25 storey tower for 100 York Road

Author: Cyril Richert

25 storey tower for 100 York RoadA scoping exercise last year for a 30 storey tower in 100 York Road has now turned into a more advanced pre-application as the developer organised an exhibition to promote their scheme at the end of January 2016.

The exhibition presented in January shows several building (essentially a tower of 25 storeys and a 6 storey neighbouring block), with a retention of the original Candle factory building. The new development will include 162 new dwellings (1,2 and  3 bedroom appartements), 72 parking space and 18 residential cycle spaces. It will deliver 3,200 sqm of office space.

25 storey tower for 100 York Road

According to the developers, a previous exhibition organised in December 2014 presented 3 options. The developers argue that the options “focusing on making the best use of the space available and on integration with surrounding community space [and to] prioritise the layout of the new buildings and their architecture relative to nearby developments” was rejected and new blocks incorporated into the site was much preferred. Therefore the result is that:

25 storey tower for 100 York Road

If you feel flabbergasted by the proposal, have a look at the initial scoping opinion (p.a. 2015/1835), requested for a mixed-use scheme including 200 residential dwellings and erection of new buildings up to 30-storeys in height.

25 storey tower for 100 York Road

And developers will find without any pain all the justification they need thanks to the already approved towers in the close vicinity, that they quote on page 4 of their exhibition documents:

  1. 98 York Road: 17 storey tower
  2. Heliport heights: 4+15=19 storey tower
  3. Homebase: 20 storey building (actually now 21!)
  4. Lombard Road: 28 storey building
  5. 56-66 Gwynne Road: 14storey building
  6. Winstanley & York Road Master plan.
25 storey tower for 100 York Road

They even compare with the Ram Brewery tower to justify the scheme.

25 storey tower for 100 York Road

And – contrary to the Council – they are not ashamed to show some  cumulative impact along the Thames.

It looks like the developers are quoting CJAG in their list (we should have asked for a patent 😉 ).

> Read:Planning in Wandsworth: is the Council out of control?

In any case, this was exactly the subject of our public meeting organised last November. You can see in this article that the cumulative impact of all those developments which the Council is approving was made clear through our presentation. And although we did not have the architects plans for 100 York road at the time of the meeting, we were quite close in our mocking exercise:

25 storey tower for 100 York Road

A planning application will be submitted in Spring 2016.

A few weeks ago I heard that an officer made a comment about Manhattan and how nice it would be to get the same here. Apparently it was not a joke…

Filed under: York Road area 25 storey tower for 100 York Road

Developers get early Xmas present from Council with approved towers previously refused

Author: Cyril Richert

Developers get early Xmas present from Council with approved towers previously refused

“The design of the facades has remained very similar to the previous application” says the report

A month before Xmas, Wandsworth Planning Application Committee approved a scheme in York Road, including a 17 storey tower, that they previously refused for the following reasons :

“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”

Hmmm I forgot to add that the refusal was just before the general election last May, so no need to be so concerned about the residents anymore now for Wandsworth Council! In a recent comment, the leader of the Council Cllr Govindia mocked Battersea  residents objecting to planning application, saying “as a percentage of the Borough’s population of around 310,000″ their number is insignifiant (even less significant in comparison to the entire population of England who does not object to Wandsworth’s schemes surely, ha ha!).

Application 2015/5308 was a rehash of the scheme turned down by the Committee against the officers’ recommendation.

Demolition of existing buildings. Erect mixed-use development up to 17 storeys (3 storey podium with 14, 10, 6 and 5 storey buildings above) to provide car showroom and workshop on GF, FF and 2F and 173 residential units above (inc. affordable housing).

On Tuesday 10th November, following lengthy discussion on the merits of the proposal, 98 York Road was approved by 5 votes to 4 (all labour Members: Ambache, Critchard and Belton voted against), the Chairman Cllr McDermott having used her casting vote to force approval of the scheme.

Councillor O’Broin (Tory Councillor of St Mary’s Park ward, not a member of the Planning Application Committee) spoke on behalf of local residents, saying that the key concern was that this revised application was no different from an earlier application which the Committee refused on grounds of its massing/density and its unneighbourly impact and the draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for Lombard/York area allows the Committee to refuse planning permission.

While Cllr Belton and Labour members agreed with the ward Cllr, other Tory members of the PAC considered the application was different. It is not a copy paste indeed, with 4 meters step back on one side, and 10% less flats.However the overall design is 95% similar.

In addition, Tory Cllr Sweet said that they cannot rely on draft policy: he is new obviously as all evidence in previous approved application that they often use emerging policy as a reason for granting permission when it can help them (including in this report, section 2.23)!

Cllr Critchard raised concerns about the option for the Council and the applicant to negotiate and agree a commuted sum to be paid to the Council in lieu of on site affordable housing. She also asked that it be noted that reference in the paragraph 5.2 of the report that the scheme generates a “deficit” is misleading as it means to state that the scheme will generate “a slightly smaller profit” and the public needs to be clear this is the case.

>> READ: Appeal and new application for 17 storey building at 98 York Road

As we wrote previously, all the already approved towers growing in the area are used as justification, as the report sates (full list from page 5 and page 29 of the officer’s report):

“The York Road Estate also contains other tall buildings, including 17-storey Penge House and 23-storey Sporle Court. The emerging Winstanley and York Road Estates Masterplan sets out a clear vision for the regeneration of this area and shows how this edge to York Road will be transformed with new high density development over the next 10 -15 years.

To the west of the site, along the River Thames to the north, there is Falcon Wharf (17-storeys with permission for an additional storey) and 12-14 Lombard Road with planning permisison for a 28-storey tower. Directly to the west are Altura Tower (16-storeys) and Orbis Wharf (5 -12 storeys) and further to the south Battersea Reach (five buildings between 15 and 18-storeys). Also south of the site, Trade Tower at Plantation Wharf has planning permission to extend from 13 to 17-storeys and Homebase on York Road permission for buildings up to 21-storeys. 40metres to the north planning permission was granted in October 2014 for a 20-storey building at Heliport House, Lombard Road. Three hundred metres further north of the site is 24-storey Totteridge House located on Yelverton Road. Neighbouring this is 56 to 66 Gwynne Road, which has planning permission for a 14-storey building.”

Affordable housing

As usual the level of affordable tenures is way below the Council’s target of 33% in every new developments. It is all offered as intermediate (no social obviously)  with 43 one and 2 bedroom flats (the refused application offered 50 flats + £500k off-site contribution). In addition it is suggested by the Council (yes!) that the 13 of the 43 affordable units which are located in a block mixed with private tenure (it may give rise to a lack of interest from private owners, says the officer’s report), could be replaced by a lump sum payment instead (“most beneficial to the Council” indeed as the report writes).


In order to show you the reliability of the so called “independent financial assessment” we need to read the comment of BNP Paribas: they conclude that the proposed scheme is not currently viable and generates a potential viability deficit of approximately £3.2 millions with the intermediate units based on the Council’s intermediate housing affordability criteria (according to BNPP: “the benchmark land value is £26.9million. With 25% on site intermediate affordable housing provision, the residual land value of the development is £23.7million“). The economic assessment submitted by the applicant showed a “deficit” of £2.21m).

Therefore why do you want to build a scheme so much that you have made an appeal against the first refusal last May, and filled a second very similar application? Because there is no deficit (misleading at least, generally called a “lie” with common people). As Cllr Critchard pointed out, this is only a “a slightly smaller profit”!

>> READ: Why is Wandsworth Council unable to meet its own target on affordable housing

Community Infrastructure Levy Estimate

The development should pay nearly £5 millions to Wandsworth borough.

>> READ: Justification of unjustifiable is becoming alarming in Wandsworth Council


Filed under: York Road area Developers get early Xmas present from Council with approved towers previously refused

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: http://www.dailymotion.com/cjagroup.

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

Local Company Becomes International Sustainability Flagship

Battersea-based Delphis Eco, the ecological cleaning products company, has been chosen by UK Trade and Industry (UKTI) as Britain’s leading ecological brand in their latest campaign. It is the “Green Pillar” in the “GREAT Britain” campaign to promote British products in 144 countries, alongside such household names as Aston Martin, Virgin, and Burberry. They will be showcasing British excellence globally.

CEO Mark Jankovich says, “We are really excited at this will open up an international market. We are keen to see our products helping companies worldwide to be more sustainable.”

delphisDelphis Eco was set up seven years ago by Mark Jankovich to manufacture ecological cleaning products, and was the first UK company to receive an EU Ecolabel accreditation.   It was also the first UK company to be awarded ‘Best Company’ by the European Commission, which recognised the brand for bringing particle innovation to the sustainability sector. With a focus on manufacturing the highest quality cleaning products that also have an independent eco accreditation, the company is committed to providing quality and sustainable cleaning products without an ‘eco’ price premium. As part of the ‘GREAT Britain’ campaign, it hopes to encourage businesses to be more sustainable and select eco-accredited cleaning products.

Mark Jankovich continues, “Part of our mission is to educate people and businesses to be more sustainable. It doesn’t cost any more and this way you can reduce your company’s environmental footprint.”

Being chosen to represent Britain abroad is a big honour for any company and it is very pleasing that this should go to one of Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce’s Members.

Steve Pinto, CEO of Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce says, ” Delphis Eco have been proud Chamber members for a number of years and first came to prominence about 4 years ago when the Chamber assisted their entry in to the Supply Nine Elms initiatives aimed at getting local businesses in to the suply chain of larger developments. Now used by a number of the Vauxhall Nine Elms developement companies they are worthy winners of numerous Awards and a shining example of a local business achieving Global status in a very competitive field.”


Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber’s resident blogger and copywriter – https://julianj.journoportfolio.com   www.julianjackson.co.uk


Justification of unjustifiable is becoming alarming in Wandsworth Council

Author: Cyril Richert

Justification of unjustifiable is becoming alarming in Wandsworth Council

98 York Road – 17 storeys proposal

While there is still an appeal on the previously refused 17 storey podium on 98 York Road, developers have also submitted a new screening application (nearly identical) for the site (see our article HERE).

Nobody will be surprised to read the response from Wandsworth Planning department (10 August 2015) giving a thumb up for the proposal (page 4):

“the scale of the impact of the proposal is not considered to give rise to markedly different impacts when taking into consideration the urban nature of the location with substantial buildings of similar height neighbouring the site, some comprising residential and similar commercial uses.”

And of course, despite denial from the Council that a tall building does not set a precedent (each of them assessed against their own merit – p8 of the paper –  and bla bla bla….), we see again here that the first tall building justifies the next.

In comparison to the recently approved planning application for a podium with towers up to 21 storeys to be erected next door (198 York Road), this only 17 storey tower would almost appear as not ambitious enough!

The planning officer adds:

“Given the character of the local area, the overall size and scale of the development would not give rise to a significant urbanising effect in a previously non- urbanising area and the nature and scale of the proposed development is not considered to be of significance beyond the local area.”

Can you talk more non-sense than that? In English it means: “we have already approved many towers of similar scale in the area, so one more or one less won’t change anything“. The level of distortion and spin (or whatever you want to call it) in the officers’ report is becoming alarming!

And of course, it’s another sign that the SPD consultation for York Road was no more that a presentation exercise for the Council, which is now considering already the area as an open land for tall buildings (or landmarks as the planners like to call them).

Filed under: York Road area Justification of unjustifiable is becoming alarming in Wandsworth Council

Post justification exercise by Wandsworth Council to justify cluster of towers in York Road area

Author: Cyril Richert

Wandsworth Council has run a major consultation over the July-beginning of August period, in a cynical attempt to justify their approval for tall and massive developments in the York/Lombard Road area. The so called consultation on the Proposed Supplementary Planning Document: Lombard Road/York Road Riverside Focal Point – June 2015 presented their aim to designate the latest area available between Clapham Junction and Wandsworth town centres as suitable for tall buildings, although no consideration was given on the impact of such schemes on transport and amenities.

We are not supporting the Focal point designation for the following reasons:

  • Most of the area has already been granted or recommended approval for redevelopments of very tall and massive constructions.
  • The cumulative impact is not considered.
  • Public realm improvements are already ignored in granting applications.
  • This looks like an attempt to complement all land between Clapham Junction and Wandsworth town centres and set up a blanket policy to transform the full area into a high-dense and tall buildings zone without resident consent.

We have structured our full response within the sections below:

1. Existing/proposed developments

Overall, out of 16 sites considered in the draft SPD, only 6 sites (7 if you consider 80 Gwynne Road) are currently free of redevelopment proposals. It means than 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.

Whilst all those scheme have currently been approved or recommended in breach of the current local planning documents (buildings of 9 storeys and more are likely to be inappropriate) there cannot be any doubt on the aim to justify the existing plan to transform the Lombard/York road area into a cluster of very tall buildings (or as the developers like to put it: landmarks!).

2. Impact

The cumulative impact of the all proposed or approved applications and the overall development of the surrounding area is a material consideration. Counting all proposals and approved schemes, we could get more that 2350 unites for the area, which might convert into more than 5000 additional residents using local amenities and transport facilities.

Transport for London itself admitted, during July Crossrail 2 meeting, that Clapham Junction station was already congested and the next major improvement might be Crossrail 2 in a 15 years horizon. It was also acknowledged that the surrounding road network in the area was over-stretched. In the meantime, the Council is only planning… a pedestrian bridge across the Thames (which seems actually to be the main purpose of this SPD exercise, beside ad-hoc justification for existing schemes).

The current local policy on transport (DMT1) is stating:

Development, including changes of use, will be permitted where it does not have a negative impact on the transport system, including public transport capacity and the highway network.

During the local plan examination hearing, on the 8th and 9th of July, the government inspector suggested amending the policy with the following wording:

Development, including changes of use, will be permitted where the residual cumulative impact on the transport system, (including public transport capacity and the highway network) is not significant.

It seems beyond imagination that the Council refuses to consider that an additional population of 5000 or more within the next 5 years will not have a significant impact on transport.

3. Amenities and public realm

The SPD draft already gives elements to justify tall building. It removes, from the different sites, the inappropriateness (which was ignored anyway) for tall buildings:

Tall buildings: In accordance with Core Strategy Policy IS3d, tall buildings in this location are likely to be inappropriate. 

Instead it specifically encourages tall buildings by stating:

The skyline of new buildings on the York Road frontage should be varied and [this is a site where] a tall element could be appropriate given the desirability for a significant contribution to public space provision. The justification for a tall building in this location is that it would have the potential to allow the delivery of high quality public realm at ground level and could be positive feature in the townscape.

Beside the very subjective statement of a “positive feature in the townscape”, the consideration of public realm is already side-lined in recent decisions.

In its latest example, the Council showed no consideration about public realm as it approved p.a. 2015/0881 which explicitly specified in its amended scheme that public realm routes would be removed:

The footprint of the building increased across the ground floor to link with a podium what was previously three separate buildings and so
removing the public realm routes through the site.

4. Area

Post justification exercise by Wandsworth Council to justify cluster of towers in York Road area
For areas A, B, C (town centres) the Council is considering tall building as sensitive (but not inappropriate), which means in reality, as all previous application show, that they are welcome. Battersea Reach (area D) has already been developed with high density and tall buildings. The current proposal for Winstanley and York redevelopment (area E) includes a series of very tall buildings, including several such buildings on York Garden.

The new focal point proposal (F) looks like an attempt to complement all 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.

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.


We consider this consultation as a preposterous exercise of justification for an area that has already been granted numerous developments in breach of existing policies.

The arguments used in the draft consultation brochure are biased and misleading and experience shows that they will be ignored by planning decisions as “on balance benefits outweigh harm”.

Therefore we are opposed to the designation of this area as a focal point as unnecessary, and this will only open doors to further steps beyond any acceptable development.

Cynical and offensive comments made by Council officers during the consultation

As reported by attendees to the consultation meeting on Streetlife, the Council made clear that they were not considering the exercise as a consultation, but much more as a presentation of the Council’s view.

First of all, in case you wonder why becoming a “focal point” involves very tall buildings, Dave Clark answered that… “it just does… it’s two years of lectures in the principles of urban development – it would take too long to explain it to you“.

In response to Council ignoring the many objections to massive developments in the area, Dave Clark answered:

“There are always objections – it’s not the Eurovision Song Contest”

In response to question of how can we build homes that the people who were born and raised here can afford to buy, the same officer said:

“We can’t – that’s never going to happen”.

And finally, he also said that the Council was going to be giving the people of the Winstanley estate [through York/Winstanley redevelopment] back their “dignity”. Those living in the area will appreciate the statement.

It was clearly a festival!


Filed under: York Road area Post justification exercise by Wandsworth Council to justify cluster of towers in York Road area