Author: Cyril Richert
The Council included explicit guidelines in its planning policy to prevent the use of eye-fish images on tall buidlings.
The Development Management Policies Document now states, para 2.49 page 23:
“Detailed visual assessments submitted with applications in order to demonstrate compliance with this policy (I think this means DMS1 but it could mean the tall buildings section of S2UDS) will be required to accurately represent what would be seen by the human eye. The use of wide-angle lenses, for example, can distort perspective and distance, and thus the relationship between the foreground and background, and this will not be acceptable”.
All good, you might think?
In reality, as often with Wandsworth Council, those seems to be policies to please the amenity societies and the residents, but with no effect in actual issues.
As we have demonstrated in a previous articles, Peabody developers did not care much about the policy as they explicitly used “wide angle lens of 24mm or 35mm” to distort the pictures that were presented to the public. It did not bother the Council officers who approved the documents without any question.
Comparison with Woburn House/Flacon road hotel
It is interesting to compare the submitted plans with the final result for another project that was approved by the planning Committee in 2012: The demolition of Woburn house in Falcon road to build a 8 storey hotel.
Photo submitted by the developers for their planning application (you can click on the photos to see them bigger):
Current building (photo taken with a Blackberry phone 26 August 2012) (you can click on the photos to see them bigger):
As you can see there is a box sticking out from the top of the building that was not planned originally… To the contrary, the developer assured us that they reduced the size of the building by 1 meter, while it seems rather the opposite, the building is now higher with that (ugly) box.
You will notice also that gentle colours were meant to match the surrounding while obviously it is now sticking out as an eye-sore, that you can’t avoid from St Johns Road view, nor Asda car park, nor of course Falcon road.
That is exactly why CJAG suggested to reduce the size of the building by one storey less. See HERE and the effect with our animated picture. No doubt that it would have been much more sympathetic to the whole area.
It is obvious that the developers have used a wide angle camera to reduce the impact of the development. In the animated image below we show the difference between 1- the submitted image and 2- the distortion we need to apply to match the real size of buildings:
As a little comfort, we could say: you see, we told you so! However it is unfortunate that same problems have been raised against the Peabody scheme, without anyone listening amongst the planning officers and the majority of the planning application committee when only 3 out of 11 Councillors voted to refuse the application.
Last but not least, you see below the impact of the view from Mossbury road:
To be honest, I haven’t come to anyone not saying that it was better before…
Remember what we wrote in May, 27th 2009: “In other words, this will be a cheap hotel for people looking for an affordable way of commuting to central London”
[this is not a criticism, but more “I told you so…” for those saying that no, it wouldn’t be the case]