Ram Brewery redevelopment approved by Wandsworth Council

Ram Brewery, Wandsworth High Street SW18During its meeting yesterday, Wednesday 3 December, Wandsworth Planning Committee decided to grant permission for Minerva’s plans for two new towers on the Ram Brewery.

As we presented the consequences in a previous article, the main brewery site will be marked  by a pair of 32 and 42-storey residential tower blocks (up to 145m  or 475ft).

According to the ContractJournal.com: Wandsworth council gave the green light to the plans after Minerva agreed to contribute £41m to improving transport in the area.

Planning applications chairman Leslie McDonnell said:”This is an ambitious scheme which has the potential to transform the town centre by making it a place where people live, work and enjoy their leisure time.

“The new homes, shops and restaurants come with the biggest transport ‘dowry’ we have ever secured. It is the only prospect we have of getting the money to tackle the area’s chronic traffic problems.”

Tonight there is no minute available on the Council website yet, but according to the record, the list of attendance was:

Councillor Leslie McDonnell Chairman Present
Councillor Piers McCausland Deputy Chairman Present
Councillor Tony Belton Opposition Speaker Present
Councillor Ms Dee Church Member Present
Councillor Mrs. Vanessa Graham Member Present
Councillor John Hallmark Member Present
Councillor Ms Susan John-Richards Member Present
Councillor Martin D. Johnson Member Present
Councillor Andrew Penfold Member Present
Councillor Dr. Billi Randall Member Present
Councillor Ms Rosemary Torrington Member Present
Councillor Mrs. Caroline Usher Member Present
Councillor Maurice Heaster Member In attendance
Councillor Edward Lister Leader of the Council In attendance

UPDATE January 2009: You can view the minutes of the meeting here. I quote the minutes and highlight extracts.

A range of views were expressed during the discussions, and members’ attention was drawn to the Wandsworth Society concerns about the lawfulness of the proposed Section 106 legal agreement with particular regard to the contribution proposed by the applicant relating to the one-way system and whether this would be contrary to advice in the Government’s circular 05/2005 about planning obligations. On this point, we noted the Borough Planner’s assurance that the ‘tests’ that must be taken account of in circular 05/2005 by a local planning authority in relation to planning obligations had been fully assessed as part of his consideration of the applications and that he was satisfied that the legal agreement, including the proposed contribution for works to the one-way system, met the advice set out in that circular.

Councillors Belton and Randall, whilst acknowledging the benefits that would be provided in regenerative terms, opposed the schemes on the grounds of the low provision of affordable housing, particularly the absence of social rented accommodation, along with the concentration of this provision solely on the Cockpen House site; the proposed mix of units; the impact on the transport infrastructure and parking issues; concerns over whether a solution to reconfiguration of the present one-way system is achievable; the height, scale and massing on the Ram site and its potential impact; and whether any future proposals that might come forward for this site might be of a lower standard but more difficult to resist because of precedent in the granting of any permission for these proposals. However, Councillors McCausland, Ms. Church, Mrs. V. Graham, Hallmark, Ms. John-Richards, Martin D. Johnson, Penfold, Ms. Torrington and Mrs. Usher, whilst taking account of the reservations expressed, were of the opinion that the high quality of the scheme, both in design terms and in the significant and far-reaching opportunity for regeneration and transport improvements to Wandsworth Town Centre that would be provided, merited the fullest support of the Council.

After debate lasting 90 minutes and considering all relevant matters, including the details of each application, concerns raised during the consultation process, the Council’s development plan policies and London Plan policies, and relevant Government guidance and legislation, it was then

RESOLVED – (by 9 votes to 2 in the case of applications 2008/0955 and 2008/0960) that the recommendations set out in the report be adopted.

It is unfortunate that the Conservative members of the Planning Committee adopted the plan without requesting any modification regarding the height of the towers, the one way system and other reservations raised. Damage for the environment of the local residents, and consequences for the whole borough could shape the vicinity forever if the construction goes forward un-amended.

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