Hotel in CJ: Letter from the Wandsworth Society

>> Your chance to contribute: tell us what your think on Clapham Junction station redevelopment

The letter below is the comment of the Wandsworth Society regarding the new proposal for a hotel development on the site of Woburn House, 155 Falcon Road. It has been addressed to the Planning Service in Wandsworth council, and to all members of the planning application committee. In order to make it easier, we have linked in the letter the references to the CJAG comments. You might want also to read the complaint sent  regarding the treatment given to those comments.

Wandsworth Society

22nd June 2010

P.Landsberg Esq,
The Planning Service

Dear Mr Landsberg,

Re: Application No 2010/1455 Woburn House 155 Falcon Road London SW11.

We are writing to record the Society’s comments on the application to be considered by the Planning Applications Committee on Thursday 24th June.

We are largely in support of those comments made by the Clapham Junction Action Group in their letter dated 2nd June and after consideration of other comments made, we would wish to make the following observations:

1. We endorse the comments made that the height of the proposed building should be limited to seven floors or at worst that a setback should be made to the 8th floor.

2. The economic viability of the scheme should not be a material planning consideration.

3. We are concerned that the parking of cars by both residents of the proposed new flats and the users of the hotel will increase pressure on very limited roadside space available. Could ground level parking under the flats not be provided for the occupiers of the flats?

4. Houses in Mossbury Road will be overlooked by the occupants of the hotel accommodation.

5. If the Committee are minded to grant permission, we consider that a condition should be attached requiring the applicant to submit details at a scale of 1:20 and 1:5 for the external walls, windows and doors and that construction is not to commence until such details are approved to ensure that the design quality of the proposals are achieved.

We hope that these comments will be brought to the Committee’s attention.

Yours faithfully,

Philip Whyte
for the Wandsworth Society

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Hotel in CJ: Letter from the Wandsworth Society

  1. The Planning Committee at its meeting last evening approved the planning applications for a new 8 storey hotel with separate retail space and six apartments, as recommmended by the planning department.

  2. That’s odd. I thought that you were claiming in a previous post that your comments had been taken into consideration in policies!

    Quite seriously there will be no faith in the planning process unless the whole of any community is taken into account, and that includes businesses and inwards investors. The current system is designed to drive them away and in today’s economic climate only the most atractive, simplest and cost effective investments will attract any interest whatsoever.

    The credibility of the system has been taking a severe battering and whilst the reasonable views of local residents are of course important it’s not the whole story. Unfortunately the success of partnering has been forgotten.

    The original (but refused) planning application followed considerable consultation and was made in the spirit of the then apparent policies. Little comment was in fact made about the height of the building in the earliest part of the process and that is why that scheme was developed. Later it became obvious that the Staion applicatio was having a profound effect on “tall” buildings generally. The Station project has gone and it’s very uncertain when any comprehensive scheme for that site will follow.

    The hotel client has actually owned his site for some time (unlike the developer for the station) and has been resolute in trying to find a solution for the site and is pleased that planning consent has now at last been received. It has however cost him vastly more than it need have done and that cost obviously has to be found.

    The design team is equally pleased that consent has been granted and believes that when built the new buildings will make a very positive contribution to the town centre.

    Reading the Council press release this morning unless one knew the facts you would have thought that it was the Council’s idea in the first place!

  3. David>tse tse 🙂 You know there are 2 separate issues: our comments were taken into account with the meaning OUR = CJAG+Societies which worked together.

    Here I think it was agreed within the members the committee from all parties that the CJAG has been discriminated in the report and other submissions.

    And don’t put me wrong: as discussed with Tim Glass the CJAG did not object with the hotel, but made a contribution as a General Comment that we wished to be discussed during the meeting.

    Re- the press release, that is just politics… a nicer way of saying would have been to write something about: “the Council wish to encourage local developers with reasonable plans to invest locally…” or something like this… but maybe it would be too objective 😉

  4. Not that I was there last night but someone I know was and from what they said it’s clear that two people can go to the same meeting and both come away with completely opposite ideas of what was said!

    On the recent applications the representations of the two local societies were both presented absurdly late and in one case outside the consultation period. It was therefore difficult (but happily just possible) to disavow the committee of some of the inaccuracies in their comments.

    One was in fact left with the impression that they (the Societies) had not really looked at the detail of the applications, the design analysis, the description of materials etc all of which is enormously expensive to produce and which should be considered if any credible opinion is to be given. In fact what usually happens is a skimped look at the drawings in an evening meeting with a few cosy chums, and no opportunity for the applicant or the architects to discuss or defend the design and its rationale. In fact from years of seeing and sometimes hearing such opinions it clear that in many cases the opinions are sheer puff.

    If the system is to be more open, involve the applicants and the architects too for heavens sake. We’re not all ogres seeking to take over and ruin the world, and I for one would be happy to enter into debate.

    That having been said many such societies are heavily populated (?infested) by architects and similar (certainly true in Wandsworth and Battersea) and its a truism that no two architects will ever agree on one design. Certainly in one fairly recent case I had a design criticised by a person whose building had been VOTED one of the ugliest in London, let alone Wandsworth!

  5. David> Why are you saying that 2 people can come with opposite ideas? I just reported that they said that CJAG should be properly mentioned and it was confirmed to me by 2 Councillors at the meeting + someone from the Putney Society.

    I know that the WS was late but I think the BS was on time and we definitely submitted on time. But from your comments I take that you recognise that the CJAG gas put lots of efforts in commenting the proposal and debating and that it was not based on exactly the same ground.

    Re the system more open, it is of course a good idea (limited to major application). But then you have to consider that it will take a lot of time, as beside the applicant you will have to hear the objectors. I take the point of the Council justifying their decision not to have third parties, but maybe I am wrong and there is a fair other way.

    Regarding the last comment, I must say that I am not an architect nor being involved in construction or survey, but as a local resident I have opinions on my neighbourhood and must say that generally agree with the societies which try to defend it. Never forget they are all volunteers dedicating their own time for the well being of the community, while ALL the other parties are paid.

  6. As I said my colleague at the meeting last night came away with a rather different interpretation of the debate.

    My own view is that there are the established local societies, which have elections, constitutions etc. They should be willing to have a proper debate with applicants although the experience of my profession is that open meetings often degenerate into abuse and insult. If such consultations can be properly conducted- OK.

    I think the situation with CJAG is not as clear. You seem to be an ad hoc group, without a constitution etc. The comments you made on the latest scheme did not in fact seem to reflect some of the individual postings. If you can accept criticism yourself I think that your organisation requires greater clarity and focus to increase its credibility.

    I will give you the credit for at least having a meeting with the client to discuss the design, something denied by virtually all other commenting organisations who slate from behind closed doors.

    On the latest scheme your website seemed to be designed to magnify the effect of the opinions of the very few people who commented this time, yet you seem to claim the same weight as with the opposition to the previous scheme.

    You started out at CJ, are still called after CJ yet you are darting about all over the place. Are you in fact a publicity or quasi political organisation taking in some of the societies or are you independent?

    From my perspective the community comments need to be better co-ordinated and, often, better researched and informed. Very often they are the same opinions from the same people.

    I know very well about the time put in by local volunteers in Wandsworth, and indeed in other places, having done more than my fair share. Very often as an architect whilst one is ultimately being paid, sometimes only for planning success, the process that exists at present is such that the remuneration often takes on all the qualities of voluntary work and it’s known that, unhappily, the profession of architecture is about the least rewarded in the UK!

    The main thing is that we now have planning consent. It could all have been so much easier. One will however relish the celebration over the week-end. The weather’s good, the rose’s cool and it’s our village fete-right ouside my front door! I shall enjoy!

  7. David>Question was raised last year about its future as the station plans was withdrawn. We have however a solid group of about 30 people and about 800 supporters, and opinions were shared that we could help informing residents on local issues in the Borough.

    Although it was called CJAG, we do not deny the right to inform people on what is decided by the borough they live in as it is eventually the decision of THEIR Council and it might always have a future impact on their neighbourhood.

    I take your point on more clarity requested. Although we try to be as transparent as possible, and have never claimed to be what we are not. You must agree that we have put a fair amount of time and effort in giving information on subjects that people would have had great difficulty to get somewhere else. If people disagree with us they can always say it on our website there is no censor. And actually we think that debates make progress. We inform people, we do not tell them they must agree with us all the time. 800 supporters does not mean 800 blind folded followers, but 800 individuals wishing some more information.

    Enjoy the weekend. In CJ we have the street part in Lavenderhill on Sunday.

    I will publish several articles over the next days, including the report on the committee decision later today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s