Minon Madness at Asda Clapham Junction

London’s Asda Clapham Junction store has held Minions language lessons using a motion activated themed checkout, complete with Minion themed bananas.

To celebrate the launch of the new Minions movie, the store created the checkout, which surprised shoppers by shouting out memorable Minion sounds as they passed through.

Colleagues at the store then repeated the phrases, saving their best for when any Minion-themed BANANAS were purchased (pictured above).

Shoppers’ reactions to the checkout were filmed with the best efforts shared on social media.

Clapham Junction store manager, Glenn Ries, said: “We know our customers love Minions but to truly be despicable you need to speak the language, that’s why we created our checkout to help people understand the difference between their Bob, and their bananas.

Asda Clapham Junction launches Minion Checkout

MinionLondon’s Asda Clapham Junction store launches a motion activated Minions themed checkout, which will surprise shoppers this weekend, to celebrate the launch of the new movie. The supermarket will see a Minions take-over and there will be limited edition Minion bananas, and themed balloons for customers.

When: Friday 26th June and Saturday 27th June, 8am-4pm.

Where: Asda Clapham Junction, 204 Lavender Hill, Battersea, SW11 1JG.

Big Fat Panda trendy night club permission refused

Author: Cyril Richert

Big Fat Panda trendy night club permission refused

281 Lavender Hill SW11 1LP – Big Fat Panda

On Tuesday 19th May, the Licensing sub-committee refused the application from Grand Union to transform Big Fat Panda restaurant into a bar/night-club. 

Councillors Peter Dawson and James Cousins, along with 3 local residents raised numerous concerns highlighting the inadequacy of the proposal.

The report from the officers counted 61 objections made, including 3 letters from Ward Councillors (one on behalf of all the Ward Councillors of Shaftesbury and Northcote Wards). They raised concerns regarding street drinking and alcohol related disorder, anti-social behaviour, crime and loitering of patrons outside the proposed premises, increased risk of violence to customers both inside and outside the venue, noise (deliveries, arriving and leaving, external area)…etc.

Despite the applicants prepared to make several amendments such as reducing capacity from 500 to 385, using the outside area for smokers only, closing at 1.30am instead of 3.3oam, they faced strong opposition during the meeting. In the minutes of the meeting it is noted that:

  • Police were opposed to the application in its entirety
  • The Residential Services Manager – Environmental Services (Council) said that he was opposed to any extension of hours beyond the guideline hours.
  • Councillor Cousins said that the area was heavily residential [and] not a suitable venue for this part of Lavender Hill.

The decision said:

“The Sub-Committee considered that given the scale of what was proposed the granting the licence, even as amended, would in their view create an unacceptable level of noise nuisance both during the evening and late at night to neighbouring residents.”

Planning application withdrawn

A planning application 2015/1597 from Grand Union bars was proposing a change of use from A3 (restaurant and cafe) to A4 use (drinking establishment), including use of garden, area until late nights, with music and DJs, at the location currently occupied by the Big Fat Panda, a Chinese buffet restaurant. With the licensing application refused, Grant Union withdrew its planning application.

Residents felt very well and effectively represented and were delighted by the outcome. However this isn’t necessarily the end of it all. Grand Union can still appeal and possibly reapply for the drinks license later, lowering the opening hours or the number of customers (although the Council said that even 50% was still unacceptable).

We support the local residents thinking that the location is not suitable at all for this kind of business. Instead it could be used for a café/family oriented area, in line with its surrounding.


Filed under: Clapham Junction Big Fat Panda trendy night club permission refused

How is Clapham Junction changing…

Author: Cyril Richert

When you think about it, little has changed in Clapham Junction for the past 10 years (although the Council is planning to fill the area with many more high towers).

However taking advantage of the “history” option in Google map, we can see the two main changes in the area since 2008 and get our own opinion on the positive (or negative) impact of the new schemes.

Woburn House/Travelodge Hotel site

How is Clapham Junction changing…

Woburn House October 2009

How is Clapham Junction changing…

Travelodge Hotel – September 2014

Clapham Junction Exemplar Scheme

How is Clapham Junction changing…

Clapham Junction crossing October 2009

How is Clapham Junction changing…

Clapham Junction crossing September 2014

Filed under: Clapham Junction How is Clapham Junction changing…

Bye Bye Homebase, welcome 20 storey buildings

Author: Cyril Richert

Bye Bye Homebase, welcome 20 storey buildings

Proposed development for 198 York Road (currently Homebase)

Planning application 2015/0881 and 2015/0934 is proposing to demolish Homebase on 198 York Road, to be replaced by 3 part 2,6,7,9,11 and 20 storey buildings to provide 261 residential units and 2000 sqm of business, bar and nursery space. Homebase  is due to close at the end of 2015 and will be vacated for the proposed development.

Bye Bye Homebase, welcome 20 storey buildings

Current 3D view of the site.

Bye Bye Homebase, welcome 20 storey buildings

Proposed 3D view of the site.

The dwellings should comprise 4 studios, 48 one bedroom-flats, 133 two bedroom-flats, 46 three bedroom-flats and 30 maisonettes styles (1 and 2 bedrooms).

Planning rules suggest maximum 9 storeys… therefore submit 20!

Knowing as Wandsworth Council is considering its planning policies, what would you do as a developer? Submit some buildings of 9 storeys as advised in the documents? You foolish… go for 20 at least!

As usual with Wandsworth Council now, it is in plain contradiction to its planning documents. Such proposal would be laughable if we did not know that the Council has got a record of throwing out its own rules to praise the developers’ plans. The Site Specific Allocation Document (which has just been submitted only months ago and is under review by the planning inspectorate) is stating (page 234):

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.

Wandsworth Design Review Panel concerns

The usually very cautious panel set up by the Council raised several concerns:

  • No justification was offered for the height of the central tower particularly when the Council’s policy states that tall buildings (at 9 storeys and above) in this location are likely to be inappropriate. A building of this height could not fail to make its presence felt however carefully the set-back angles are calculated. No convincing reason was offered as to why the Council’s stated policy should be ignored.
  • The second concern with the central tower was that the architectural ambition for this site was if anything, too ambitious. […] We strongly doubt that the quality of materials and detailing will ultimately be delivered on a site such as this where the values are unlikely to justify them. Nothing would be sadder than if the final result was a “dumbed down” version of the current rather exuberant  design.
  • In the opinion of the Panel [removal of the trees along Gartons Way] would be a pity and we felt that the implications of keeping the trees had not been properly presented. Such an option is certainly feasible albeit at a loss of development volume. Without a convincing case for the removal of these trees the Panel did not feel minded to support the proposal as it stands.
  • From the plans and discussion it was clear that there were a number of unresolved issues about the public realm to this street, apart from the ramp referred to above. These include the design and function of the public space in front of the proposed concierge to the Tower, the management of the refuse collection at street level and vehicular parking to the lay-by.

Strong objections from the local residents

There are currently 32 objections from local residents and amenity society (and no support).

Our objections

The Clapham Junction Action Group is objecting to the proposal in respect to the following points:

Tall building policy ignored

Wandsworth own planning documents states (SSAD) that the site is inappropriate for buildings more than 9 storeys high. All of the surrounding buildings are 5 storeys or less.

The obvious justification for the height and massing proposed for this location (and we hardly believe that the Design Panel failed to perceive the odds, as this is the usual justification for any breach of policy) is the viability of the scheme in respect to the value of the land. However this wouldn’t be the case if Wandsworth Council was not used to ignore its own rules and permit all sort of developments, whatever incongruous to the area they might be.

Daylight, Sunlight & Overshadowing: loss of up to 86 for 54% of the neighbourhood%

In summary, the report states: “the effect of the construction of the proposed scheme upon 84% (NSL) of the surrounding residential rooms is considered to be negligible in nature on the basis that the daylight amenity alterations“.

However, the proposed developments shows a major loss of daylight for some adjacent buildings (p12). Out of 619 windows observed in the study, 333 are showing more reduction than the 20% BRE permitted guidelines (Vertical Sky Component – if the amount of skylight falling on a vertical wall or window decrease by more than 20%, occupants will notice a change) with 109 being “Major loss”. Amongst them : 1 – 8 Windward House (40% will loose more than 40% daylight),  1 – 4 Square Rigger Row (53% will loose more than 40% daylight), 7 & 14 Port House (70% will loose more than 40% daylight), 46 – 51 Candlemakers (86% will loose more than 40% daylight), 52 – 72 Candlemakers (32% will loose more than 40% daylight), 1 – 24 Wheeler Court (21% will loose more than 40% daylight).

Despite those figures the reports maintain that the changes are negligible!

Affordable housing guidelines as usual ignored for the sake of viability

As usual for sites in Wandsworth, the applicant is not providing the minimum provision for affordable housing as stated in the London and Wandsworth plans. A mere 11.5% affordable housing is proposed (1 and 2 bedroom-flats as intermediate housing, no social housing).

Wandsworth Council owns Core Strategy policy on housing states (Policy IS5):

On individual sites a proportion of at least 33% of homes should be affordable, however, higher provision will be sought where viable.

Indeed, in relation to affordable housing, the NPPG (National Planning Policy Guidance – March 2014) makes clear that “where viability of a development is in question, local planning authorities should look to be flexible in
applying policy requirements wherever possible“. And this is of course the usual lines used in the financial viability statements nowadays, with the advisors saying:

“The development proposals are therefore considered to go beyond the requirements of the NPPF and Policy IS5 by providing an element of affordable housing on the site, which would not otherwise be provided taking into account the Viability Assessment which identifies that the development generates a deficit against the viability benchmark.”

As the possibility to dish the affordable/social conditions as well as the height limitation are all factors increasing the site value, there is no surprise that it creates that viability issue.

However, even with that consideration, the BNP Paribas advisors wrote that “the proposed Development is unviable with 100% private housing on the basis of current costs and values“. Therefore it questions either the accuracy of the advisors report, or the calculation of the developers (especially with the Design Review panel views to seek the highest quality of material).

Loss of mature trees

As highlighted by the Design Panel we regret the removal of the mature trees along Gartons Way.

Parking and traffic issues

Over 261 units, there is only provision for 104 parking spaces. As usual, the new scheme fails to recognise the car parking requirements for the area (in particular the over night demand caused by the residents at the Travel Lodge and during the week).

In addition it must be noted that York Road is heavily used during the day and often congested at pick hours. This over-development will only exacerbate the existing situation.

The proposed scheme represents significant over development of the site and should be refused. We can only reiterate our previous statements:

“We consider that the wording of the policies is an open door to all understanding and misuse by the Council to justify any planning development. We have already numerous examples where factual breach of policies is balanced with subjective “overall benefit” in Wandsworth planning reports. Those statements have no place in the document and must be removed for the policy to become effective.” 

As a resident wrote: “It is time that the Council adopted a sensible and logical
strategy to developments in Wandsworth.“. We join the call from the Battersea Society asking for:

“a halt to any further planning permissions until there has been serious consideration, with TfL, of the implications of the increased demand on road and public transport in the area.  Any study should include achievable plans for meeting the demand for those schemes already consented and realistic proposals for meeting additional demand.”

Decision is to be made by Wandsworth Council committee on May 21st.


Filed under: Clapham Junction Bye Bye Homebase, welcome 20 storey buildings

14 storey towers approved near Lombard Road, contrary to planning documents.

Author: Cyril Richert

14 storey towers approved near Lombard Road, contrary to planning documents.Another tower of 14 storey tower at 56 – 66 Gwynne Road SW11 3UW, near Lombard Road has been approved in February (2014/5357), following a positive recommendation from planning officers.

We wrote about the proposal in a previous article HERE.

As usual, the scheme of 14 storeys 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.

In addition, another proposal of for (only) 9 storeys was refused in 2008 in the same street, 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

There is no surprise as we already know now that applicants ignore the Wandsworth planning documents (a developer for a 17 storeys in Grant Road said: “there is a number of emerging tall buildings proposed within the York Road/Lombard Road area, the Council through emerging policy in the Core Strategy acknowledges the possibility of this area becoming a ‘focal point’, where tall buildings would not be out of place“)  and are backed by the Council officers.

Filed under: Clapham Junction 14 storey towers approved near Lombard Road, contrary to planning documents.

Tower refused by Council despite recommendation for approval by officers

Author: Cyril Richert

Tower refused by Council despite recommendation for approval by officers

98 York Road – 17 storeys proposal

Sometime it looks like the Council is coming back to reason. A tower has been refused in front of York Gardens last week.

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).

Tower refused by Council despite recommendation for approval by officers

There are 6 supports (most working for the businesses and dealership in the area)  and 70 objections including the Candlemakers Management Company Ltd, the local Conservatives Councillors, the Battersea Society and even the Design Panel.

Objections of the Battersea Society are (download HERE):

  1. Height and Design: pages 30-33 which show the impact on York Road and the overbearing nature of the design.
  2. Contrary to planning policy: The policy documentation (SSAD) approved in March 2014 and put forward for Examination in Public indicated that this would not be a suitable site for tall buildings (above 9 storeys).
  3. Negative Impact on the area: The outline masterplan included in the documentation is sketchy and does not appear to be endorsed by other developers or by councillors or to have had input from WBC officers.   The TVI shows how the new buildings would block off views through existing blocks, tower over neighbouring buildings and mitigate against a more sensitive approach being taken by other landowners in the area. This would be contrary to aspects of DMS4.
  4. Links across York Road: consider that the layout and proposals as presented fail to indicate where and what form such links [to Clapham Junction Station and York Gardens] might take.
  5. Transport and Traffic: York Road is heavily trafficked throughout much of the day and evening.  This will only increase as the impact of developments in Nine Elms and in Wandsworth Town is felt. The same is true of public transport capacity – already inadequate at peak periods and increasingly at other times.
  6. Affordable Housing: The development fails to provide anything like an acceptable level of affordable housing – just 16% of units to be offered as intermediate dwellings.

Candlemakers Management Company Ltd, which represents local residents from the Candlemakers apartments also found that the proposal is contrary to key policies in the National Planning Policy Framework; the London Plan; the Borough’s Local Plan including Core Strategy, Site Specific
Allocations Document (SSAD) and the Development Management Policies document (DMPD). They found that the scheme is unduly dense, the buildings are too high and dominant, they would be out of character fronting York Road and the development would be detrimental to residential

Tower refused by Council despite recommendation for approval by officers

View of the proposal from York Gardens

The local Conservatives councillors expressed also objections to the proposal, saying:

“The height will trigger assessment under policy DMS4b, and we believe the parameters of this application run contrary to many of the criteria set out therein, including the following (without limitation):-
– an unacceptable visual impact on surrounding areas (iv);
– land use which does not support or complement the surrounding land use pattern or the local community (vi);
– a form which is not well integrated into surrounding developments (vii);
– lack of high quality public space (xi); and
– fails to encourage public access [to the riverfront and surrounding properties] (xii).”

Even Wandsworth Design Review Panel expressed some concerns saying:

“we strongly feel that the architects be given more time to work up their proposals prior to making a planning submission […]  we were not convinced by the application of your scheme elsewhere across the area. […] The Panel feel that more attention could be given to the massing [and] suggest significantly reducing the height of or omitting the
tower to the north east.”

The applicants responded that “the content of the TVI was fully scoped with the Council prior to submission of the application“. Isn’t it what we say when we write that the Council is hand-in-glove with the developers? In fact, they actually explain very clearly why developers feel free to ignore Wandsworth Council policy documents, as they write:

“The site specific allocation for the site confirms that “tall buildings in this location are likely to be inappropriate” and that “the height at which a development in this location will be considered to be tall is 9 storeys.” It does not go as far as advising that the site would not be suitable for tall buildings, as the society suggest. Furthermore, as there is a number of emerging tall buildings proposed within the York Road/Lombard Road area, the Council through emerging policy in the Core Strategy acknowledges the possibility of this area becoming a ‘focal point’, where tall buildings would not be out of place.

For clarity, we do not consider that Policy DMS4 only requires justification of a technical nature. This is demonstrated in the detailed assessment of the proposal against the policy, set out within the Design and Access Statement. The applicant considers that the proposal complies with this policy.”

The planning officer recommended approval (as usual) and used (as usual) the following arguments:

“At up to 17-storeys the height poses a challenge to the tall buildings policy, however, there are considered to be material considerations that justify the proposed heights […] contribution to townscape improvements; the townscape context with the close proximity of substantial buildings of similar scale […]

It is clear that there would be a notable impact on neighbouring properties as a result of the development. This would relate to loss of privacy, outlook and overbearance and daylight and sunlight. Whilst borderline, in each of the assessments, it was considered that on balance acceptable.”

The planning committee decided to go against the recommendation from the planning officers. The decision was unanimous (following a successful motion to refuse planning permission):

“Planning permission refused on the ground that the 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.

As such, the proposal is contrary to Policy DMS1 of the Development Management Policies Document 2012 and the Second Proposed Submission Version 2014.”

Was it because they eventually decided that they couldn’t carry on ignoring their own planning documents (hmm the officers thought they could…)?

Was it because the opposition of the local Conservatives Councillors?

Was it because the developers were arrogant enough to pin-point the un-effectiveness of the current planning policies and to say that by approving so many developments in breach of their planning rules, the Council was actually changing the current guidelines?

We are looking forward to the future schemes in the area to see if any thing as actually changed!

Filed under: Clapham Junction Tower refused by Council despite recommendation for approval by officers

PCS sales is off as the developer pulled out

Author: Cyril Richert

PCS sales is off as the developer pulled out

PCS (Public and Commercial Services Union) at Clapham Junction is no longer planning to sell its building immediately. A plan was revealed last November for PCS to ask for a change of use (from office to residential), in order to maximise the value of the site. As expected in our article, PCS was in fact planning to sell to a developer, for them to knock down the building and erect residential towers (most likely, 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).

However, with Crossrail 2 plans coming into shape (including a hub proposed for Clapham Junction station) the potential developer decided to pull out, considering the uncertainty of the current situation. On their website, PCS published an update:

We have previously reported to branches that the NEC had agreed the sale of the Clapham Junction building and that discussions with a major developer were at an advanced stage.

There have been recent developments in the process of consultation over the route of Crossrail 2, a major infrastructure project involving tunnelled rail connections across the capital.

This has introduced additional uncertainty both for the current developer, who planned to knock down the building and rebuild, and for PCS, as it is also clear that the value of the building could increase significantly if the Crossrail 2 project goes ahead.

We do not now intend to proceed immediately with the sale but will take further advice, including advice on realising the potential value of the union’s building in Victoria, which is currently rented to tenants, as part of our longer term planning.


Filed under: Clapham Junction PCS sales is off as the developer pulled out

Will Big Fat Panda become a trendy nightclub open until 3.30 in the morning?

Author: Cyril Richert

Will Big Fat Panda become a trendy nightclub open until 3.30 in the morning?

281 Lavender Hill SW11 1LP – Big Fat Panda

A planning application 2015/1597 from Grand Union bars is proposing a change of use from A3 (restaurant and cafe) to A4 use (drinking establishment), including use of garden, area until late nights, with music and DJs.

Will Big Fat Panda become a trendy nightclub open until 3.30 in the morning?

The location is currently occupied by the Big Fat Panda, a Chinese buffet restaurant (food is also available to takeaway or for delivery from the a-la-carte menu, or to takeaway as a box from the buffet for less than £5). Opening hours are Mon-Fri 12:00noon to 5pm and Sat-Sun 5:00pm to 10:30pm.

The merit of this buffet restaurant in the area has been discussed (and often criticized – amazingly some customers expect to get a top range gourmet food menu for less than £4.50 and then shout their deep disappointment!) and the facility could be better used, especially as there is some outside area that is currently not used. However, as most of the façade (and 70% of the outside area) is facing residential area, the “early” closure during the week and late afternoon at the weekend as been little disturbance for the neighbourhood.

All of that is now at stake as the proposal is to transform the venue into a trendy bar/nightclub. A basement covering to full area occupied by the building would welcome dancing area and drinking alcoves.

A planning application flawed with errors/misleading information with proposal to close at 3.30am

First of all the planning application is flawed with errors. For example, the existing gross internal floorspace is said to be 278 square metres (sqm) and the net additional gross internal floorspace following development is said to be 518 sqm. However the total gross new internal floorspace proposed (including changes of use) is… 518 sqm! Later on the application, we read that the total site is ….3,000 sqm (shouldn’t it be sq feet?).

Similarly the Council’s website is displaying proposed opening hours such as Sundays to Wednesdays: 10:00am to 23:30pm, Thursdays 10:00am to 01:00am and Fridays and Saturdays: 10:00am to 02:00am. However the application itself says “Extend terminal hours to 1am Thursday’s, 2am Friday’s and 2am Saturday’s” (3. Description of the Proposal) but also Monday to Saturday from 8am to 2am, and Sunday from 8am to 10.30(pm?) (20. Hours of Opening). In addition it is contradictory with the licensing application recorded on the Council’s website as this states Music until 2.30am on Fridays and Saturdays, with alcohol until 3am (closing then at 3.30am)

Grand Union: DJ bars and late opening hours

Will Big Fat Panda become a trendy nightclub open until 3.30 in the morning?

Grand Union bar Wandsworth

Grand Union Bar has a reputation of DJ bars with late weekend licence, flea-market furniture and beer garden (Google Reviews). However the venues are often criticised for their prominent bouncers.

They have 8 bars in London, one of them being in Wandsworth High street. Opening hours may vary: Camberwell closes at 23pm or midnight, Brixton closes between midnight and 1.30am, Camden closes often at 23pm and at the end of the week at 1am, Chancery Lane‘s venue is open until 2am from Monday to Saturday (Sunday closed) and Farrington closes even late, at 3am on Fridays and Saturdays. Therefore the existing Wandsworth‘s venue opening hours are in the average: Mon-Tue 12pm-11.30pm, Wed-Thu&Sun 12pm-00am, Fri-Sat 12pn-1.30am.

Will Big Fat Panda become a trendy nightclub open until 3.30 in the morning?

Grand Union bar Wandsworth – Outside area

The proposal aims to compete with the Revolution Bar (proposed capacity of 500 for Grand Union to compare with 650 when the basement is used at Revolution) located in one corner of the Clapham Junction crossing, less than 100 yards from Clapham Junction station entrance, facing a large paved area and with no frontage to residential property. We note that despite this desirable location, complaints regularly hit the Council from the residential street at its back regarding loud drunk customers at closing time and refuse collection mess. Wandsworth Licensing Committee authorised extending opening hours in September 2012 for the site, with conditions that ending hours for external seating area will be 10pm every day (Grand Union is suggesting 11.30pm for their bar with outside seating facing residential streets!)

A massive protest from nearby neighbourhood

On the Council’s website we count 50 objection and only 1 support on the 13th April. The supporter claims that “a bar is the natural choice for this area as there is clear demand for Northcote Road/Lavender Hill/St John’s Hill, given several similar establishments popping up in recent years. […] at present we do not have a problem with drunken revellers […] this new place is likely to attract the same well-behaved clientele as Bar Social, The Merchant and the speak-easy under the Breakfast Club.

On the other hand, many other local residents disagree and on of them said:

The main concerns are that granting such an application would:

  1. Dramatically change the character and peaceful nature of the family orientated neighbourhood we live in
  2. Create noise from people queuing outside to get into an establishment that is open until 2am / 3am
  3. Negatively effect the peaceful nature of the area with recorded and live music planned especially with so many windows and doors facing Lavender Sweep
  4. Cause disruption to residents if people are sitting in the garden area which is entirely on Lavender Sweep
  5. Create congestion issues whether due to deliveries, refuse collection or taxi drop offs / pick ups due to Lavender Sweep being 1-way street
  6. Increase general waste in the area (both human and otherwise)
  7. Cause disruption in the early hours of the morning with bottles and other waste being put into wheelie bins after closing
  8. Create car parking issues for residents

Our end of Lavender Sweep is now a very nice, friendly little community of it’s own, and a bar of any description would hugely increase the level of noise, traffic (human and vehicular), parking, waste (human and otherwise) which would negatively impact the nature of the neighbourhood we live in and the pleasant neighbourhood we, as residents, have helped to create.

The Council refused the garden being used in the past

Another resident pointed out that Wandsworth Council refused usage of the outside space for eating and drinking in the past, specifically due to disturbance for Lavender Sweep residents.

“It is relevant that when permission was given in 1996 for a café/bar, at the relevant site’s location, one of the conditions prohibited the use of the garden being used for eating or drinking purposes. In the Council’s assessment of subsequent applications for variations of that permission, to include the use of the outside space, it was specifically stated by officers that the use of the garden would result in disturbance for neighbours, particularly opposite and to the south along Lavender Sweep.

Despite these reservations, Wandsworth Council gave three periods of temporary permission, between 1997 and 2003, to use the external space as ancillary seating (note: the ’01 and ’03 permissions limited the hours of use to between 9am and 7pm) and two other applications were refused (in 2000) because it was likely to cause undue harm to the amenity of neighbouring occupiers in the form of activity and disturbance at times when they could reasonably expect peace and quiet. The reason the permissions were temporary was to enable the Local Planning Authority to assess the impact of the external use on the area. “

One of the objection has been filled by Councillor Guy Senior, member of the cabinet, who wrote:

This proposal is completely inappropriate in this location. It is surrounded by residential properties and will cause considerable noise and disturbance to local residents. The arrangements for deliveries and rubbish disposal are also not appropriate and will be noisy.”

We object to the proposal

We support the local objections to the proposal, based on the following arguments:

  • Public nuisance:

The majority of the outside space is located in a entire residential area (Lavender sweep and Eccles Road are both one-way streets) and is currently unused. The change will create a considerable nuisance in term of noise (until very late at night). In addition, some flats in Pavilion Chambers are directly above the building and a nar/nightclub at this location will undoubtedly have impact (we note that DJs are planned both on the ground and basement floors)

Customer nuisance for such premises is a fact and even when they intend to minimise it, they never manage to avoid it. Running engines, playing music, and talking late at night when facility is closing are usual complaints from residential areas close to such premises. Inevitably the residential roads will be used by customers joining the only facility open in Clapham Junction until 3.30am, a long time after most of the other bars are closed, especially in Northcote road.

  • Crime and disorder

It is likely that those quite street will be used as an impromptu urinal by inebriated patrons making their way home, as it is already the case on Severus Road (near the Clapham Grant) or Beauchamp Road (an objection said “we have customers from current pubs/bars coming up to this part of the Clapham junction urinating on corners, our walls, including entry into our homes“).

Lavender Sweep is already used as a rat run by some drivers at night, cutting short from Battersea Rise to join Lavender Hill. The residential streets already suffer from congestion due to the one way road layout and on-street parked cars. As it can be seen on similar areas with high profile bar, the problem will exacerbate as drinkers are dropped off or picked up, or simply go back to their parked cars at night.

  • Public safety

The necessary refuse collection and deliveries will be likely to obstruct the street and create hazard for passer-by, especially as it is located partly on a crossroad marked as shared space between vehicles and pedestrians (specific road treatment, part of the Exemplar scheme, which is in practice used very frequently as a pedestrian crossing).

In conclusion, both the planning and licensing application seem preposterous in regard to the location and specific surrounding of the area. Suggesting an opening up to 3.30am at night for a site with the majority of its building and outside areas opening to a residential should be at least considered as clumsy, or even provocative. We join the voice of local residents and local Councillor Senior and trust that the Council will reject those applications.

Filed under: Clapham Junction Will Big Fat Panda become a trendy nightclub open until 3.30 in the morning?

28 storey tower recommended for approval, in total breach of planning documents

Author: Cyril Richert

28 storey tower recommended for approval, in total breach of planning documentsAnother very high tower has been recommended for approval in March (2014/6909), within the close vicinity of Clapham Junction. Just beside the Grade II listed Cremorne/Battersea railway bridge, Barratt London is going to build a 28-storey tower (12-14 Lombard Road, SW11).

As usual, Wandsworth planning documents have been ignored by the developers, and with reason, as the Council’s planning department itself chose to ignore them.

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.

As we said in our previous article:

“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.”

The Council received more than 120 objections from local residents (3 support – someone saying only he’s “fully in favour of this unique and stylish landmark development” – and 4 comments), including:

  • London Heliport (insufficient assessment of the impact, no cumulative effect assessed, do not want a repeat of the Vauxhall fatality)
  • Wandsworth Conservation Area Advisory Committee (out of scale with its surroundings, intrusive in views, harm the character of the Battersea Square Conservation area)
  • Battersea Society (Contrary to planning policy, Detrimental impact on local heritage bridge and river frontage, Lack of public transport capacity, Affordable Housing, Public Realm treatment)

As usual, the officer’s report brushed out all objections, saying:

15.2 The proposed building at 28 storeys is far in excess of the 8 storey maximum height that the SSAD for this site suggests is appropriate for this site. (so 28 is in excess of 8 so it’s appropriate? No joke?) […] There are considered to be material considerations that allow this proposed height to be considered favourably, and to accord with DMPD policy DMS4 (of the approved and 2nd proposed submission versions). These include the exceptional quality of the proposed architecture […].

15.3 […] In accordance with paragraph 134, there are considered to be significant public benefits from the proposal that outweigh the less than substantial harm to the setting of the Battersea Square […]

We find here again the usual favourite catchwords used by Wandsworth Council to justify any breach of planning rules: “significant benefits that outweight the harm… “. See a similar example HERE.

The Council has changed its policy after the planning submission, in an attempt to justify the scheme and help the developers

In addition, Wandsworth Council recently added a proposal in revised documentation that a focal point in Lombard Road ‘be investigated’ (Core Strategy PL9, p.83, October 2014). However not only this is an obvious attempt to justify the scheme afterwards, but while the SSAD height guideline was not revised, the new planning documents are still under examination by a government inspector and final approval is not expected before the end of 2015.

As the Heliport threatened to challenge if approved, the Council decided to defer

During the Planning Application Committee on March 18th, consideration was given to the impact that the scheme would have on the operations of London Heliport. The Committee agreed that the application be deferred to secure more information and they asked that the applicant carry out an additional assessment on the potential impact of the proposal using data collected from wind tunnel modelling.

In the previous meeting, another tower of 14 storeys nearby (Gwynne Road) had been approved in February (Planning Application Committee approved by 8 votes to 1).

Filed under: Clapham Junction 28 storey tower recommended for approval, in total breach of planning documents