Fringe Box



Letter: When Will Demolition of the Debenham’s Building Commence?

Published on: 6 Mar, 2023
Updated on: 6 Mar, 2023

From: Bibhas Neogi

In response to: comment posted on St Mary’s Wharf Developer Bows to Pressure By Reducing Proposed Building Height Again

I thank The Dragon team for contacting Native Land and getting information on the state of progress on this scheme.

It is generally expected that when such a major scheme gets Planning Approval, the developer would be keen to start work straight away. So why is this delay in satisfying pre-commencement conditions?

Are there any difficulties that the developer is unable to resolve? For instance, are the site constraints proving problematic in finding a demolition contractor willing to take on the job? Are traffic management proposals unacceptable to the Highway Authority because of the congestion, delay and disruption that would be caused?

In the planning process it is stated: “Demolition was included in the amended definition of ‘building operations’ in section 55(1A)(a) the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (the 1990 Act)… Where the demolition of one or more buildings is required as part of a redevelopment for which planning permission is sought, the developer should include details of the demolition in his application for planning permission. These details should be considered by the local planning authority along with other aspects of the redevelopment.”

Hadn’t details of demolition been included in the Planning Application and agreed before approval was granted? Similarly, weren’t traffic management proposals sorted out and accepted by Surrey Highways before GBC could grant approval? If these were not included in the Planning Application, how was it right for GBC to approve it?

In my previous comments, I mentioned that these issues might make the job of demolition and safe working adjacent to a busy road difficult.

I hope the developer is able to resolve these issues and start work soon.

If the difficulties are insurmountable, would it be a case for back to the drawing board or even a major change in thinking and would they even go for a re-purposed building?

A re-purposed building would, of course, require much less but manageable demolition and perhaps modest upward extensions of a couple of stories for residential purposes.

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