A development framework setting out the guidelines for around seven multi-storey properties in Bouverie Lane has been approved, with ‘scope for flexibility in design approaches’ and a requirement that a multi-storey design is considered ‘from the outset’.
Residents had appealed for an open planning meeting to be held so they could at least air their concerns and hear the details in an open and transparent way, but those requests were turned down.
Sue Edmonds, who lives in the Rue de Bouverie, said she felt resigned to some development happening there, but hoped that the new Development & Planning Authority would be decisive about the sort of properties.
‘It’s such a lovely area, but it probably won’t be if you’ve got properties styled like Les Residences to gain the best of the views. There’s every chance if they’re not going to be affordable homes that they will have balconies that will overlook our gardens, and to take away people’s privacy like that really isn’t very fair at all.’
Mrs Edmonds said if the development included affordable housing it would be a lot more palatable because it would benefit the community and not have such an overbearing design.
However, she knows that looks unlikely because developers are only required to include affordable units in developments of more than 20 homes.
‘No one will answer the question about whether they’re going to be affordable housing and it smacks to me that they’re probably not, I think they’re going to be another form of Les Residences.’
‘It’ll be luxury housing and it just won’t be in keeping with the area, they say that all these development plans for village areas are because it’s a village, but the very things they’re allowing to be developed detract from the village atmosphere because they’re modern, they’re ugly, they’re big, they don’t fit in with the whole village vibe.’
Feelings about developments are raw in the Cobo area, especially after the building of a large new house near the Cobo Alice site and Les Residences north of the supermarket.
Mrs Edmonds and others made a number of representations to the DPA calling for an open planning meeting into the Bouverie Lane development framework when it was first proposed in draft form.
She was surprised to hear that committee members were not always made aware of the pleas for open planning meetings, and thought the current system was a farce.
‘I followed everything on the gov.gg website, I read all about how to make planning objections, I did exactly what it said on the website, and not only did I email them but I printed it out and hand-delivered it to make sure that nobody could say that it hadn’t been received.’
As part of the approved framework planners state that development should be permitted because, among other reasons, it is within the Cobo Local Centre and has good bus routes.