Although it is the COLPAI construction work to the north of Golden Lane Estate that we’ve given attention to in some recent posts, the ongoing work on Taylor Wimpey’s luxury investment flats The Denizen to the south is also making life difficult for those stuck at home during the current pandemic, as a post on the Golden Lane Residents Association website yesterday makes clear:
The noise from the Denizen and Colpai must make homeschooling and working from home very difficult. Is it not possible to open the Community Hall on a strict rota basis to alleviate these problems? It’s not as if there is anywhere else to go to escape the din.
Home Schooling and Noise by Christine Clifford, GLERA website 19 May 2020: http://www.goldenlaneestate.org/forum/topics/home-schooling-and-noise
Two days ago councillor Sue Pearson posted a statement she’d obtained from our local authority about government sanctioned extended working hours for construction sites to the GLERA website. The statement is probably more reassuring to Golden Lane Estate and Barbican residents suffering from the noise of work on The Denizen that operating hours there appear unlikely to be extended, than it is to Golden Lane Estate residents suffering intolerable stress from COLPAI construction during lockdown. Unlike The Denizen, whose entire site is within the City of London, the COLPAI project straddles the City/Islington border and so our local authority may try to pass the buck on decisions about working hours at the site to our neighbouring council, just as they attempted to do with the original COLPAI planning permission. Anyway, this is what Sue Pearson posted:
You may be aware that last week the government announced that it was allowing construction work to continue until 9.00pm weekdays and all day Saturdays. I have managed to secure the following statement form the City of London Corporation.
We understand residents’ concerns on the impact of the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Robert Jenrick’s, statement advising local planning authorities to review applications from contractors for an extension to site working hours. The City Corporation has robust procedures in place for considering any request and can see that, in the current circumstances, any extension of working hours for noisy activities at construction sites in residential areas would have an impact on residents in their homes. Under our current policies, applications for extended hours to enable social distancing on sites very near residences are unlikely to be approved.
At the City Corporation, construction arrangements are generally restricted by planning condition requiring construction to be carried out in accordance with an approved Scheme (to be based on the Code of Practice for Deconstruction and Construction Sites approved by Planning and Transportation Committee and Port Health Committee in March 2019).
The Code of Practice specifies working hours restrictions and allows for variations to hours where approved by Environmental Health Officers in the Pollution Control Team. This Code seeks to protect residents from undue disturbance.
The mechanism for developers to seek variations to specified hours under the Schemes approved pursuant to planning conditions is therefore by making a variation request to the Pollution Control Team in accordance with the Code of Practice and approved Scheme.
For the moment, it is proposed that the Pollution Control Team continue to process applications as they do currently. Further consideration will be given as to what weight to place on the ministerial statement and how that may modify approvals, noting that as the Schemes are approved pursuant to planning conditions, primacy will be given to adopted planning policy including DM 15.7 requiring site noise to be minimised to limit disturbance.
The Port Health & Environmental Services Committee and Planning and Transportation Committee will be consulted about any potential changes to normal practice.
Any variations to the above will only be in exceptional circumstances and if the City Corporation perceives there to be a significant impact to residents, then residents will also be consulted by the contractor.
We hope that goes some way to reassure residents that any application for extended working hours made by any construction site would be reviewed fairly and considerately with due regard for the impact on local residents, noise, dust and vibration, and in accordance with the directive in the Ministerial Statement.
Construction Hours by Sue Pearson, GLERA website, 18 May 2020: http://www.goldenlaneestate.org/forum/topics/construction-hours
UPDATE: Three days after we posted this Sue Pearson blogged on the GLERA site (23 May 2020) about COLPAI working hours – stating a request to extend them had been rejected. On 29 May councillor David Graves added a comment saying: “ISG applied to extend the working hours from 7.30am to 9pm Monday to Saturday but this was refused by the Islington and the City Planning Departments. So people were right to be worried, but the right answer has been given.” It isn’t clear to us whether the decision by the Islington and City planning departments was made jointly or were separate application rejections – although we’d guess they were separate and one was still outstanding when Sue Pearson posted, otherwise it would seem redundant for councillor Graves to have added his comment. That said, it is also possible councillor Graves is trying to gain some local popularity given he has an election contest due, even if by convention it is considered bad form on the undemocratic City of London council to stand against a previously elected alderman who seeks re-election. Regardless the rejection of extended working hours is some small comfort but respite is still needed from the ongoing noisy COLPAI works when people are stuck at home. See: http://www.goldenlaneestate.org/profiles/blogs/the-latest-on-colpai-working-hours
The header shows a computer generated image of Taylor Wimpey’s luxury ghost flats project The Denizen after completion.