For B&Q Developers, Wandsworth is the new Shoreditch

Author: Cyril Richert

bq-application-mockupOn January 9th  developers of the B&Q site organised a meeting to discuss their proposal. Since then, a planning application (p.a. 2017/0580) has been submitted for 14 residential blocks (with 3 podiums) ranging from 8 to 15 storeys to provide a mixed use scheme including 517 residential units, 5098 sqm of business and 2745 sqm flexible business/retail/restaurant and cafe.

Developers claim that their scheme will have a small footprint (14 towers!!) and indeed nearly 8000 sqm of commercial space with dedicated courtyards. The plan should provide 35% of affordable housing, which is 2% more than the standard request from Wandsworth policies (which are largely ignored in large schemes though!). Gardens above podiums (grouping 4-5 buildings) – also called “Roof mezzanines”  – will be only accessible to residents and occupiers of business space.

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As usual the developers use the proximity of the station to justify the near-absence of car parking (58 slots). However when questioned specifically on that absence they acknowledged that on the one hand it would be too expensive to treat that heavily contaminated site and on the other hand they would have to pay CIL on car parks (approx. £400). They would retain only 18 trees but would plant 74 new trees at ground level and 80 smaller trees on podiums.

We could start here by the conclusion of the Battersea Society objection on the adjacent Homebase/Swandon Way proposal: “we begin to feel there is little point in [engaging with the consultation process] in the future, given that the Council, its officers and developers appear to see approved policies as merely hurdles to be negotiated or ignored.

For the rest, what about a copy-paste of the 350+ objections sent for the scheme proposed for Homebase, on the other side of the road? Maybe time two for the cumulative effect?

Obviously, if 3 buildings ranging from 9 to 17 7 to 15 storeys with basement to provide a mixed use scheme including 324 343 have been massively criticised by local residents for height, scale and massing, described as an inappropriate form of development for the site, in breach of the SSAD guidelines and Local Plan Policies with tremendous impact on the local transport station already over-stretched and the loss of all DIY major stores in the area within a few years, what about 3+14 = 17 residential blocks in total, 343+517 = 860 residential units and a potential of +2000 inhabitants in total within the two sites ? Does it sound ludicrous? Not to Wandsworth planning department obviously!

Alas B&Q developers disclosed (maybe inadvertently during our meeting) the secret agenda they have with Wandsworth planning officers: to transform the Victorian low rise borough of Wandsworth into a new Shoreditch with a high density of tall buildings. And all of that is approved by Tory councillors, whose only concern is to maintain a low Council tax to secure re-election.

Shoreditch proposed developments

Shoreditch proposed developments

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