In pictures: Clapham Junction M&S has become a flagship

IMG_20191005_101347407

When M&S at Clapham Junction closed for renovations for several months, it was clear this was going to be more than a wash and brush up.  After it closed, sounds of drilling and demolition behind the hoardings confirmed that this was more than a coat of paint: major works were underway. 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

When other countries are weighing urbanism rules over private interest

Author: Cyril Richert

Porte de Montreuil project – Credit in leJDD.fr: Lautreimage / Play-Time

London has rows of 4-storey Victorian houses, Paris has got 6-storey Haussmann buildings, both inherited from the 19th century. During the 20th century, the French city had a few attempt to build towers, with the – nearly unanimously disliked by Parisians – 210 m Montparnasse tower and a cluster of high rise buildings along the river in the west of Paris. In the meantime, the city of London developed high-rise in its centre, with Tower 42 acting as a landmark for the financial district amongst other taller buildings, later joined by the Gherkin.

However things started to diverge at the beginning of the 21st century. While Paris stayed mostly the same (and that is mostly due to the Montparnasse tower, as shortly after its construction was voted a law in 1977 to limit the size to 37 m [1] on all new buildings [2]), London initiated a more drastic change of its skyline when Ken Livingstone became Mayor of London in 2000. Continue reading

Clapham Junction is losing its DIY stores!

Author: David Curran

file-49

In the 1980s, Clapham Junction emerged as a profitable spot for DIY traders. Close to the city centre and full of nice-but-tired (and, at the time, just about ‘affordable’) housing, the DIY stores realised there was a huge appetite for property renovations and that they were on to a good thing.  Over the years a big B&Q, as well as two separate branches of Homebase, sprung up along the York Road, as well as a pair of Travis Perkins branches on Battersea Park Road and Lombard Road serving the more serious builders. Over the last three decades  lot of the materials that went in to renovating, upgrading and extending the houses of Clapham Junction (as well as the wider catchment north of the river) came from these big box stores.

But that’s come full circle now, and the DIY stores that did so much to feed the regeneration of the houses of Clapham Junction are themselves getting priced out of the area.

Continue reading

Consultation on Ward boundary changes for Wandsworth

Author: Cyril Richert

Current 20 wards in Wandsworth

The Boundary Commissioners are just about to make decisions about the ward boundaries in Battersea. One thing we know is that all, or almost all, wards will change as a result of their first rather curious recommendation (decision?) to go from having 60 councillors (currently 3 in each of 20 wards in the Borough) to 58. If they were to stick with an equal number of representation for each ward, that would mean 2 councillors in 29 wards.

We have decided to submit a contribution, reinforcing our interest and commitment for the area. Continue reading