Tileman House – Comments

Author: Cyril Richert

We have reported in a separate article about the planning application submitted to the Council to redevelop the site of Tileman House.

Three Councillors (Ravi Govindia, Jeremy Larsson and Leslie McDonnell, also chair of the Planning Committee, from East Putney ward) have published a letter (see here/bottom) addressed to residents of the vicinity of Upper Richmond Road where they encourage present favourably the case for the development:

The alternative would be for the property to remain empty for a long period of time running the risk of it becoming an eyesore. […] proposals for a mixed commercial/residential development should have the advantage of bringing the buildings into use and adding to the attraction of Putney Town centre as a destination. […] Any redevelopments on the Upper Richmond Road will attract s106 gains which will be used to improve the infrastructure in the immediate area. It is important that as Wandsworth Town Centre develops further, Putney does not lose out.

However, the application has generally created a massive opposition.

There is already an animated debate with more than 90 messages (since mid-June, as of today) on the PutneySW15.com website. As written in the first post, most of the comments “fail to see how the minor alterations made to the plans address the concerns expressed in the hundreds of comments sent against the last application“.

On the Council website, the latest count on the revised application is 179 objections and 3 in favour (as of 17/07). A lot of the objections are repeating the words “insulting our intelligence” and ” I do not want“. In addition, as confirmed by the Chairman of the Planning Committee, hundreds of comments on the previous application (ref 2008/5428) will be reported to the planning committee.

John Horrocks, for the Putney Society, said:

To the general public, given that their concern, when looking at this application, is what the proposed building would look like from the Upper Richmond Road, this new application is no different from last year’s application (No 2008/5428). In this context, the two applications are identical.

The Society’s objections to last year’s application were set out in our letter of 23 February 2009.  The Society has since produced a Design Brief (dated June 2009) which details how this site should be redeveloped if a satisfactory building is to be achieved. […]

On all these points the application is in conflict with the council’s planning standards and policies as set out in the various planning policy documents which now make up the ‘development plan’.  We see no reason why a departure from these policies would be appropriate here.  There would be no advantage to Putney in doing so.

Justine Greening, Conservative MP for Putney said:

I am writing to object to the latest planning application for Tileman House.

I remain concerned about the height of the proposed building, especially of the rear block. Additionally, the properties in St John’s Avenue will be overlooked by a number of balconies at the rear of Tileman House in a way that they are not currently and this will clearly be an intrusion for those residents. […]

I request that my constituents’ concerns are fully taken into account during the planning process and I would be grateful if you could continue to keep me informed of progress on this application.

Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate Stuart King said:

The conduct of the developer in this case is deeply cynical. The tactics of withdrawal, inconsequential amendment and resubmission are nothing more than a war of attrition with local residents, who remain overwhelmingly against this overdevelopment. It is time-consuming for everyone concerned and deeply undemocratic. I pay tribute to the civic contribution those who feel so passionately against this overdevelopment continue to show.

Residents and I support regeneration of Upper Richmond Road and this site in particular. But that regeneration cannot be at any price and certainly not at the price that entails a 15-storey tower on the site’s Upper Richmond Road frontage. The reduction in bulk to the rear offers a negligible positive improvement on light and overlooking to residents of St John’s Avenue, and the further reduction in what was already an unacceptably low proportion of affordable housing is equally intolerable given Putney’s shortage of affordable homes.

This application is likely to come before the Planning Applications Committee on 20th August.

If you want to let the Council know your view, contacts details are available HERE with reference to Planning Application No 2009/1773.

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