala Homes stated that they would be sending a copy of the Landscaping Plan to the THNA.

    End of Minutes
    George Lawson

    Is CALA Homes really going ahead with THAT scheme?

    The Telephone House Neighbours Association informs on CALA Homes (South) Development:
    CALA Group acquired the controversial planning permission for the high density development of Telephone House site, Church Road / York Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN1, Kent.