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

The Council requires the façade of the Alchemist pub to be rebuilt

Author: Cyril Richert

The Council has refused a retrospective planning consent to demolish the façade of the former Fishmonger/Alchemist pub (planning application  2015/2762) on Tuesday 21st July. The Alchemist pub, located at 225 St John’s Hill, was nearly totally demolished last month, without planning consent (see our story HERE).

The Council requires the façade of the Alchemist pub to be rebuilt

According to the Council’s press release:

“The council responded to this unlawful demolition by launching enforcement action requiring the developer to rebuild it brick-by-brick.

A subsequent attempt to circumvent the enforcement action by obtaining retrospective permission has today (Tuesday) been rejected.

Planners ruled that the developer’s application should be refused because the loss of this important local landmark and prominent historic building in the conservation area would be against the public interest.

The developer will now be required to start work on rebuilding the pub and restoring it to its original condition. “

The Council requires the façade of the Alchemist pub to be rebuilt

In a recent email exchange [21/07/2015], Planning chairman Cllr Sarah McDermott said:

“I spoke to our officers yesterday about the Alchemist/Fishmongers Arms. They are currently seeking legal advice to ensure they have a secure base for the right action. I can assure we are all ‘on the case’.”

In the press release she added:

“In our view the demolition was a very serious breach of planning rules which can only be put right by the complete rebuilding and reconstruction of this important community asset, using the same materials and to the same architectural design.”

As a consequence, it is likely that the developer will have to submit anew application for further amendment to the rest of the building, which means that former planning consent could be re-discussed and amended.

Filed under: Clapham Junction The Council requires the façade of the Alchemist pub to be rebuilt

Soon a new 4 storey building to compliment crossing at Plough Rd/St Johns Hill

Author: Cyril Richert

Soon a new 4 storey building to compliment crossing at Plough Rd/St Johns Hill

Application 2013/5712 (70-74 St John’s Hill) was granted in April 2015 for erection of four-storey plus basement building to provide Class A1 shops at ground floor with 8 flats above including a first floor roof garden.

It should replace an openspace/pocket park and match in shape the three other existing buildings at the crossing of St john’s Hill and Plough Road.

Original application dated 2009 (granted in approval 2010/0537 dated 15
November 2010), but the work has been delayed for two main reasons:

  • The negotiation with Wandsworth Valuation Surveyors to purchase the part of the pavement Planners wish to see incorporated in the development to realign Plough Road to its original line and
    St John’s Hill as far as later road widening permits.
  • Having agree this in principle and progressed to a stopping up order, there was the discovery that a Virgin Media cabinet is situated in the part of land to be sold to the development. Negotiations are in progress which have not yet been resolved and until resolved the development cannot progress.

Hopefully we should see some progress made towards the second part of 2015.

Filed under: Clapham Junction Soon a new 4 storey building to compliment crossing at Plough Rd/St Johns Hill

Scheme with a 21 storey tower recommended for approval at Homebase site, 198 York road

Author: Cyril Richert

Scheme with a 21 storey tower recommended for approval at Homebase site, 198 York road

As expected, planning application 2015/0881 to demolish Homebase on 198 York Road, and replace by 6, 7, 9, 11 and 21 storeys to provide 254 residential units, has been recommended for approval by planning officers.

Amendment was received comprising the replacement of the commercial uses for a dance academy at ground floor level with additional floor space and an increase in height to the buildings (thus 21 storeys instead of 20). 

As usual now, the Site Specific Allocation Document (page 234) was ignored:

10.4 Homebase,York Road, SW11
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, in their report, the planning officers justify the breach of policy as “this taller scheme can be supported from a strategic perspective subject to demonstrating significant planning benefit” (p25).

Although the officers point that these proposals run counter to Council policies, a point also made by the Design Review Panel, the seem to leave the general issue in the hand of the Planning Inspector currently reviewing Wandsworth local plan. And it is not only only noted in one sentence over the 80 page report, but the decision on granting the permission is meant to happen on the 14th July, when the local plan examination hearing has not finished yet but months ahead of any opinion that the inspector could possibly express!

The Wandsworth Design Review Panel expressed concerns talking about:

No convincing reason was offered as to why the Council’s stated policy should be ignored. […] too ambitious […] exuberant design […] unresolved issues about the public realm to this street

and concluded “the Panel did not feel minded to support the proposal as it stands“.

To spare you reading the 80 pages, I would summarize on saying that all issues and breach of policies have been brushed off with the benefits of the venue provided for the Royal Academy of Dance (currently located in Battersea Square). In what looks like a copy-cat of the developer’s advertising brochure, the officers’ report says : “The RAD as an occupier would undoubtedly add lustre to the area and could provide the centrepiece for a new cultural district attracting visitors and further investment to this part of the borough“.

Therefore, while we are supportive of the development of this site and of the move of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) to this site, we maintain our earlier objections to the scheme.


Filed under: Clapham Junction Scheme with a 21 storey tower recommended for approval at Homebase site, 198 York road