Wandsworth is looking for a development partner for Winstanley/York estates

Author: Cyril Richert

Wandsworth is looking for a development partner for Winstanley/York estates

Preferred Option = Option 3A

According to an article published in the Estates GazetteWandsworth Council has appointed Bilfinger GVA to find a development partner for the 32-acre Winstanley and York Road estates. The scheme could potentially have a gross development value in excess of £1bn.

The Estate Gazette wrote:

Gerry Hughes, senior director at Bilfinger GVA, said: “It is rare to have a regeneration opportunity like this in such a high-profile and well-connected location with such latent potential.

“It presents an opportunity to show the way in delivering a world-class development, while fully protecting the interests of local people,” he added.

The preferred partner will be selected through an OJEU process beginning on 11 January.

David Cameron announced £140 millions to help transform the poor estates

A few days ago, David Cameron pledged to bulldoze ‘sink estates’ where he claims “poverty has become entrenched“. He specifically made a link with the 2011 riots and said in the Sunday Times that three out of four rioters in 2011 came from sink estates. “The riots of 2011 didn’t emerge from within terraced streets or low-rise apartment buildings. The rioters came overwhelmingly from these postwar estates. That’s not a coincidence” he wrote.

He announced a new £140 million fund that will pump-prime the planning process, temporary rehousing and early construction costs for 100 housing estates in Britain, aiming to transform them. The multi-million redevelopment programme is to be overseen by Lord Heseltine, who helped to transform the Liverpool and London docks in the 1980s.

The housing developments being targeted reportedly include the Winstanley estate in Wandsworth, south London.

Several studies following the data showed that actually that there is no evidence that many rioters acting in Clapham Junction in 2011 came from the Winstanley and York estates; rather the contrary. The Guardian published several articles about the “riot commute” and reported that “an analysis of one day’s court hearings found 70% of those accused of riot-related crimes had travelled from outside their area“. The newspaper quoted one 18 year-old interviewee from Lewisham who described how he and his friends drove around in a van to several riot sites, including Clapham Junction because they heard something was happening in the area.

Filed under: Winstanley&York Road estates Wandsworth is looking for a development partner for Winstanley/York estates

Update on Winstanley/York development: nothing new

Author: Cyril Richert

Update on Winstanley/York development: nothing new

Plan as shown in the “update” booklet: still cluster of 20+ storey towers near Flacon Bridge, despite Crossrail saying this area is reserved for station entrance.

On the last day of 2015, Wandsworth Council published a detailed booklet updating residents on the regeneration scheme for the Winstanley and York Road estates. You can also download a copy now from the council’s website.

There is nothing really new about the plan. Actually the so-called “update” does not even consider at first the issue caused by the safeguarded zone between Grant Road and Falcon Bridge, where Crossrail 2 intends to build one of their station entrances, and part of the Clapham junction station redevelopment. In February 2015 the Council wrote to Crossrail: “The Council is concerned that once the safeguarding is issued, TfL would not allow these proposed developments to proceed.” 

On March 24th, the government updated plans to protect the proposed route for Crossrail 2 from conflicting development and the full area between Falcon Road and the Grant Road station entrance is still protected, which is preventing developments.

>> READ: Winstanley redevelopment at odds with CrossRail 2 plans

Ignoring all the issue, the Council is still explaining on page 8 of the booklet that they intend to redevelop the Bramland zone (that they never consulted on) and images show a cluster of very tall towers:

“The Station Piazza The new public square will provide a more welcoming gateway for visitors to Clapham Junction with clear, tree-lined routes leading from the station entrance. There will also be spaces for the public to meet and gather around cafes, facilities and shops. New mixed-use developments will allow residential accommodation at upper levels and retail and commercial uses at lower levels, providing employment opportunities to many. Improvements to the landscaping and public realm will help to reduce pavement clutter and provide easier, clearly defined crossings for pedestrians and cyclists”

Update on Winstanley/York development: nothing new

Station Piazza as seen by the Council in December 2015, ignoring that Crossrail2 intend to locate their entrance at that place in 2030 and said so since March 2015!

It is only on the following page that they acknowledge of the “small” problem caused by Crossrail 2:

“The Council is working with TfL to clarify what space will be needed for the Crossrail 2 construction site and the impact this has on the timing of development.”

Update on Winstanley/York development: nothing new

Protected area for Crossrail up to 2030 … just where the Council is planning to locate a cluster of towers.

Another PR communication, disconnected from reality for Wandsworth Council?

>> READ: Crossrail 2 latest changes for Clapham Junction

Filed under: Winstanley&York Road estates Update on Winstanley/York development: nothing new

Local plan still unsound but minor modifications will make it sound says inspector

Author: Cyril Richert

Local plan still unsound but minor modifications will make it sound says inspector

Local Plan examination – Hearing session 8th July 2015

The government inspector in charge of reviewing Wandsworth planning policy submitted his report on December 23rd, 2015 concluded that it “has a number of deficiencies in relation to soundness […] which mean that [he] recommend[s] non-adoption of it as submitted“.

However he recommended main modifications to make the local plan sound and the Council announced on its website that it considered that the Local Plan has been found sound and they will now make those modifications and prepare the final versions of the Local Plan for adoption in March 2016.

In his interim report at the end of July, the Inspector already recommended main modifications, especially criticising the soundness of the Site Specific Allocation Document saying:

“The introduction of the SSAD sets out its purpose but there are no policies to confirm that development should be undertaken in accordance with the site allocations. Neither is there anything to the effect that planning permission will be granted for proposals that follow the relevant design principles and that have regard to the other criteria.
Without a policy to expressly state that site allocations will be approached in this way the documents as a whole are ineffective.”

In his final conclusion the inspector says (download report here):

“In the light of representations I have made some minor amendments to the detailed wording for the sake of accuracy and soundness. I have also added one further Main Modification discussed at the hearing.”

Affordability and viability

In his report, the inspector says:

“The evidence is that there is a gross need for 1,600 units per annum which translates into a net need of 634 new units when allowance is made for re-letting existing stock.

The overall target is set at just over 4,400 affordable homes by 2030. This equates to 293 units per annum and would represent a significant shortfall compared to identified needs. However, one of the key findings of the evidence base is that, due to viability, it is impossible for Wandsworth to fully meet its needs within its own boundaries.”

However the current National Policy explicitly says that developments should not be subject to policy burdens that threaten their ability to be developed viably. Therefore, until the Government decides to promote affordable housing, hands are tied and ignoring affordable targets will remains the norm in approved applications!

In an agreement with the Council’s policy, the inspector says:

“Local amenity groups believe that the rules should be “tightened up” but 25% affordable housing will be provided at the Battersea Gasholder site in excess of the relevant minimum. This suggests that the Council’s approach is bearing fruit. Furthermore, if more market homes are delivered than anticipated either by increased densities or by schemes progressing more quickly, the number of affordable homes will increase accordingly.”

Tall buildings

Although the inspector acknowledges the modifications proposed by the Council and considers them effective and sound (“the policy has enabled developments of this type to be considered and assessed“), it is interesting to note some criticism in his report, reflecting exactly our own comments:

“57. Landmark buildings are not specifically supported by the policy but tall buildings have nevertheless been permitted in areas where they are “likely to be inappropriate”. This is potentially confusing and if starting from scratch might not have been the terminology that I would have favoured.”

As the Council responded to the Inspector criticism that the SSAD was ineffective by mentioning the document in its Core Strategy, we criticised the wording of the new policy which says the proposals, which do not comply with the SSAD, will be granted permission if they indicate that an alternative type of development is more appropriate.

>> READ: Local Plan review: Comments on Council’s modifications

On the contrary the inspector considers that this permit enough flexibility:

“In the interests of flexibility the second paragraph refers to situations where material considerations clearly indicate that an alternative type of development is appropriate but this does not alter the primacy of the allocation.”

In an unusual way which seems to acknowledge the sensitivity of this policy, the inspector adds:

“Some representors might not like the outcome of specific cases but that is a separate matter.”

In conclusion, although we acknowledge disappointment on the overall outcome of the inspector’s report, we appreciate that our arguments, so often dismissed or even mocked by the Council, were properly assessed.

On the main point of Tall Buildings, the inspector agrees that the wording “likely to be inappropriate” is… not appropriate, and that the Site Specific Allocation Document as used by the Council until now is ineffective. No victory to claim bu some comfort here that we did not contribute in vain.

Filed under: Planning strategy Local plan still unsound but minor modifications will make it sound says inspector

Developers get early Xmas present from Council with approved towers previously refused

Author: Cyril Richert

Developers get early Xmas present from Council with approved towers previously refused

“The design of the facades has remained very similar to the previous application” says the report

A month before Xmas, Wandsworth Planning Application Committee approved a scheme in York Road, including a 17 storey tower, that they previously refused for the following reasons :

“proposed massing and design by reason of the density of the development would constitute an unneighbourly form of development that would result in an unacceptable level of harm to the amenities of the occupants of neighbouring properties through overlooking and loss of privacy”

Hmmm I forgot to add that the refusal was just before the general election last May, so no need to be so concerned about the residents anymore now for Wandsworth Council! In a recent comment, the leader of the Council Cllr Govindia mocked Battersea  residents objecting to planning application, saying “as a percentage of the Borough’s population of around 310,000″ their number is insignifiant (even less significant in comparison to the entire population of England who does not object to Wandsworth’s schemes surely, ha ha!).

Application 2015/5308 was a rehash of the scheme turned down by the Committee against the officers’ recommendation.

Demolition of existing buildings. Erect mixed-use development up to 17 storeys (3 storey podium with 14, 10, 6 and 5 storey buildings above) to provide car showroom and workshop on GF, FF and 2F and 173 residential units above (inc. affordable housing).

On Tuesday 10th November, following lengthy discussion on the merits of the proposal, 98 York Road was approved by 5 votes to 4 (all labour Members: Ambache, Critchard and Belton voted against), the Chairman Cllr McDermott having used her casting vote to force approval of the scheme.

Councillor O’Broin (Tory Councillor of St Mary’s Park ward, not a member of the Planning Application Committee) spoke on behalf of local residents, saying that the key concern was that this revised application was no different from an earlier application which the Committee refused on grounds of its massing/density and its unneighbourly impact and the draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for Lombard/York area allows the Committee to refuse planning permission.

While Cllr Belton and Labour members agreed with the ward Cllr, other Tory members of the PAC considered the application was different. It is not a copy paste indeed, with 4 meters step back on one side, and 10% less flats.However the overall design is 95% similar.

In addition, Tory Cllr Sweet said that they cannot rely on draft policy: he is new obviously as all evidence in previous approved application that they often use emerging policy as a reason for granting permission when it can help them (including in this report, section 2.23)!

Cllr Critchard raised concerns about the option for the Council and the applicant to negotiate and agree a commuted sum to be paid to the Council in lieu of on site affordable housing. She also asked that it be noted that reference in the paragraph 5.2 of the report that the scheme generates a “deficit” is misleading as it means to state that the scheme will generate “a slightly smaller profit” and the public needs to be clear this is the case.

>> READ: Appeal and new application for 17 storey building at 98 York Road

As we wrote previously, all the already approved towers growing in the area are used as justification, as the report sates (full list from page 5 and page 29 of the officer’s report):

“The York Road Estate also contains other tall buildings, including 17-storey Penge House and 23-storey Sporle Court. The emerging Winstanley and York Road Estates Masterplan sets out a clear vision for the regeneration of this area and shows how this edge to York Road will be transformed with new high density development over the next 10 -15 years.

To the west of the site, along the River Thames to the north, there is Falcon Wharf (17-storeys with permission for an additional storey) and 12-14 Lombard Road with planning permisison for a 28-storey tower. Directly to the west are Altura Tower (16-storeys) and Orbis Wharf (5 -12 storeys) and further to the south Battersea Reach (five buildings between 15 and 18-storeys). Also south of the site, Trade Tower at Plantation Wharf has planning permission to extend from 13 to 17-storeys and Homebase on York Road permission for buildings up to 21-storeys. 40metres to the north planning permission was granted in October 2014 for a 20-storey building at Heliport House, Lombard Road. Three hundred metres further north of the site is 24-storey Totteridge House located on Yelverton Road. Neighbouring this is 56 to 66 Gwynne Road, which has planning permission for a 14-storey building.”

Affordable housing

As usual the level of affordable tenures is way below the Council’s target of 33% in every new developments. It is all offered as intermediate (no social obviously)  with 43 one and 2 bedroom flats (the refused application offered 50 flats + £500k off-site contribution). In addition it is suggested by the Council (yes!) that the 13 of the 43 affordable units which are located in a block mixed with private tenure (it may give rise to a lack of interest from private owners, says the officer’s report), could be replaced by a lump sum payment instead (“most beneficial to the Council” indeed as the report writes).


In order to show you the reliability of the so called “independent financial assessment” we need to read the comment of BNP Paribas: they conclude that the proposed scheme is not currently viable and generates a potential viability deficit of approximately £3.2 millions with the intermediate units based on the Council’s intermediate housing affordability criteria (according to BNPP: “the benchmark land value is £26.9million. With 25% on site intermediate affordable housing provision, the residual land value of the development is £23.7million“). The economic assessment submitted by the applicant showed a “deficit” of £2.21m).

Therefore why do you want to build a scheme so much that you have made an appeal against the first refusal last May, and filled a second very similar application? Because there is no deficit (misleading at least, generally called a “lie” with common people). As Cllr Critchard pointed out, this is only a “a slightly smaller profit”!

>> READ: Why is Wandsworth Council unable to meet its own target on affordable housing

Community Infrastructure Levy Estimate

The development should pay nearly £5 millions to Wandsworth borough.

>> READ: Justification of unjustifiable is becoming alarming in Wandsworth Council


Filed under: York Road area Developers get early Xmas present from Council with approved towers previously refused

New consultation on planning documents: what’s the point?

Author: Cyril Richert

The Council is producing a new Local Plan document  covering employment premises and industrial land. This new document will replace the employment and industrial land policies in the existing Local Plan documents, the Core Strategy, Development Management Policies Document (DMPD) and the Site Specific Allocations Document (SSAD). At the same time the Council will be starting work on the full review of the Local Plan which will include review of all other policy matters (YES, already… the current local plan is still under examination, that the Council is already working on changing the not-yet-approved one!).

For many years in the past we have been saying that Wandsworth Planning policies were ineffective. The Council has always denied it and went up to calling us Nimbies because we dare highlight the facts. And yes, they are not our own fantasy, but those allegations were actually confirmed by a government inspector in charge of reviewing Wandsworth Local Plan: “the documents as a whole are ineffective” he wrote at the end of July. We were right. Is the Council going to apologise?

In the same way, we complained many times that so-called consultations were only box-ticking exercises for the Council. In December 2014 we wrote to the Council:

“As usual, we noticed (and regret) that most of the comments made by the residents, groups and societies have been rejected or ignored in your responses to the 2013 consultation on planning policy; it questions, once more, the purpose of the full process, other than ticking the right box at the right time.

We have little hope that any more consideration will be given regarding concerns of the local residents. And we believe that the same feeling is shared by all the other Societies in Wandsworth. In itself, not addressing that issue is showing the poor consideration given by Wandsworth council to the consultation process, which is only therefore fulfilling its statutory duties.”

Recent debates within the Council chamber have once again proven us correct. When the Council decided to run its own poll on its website and was eventually displeased by the result, they decided it was irrelevant regarding the entire population of the borough. Cllr Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, made this cynical remark:

“62% of the 1,366 respondents to the Council’s survey expressed this view – not 62% of residents. That equates to 847 people. As a percentage of the Borough’s population of around 310,000, that is 0.27%”.

Shall we say that Mr Govindia was elected as a Councillor last May 2014 by only 2134 voters, which mean “as a percentage of the Borough’s population of around 310,000, that is” 0.69%? Ooops, the leader of Wandsworth Council is only approved by 0.69% of the Borough’s population.

Following Mr Govindia reasoning, only 21 representations were received regarding the examination of the Council’s planning documents. Which is 0.0068% of the borough’s population. Let’s be honest. We will never reach 160000 representations of residents (including new born babies according to Mr Govindia’s calculation!). What’s the point of consultation?

Once again it is a very clear example of the level of consideration that the Conservative majority of Wandsworth Council is giving to consultation and democracy.

Therefore why should we spend time on this new consultation? Especially on industrial land, when the Council failed to protect and even encouraged its disappearance? Is Wandsworth Council going to listen in 2016? Chances might be as high as snow drops this Christmas.

Happy festive season.

Filed under: Planning strategy New consultation on planning documents: what’s the point?

Plans to replace Homebase, Swanden Way, by several residential buildings

Author: Cyril Richert

Plans to replace Homebase, Swanden Way, by several residential buildingsPlanning application 2015/6608 is proposing the demolition of existing Homebase building and erection of three buildings ranging from 9 to 17 storeys with basement to provide a mixed use scheme including 324 residential units, 580 sq.m. of retail units, 244 sq.m. of crèche/day nursery and 1636 sq.m. of studio/office space, with associated cycle parking spaces and 101 car parking spaces, playspace, landscaping and public realm improvements (including contribution towards a new northern entrance to Wandsworth Town Station).

Most objections already received say (to quote 2 examples)

at 17 stories the main tower is far too high and will overshadow and dominate the village atmosphere on Old York Road, which survives as an enclave because of its environmental atmosphere. Other local high developments are not visible from Old York Road in this way. The development should be restricted to 7-9 stories maximum.”


“The commuter rail service from Wandsworth Town is pathetically poor for the area and is not fit for purpose based on its current capacity. Goodness knows how the service (and more importantly, the people) will cope once the the Ram Brewery development opens! Approving this would be akin to sanctioning disaster zone every weekday morning at the train station. Lastly, simply to walk down Old York Road will tell you all you need to know about how this development will ruin the ‘village vibe’ of the area”

The plan was initially going to include a 25 storey tower but was reduced later on.

As usual (but who bothers anymore?) this plan is in contradiction to the Council’s planning documents (SSAD), saying:

3.6 Homebase, Swandon Way, SW18
Tall buildings: In accordance with Core Strategy Policy IS3d, tall buildings in this location are likely to be inappropriate. In accordance with DMPD Policy DMS4, the height at which a development in this location will be considered to be tall is 9 storeys.

You can comment on the proposal until 18th January. Alas we know already the consideration given by Wandsworth Council to any consultation… the leader of Wandsworth Council mocked recently more than 800 objectors, saying they represent only  0.27% of the total borough population!

Filed under: Wandsworth Town Plans to replace Homebase, Swanden Way, by several residential buildings

New proposed gyratory system for Wandsworth Town

Author: Cyril Richert

New proposed gyratory system for Wandsworth Town

A new map proposed by TfL to change the current gyratory system in central Wandsworth reveals that they are planning a nearly full removal of the current one-way system (as advocated for many years by the Wandsworth Society).

However, parts of Wandsworth High street will still be reserved for pedestrian, cyclists and buses only.

The main advantage is to allow a pedestrian friendly link between Southside and the new Ram Brewery/Ram Quarter area to promote and advantage the new site, which might be isolated otherwise. However some people criticise that it will have the main effect to drop local traffic into the main road or Armoury Way, which is ill conceived.

TFL is organising an online survey HERE.

Filed under: Wandsworth Town New proposed gyratory system for Wandsworth Town

Accident happened while developer carried out work without planning consent

Author: Cyril Richert

Accident happened while developer carried out work without planning consent

Lorry fell into ditch – Credit: Wandsworth Guardian



The Wandsworth Guardian reported on Friday 27 November that a cement mixer crashed into the Alchemist/Fishmonger worksite ditch in St John’s Hill Battersea, bursting a gas mains and forcing emergency services to evacuate the area. The driver is said to have walked out of the lorry.

The Alchemist pub, located at 225 St John’s Hill, was nearly totally demolished last month, without planning consent (story HERE and THERE).

In July, Planning chairman Cllr Sarah McDermott said:

“The enforcement notice is finalised and will be hand delivered this week. The notice requires the property to be re-built in facsimile.“

A search of the Planning Explorer shows no current planning applications and two enforcement notices, one of them closed, the other describe the alleged breach as Extensive demolishing work in Conservation area without consent:

2015 0313 ENF
Description of Alleged Breach
Extensive demolishing work in Conservation area without consent

The Wandsworth Society, watching closely the case, said:

“Whether or not the current works are in breach of enforcement notices it is our view that any works being carried out on the site do not have planning permission. We understand that the building owner claims to have implemented the approved application ref 2009/2994 by commencing work within three years of its approval on 11 January 2010. We would like to know what evidence there is that an effective start on the works was made within the time limit imposed by the condition attached to the approval. If the building owner is unable to provide such evidence then the 2010 planning permission will have lapsed.

We would like to know what action the Council is taking to deal with the unlawful demolition earlier this year (May / June) of the former Fishmongers’ Arms.

Is the Council satisfied that any work presently being carried out has planning permission?

Is there an enforcement notice requiring the building owner to rebuild the front elevation of the building in its original form?”

We are waiting for some response from Wandsworth Council.

Filed under: Clapham Junction Accident happened while developer carried out work without planning consent

Crossrail 2 latest changes for Clapham Junction

Author: Cyril Richert

Crossrail 2 latest changes for Clapham Junction

Crossrail 2 Safeguarded area update Oct. 2015

Beside the discussion of pros and cons to choose between Balham and Totting as Crossrail 2 stations further down the route, they have also published a new document showing more precise locations for Crossrail 2 work in Clapham Junction.

The main difference between the 2 maps (below the one published in March 2015, above the one published in October 2015) is a greater worksite on the south of the station, and a smaller worksite in Grant Road, especially no longer extending to Falcon Bridge.

Crossrail 2 latest changes for Clapham Junction

Blue Areas: These are areas where the Crossrail 2 proposals have a greater effect at ground level, such as for stations, temporary worksites or ventilation and emergency shafts.

Does that mean that Wandsworth Council will be able to stuck one or two skyscraper just there? Unlikely right now as there will still need for site access.

According to the document, new Crossrail 2 station at Clapham Junction would be underground and could include:

  • 2×250 metre long platforms. Station platform tunnels around 20 metres below ground level to the top of the tunnel
  • A new station entrance and ticket hall onto Grant Road
  • An enhanced station entrance onto St John’s Hill (Brighton Yard? St Johm’sHill Shopping Centre, that we have long advocated ?)
  • An improved public realm and coordination with local
    development aspirations at Bramlands (Grant Road)
  • The permanent realignment of Grant Road (???)

To construct Crossrail 2 we would require three worksites:

Site A – Would be used to construct a station box, station shaft and a bridge between Crossrail 2 and the existing station. The site includes the existing Network Rail sidings and yard which would be relocated in the northern part of the site.

Site B – Includes Grant Road, a bus terminus and the Church of Nazarene and would be used for construction of a new Crossrail 2 station entrance and station shaft. This site includes an area for the realignment of Grant Road. Works would be coordinated with the London Borough of
Wandsworth’s plans for development.

Site C – Includes an existing entrance and would be used to construct an amended station entrance at St John’s Hill which would be coordinated with Network Rail’s capacity enhancement works.

Responding to the consultation

Crossrail2 is currently consulting until until 8 January 2016 on the different elements of its plan. Further details about the proposals are available at www.crossrail2.co.uk, where you can access a range of factsheets and view an interactive map of the proposals.

To respond formally to this consultation, please visit www.crossrail2.co.uk to leave a comment or provide a response to the consultation questions contained in the feedback form.  Alternatively, you can respond by post to: FREEPOST CROSSRAIL 2 CONSULTATIONS.

Filed under: Crossrail 2 Crossrail 2 latest changes for Clapham Junction

Council voted for 2 more years of Formula E in Battersea Park

Author: Susan Lofthouse (26 Nov. 2016)

Formula E racingCouncillors on the community services scrutiny committee voted, at the end of November, in favour of its return for two more years.

Following Tuesday’s demo and Committee Meeting, I left some breathing space before writing, although thank you to the dozens of people who not only emailed me with their appreciation of all the work done by all of you, but who have already started writing letters and thinking about the next step.

The demo was fantastic – so many beautiful banners  and hats – thank you to Gertie and Debbie and to all of those many creative people out there. Like others, I was amused by the police presence – unnecessary, but it probably showed how nervous the councillors were. As you may know we had coverage on TV and local Radio. More tomorrow, I gather.

Council voted for 2 more years of Formula E in Battersea Park

Credit: Wandsworth Guardian

Council voted for 2 more years of Formula E in Battersea Park

Credit: Wandsworth Guardian

The result was not unexpected,   as most of us long term campaigners on various issues knew from experience it would be, but it is worth noting that there was a Tory abstention. If they had had the courage of their convictions, the result would have been 7:5. James Cousins spoke to another Tory [1] who said he was with us, but then “what can you do?”.  As James said, you vote against it. That would have made it 6 all.

We understand that there will be a “call-in” so the matter will be debated in full council meeting on 9th December. Seats available in the Public Gallery. It will also be posted in video form some days later. If the Labour Councillors and the Indies. stick to their guns, we should see a result of  37:22. Maybe more Tories will show some guts and be like James Cousins and the other two who voted against it last time.

Whatever happens, we are not going away

Our actions in the next few months will depend on the outcome of December 9th. We shall, of course, have another meeting; we may have to discuss tactics for the “set-up”. The council seems to believe there will be a rolling set-up, which could mean that 40% of the park would be unavailable to the public at any one time. We shall continue to challenge the sponsors.

Some time ago we suggested we should do a head count of people in the park – easily done, as you just count them in. Why the council should consider it impossible, I do not know. I spoke to Frances Radcliffe on Tuesday, and she is all for setting up people from FBP to do this. I shall be calling on volunteers. It would involve a person on each gate, with a clip board, and possibly having separate columns for adult, child, buggy, dog, bike. These figures will be used to show that FE keeps out more people than attend than FE.

The meeting, in many ways, was surreal. Most notable was Cllr. Ian Hart of Tooting – so lives near the leafy common – who first accused us of faking the petition signatures. It took quite a while before it was made clear that what he had been looking at was a Council website with various comments from the public. He failed to respond to John Fox’s challenge as to whether he was being accused of dishonesty, and nobody heard an apology. He later suggested that during the 3 ½ week disruption period, people could go elsewhere. Had he not noticed that at some point during the presentations a blind man and a woman who needs a stick to help her get around had been sitting across the table to him? Small wonder that Jamie shouted out “I’m blind”.

Then there was Cllr. Torrington, a resident of leafy Putney, who declared that parks were a luxury. Does she have a garden, I wonder?

Cllr. Cook made insulting remarks in the press, implying that people living on the edge of the park were nimbies, and that they would not have objected had they lived in leafy Hampstead. Still trying to get our heads round that one. However, unwittingly, there is a truth in what he said. If we believe that the Park is everyone’s back yard then, yes, we are all nimbies. Wear the badge with pride.

Just over six months ago I received an unexpected breakfast visitor, who had seen my name on the Council website when I had objected to FE in the Park. We now have nearly 2800 signatories on the petition, a large database of addresses, and a core group of some 70 activists. The beauty of it is that the majority of these have worked  on their own or in groups to write letters, create banners, challenge councilors in the Saturday Surgeries, research , advise and create reports on Health and Safety, Tree damage, wildlife licences, finance, send in Freedom of Information Requests, operate a Media and Press group, build and maintain our wonderful website,  deliver leaflets and cards –  to date around 11,000.  The list is endless. I never fail to be amazed at the expertise and energy out there. There is no way anyone could be singled out for special mention – you all deserve medals.

Comments from CJAG

[1] Cllr Cousins (a former Tory councillor, now Independent) made an (excellent) description of the evening on his blog. A few parts are particularly worth mentioning:

“Imagine having organised the largest campaign in recent (and no-so-recent) memory in Wandsworth and, at the end, you attend the relevant council committee: the opportunity for you to have your say. You’ve filled the public gallery, the overspill room is standing room only and, for the first time ever, the public are filling the council chamber to listen to a council meeting. And after the first resident deputation what is the Tory approach?

To accuse the organisers of lying and inflating their support. […]

Despite one hint it would be a free vote (the hinter being one of those who stayed silent throughout [Cllr Lescott]) the decision had been made behind closed doors long before it got to committee. The Conservatives followed the whip and voted as a block, recommending renewal by seven votes to four.”

On Wednesday 9th December, Wandsworth full Council voted in favour of Formula E returning to Battersea Park, for the next two summers in an agreement including payment to Wandsworth of £200,000/year.

In a response to a question asked by Councillor Osborn to the Leader of the Council, Cllr Govindia said:

“I note in his question that Councillor Osborn repeats disinformation from the local Labour website, that ‘after the event, 62% of local residents said they were opposed to future Formula E races in the park’. But let’s be quite clear about the maths: 62% of the 1,366 respondents to the Council’s survey expressed this view – not 62% of residents. That equates to 847 people. As a percentage of the Borough’s population of around 310,000, that is 0.27%, somewhat distant from Councillor Osborn’s claim of 62%.”

That is is very strange comment made by a Councillors. Shall we say that Mr Govindia was elected as a Councillor last May 2014 by only 2134 voters, which mean “as a percentage of the Borough’s population of around 310,000, that is” 0.69%? Wow, the leader of Wandsworth Council is only approved by 0.69% of the Borough’s population?

Once again it is a very clear example of the level of consideration that the Conservative majority of Wandsworth Council is giving to consultation and democracy.

Filed under: Miscellaneous Council voted for 2 more years of Formula E in Battersea Park