The Food Assembly Comes to Clapham Common

A new way of buying food is coming to Clapham Common.

As seen in the BBC and The Guardian, The Food Assembly is a local initiative that brings people together to buy fresh food directly from local farmers and foodmakers.

Every week Food Assembly customers in Clapham can order food online from local food producers before picking it up weekly at a local venue. All the food comes from an average distance of 28 miles, compared to the 600 miles with a supermarket.

Community is at the heart of The Food Assembly – it connects neighbours to farmers, neighbours to each other, and everyone to their food. By choosing to buy local, shoppers can support the community of Clapham, as for every £1 spent through Clapham Common Food Assembly, 90p stays in the local economy.

It also ensures your money reaches the right people; food producers keep over 80% of sales for every product sold, compared to 15%-25% through supermarkets. Also, there is less food waste as all the food is ordered in advance.

Whether from their iPhone app or laptop, weekly shoppers can choose from unique local products, such as artisan bread from The Hill Bakery; cured meats from London Smoke and Cure; and yummy jams from Single Variety Co. Not to forget plenty of fresh local vegetables and cheeses.

The Clapham Assembly is organised by local residents Alex, Mathieu, Thea and Loren who love to share their passion for food with others.

RuTC Open Events this Autumn

Follow in the footsteps of thousands of Richmond upon Thames College students who secured university places or employment over the past year.
It is important that students make an informed decision about their study and training options in years 12 and 13. At Richmond upon Thames College, we want all students to make the right choice as we know from experience that students who are happy with their chosen study or training programme are much more likely to succeed and do well in the future.

Throughout the year we offer prospective students and parents lots of opportunities to find out more about life at RuTC and the courses we offer. Come along to an Open Event and experience first-hand our successful and vibrant college community and discover how one of London’s best performing colleges can help you achieve your ambitions.

Our events give you the opportunity to find out more about our wide range of courses and training programmes including A levels, vocational and technical qualifications and apprenticeships. You can also talk to our specialist staff about how we can support you in your studies and how our excellent links with employers and work experience opportunities can help you successfully achieve your ambitions.
Want to join us and find out more about your exciting opportunities at a leading college? Please book your place using this link:

Battersea Spanish

Autumn is here and Battersea Spanish is kicking it all off with a fun-packed term, bigger and better than ever! From Spanish for adults and kids, dances courses in Flamenco, Tango and Salsa, to a series of great social events exploring Spanish and Latin American culture, there is definitely something for everyone! To find out more, why not check out our website

Is this London’s toughest gym?

A former contestant from BBC’s Ultimate Hell Week has opened a gym in Clapham Junction based on his training with the World’s Toughest Special Forces.

crossfit shapemsmiths wall ball (Large)

Co-Owner of CrossFit Shapesmiths, Lee Steggles was a favourite to win the BBC TV show Ultimate Hell Week last year, and his early departure mid-way through the series left viewers shocked and outraged.

Speaking about his time on the show, Lee Steggles said “Ultimate Hell Week was a great experience. I was able to train with some of the best special forces in the world: Navy Seals, the Israeli Special Forces and NAVSOG, the Philippines Special Forces. I had to push my body beyond all mental and physical limits by battle-hardened veterans. The fact I can now share these skills and experience with local people is very exciting. Opening CrossFit Shapesmiths is the culmination of a lot of hard work and investment, so cutting the ribbon on Saturday will be a very proud moment indeed.”
Newly opened CrossFit Shapesmiths, located just 30 seconds from Clapham Junction station, is not a traditional gym. In fact, as soon as you walk through the doors you will not see the machines that fill typical gyms. This is an open space with gymnastic rings, pull-up racks and other associated fitness gear hanging from the ceiling.

The word ‘Shapesmiths’ was plucked from 1755, A Dictionary of the English Language: n. One who undertakes to improve the form of the body. They were hired, way back when, to assist folks that needed to forge a new body shape. Now days, CrossFit Shapesmiths, can be hired to forge elite fitness.

CrossFit combines Olympic weightlifting, cardiovascular conditioning, and gymnastics for all skill levels and ages. It is a method used frequently by military, firefighters and police forces worldwide but can be adapted to any fitness level.

CrossFit members perform a timed Workout of the Day (WOD), competing against fellow CrossFitters for the best time while attempting to break their own personal records. Typical workouts average 10 to 15 minutes of nonstop movement. It is a workout that includes constantly varied functional movements that aim to increase muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility.

IMG_7677 (Large)

Who does CrossFit target? “It seems to attract people who aren’t happy with the mentality of big box gyms,” says co-owner Richard Dean. “If you’re afraid of sweating, then Crossfit isn’t for you. You have to come ready to push yourself every day, and it is very addictive. People who stick with it generally make it a lifestyle. The first session is always free. It doesn’t require a certain level of fitness, it only requires commitment.”
CrossFit Shapesmiths’ official Launch day is on Saturday 23rd April 2016. The day will involve

– Workout demos, try a class and meet the Shapesmiths Team throughout the day.
– Whatever it Takes Fitness Apparel. Win a skipping rope.
– Q&A with Buff Box Meals Nutritionist and CEO Matt Hodges. 3.30pm-4pm
– Q&A with Rosie Scott, Black Swan Osteopathy 4pm-430pm.
– Free ‘Turbo Yoga’ class with Natalie and Amanda. 4.45pm-5.45pm.
– Meet the team at Whole Foods Clapham Junction for free goodies.
– Neat Nutrition will be bringing some samples of their range of products.
– Witness an Olympic Lifting Competition 1-3pm.
– BBQ and Drinks from 1pm supplied by Devon Rose Meats.

If you would like to attend then please contact or contact Lee Steggles on 07950804276

Telephone number: (+44) 07950 804 276
Facebook Page:

Lloyds Bank Opens New-Look Branch in Clapham Junction

New Lloyds Bank branch at Clapham Junction

New Lloyds Bank branch at Clapham Junction

Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce held a business networking event recently to welcome Lloyds Bank’s new-look digital branch to the area. This is the first pilot of a new type of banking, with longer hours and business-friendly facilities for customers in the borough.

It is open from 8 am to 8 pm on working days, and 9 to 5 on Saturday then 11- 5 on Sunday. The longer hours complement free wi-fi in the branch and a digital display which can show local information – the idea being that customers can come into the branch and find out information relevant to their business, so they will have more than just simple banking available. Robert Burke, Senior Local Business Manager, says, “This facility is well-liked by customers, who can use it to find local services or property prices.”


The longer hours work well for both business and personal banking clients. There are specialists in various areas such as mortgages available. Lloyds Bank offers a special package for business customers switching from other banks. This service offers simple pricing and free electronic payments, six months’ free day-to-day business banking for switchers, switch within seven working days, from when your account is opened, and dedicated support from their UK-based business management team. After the six month free period, there is a monthly charge of £6.50.

While switching, they will arrange for your old bank to close your previous account and transfer any credit balance to your new Lloyds Bank account; transfer all incoming and outgoing payments within the seven working day guarantee; redirect all payments to and from your old account to your new account within a 36-month period.

Last month they hosted a lively business networking event in the evening with Wandsworth Chamber members, which was well attended, and more of these events are likely. While Chamber members were having wine and pizza, the bank was still open and serving customers. I don’t know if any of them took advantage of the free drinks and nosh, but I hope so.

There was a presentation about a new business information sharing system which will allow retailers to exchange information between themselves about shoplifters and other potential troublemakers which is aimed at reducing crime.

The new branch is at:

48-50 St John’s Road,

Clapham Junction,

London SW11 1PR

Business banking contact:

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

Proposal for 15-27 Falcon Road

Author: Cyril Richert

Proposal for 15-27 Falcon Road

A new proposal for 15-27 Falcon Road (currently occupied by Tesco at its ground level) will replace a series of 2 storey maisonnettes by a 5 storey building, to create 25 new homes, including 1, 2 and 3 bed flats, two new retail units, cycle parking and space for a gym (with low membership fee). No parking spaces will be provided for new residents, and not resident permit on the streets.

The proposals match the height and scale of the neighbouring buildings on Patience Road and Khyber Road (3 storeys to the top of the roof) stepping up to five storeys on Falcon Road.

Walters Properties own the building and are seeking to redevelop
and retain the site on Falcon Road. Walters Properties is also proposing to rename the building Walters House, and will seek to do this in consultation with Wandsworth Council.

I attended the exhibition organised at York Gardens Community Centre on Wednesday 3rd February 2016 to discuss the proposals.

It will be of similar size to the site across the road (Redevelopment of the Princes Head pub site) which has already an approved planning permission for a 5 storey building (Dec. 2014).

Proposal for 15-27 Falcon Road

In its objection to the Princes Head redevelopment, the Battersea Society said that the visualisation the proposed building was substantially taller than neighbouring buildings and will be overly dominant in the streetscape. That was true at the time. Unfortunately since 2015 and proposals for  the redevelopment of York and Winstanley Estates consisting mainly of 5 storeys buildings, the size of the 15-27 Falcon Road proposal is becoming the norm for the future of the area.

In term of style, you will also note that similar modern façade exist in the same street already, closer to the bridge, although building does not exceed 3 storeys.

Proposal for 15-27 Falcon Road

However we make 2 comments:

  1. There is no current specification on the amount of affordable accommodation proposed. Wandsworth planning policy IS5 specify that a proportion of at least 33% of homes should be affordable (although new developers always raise the viability argument to safeguard their comfortable profit margin!)
  2. Developers constantly use, nowadays, the excuse of good access to transport (and being environnementale friendly) to justify the absence of car parks. In reality, they save money as building car parking is expensive. It sweeps away the obvious need, from time to time, to access the building with vehicles (families, visitors, builders, delivery…etc) and the cumulative effect that such approach of ALL new developments will have on the area. Especially as, despite the proximity of Clapham Junction, the public transport is already stretched and congested, as acknowledged by TfL.

To find out more about the plans for 15-27 Falcon Road you can email

Proposal for 15-27 Falcon Road

Filed under: Clapham Junction Proposal for 15-27 Falcon Road

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.