Tfl included a statement from their conservation consultant that “not all buildings within the conservation area contribute positively to the Conservation Area”. However, Mr Collins does not state if he is referring to the buildings on Green Lane/Station Approach or to the 1960s or later blocks around the Northwood Town Centre. Please see article by a conservation specialist under Conservation.
The buildings on Station Approach do retain their original architectural character and detailing including the fine georgian style porch, excellent brick detailing around building entrance on Station Approach, corbelling, timber facias, stall risers etc. and many of their original detailing as noted in the photographs below.
Mr Collins does state that the topography (contours) of the area adds greatly to its character. That is not in dispute. The current buildings on Station Approach are stepped down the slope following the lay of the land to leave open views of trees and the general greenery of this area. The Tfl scheme will flatten the present contours with the buildings raised on a platform after the land is levelled (cut and fill). The tall buildings will obscure the present open view of the mature trees beyond to the horizon as you look down Station Approach so typical of this area.
This fine brick building with it’s excellent brick detailing and beautiful Georgian style porch
Why are the architects of Tfl ignoring the topography of the Northwood town centre?
Is it because:-
- Tfl do not wish to build with the terrain so they intend to flatten (cut and fill) and raise platforms on which to build the 4 storey buildings.
- Much excavation work is almost always required on sloping land to level it for building the platforms for the blocks. See plate 5 of the exhibition.
- Foundation work: Sloping sites often require extra foundation work to make a level surface for building. This is plainly apparent in plate 5 at the exhibition. This shows how the piazza will be accessed directly onto the present footbridge at the south of the site. This is the height of the platform on which will then stand the 4 storey blocks.
- Landscaping: Topography of area such as Station Approach pose landscaping problems if not flattened..
The higher cost of building on a sloping site is its main disadvantage, but there are many advantages to building on land with topography that can overcome the cost disadvantage. Why are Tfl ignoring the most obvious advantage, and main reason why sloping sites are sought after. It is the opportunity to build a home with a sweeping view. Why have the Tfl architects ignored the advantages of the present topography of Green Lane and Station Approach.
It all plainly points to the cost element and hang to how it looks placed in the centre of Northwood which is not suited to this type of development smashing its urban character.