Another tower proposed near Lombard Road

Author: Cyril Richert

 

Another tower proposed near Lombard RoadAnother planning application came out last month (2014/5357) to build a 14 storey tower at 56 – 66 Gwynne Road SW11 3UW, just behind the development site that we were talking about two weeks ago.

Another tower proposed near Lombard Road

The description is: Comprehensive redevelopment involving the demolition of an existing two-storey commercial building, excavation to form new basement and replacement with a new 14 storey building to provide mixed use comprising of commercial/retail at ground & mezzanine levels and 33 residential flats above with cycle and refuse storage facilities at basement level.

There are currently already 7 objections, which should guarantee that the scheme will go before the Planning Application Committee (under the new rule, less than 3 objections won’t go before the PAC, in addition to the current “no-representation from the residents” rule).

In September 2008, in the same road, a nine storey building (with 130 flats) was proposed (2008/3406). Planning permission was refused for the following reason:

“The proposed development would result in an unneighbourly and substantial overdevelopment of the site, with its scale, form and massing resulting in a visually dominant and overbearing development which would relate poorly to and not physically integrate effectively into its immediate surroundings; the development would result in a poor outlook and environment for some of the flats, and would result in a loss of outlook and increased sense of enclosure for nearby residential occupiers, and would fail to provide adequate refuse storage facilities; contrary to policies H10, H11, TBE1 and TBE5 of the Unitary Development Plan.”

The location of the building, in the current environment (however likely to change if the Council grants permission for a 28 storey building in Lombard road, blocking the view to the river) will obscure light and views from the newly build adjacent dwellings (some of them with roof terraces). It will also be dominant to the public park opposite.

Another tower proposed near Lombard Road

Proposed site location (currently 2 storeys)

In addition, the current proposal for a 14 storey tower is contrary to Wandsworth planning documents. The Site Specific Allocation Document (part of Wandsworth Borough Local Plan, reflecting the borough statutory policies and guidelines for planning development) has got a section dedicated to a site nearby, at 12-14 Lombard Road, SW11 (p174). It says:

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.

However the Council told us that they now want to designate the area as a “focal point”, which means that they could accept taller buildings (and we were told that they even encourage developers to go for “iconic” towers).

In addition, as some objections stated: “The proposal has been submitted with the provision of some live/work units. None of these in our development were sold or operated as live/work units and all subsequently applied for a change of purpose to living/dwelling units. There is no reason to believe ANY units in the new development will be saleable as live/work units and the application as such is purely intended to satisfy planning via the ‘back door.’

We have already shared similar concerns about Wandsworth becoming a dormitory borough and the Council taking absolutely no action to contradict this trend. The lack of measure to oppose government legislation allowing change from offices to residential without any planning permission is an example, in addition to past granted permissions to allow major loss of office space, such as 77-83 Upper Richmond road development (P.A. 2011/0054), or the more recent report from the BBC showing that Wandsworth Council allowed a developer to drop all office space from development.

Additional concerns from local residents are – as usual with all new developments – reside within the increased congestion and the lack of adequate parking provision for the scheme.

You have until 21st November to comment on the application.


Filed under: Clapham Junction Another tower proposed near Lombard Road

PCS to be redeveloped into 65 residential flats?

Author: Cyril Richert

PCS to be redeveloped into 65 residential flats?

It’s with surprise that we discovered last Friday that a planning application (2014/5052) was submitted to convert the entire PCS office building (Public and Commercial Services Union) at Clapham Junction station into 65 residential flats (comprising of a mix of 18 x 1 bedroom, 39 x 2 bedroom and 8 x 3 bedroom flats ).

Er, in case you want to comment on the application, it’s way too late, as it shows that you had until … 2nd October 2014. Have local residents been notified about the request for a change of use (from business to residential)? Nope! Have the Northcote ward Councillor communicated about this planning application in their Newsletter? Nope! Have the Town Centre partnership (business meetings) been notified? Nope! And more important: have the employees of PCS been informed? Nope!

Actually the staff was only told on 24th October by Mark Serwotka, General Secretary, in an official communication saying:

“Staff may recall that back in 2008 we were approached by property developers for the acquisition of the PCS Clapham office as part of the development of Clapham Junction. [...]

As we reported in 2008, exploratory talks were held with developers. But then the global financial crash took hold and interest in the Clapham site quickly waned. Unsurprisingly, with the upturn in the economy. developer interest in our Clapham site has been rekindled. The potential development of Clapham Junction, taking account of station footfall, has obvious attractions for developers.

This is to inform staff that we are in discussion with our property advisors to establish the level of interest and what potential options exist for us to explore. [...] In line with this , we have been advised to lodge a planning application with Wandsworth Council in order to maximise the potential value of the building and have done so.”

According to PCS internal union (P.F.L.C.P.S.A) it might be linked to the failure of the merger with UNITE (refused by delegates) and the wish to find other funding.

Déjà vu

PCS is the Trade Union in occupation at Falcon House, since its construction more than 20 years ago. Many of PCS’s staff either live locally in Clapham Junction area or are reliant on the proximity of rail services at Clapham Junction station for their journey to work. The PCS is one of the few major employers still present in Clapham Junction, with a staff of approximatively 240 who, together , contribute significantly to the social and economic life of the centre. As the Head Quarter of a trade union with 300,000 members, Falcon House receives as many as 350 visitors per week according to a contribution sent to the Planning Application Committee in 2009.

In their objection to the proposal to erect two 42 storey towers at the station in 2009, they told the Council that the developer’s proposal was making “no reference on effects of the loss of 241 full time jobs in Clapham Junction“. Therefore we can only be surprised now that the same people who objected against the loss of jobs are fulfilling quitely the same purpose.

In a submission to the Council, the Clapham Junction Action Group wrote at that same time:

“The fundamental problem with the scheme is that it has been developed under a system of appraisal that has only looked at the values of office space as is currently available at Clapham Junction. With the availability of only sub-prime office stock, and inadequate levels of floor space availability, the current market for office is severely under-shopped and under-valued. If the development were to seek to establish prime office units at this location, then the evaluation of these units, based upon the accessibility of the location, would be quite different. It would then work to set a new benchmark to enable further inward investment and development of office and workspace uses in the area, including land at LIDL and Boots.

With such great accessibility to Central London, both airports, and the highly skilled and qualified workforce of South West London and Surrey, this location could easily attract a major international company as an occupier, lifting up the business profile of Wandsworth as a whole.

[...] More residential will do nothing to improve the area and provide little in the way of a much needed daytime economy for caterers, service providers, retailers and convenience stores in the area.

Without developing a stronger daytime population at this location the viability, of the whole retail scheme is at risk; considering the fact that the Westfield London is only 11 minutes away, and will only become more accessible as the London Overground service improves over time.”

It was valid in 2009, it’s even more valid in 2014!

The New Permitted Development rights​ give little possibilities for the Council

The lack of notification might have been induced by the little power left to the Council to decide a change of use, since the government introduced some new Permitted Development rights in May 2013. Key changes (in our case) include the permitted change of use from office (B1 use class) to residential (C3 use Class). This new permitted development right is temporary and will expire on 30th May 2016 (thus maybe the need to act now)0 to be granted permission). In other words, there is no requirement for planning permission and this is now given automatically through PD rights (except for listed buildings).

However, PD rights can be removed by the local planning authority, either by means of a condition on a planning permission (lack of transport access, flooding zone), or by means of an Article 4 direction. Thus, the GLA has applied for all of central London, i.e. the City, the West-End, the Tech -City in the east, to be exempted from the new PD rights, therefore it does not apply to Nine Elms in Wandsworth.

The Council could have chosen to restrict permitted changes of use from office to residential by making an Article 4 direction as several other Boroughs did (this could apply to a specific area, e.g. Putney Town Centre or the whole Borough). An Article 4 Direction is an order made by a local planning authority to restrict and remove certain PD rights. This can be used for conservation area, or to exclude the town centre zone from the new PD rights.

Although the Council acknowledged (Strategic Planning and Transportation Overview and Scrutiny Committee – 24th June 2013) that in June 2013 some outer London boroughs were looking at making such directions, they decided to abstain in fear of being subject to possible claims for compensation. In fact many borough applied for such exemptions: Islington challenged the Secretary of States and got an exemption for a large part of the borough, Croydon argued of its origin back in the 50s as an office location in its centre, Brighton confirmed an exemption affecting its centre, etc.

The officer in charge argued that as the rule is likely to change in the coming months, there will be a need for the Councils which got an Article 4 Direction, to ask for a new one.

In other words, as Wandsworth Council did nothing, they won’t need to re-apply for something. The loss of offices (with a potential of getting some money through new developments) seemed more appealing than the risk of being subject to compensation if protecting the areas.

The Council sees a surge of tower aapplications

In any case we can be certain that the plan as presented for the conversion will not apply anyway, as this is only an operation to maximise the value of the site and sell it to a future developer which will apply for a totally new scheme.

And as Wandsworth’s officers are currently considering favourably all towers between 25-30 storeys (even in location when their own planning documents say they are inappropriate) you can be certain that they would look favourably to one or more similar towers for the vacant area.

Today, PCS’ fate in Wandsworth resides within its staff and the decision made by the delegates of the Union. 

 


Filed under: Clapham Junction PCS to be redeveloped into 65 residential flats?

A new 28 storey tower proposed in the area

Author: Cyril Richert

A new 28 storey tower proposed in the area

Another very high tower is proposed within the close vicinity of Clapham Junction. Just beside the Grade II listed Cremorne/Battersea railway bridge (where a local architect presented a footbridge linking Battersea square and Imperial Wharf last year), Barratt London is proposing to build a 28-storey tower (12-14 Lombard Road, SW11).

According to their pre-consultation website, the plan consists of:

  • 158 new dwellings with a mix of:
    • 1 Bed: 54 apartments
    • 2 Bed: 80 apartments
    • 3 Bed: 24 apartments
  • 535 square metres of ground floor commercial space
  • Single level basement with 30 car parking spaces and bicycle storage
A new 28 storey tower proposed in the area

Location of the 28 storey development proposed (click to see bigger)

The developers describe the scheme as:

“a landmark building that creates a focal point for this important site on the river [and] a unique shape along the riverside with its rotating balconies; reflecting the significant location and aspirations of Wandsworth Council to provide superior architecture in the borough”

This scheme echoes the one proposed by the Council itself in Garratt lane (we were talking about it last week) as it is similarly at odd with Wandsworth Council planning documents.

The Site Specific Allocation Document (part of Wandsworth Borough Local Plan, reflecting the borough statutory policies and guidelines for planning development) has got a section dedicated to the site at 12-14 Lombard Road, SW11 (p174). It says:

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.

Therefore if more than 9 storey is considered to be inappropriate according to the Council’s planning documents, why are the developers proposing a 28 storey tower? Probably for the same reason a 26 storey tower is proposed for Garratt lane (by the Council itself): because nobody care about the rules, and the Council in charge of enacting them is even leading by example.

In order to submit comments, you can contact the developers by email at info@lombardroad.com or call 0845 460 6011.


Filed under: Clapham Junction A new 28 storey tower proposed in the area

Redevelopment of the Princes Head pub site, Falcon Road

Author: Cyril Richert

Redevelopment of the Princes Head pub site, Falcon Road

Prince’s Head pub, 44-46 Falcon Road SW11 2LR

A planning application has been submitted in July for the redevelopment of the Prince’s Head pub located at 44-46 Falcon Road SW11 2LR (p.a. 2014/3881). The proposal is:

Demolition of existing building and erection of a five storey, plus basement, building to provide 25 residential units (4 x one bedroom, 20 x two bedroom, 1 x three bedroom) and two commercial units (Class A1/A2, 470sqm of floorspace) together with cycle storage and refuse stores.

Redevelopment of the Princes Head pub site, Falcon Road

While everyone welcomes the closure of the pub and the redevelopment of the area, although objection received raised concerns about the lack of provision for site parking. One of the comment says:

“The previous planning application had a condition attached to it that residents of the new development would not be entitled to apply for resident parking permits. Does this condition still form part of this revised application? The developers may wish to revisit the possibility of providing underground parking at the development.”

Comments received on the Council website ask for confirmation that new residents would not be eligible to apply for resident parking permits in the nearby Kambala Estate.

Another comment questioned the need of more retail for the area, saying:

“why the ground floor is proposed as retail when so many empty units have been vacant for a considerable period within a five minute walk of the development”

The Battersea Society sent a very detailed objection raising concerns on:

  • Lack of off-street parking
  • Affordable Housing
  • Dominance of the architecture (the visualisation the proposed building is substantially taller than neighbouring buildings and will be overly dominant in the streetscape)
  • Viability of the Retail Frontage (risk of empty shop frontages at street level)

You can make online comment on the application on the Council Website HERE.


Filed under: Clapham Junction Redevelopment of the Princes Head pub site, Falcon Road

Display hoarding appeal dismissed at Clapham Junction

Author: Cyril Richert

Display hoarding appeal dismissed at Clapham JunctionFollowing the refusal by the Council to grant planning permission to erect a (temporary) large, externally illuminated advertising hoarding at Clapham Junction, outside of Wessex House (St John’s Hill), the appeal lodged by the owner has been also dismissed by the Planning Inspector on July 30th, 2014.

The Inspector said:

“Whilst this would have the potential for an adverse effect on  the appearance of the CJCA it would not be as great as the significant negative  impact of the proposed large illuminated advertisement in this prominent site  in a Conservation Area, close to Listed Buildings. The limited benefit of the work to the bulding does not outweigh the harm that would be caused. On  balance, therefore, I consider that the proposal would not preserve the character and appearance of the CJCA.

For the reasons given above I conclude that the display of the scaffold screen building wrap advertisement would be detrimental to the interests of amenity.”

Read the full decision here. Planning application 2014/0492.


Filed under: Clapham Junction Display hoarding appeal dismissed at Clapham Junction

Wandsworth Citizen Borough Assembly

Join Wandsworth Citizens on Tuesday 13th May from 7pm to 9pm at York Gardens Library.

The Borough Assembly will be joined by the Borough Police Commander, Jane Ellison MP, the leader of Wandsworth Council and other special guests.

Entrance is free but you will need a ticket.
Please RSVP wandsworth@citizensuk.org.uk for a ticket.
Bring your family to hear the leader of Wandsworth Council respond to the results of our Community Listening Campaign
-
Enjoy Cultural Performances from our young people
-
Creche available

Advertising board on Wessex house refused

Author: Cyril Richert

Advertising board on Wessex house refusedPlanning Application 2014/0492 to erect a (temporary) large, externally illuminated advertising hoarding at Clapham Junction, outside of Wessex House (St John’s Hill), has been refused on March 31st. Decision was made by the planning department under delegation.

The reason given for refusal is:

“The proposed advertisement by reason of its size, height, and prominent location would be inappropriate and visually intrusive and be detrimental to the visual amenity of the streetscene, to the character and appearance of the Clapham Junction Conservation Area , and setting of two nearby listed buildings.

It has not be demonstrated that the significant harm from the temporary installation of this advertisement would be offset by longer-term benefits to the streetscene and Conservation Area by restoration works to the application building. The proposal is therefore contrary to Council policies DMS1, DMS2 and DMS8 and paragraphs 67 and 131 to 134 of the National Policy Framework.

[... This is] clearly contrary to our statutory policies and negotiation could not overcome the reasons for refusal.”

An objection was received from the Northcote ward Councillors saying that it was inappropriate in the Clapham Junction conservation area and town centre:

Such a unit will seriously impact the visual amenity of the Clapham Junction town centre which is a designated conservation area with many notable features including the nearby Grade II listed buildings of the Falcon PH and the former Arding and Hobbs department store“.

The Battersea Society, Wandsworth Conservation Area Advisory Committee objected also on the same lines.

In addition 13 objections were received raising matters such as:

  • The area is being smartened up to make a nicer area with the recent streetscape improvements and a large billboard would do nothing for the area.
  • It would be out of keeping for the place.
  • It would harm the streetscene.
  • It would clash with the architecture of the neighbouring buildings.
  • It would compromise highway safety.

Filed under: Clapham Junction Advertising board on Wessex house refused

Advertising board on Wessex house refused

Author: Cyril Richert

Advertising board on Wessex house refusedPlanning Application 2014/0492 to erect a (temporary) large, externally illuminated advertising hoarding at Clapham Junction, outside of Wessex House (St John’s Hill), has been refused on March 31st. Decision was made by the planning department under delegation.

The reason given for refusal is:

“The proposed advertisement by reason of its size, height, and prominent location would be inappropriate and visually intrusive and be detrimental to the visual amenity of the streetscene, to the character and appearance of the Clapham Junction Conservation Area , and setting of two nearby listed buildings.

It has not be demonstrated that the significant harm from the temporary installation of this advertisement would be offset by longer-term benefits to the streetscene and Conservation Area by restoration works to the application building. The proposal is therefore contrary to Council policies DMS1, DMS2 and DMS8 and paragraphs 67 and 131 to 134 of the National Policy Framework.

[... This is] clearly contrary to our statutory policies and negotiation could not overcome the reasons for refusal.”

An objection was received from the Northcote ward Councillors saying that it was inappropriate in the Clapham Junction conservation area and town centre:

Such a unit will seriously impact the visual amenity of the Clapham Junction town centre which is a designated conservation area with many notable features including the nearby Grade II listed buildings of the Falcon PH and the former Arding and Hobbs department store“.

The Battersea Society, Wandsworth Conservation Area Advisory Committee objected also on the same lines.

In addition 13 objections were received raising matters such as:

  • The area is being smartened up to make a nicer area with the recent streetscape improvements and a large billboard would do nothing for the area.
  • It would be out of keeping for the place.
  • It would harm the streetscene.
  • It would clash with the architecture of the neighbouring buildings.
  • It would compromise highway safety.

Filed under: Clapham Junction Advertising board on Wessex house refused

Do and do not: two residential developments in the area

Author: Cyril Richert

Do and do not: two residential developments in the area

7 Mossbury Road SW11

The 6 residential units planned beside Travelodge Hotel in Mossbury Road are nearly completed. It was designed to integrate with the existing Victorian terrace houses of the street and, albeit having only one entrance and extension at the back, it will look like 2 similar houses. The building will comprise 3 x 1 bedroom and 3 x 2 bedroom flats over three floors.

Although part of the same development as the Travelodge hotel (the new residential units are located on Woburn House’s former car-park, now replaced by Travelodge) the residential unites were designed to harmonise gently with the rest of the street and to match the existing Victorian houses  (dated from late 19th century!).

Although located in a residential street of the same area, with similar Victorian terrace houses, a comparison with the newly approved building in 4-8 Hafer Road can only highlight the major criticism that we raised on the latest one: a very imposing building, out of context within the Victorian-style of the surrounding and which will harm the amenity of nearby properties.

Do and do not: two residential developments in the area

4-8 Hafer Road SW11

The Mossbury Road scheme shows however that it would have been possible to build residential units while respecting the character of the area.


Filed under: Clapham Junction, New Hotel Falcon Road Do and do not: two residential developments in the area

The heart of Battersea

Author: Cyril Richert

The heart of Battersea

There is now a sign erected over the exit from Clapham Junction Station telling everyone that they are in Clapham Junction, (SW11, Battersea), and not in Clapham (SW4, Lambeth borough). And it even lights up at night, so train users always know where they are!

We all need to thank Philip Beddows and  the Love Battersea campaign who have been chasing up all those shops and organisations which misplaced the location of Clapham Junction in Clapham, instead of Battersea since… September 2005! They started campaigning specifically for a sign with this wording 5 years ago.

One of the major victory in December 2011 was with Google map correcting  its data and putting Clapham at the location where it is, and not in the middle of Battersea on top of our town centre Clapham Junction. Since then the campaign managed to register many other success such as Asda renaming it shop “ASDA Clapham Junction, Battersea” (despite evidence, Asda decided first to hold a ballot to decide if they were in Clapham or Battersea!) or Travelodge Hotel beside Clapham Junction station first advertising their location as Clapham.

Recently we spotted a similar error in Topps Tiles advertising for their new shop in St John’s Hill. The shop had actually responded to earlier notification and already corrected the mistake.

Clapham Junction takes its name from the famous railway station. The first station opening in 1863 was called Falcon Bridge but later changed name for “Clapham Junction”, as in the mid 19th century the area of Clapham was seen as much more attractive.


Filed under: Clapham Junction The heart of Battersea