We received an email form Julia Matcham, former member of an Action Group in the vicinity and who keep writing regular newsletters.
ALERT : Clapham Junction Redevelopment
I should have been quicker off the mark over this particularly as I only found out accidentally (by means of a small poster at the Station) that plans were now being considered. In my opinion the whole matter should be much better publicised and subject to public proper and extensive consultation. It is the biggest Junction in Europe and not someone’s back extension. Reading other people’s objections on the planning site makes it very clear WHY there should be thorough discussion.
I am informed that the area/property* is owned by Network Rail plus Metro Shopping Fund who (I think) encompass Delancey and Land Securities.
I asked who is actually responsible for Clapham Junction Station and was told -Network Rail – who have said they have no plans for updating the station in any foreseeable future.
So the only way the Council can see an improvement to the station (for which they are NOT responsible) is by giving planning permission to these people who will say they need the towers to pay for the station.This is to my mind quite outrageous. Clapham Junction Station is a public resource and should be properly funded by the government. Any subsidiary developments around the station should be another story and considered on behalf of local residents and retailers, not on behalf of developers.
One has to ask why then are the Council encouraging this situation? Why should the Council should even consider facilitating an unecessary deal of this sort? Why not leave it as it is until the government/Network-Rail are shamed into doing something about Clapham Junction because it is truly a national disgrace. It is not the Council’s responsibility. Is it that this huge development would bring in a lot of income?
Proposed are 2 hideous 42 storey towers = 556 housing units.
And, if I remember rightly, approx 50 retail units. Do we need them? Isn’t St John’s Road enough?
This is a high price for local people to pay for a cleaned up station with an lift and an inconvenient new entrance up the hill.
Parking underneath the new buildings cannot possibly be enough for the housing units and increased trade.
Coincidentally a new ‘Polyclinic’ is proposed in the Grant Road area …and where is their trade going to park and wait for their afflicted relations? Asda’s car park? No, that will be full of parkers for the 50 retail shopping units and the overflow from the 556 flats!
Then there is the question of density of our local population; the height, ugliness and inappropriateness of what is proposed; the effect of 50 new retail outlets on St Johns Road . All because Network Rail/government will not take proper responsibility for it’s own station.
In any rational world, in the event of it being necessary, more than one way of designing such a large public area would be considered regardless of who actually owns the properties. That way we might get some decent architecture in the borough. I asked about this and I am told by Mark Hunter (Planning Dept) who is in charge of the application that while anyone can put in a planning application, only those with a financial interest in such a large property would be likely to do so.
As I see it, this isn’t for us…the beneficiaries will be the developers plus quite a bit of income for the council. Network Rail shamelessly provide convenient leverage for predatory developers. Maybe it isn’t yet a done deal…
*All the buildings except the pub on the corner.