Up to 25 storey buildings to replace Homebase near Wandsworth roundabout

Author: Cyril Richert

Up to 25 storey buildings to replace Homebase near Wandsworth roundaboutSeveral building, including a 25 storey tower, are proposed at the current site of Homebase, Swanden Way, near Wandsworth bridge roundabout.

Application 2015/3304 describes the proposal as a scoping exercise (i.e. not a formal planning permission application at the moment):

“Demolition of the existing buildings and redevelopment of the site to provide a mixed use scheme including 450 residential units , retail units, offices and associated community facilities, cycle and car parking (within buildings ranging from 10 to 25 storeys) and public realm improvements.”

As usual now in Wandsworth, you won’t be surprise to hear that 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 (p132) saying:

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.

Ah ah ah! As for recent applications in Lombard Road or York Road, developers are now ignoring completely that policy and submit 14, 17, 21,25, 28 or 30 storeys without batting an eye.

The Proposal as received more than 40 objections so far and no support. Beside the massing and the size of the development, the most frequent critic is on the pressure created on Wandsworth Town Railway Station that has already major difficulties to respond to the pressure of commuters at peak hours.

As the planning officers are currently recommending for approval any major scheme in the area, our only hope of recovering some sense of reality will probably rely on the Councillors members of the Planning Application Committee if such scheme comes before them.

Filed under: Wandsworth Town Up to 25 storey buildings to replace Homebase near Wandsworth roundabout

Benefits outweight harms to justify 26 storey tower

Author: Cyril Richert

Benefits outweight harms to justify 26 storey towerFollowing our article on the redevelopment of Garatt Lane (South Thames College), including a 26 storey tower, Wandsworth Council has approved the proposal (no surprise, as this is the Council’s own application).

The scheme is described as the demolition of existing buildings and erection of four new buildings ranging in height from 4 to 26 storeys to provide 202 residential units.

You will note that this is in contradiction to the Council’s planning policies. The Site Specific Allocations Document (Feb. 2012) states (page 80):

Tall buildings: In accordance with the Stage 2 Urban Design Study – Tall Buildings, the site is sensitive to tall buildings […] Para 2.8 of the S2UDS refers to both the offices in Garratt Lane and Welbeck House as “less successful” and some reduction of existing storey heights will be sought, in part, on both sites. This is to ensure a better relationship to adjoining listed buildings and to enhance the appearance of the Wandsworth Town Conservation Area

As this is now the rule in the Council, those planning documents have been ignored and the officer’s report says:

“26.4 Block B is fully acknowledged to be a tall addition to the Town Centre but the harm that it would cause is considered to be less than substantial in terms of the tests set by the NPPF and outweighed by public benefits. The tall building elements of the development have assessed against policy DMH4 and on balance satisfy the criteria and therefore considered compliant with policies DMH4 and IS3.

26.6 There are a number of listed buildings located near the site; […] where harm may be caused, the benefits to the public are considered to outweigh those harms.

26.7 The site is located within a conservation area. […] on balance the positive aspects of the development are considered to outweigh other aspects of the scheme and overall the proposed is viewed favourably. “

Indeed, with the Council’s catch words “on balance…” and “where harm may be caused, the benefits to the public are considered to outweigh those harms” everything is now acceptable!

 

Filed under: Wandsworth Town Benefits outweight harms to justify 26 storey tower

Even the Council’s own proposal can’t bear following its own planning documents

Author: Cyril Richert

Even the Council’s own proposal can’t bear following its own planning documents

We have just received last Wednesday (although dated 8th October!) a new application for a 26 storey tower at Garatt Lane. You might not consider this as our prime area of interest (although it is close to the Ram Brewery that we commented on, and this is just in front, beside South side!) however the proposal on Council’s land raise some attention, not only because of the size but primarily because it contradicts blankly Wandsworth borough Local Plan for the area.

Even the Council’s own proposal can’t bear following its own planning documents

* = listed buildings

The planning application 2014/5149 says:

Demolition of existing buildings and erection of four new buildings ranging in height from 4 to 26 storeys to provide 202 residential units, 2,389sq.m of commercial floor space (Class A1, A2, A3, A4 and A5, B1(a)) and D1 (relocation of Wandsworth library) and associated parking, access routes, amenity space, public realm works and alterations to the adjacent Old Burial Ground on Garratt Lane.

You will note that this is the Council’s own application.

The Wandsworth Society responded to the initial consultation in July. We supported the removal of unsightly existing buildings, and a contemporary design for replacements, but strongly objected to an “excessive” 25-storey tower (now being 26!):

“The Wandsworth Society welcomes in principle the redevelopment of the site and the removal of existing buildings. A contemporary design for the new buildings is appropriate and the approach adopted by the architects could produce an acceptable scheme.

But the height of new buildings proposed, particularly the 25-storey tower, is excessive and must be addressed – in accordance with the Council’s own recent and clear statements on new development in the neighbourhood.”

Indeed the statement in the Site Specific Allocations Document (Feb. 2012) states (page 80):

Tall buildings: In accordance with the Stage 2 Urban Design Study – Tall Buildings, the site is sensitive to tall buildings […] Para 2.8 of the S2UDS refers to both the offices in Garratt Lane and Welbeck House as “less successful” and some reduction of existing storey heights will be sought, in part, on both sites. This is to ensure a better relationship to adjoining listed buildings and to enhance the appearance of the Wandsworth Town Conservation Area”

However, in complete contradiction, the developer’s Heritage statement (i.e. the Council, as this is their own application, not a private developer) states:

“The general impact will be positive, adding distinctive and well-designed new buildings at the heart of the centre, reinforcing its historic function.”

Therefore once again we wonder what is the point of spending so much effort and money in a planning department, when planning documents produced can be ignored at will. Indeed, Cllr Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said this year that they were not more than … guidelines!

A lively discussion is posted on Streetlife about the scheme.

You can comment on the application until November 16th 2014, on the Council’s website (online comment HERE).

Filed under: Wandsworth Town Even the Council’s own proposal can’t bear following its own planning documents