Homebase: developers are submitting new plans to be considered by Mayor

Author: Cyril Richert

Massing proposal

Developers for Homebase Swandon Way are now proposing a revised application, going back to the 17 storey tower as planned in their first application (deferred then rejected by Wandsworth Council), an increase in comparison of the 15 storeys previously submitted (and also rejected by the Council).

It follows the decision of the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to call in planning application. The initial report from the GLA focused mostly on the level of affordable housing, and the developers have therefore submitted amendments to their original plans to address the concerns.

With the response submitted by the developers, it seems a done deal

The following provides a summary of the scheme amendments submitted to address GLA’s comments:

  • Provision of 385 units (increase of 37 units – 348 previously);
  • Provision of 35% affordable housing, comprising of 109 intermediate units and 27 affordable rent units (79 units previously, i.e 23%);
  • Increase in height of the Station building by two storeys to 17 storeys;
  • Increase in height of the Garden Building by one storey to 11 storeys;
  • Amendments to façade detailing of Station building to address increase in height;
  • Re-distribution of location of affordable units within the Crescent and Garden Buildings;
  • Increase in cycle parking spaces to 628 to address increase in unit numbers;

Sadiq Khan wrote to the Council in June 26th:

“In my view the proposed development has potential to make an important contribution to housing and affordable housing supply in response to London Plan policies”.

In the new scheme, the provision of affordable housing on site has been reviewed and the revised scheme will provide affordable housing provision that equates to 35% affordable housing provision by habitable room. This is now above the 33% required by Wandsworth Council Policy IS5. The previous scheme provided only 23% intermediate units and the GLA advised this was unacceptable.

Will the Mayor of London ignore local opinion?

As the vast majority of the objections received, along with the decision of the Council to refuse the scheme based on it’s over-bearing appearance, bulk and massing, the developers show here that they are absolutely unconcerned by local opinions.

However, approving this planning application will mean that the Mayor of London does not care anymore of the impact caused by a development in the borough where he made most of is political career in. Is it the message that the Mayor of London want to send?

UPDATE 18/11/2017

A not unexpected but nonetheless disappointing afternoon in The Chamber of City Hall as the Mayor granted planning approval to the application to redevelop Homebase.

Following the hearing at City Hall on October 17th 2017, Sadiq Khan said:

“I’ve made it clear I am committed to increasing the delivery of genuinely affordable housing in London, especially given the pitiful legacy I inherited, and I will use my full range of planning powers to achieve this.

This development offers a significant number of high-quality homes in a location which offers great transport links and local amenities. We have confirmed more than half of the affordable homes will be delivered up front in the first stage of construction.

I’m also really pleased we have secured a review mechanism which could increase the level of affordable housing further – and that people who live and work in the area will benefit from a significant upgrade to Wandsworth Town Station.”

People in the audience at the hearing seemed to share views that the case was lost, decisively, when Wandsworth planning officers’ advice was sought on the Council’s handling of the ‘affordable housing’ issue (Sadiq Khan’s major concern!)

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