Author: Cyril Richert
Another planning application came out last month (2014/5357) to build a 14 storey tower at 56 – 66 Gwynne Road SW11 3UW, just behind the development site that we were talking about two weeks ago.
The description is: Comprehensive redevelopment involving the demolition of an existing two-storey commercial building, excavation to form new basement and replacement with a new 14 storey building to provide mixed use comprising of commercial/retail at ground & mezzanine levels and 33 residential flats above with cycle and refuse storage facilities at basement level.
There are currently already 7 objections, which should guarantee that the scheme will go before the Planning Application Committee (under the new rule, less than 3 objections won’t go before the PAC, in addition to the current “no-representation from the residents” rule).
“The proposed development would result in an unneighbourly and substantial overdevelopment of the site, with its scale, form and massing resulting in a visually dominant and overbearing development which would relate poorly to and not physically integrate effectively into its immediate surroundings; the development would result in a poor outlook and environment for some of the flats, and would result in a loss of outlook and increased sense of enclosure for nearby residential occupiers, and would fail to provide adequate refuse storage facilities; contrary to policies H10, H11, TBE1 and TBE5 of the Unitary Development Plan.”
The location of the building, in the current environment (however likely to change if the Council grants permission for a 28 storey building in Lombard road, blocking the view to the river) will obscure light and views from the newly build adjacent dwellings (some of them with roof terraces). It will also be dominant to the public park opposite.
In addition, the current proposal for a 14 storey tower is contrary to Wandsworth planning documents. The Site Specific Allocation Document (part of Wandsworth Borough Local Plan, reflecting the borough statutory policies and guidelines for planning development) has got a section dedicated to a site nearby, at 12-14 Lombard Road, SW11 (p174). It says:
Tall buildings: In accordance with Core Strategy Policy IS3d, tall buildings in this location are likely to be inappropriate. In accordance with DMPD Policy DMS4, the height at which a development in this location will be considered to be tall is 9 storeys.
However the Council told us that they now want to designate the area as a “focal point”, which means that they could accept taller buildings (and we were told that they even encourage developers to go for “iconic” towers).
In addition, as some objections stated: “The proposal has been submitted with the provision of some live/work units. None of these in our development were sold or operated as live/work units and all subsequently applied for a change of purpose to living/dwelling units. There is no reason to believe ANY units in the new development will be saleable as live/work units and the application as such is purely intended to satisfy planning via the ‘back door.’”
We have already shared similar concerns about Wandsworth becoming a dormitory borough and the Council taking absolutely no action to contradict this trend. The lack of measure to oppose government legislation allowing change from offices to residential without any planning permission is an example, in addition to past granted permissions to allow major loss of office space, such as 77-83 Upper Richmond road development (P.A. 2011/0054), or the more recent report from the BBC showing that Wandsworth Council allowed a developer to drop all office space from development.
Additional concerns from local residents are – as usual with all new developments – reside within the increased congestion and the lack of adequate parking provision for the scheme.
You have until 21st November to comment on the application.