Peabody: at last they are building again!

Author: Cyril Richert

Phase 2 site looking North from Comyn Road

This time, it’s for real: Peabody has started again their construction in St John’s Hill, Clapham Junction, after nearly 3 years in limbo, and 8 years after the scheme was approved by Wandsworth Council, against local community.

The redevelopment was originally approved in July 2012 after a large campaign to oppose the proposal and local newspapers naming the plan “controversial”. Phase 1 was achieved in 2016 but then Peabody wrote to the local residents in December 2016, telling them that due to the estimated build cost significant increase (and as we heard because units were not selling well on the private market), they had decided to put a temporary hold on the development. Continue reading

Community Participation in Planning: a London Forum meeting

Author: Cyril Richert

On Tuesday 14th January, the London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies organised an Open Meeting on Community Participation in Planning. They had four passionate speakers sharing their idea on how we can get more and better community participation in planning. Continue reading

Big blow for the Council: Development granted in appeal after inspector says it is not dissimilar to what Wandsworth is allowing usually

Author: Cyril Richert

Soon up to 10 storey at the corner of Putney High Street and Putney Bridge Road

A development up to 10 storeys facing Putney High Street, has been granted by a Government Inspector in appeal after Wandsworth Planning Committee refused it (despite recommendation to approve from the officers).

Renowned developer Grimshaw proposed a series of building up to 10 storeys in 2017 on a site surrounding (but without)  the corner of Putney High Street and Putney Bridge Road to replace several buildings of 3 storeys (pictured above) comprising 115 flats and 8 mews houses, with 27 associated parking spaces (p.a. 2017/1874).

The site currently accommodates a collection of individual buildings, varying in height between 3 and 4 storeys and comprising shops on the ground floor with storage and offices above and frontages to Putney High Street and Putney Bridge Road. Continue reading

Bad journalism with the BBC

Author: Cyril Richert

On the last days of 2019, BBC News published an article on a main train station transformation project in Paris: Gare du Nord: Why Europe’s busiest station needs a makeover fast. This is a project that we have mentioned in October on CJAG’s website (here) and that we are therefore familiar with. After a (rather) balanced presentation of the opinions of different parties, the problem comes with the conclusion of the article:

“But truth be told, opponents of Stationord are fighting a losing battle.

Paris’s other big stations – Montparnasse, Saint-Lazare, Austerlitz – have already had their commercial makeover. Why would the Gare du Nord be any different?”

Continue reading

Shock news: Are Debenhams and T.K. Maxx both closing?

Author: David Curran

IMG_20191026_085015848_HDR

We’ve heard worrying reports that both the ‘anchor tenants’ of Clapham Junction’s shopping centre may close next year. Not because they want to leave, but because their landlord has given them notice to quit! Debenhams as a whole has been in difficulty for a while, although as we have previously reported the Clapham Junction branch is profitable and one they definitely want to keep. And we understand our T.K. Maxx is one of the best performing in the country.

But we have heard from several sources, as well as one media article, that the relatively new owner of the building, W Real Estate, wants them out so they can redevelop some or all of the building as a hotel. This would be the end of one of London’s most famous department stores, and a true icon of Clapham Junction. It would also have major implications for neighbouring traders.

Continue reading

A lot of hypocrisy on Osiers Site

Author: Cyril Richert

While the chair of the Planning committee, Cllr Guy Humphries

  1. argue that the Osiers’ scheme was the last piece of the jigsaw envisioned to “reshape” the area,
  2. admits that local residents might not have been aware of the plan, and
  3. asserts that developers’ interest should take privilege over local residents amenities,

the members of the committee start having doubts over the Council strategy and turn down the proposal.

The process of filling Wandsworth Riverside started under the leadership of previous Council leader Ed Lister: Battersea Reach beside Wandsworth roundabout started to fill up with towers two decades about, then Osiers road sites and now York Road is changing fast. The previous size of 9 storeys above which buildings would be unlikely to be approved as long been ignored forgotten by the Council.

A decade ago, shortly after approving a scheme with a 36 storey tower for the Ram Brewery (later scrapped by the Secretary of States), Wandsworth Council approved a a scheme including a 21 storey-tower. It seems the norm nowadays, but it was a breach of policy at the time as the council documents stated that 18 storeys will generally be unacceptable. And while the planning officers conceded ten years ago (already!) that “the proposed density [was]in excess of both the urban and central setting” regarding transport, they praised the scheme. Although it was the tallest of the area, the developers of Osiers Estate have justified their high density because “a number of high density scheme ha[d] been permitted in the vicinity of the site” already! Continue reading