CABE objects to redevelopment and criticises the plans

Author: Cyril Richert

After the Battersea Society, Martin Linton (MP for Battersea – Labour) and Jane Ellison (Conservative Parliamentary Spokesperson for Battersea), the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Cabe), the Government’s design watchdog,  is joining our concern and made comments about the current planning proposal at Clapham Junction. A design review by CABE of the redevelopment of the south-west London station says the case for two tall towers accommodating 556 residential units to a maximum height of 42 storeys were a “missed opportunity”.

According to the website, plans to redevelop Clapham Junction Station in Battersea have been panned by CABE because it is “not convinced” by proposals to build two towers of equal height.

The website reported:

If constructed as planned, Cabe says the buildings would appear “ungainly in medium and long range views of the buildings and unsettling when experienced up close”.

It added that the decision to not locate a tower above the station entrance was “potentially confusing” to users of the facility.

The station entrance was also “under-played” architecturally and the “wave” form of the station roof could be too complex to construct, added the review.

CABE said it did welcome the “considerable improvements this project would make to the station and the public realm” but said it was less convinced it would provide a fitting landmark for the area.

So in other words: wrong design for the area, confusing scheme for the users, station redevelopment under-played architecturally and not a fitting landmark. This is the opposite of the Mayor Office statement (albeit Boris Johnson’s claim to put a stop to Ken’s ‘phallocratic towers’) which  approves the design of the towers finding them “attractive city elements contributing positively to the London skyline”.

Martin Linton said that both English Heritage and CABE pointed to the failure of Wandsworth Council to come forward with any strategy for tall buildings in their objections to the Ram Brewery proposal. According to his email, CABE says it would be “difficult to make a case for tall buildings… without a borough-wide tall buildings strategy” and English Heritage objected on the grounds that “the proposals have emerged in the absence of a clear, up-to-date tall buildings policy“.

UPDATE 21/01.2009: read the full comment on CABE’s website.

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