Awkward proposal for Plantation Wharf for yet more towers

Author: Cyril Richert

2016-pw-application-1

A  proposal (p.a. 2016/5644) to redevelop part of Plantation Wharf has been submitted in October 2016. The application says:

Demolition of existing buildings (with the exception of Trade Tower) and redevelopment for mixed use (A1-4, B1, D1/2 and flexible uses within these classes) and 127 affordable and market housing units contained within 4 new buildings (5, 6, 8 and 16 storeys) and including a 6 storey extension to the top of the Trade Tower for a net increase of 8 residential units.

Back in 2009, the Planning Application Committee criticised the Plantation Wharf proposal  for scale and proportion issues within the vicinity which led eventually to refusal. As it was just a matter of time for the Council to approve another tower, the proposal was back in 2012 (p.a. 2012/5470) and this time approved.

trade-tower-extension-2016

It was just a matter of time for the developers to submit new applications for this area which has been generously granted the status of build-as-tall-as-you-can focal point by Wandsworth Council.

As developers told us in a meeting in January: Shoreditch tall developments is the trend to follow now in Wandsworth views.

more than 80 objections received

The 80 objections received so far (up to 11 January 2017) include the Wandsworth Society, the Battersea Society and Wandsworth Design Review Panel along with the local residents.

The Design Review Paneldid not find the relationships, particularly the massing and height, between the existing tower, the proposed tower and the proposed public square to be at all convincing. The Panel felt that the new tower diminished the existing tower which should remain the central feature of the overall development“. They repetitively question the proposal to place another tower next to the
existing Trade Tower and they strongly recommend that further work and review is made on the design of the scheme. They are also puzzled by the public realm proposals including the proposed square where no study was presented with the effect of overshadowing by the tower(s), wind effect, and gated entrance. [Click here for full objection]

The Wandsworth Society expressed many concerns about the proposal [Click here for full objection]:

  • Overbearing presence of the tower in the centre of the scheme and both towers will overlook and overshadow the remaining parts of the Plantation Wharf development.
  • Loss of public realm and open space..
  • Loss of 1,125sqm of commercial space (which emphasises the grave loss of commercial floor space in the Borough in recent years).
  • No agreement on the required provision of affordable housing.

They think that a proper plan should address:

  1. The awkward relationship between the two towers.
  2. The reduction of building heights to a more human scale.
  3. The problems of overlooking and overshadowing of the remainder of Plantation Wharf.
  4. Improvements to the internal layout and the public realm.
  5. The loss of employment space.
  6. The full provision of the affordable housing of the type identified as most needed should be addressed.

The Battersea Society shared the views expressed by the Design Review Panel and found also “disgraceful that there is no information about the percentage of affordable housing proposed.  [They] assume the developers have an overall financial plan in place and the lack of this information suggests a future attempt to minimise any percentage“.  [Click here for full objection]

The Clapham Junction Action Group shares the views of the Society about the impact in term of transport to Clapham Junction. As we claimed more than a year ago, the Council approving all those new large proposals in the area, ignore the cumulative impact of development for an area already under pressure. 

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