Planning permission to demolish garages in Richmond has received over 35 objections and a petition against the demolition has over 700 signatories.
The proposed demolition of garages behind Onslow Road to make room for a three storey house have faced criticism from the Richmond Hill community, who say it may result in shop closures due to lack of storage and space.
Concerns have also been raised about the loss of parking and the modern design of the house, which is in a conservation area.
One Richmond resident said: “The garages are a bit of an eye sore but it would be a shame if these businesses were forced to close, especially after covid.
“They are a part of the community and used by locals so it would be a great loss if it were approved.”
The planning permission was received in early September and has since received fierce objection from residents and local businesses.
A Richmond Hill business owner started an online petition against the proposed demolition of the garages, which has received over 730 signatures.
The owner of an Italian restaurant in Friars Stile Road, Martina Mohanty, said: “That garage is essential to my business as it provides essential refrigeration and storage, without which I would have to cease trading.”
Mohanty, who has owned the restaurant for eight years, leases one of the garages which may be demolished.
Speaking of the importance of the Richmond Hill community, Mohanty said: “The Friars Stile Road ‘village’ serves as an important resource promoting a sense of cohesion and community.
“The proposal constitutes a threat to the viability and vitality of the Friars Stile Road community.”
A spokesperson for Malins Group said that the seven garages are not fit for purpose, due to an asbestos roof, faulty doors and no longer being watertight.
They said: “We are surprised to hear there is opposition to the demolition of the garages.
“All other shops in Richmond Hill make their own provisions for all facilities that have nothing to do with The Malins Group or the garages.
“Our proposals would have no bearing whatsoever on the amenity, community impact or vibrancy of the area.
“The Malins Group have no responsibility for the retail businesses of Richmond Hill.
“Many local people have reached out to us independently to express their concern and discomfort with being pulled into this situation.
“We are a family business who pride ourselves on regenerating areas for the benefit of the community.”
Photo credit – Richmond Council