McDonalds given a high-tech makeover to feature new self-service kiosks, digital menu boards and tablet computers.

Wandsworth Deputy Mayor Leslie McDonnell unveils Clapham Junction McDonald’s dramatic transformation at grand opening
Investment in Clapham by local franchisee is part of McDonald’s biggest investment in the UK to date, creating a fast, easy and more digital offering

McDonald’s in Clapham Junction has recently hosted a grand opening by the Deputy Mayor of Wandsworth. The newly refurbished restaurant has undergone an exciting, and major transformation following local franchisee Kalpesh Patel’s investment in improving the experience for local customers. This is the biggest investment McDonald’s has ever made in Clapham and will provide the foundations for current and future changes to the McDonald’s menu and service experience.

This significant investment demonstrates the ongoing commitment from all McDonald’s franchisees’ across the UK and signals the start of an extensive restaurant evolution programme. Many of the new features from the Clapham Junction restaurant will begin to appear in other McDonald’s restaurants across the UK.

Digital innovation is at the heart of the transformation. The big changes focus on providing customers with more choice as to how they order and pay, adapting how the food is prepared and served and offering new technological features to create an environment that is even more welcoming and enjoyable.

State of the art, self-order kiosks will give customers the option of a brand new experience when choosing and ordering their food at McDonald’s. They will be able to browse the entire menu and check out the nutritional information of each meal at the same time. Once customers have completed their order, they pay swiftly by card or contactless, and then go straight to a designated area of the counter to pick up their order. In the kitchens, new lay-outs and increased technology means McDonald’s iconic products will be made specially to order for customers, with every burger and wrap being freshly prepared.

To complete the digital transformation, free to use tablets will be installed at some tables for customers who want to check their newsfeed and emails or play the latest games. The restaurant redesigns will also include a striking new décor to create an enjoyable space for everyone to enjoy.

Local franchisee Kalpesh Patel started his career with McDonald’s at the age of 17 as a part time crew member. 18 years later, he now runs 15 restaurants across south and south west London, including the one in Clapham Junction. His restaurants contribute £13.1 million* to the local economy and he employs over 950 people. He said: “We’re thrilled about the transformation because we’re committed to offering our customers’ more choice and fast service.”

“Technology has a huge role to play in all walks of life, including our customers’ eating out experience, so the new tech we’ve introduced recognises the way people live their lives today. The response to the changes from my team has been very positive and they are enjoying the new ways of working. To ensure we continue to create an outstanding customer experience, I am also continuing to invest in my people through our industry-leading training programmes and career opportunities. ”


Paul Pomroy, CEO, McDonald’s UK, said: “We are confident that the investment we are making will bring new and exciting changes to McDonald’s in Clapham Junction and across the rest of the UK. We’ve listened to customer feedback and know we need to modernise further in order to move the McDonald’s experience on, and remain relevant to the lives of the 3 million customers that we serve daily. Our converted restaurants like the one in Clapham Junction will deliver a fast and easy experience, aided by digital and traditional ordering points ensuring we continue to be enjoyed by our customers.”

As McDonald’s constantly strives to bring more innovation to customers in the UK; the future could see even more exciting features introduced if current trials prove successful. These include the option to customise the classic burgers that customers know and love, ordering and paying by smartphone. A small number of restaurants will also pilot ‘table service’, with the option to have food delivered direct to where people are sitting. Customers in some restaurants will also be able to enjoy interactive table-tops games whilst they share a meal and even charge their smartphones using wireless charging devices.

Presentation of the Grand Hall rebuild project at the BAC

Author: Cyril Richert

Presentation of the Grand Hall rebuild project at the BAC

Fire destroyed Battersea Art Centre Grand Hall- Twitter pic

The Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) organised an event about the Grand Hall reconstruction project on the 18th January.

On 13 March 2015, during a major renovation programme (due to finish this Spring 2016), a fire broke out in the roof, and engulfed the building, causing severe structural damage, including the collapse of the tower. The Grand Hall and Lower Hall were destroyed. Firefighters were able to save a large part of the building including several of the smaller theatre spaces (source: Wikipedia).

Presentation of the Grand Hall rebuild project at the BAC

Battersea Art Centre Grand Hall – Credit: Wikimedia (Edwardx)

The loss of the Grand Hall had a great impact with losing the ability to hire the larger venues (a significant source of income). The BAC is not looking at changing the previous appearance of the Grand Hall, but wish to take the opportunity to make the space more efficient. An application will probably be submitted in February.

The first few months were spent to clean debris and make the building safe. By chance, the owner of Company Deconstruct UK, who happened to be also a neighbour, offered to work on the deconstruction site, at a cost to themselves.

Presentation of the Grand Hall rebuild project at the BACThe presentation was carried out by Imogen Long (Haworth Tompkins Architects), the project lead in charge of the rebuild.

Presentation of the Grand Hall rebuild project at the BACThe ceiling and volumes are not reusable, but amazingly one of the window survive and will be able to be used as model in order to rebuild the other windows.

Presentation of the Grand Hall rebuild project at the BAC

Only one of the windows survived.

She explained that, although they look to rebuild as close as possible to the original Grade II features, a major difference to the new plan is the roof space, where they hope to create a timber lattice, keeping the natural curvature of the roof, but allowing better access to the roof area. It will be also an opportunity to get new thermal and acoustic insulation. The new ceiling should be a “reinterpreted” version with three dimension features. Next year, a new roof should be in place.

Presentation of the Grand Hall rebuild project at the BACPresentation of the Grand Hall rebuild project at the BACPresentation of the Grand Hall rebuild project at the BACFortunately, the mechanism of the Robert Hope-Jones organ (believed to be the largest and most complete of its kind in the UK) was off site being restored, but the console, cases and pipes have been completely destroyed. As part of the rebuild Ms Long said the company was looking at placing the instrument at the opposite end of the hall, on the balcony, which was not really used previously. They also plan to create access of the balcony within the room.

Presentation of the Grand Hall rebuild project at the BACThe new layout of the Grand Hall should allow many different configurations with the stage being able to stand at the front, at the back or in the middle. While 7 to 8 days were needed previously to set up the venue for events, only 1-3 days should be needed with the new configuration.

I raised two concerns (overall the project is impressive and with a great quality of work):

  1. They do not intend to re-plaster the walls, and wish to keep their current state, touched by the fire, which allows “multiple interesting colours” in their opinion. In my view, this will be derelict and unfinished but at least it will leave the possibility to cover the walls later on if it is preferred.
  2. The open ceiling is a very interesting concept, but it remains to be seen how it will be maintained as dust and small debris could amalgamate on the 3D structures and later fall on the audience, which would not be very pleasant ;-).
Presentation of the Grand Hall rebuild project at the BAC

One 3D element of the new ceiling

All of that should be finished by 2018.

Filed under: Clapham Junction Presentation of the Grand Hall rebuild project at the BAC

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

Health Lottery provides funding for intergenerational project

Run by local parents, the Women of Wandsworth (WoW Mums) intergenerational project works tirelessly to provide older people with the opportunity to bond with their community.

Today, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, Jane Ellison, met with Martin Ellice, group joint managing director of The Health Lottery, at  Haven Lodge in south London.

Jane Ellison MP, centre, joined by, left to right Chris Lunn, Martin Ellice, Sue Cohen and John Hume © Mike Pinches

Jane Ellison MP, centre, joined by, left to right Chris Lunn, Martin Ellice, Sue Cohen and John Hume © Mike Pinches

They joined local school children from the project to speak about the Hindu festival of Diwali before joining in with elderly visitors at a craft workshop which included henna painting.

Members of the Women of Wandsworth group and residents of Haven Lodge celebrate Diwali, 11th November 2015. © Mike Pinches

Members of the Women of Wandsworth group and residents of Haven Lodge celebrate Diwali, 11th November 2015. © Mike Pinches

WoW Mums was set up by a concerned group of single mothers who were worried that the elderly would become stranded in their care home when their Residents’ Association shut.

It began as an idea but thanks to funding provided by People’s Health Trust, using money raised by HealthFreedom CIC through The Health Lottery, their ambitious plans for an inclusive community group have become a fully-fledged reality.

The Health Lottery’s vital cash injection will allow the project to continue to host a variety of community events, including weekly coffee mornings and IT workshops after funding cuts to the local council led to the cancellation of events regularly attended by the residents of nearby Haven Lodge care home.

Public Meeting York area: the videos

Author: Cyril Richert

Public Meeting York area: the videosOn the 1st of November, more than 90 people attended the Public Meeting organised in York Gardens library by CJAG, in order to talk about the developments planned for York Road, Lombard Road and Clapham Junction area. This was also a very good opportunity to talk about the general planning strategy, implementation of planning policies by the Council. 

We had 4 speakers: Tony Belton (Councillor for Latchmere Ward), Philip Whyte (chair of the Planning Group in the Wandsworth Society), Andrew Duncan (Plantation Wharf resident) and myself, Cyril Richert (chair of the Clapham Junction Action Group). Councillors of St Mary’s Park were invited several time but they either declined or ignored the emails.

For those who missed the meeting (or even liked it so much they want to have it again :-) ) it is now possible to catch up and watch most of it on video (get a cup of tea, it is nearly 2 hours long!). If you have friends interested but did not have the chance to attend, feel free to forward the link to our video page:

In order to be able to report to specific sections of the meeting we have cut the videos into several parts below.

Part 1: Speaker = Cyril Richert (CJAG)

Key points:

  • Area: The new focal point proposal (F) looks like an attempt to complement all available land between Clapham Junction Town Centre and Wandsworth town centre and set up a blanket policy to transform the full area into a high-dense and tall buildings zone.
  • In more than 60% of the sites, current vacant sites, warehouses or 1-2 storey industrial buildings have proposals to be replaced by 17, 20, 21, 28, 30, etc storey towers.
  • 60% of the sites are in breach of current planning rules. What do you do? For the Council the answer is obvious: you change the rules!
  • Impact: We could get more that 2500 units for the area, which might convert into more than 5000/6000 additional residents using local amenities and transport facilities.
  • Until the Council presents a global vision for the area, with an impact analysis, and get the consent of the residents for their clear project, any such plan of filling patchy areas should be strongly restrained.
  • A government inspector reviewing Wandsworth Local Plan said that the Council’s planning documents are “not effective and need to be reinforced“.
  • The Council considers that whoever is following the boroughs planning rules and criticises planning decision is a Nimby, and should be ignored.
  • Wandsworth is unable to meet its target of 33% affordable accommodation in every new development.
  • A member of the cabinet explained that if you want improvement in your area, you have to accept larger developments, as improvements will have to rely on Community Infrastructure Levy.

Public Meeting York area: the videos

Part 2: Speaker = Tony Belton (Councillor Latchmere ward)

Public Meeting York area: the videosThe image he is referring at the beginning is this one:

He is also referring to planning application 2014/7344 56-70 Putney High street which was unanimously rejected by Wandsworth Council planning committee last July but granted by the Mayor of London office (partly based on the fact that, for once, it was following the SSAD on the size of the building being 6 storeys).

>>> More on the the Putney’s proposal HERE.


Part 3: Speaker = Philip Whyte (Wandsworth Society)


Part 4: Speaker = Andrew Duncan (Plantation Wharf – Trade tower resident)

If you want to contact Andrew, please use this site and/or comment boxe.

Part 5: Audience Questions/Responses

Main response from Tony Belton explaining the job of planners:

“Planning officers consider a failure of their work if they’ve got any case they recommend for approval refused. They do not think of themselves as being empires at a cricket match. Their job as they see it is to take the planning policies as reference and steer the developers to an application that would be acceptable. So if any developer came with something that is unacceptable, they would say you fail on that policy number, you stand no chance on getting this passed. And it’s only after a replication of these things that the application comes through that is in their views acceptable. It does mean those policy documents do mean something.”


Part 6: Conclusion

From the reactions to the meeting it was cleared that people need to be reassured that their views are shared by many and that there are different groups and organisations helping communities in the borough.

More cooperation

Several times the audience brought up the need of cooperation between those different groups. This is indeed what we have been advocating for many year here at the Clapham Junction Action Group. Without doubt people consider that we are stronger together and they are right.

The Clapham Junction Action Group as worked with other groups in several important occasions.

  • In 2009, CJAG worked with the Battersea, Wandsworth and Putney Societies to submit a global comment on the “tall” building policy. (see article HERE)
  • In 2015, the Putney Society, Wandsworth Society, the Clapham Junction Action Group and Friends of Putney Common community group have all written to the Prime Minister to express their concerns at the way Wandsworth Council has dealt with a number of important planning applications, in the context of published planning policy documents and guidelines. (see article HERE). This is actually after this work that the Council accused the groups of being Nimbies!

In addition we are in regular contacts regarding planning policy review procedures and liaised before the government inspector hearing session in July 2015.

More can be done surely and we will put efforts in continuous liaison within the different groups willing to work with us.

If you want to participate, feel free to contact us (if you encounter difficulties with the comment box – it happens – please leave a comment and we’ll contact you).

You are also welcome at our committee meeting every 2 months as we need regular members to help in our responses to the Council consultations and agenda.

Again, big thanks to everybody attending.



Filed under: Clapham Junction, Videos, York Road area Public Meeting York area: the videos

You want to know what transformations are planned for the area? Come to our Public Meeting on 1st November 2015

Author: Cyril Richert

28 storeys in Lombard Road, 21 storeys and a podium to replace Homebase in York Road, buildings on York Gardens… but also the 36 storey tower Chinese development at the Ram Brewery, a 26 storeys in Garatt Lane and a large scheme near Wandsworth roundabout: all against planning regulation, all justified because “benefits outweigh harms”, large developments regularly recommended for approval despite planning policies, a government inspector saying that a big part of Wandsworth planning documents are ineffective…

If you want to know about that and much more, come to our public meeting this Sunday:

Sunday 1st November 2015

Venue: York Gardens Library 34 Lavender Road SW11 2UG

You want to know what transformations are planned for the area? Come to our Public Meeting on 1st November 2015

Discussion will be held about planning applications approved by the Council, the proposed developments, the planning policy documents (including their use by Wandsworth Council), the recent directions given by the local authority throughout the borough, and of course the community involvement and views of local residents.

A panel of speakers will talk about the recent outcomes in the area and the meeting will be open to comments made from the audience.

Speakers will include: Philip Whyte (Wandsworth Society), Cyril Richert (Clapham Junction Action group), Tony Belton (Councillor Latchmere Ward), Resident Members Committee of The Candlemakers Apartments.

Come along, find out, and let the Council know what YOU think!

>> You can download, send/print and distribute the leaflet >> HERE.

Filed under: Clapham Junction You want to know what transformations are planned for the area? Come to our Public Meeting on 1st November 2015

An Italian deli/restaurant to replace Big Fat Panda?

Author: Cyril Richert

An Italian deli/restaurant to replace Big Fat Panda?

281 Lavender Hill SW11 1LP – Big Fat Panda

A new application has been registered yesterday for Big Fat Panda in Lavender Hill. Planning Application 2015/5108 (and 2015/5107 for a new signage) is proposing to convert the current Chinese buffet restaurant into an Italian restaurant and delicatessen chain (Valentina Fine Foods) with new exterior access for use of the garden as a seating area for the restaurant, and shopfront alterations.

It is surely a change welcomed by the local residents, in comparison to the outcry created by the former proposal of transforming the site into a bar/nightclub, which was eventually refused last May. The proposal is making use of the outside area, but the proposed opening hours are 8am to 11pm Monday to Sunday, which should limit disturbance to the neighbourhood.

The existing layout should be preserved with internal space making place for a restaurant along with a shop area, as shown in the drawing below.

An Italian deli/restaurant to replace Big Fat Panda? An Italian deli/restaurant to replace Big Fat Panda?

This is again a proof that rejection of something considered inappropriate does not mean conservation of the existing (or what developers call often the “once in a lifetime opportunity”) and that a much better solution can take place to satisfy all parties.

You can read also the news on Cllr Cousins’ blog.

Filed under: Clapham Junction An Italian deli/restaurant to replace Big Fat Panda?

The Six Key Components of a successful business

Wandsworth Chamber Big Breakfast Business Networking on 30th September

Wandsworth Chamber Big Breakfast

Wandsworth Chamber Big Breakfast – photo credit: Charlie Round-Turner

Do you want to hear an inspiring speaker, Julia Langkraehr, and network with dozens of business owners and entrepreneurs? Come to Wandsworth Chamber’s next Big Breakfast on 30th September at the lovely Battersea Quarter Restaurant.

Julia Langkraehr

Julia Langkraehr

These regular events are highly popular with local enterprises. This Wednesday, the invited guest is serial entrepreneur Julia Langkraehr. She built three multi-million pound retail businesses in three European countries and is now a strategic coach. She moved to London in 1999 to develop new revenue streams in shopping centres. After being made redundant, she founded and built Retail Profile Europe, which specialises in developing new revenue streams for shopping centres and working with start-up retailers.

The business expanded to two European countries and merged with the largest competitor in the sector, Space and People PLC, allowing Julia to successfully exit. It now has offices in London, Glasgow, Hamburg, Moscow and Delhi and its turnover exceeds £30 million. In 2014 she founded Bold Clarity which provides facilitation, coaching and training to entrepreneurs, CEOs, their leadership teams and peer groups. It works with companies which turn over £2-50 million to help them grow their business.

Julia’s talk will deliver a powerful and inspirational presentation to introduce you to the “Six Key Components” of a successful business: vision, people, data, issues, process and traction. Her website is

Steve Pinto, CEO of Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce says, “This is an opportunity to hear an inspiring speaker, do a short pitch about your own business, and network with fellow businesspeople. The atmosphere at our events is always informative and pleasant, and you can make good contacts. If you are considering joining the Chamber please do come along and talk to me. I’m the guy rushing around madly getting everything in order!”

Wandsworth Chamber Big Breakfast

Battersea Quarter Restaurant

Plantation Wharf, Battersea, London SW11 3TN

30th September 2015 at 7.15 am

Tickets Members £15, non-Members £25. Book your place here:

The event is sponsored by Patron Members Arc Document Solutions.

The Big Breakfast will be followed by Wandsworth Chamber’s AGM at 9.30 am.

Steve Pinto says, “Wandsworth Chamber is one of the most dynamic business support organisations in South London. We put on over a hundred events every year, catering to every type of business, and have all kinds of assistance available to help new and existing companies increase their performance and build better businesses.”

Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber’s resident blogger and copywriter –



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

Author: Cyril Richert

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

98 York Road – 17 storeys proposal

An appeal (p.a. 2014/7103) has been lodged at the beginning of July by the developers against Wandsworth Planning Application Committee decision to refuse their plan to redevelop 98 York Road with a podium and buildings up to 17 storeys.

While the appellant are asking for an inquiry, the procedure will be determined by the Planning Inspectorate in accordance with Section 319A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

In addition, the developers have launched a new application (screening exercise stage only this time) for a similar scheme (in bold are exact similar terms in both applications – spot the difference):

EIA Screening Opinion application for: Demolition of existing buildings and erection of buildings up to 17-storeys (three-storey podium with 14-storey, 10-storey, 6-storey and 5 storey towers) to provide car showroom and garage/workshop (Sui Generis) on ground, second and third floors (circa 9,000sq.m. GEA) and 173 residential units above (13,400sq.m. GEA). A basement car park would provide 87 vehicle parking spaces and 184 cycle spaces. (Screening Opinion Application) 

As a reminder, previous application 2014/7103 was proposing:

Erection of a mixed-use development up to 17-storeys to provide car showroom and workshop on ground, first and second floors and 192 residential units (basement car park would provide residents with 87 vehicle and 200 cycle parking spaces + parking spaces for customers on ground floor).

Overall the main difference is a small decrease of residential units (from 192 to now 173) and increase of cycle space (from 184 to now 200).

We fail to understand the need for such a screening opinion while a very similar plan was refused by the Council and while the developers are already appealing on the rejection.

However we also note that the Council approved a scheme of several buildings up to 21 storey next door (198 York Road), which undoubtedly weaken the arguments used to justify the rejection, as they were saying :

“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”

It seems that the main reason why the Conservative member approved one scheme and rejected the other is that developers of 98 York Road were not cynical ingenious enough to offer the relocation of a similar asset as the Royal Academy of Dance (of course some would say also that as it was presented before the May general election, Tory councillors did not want to alienate the voters…), which would have been the key element to ignore all breach of policy, objections of neighbourhood and harm to the amenities.

Filed under: Clapham Junction Appeal and new application for 17 storey building at 98 York Road