Author: Cyril Richert
This time, it’s for real: Peabody has started again their construction in St John’s Hill, Clapham Junction, after nearly 3 years in limbo, and 8 years after the scheme was approved by Wandsworth Council, against local community.
The redevelopment was originally approved in July 2012 after a large campaign to oppose the proposal and local newspapers naming the plan “controversial”. Phase 1 was achieved in 2016 but then Peabody wrote to the local residents in December 2016, telling them that due to the estimated build cost significant increase (and as we heard because units were not selling well on the private market), they had decided to put a temporary hold on the development.
In autumn 2017 they submitted an amended scheme the remaining of the construction, with taller buildings. When asked by CJAG what would happen if the Council refuses the revised application, a Peabody representative responded that they “would have to go back to the drawing board“, which could take up o 18 months before a new proposal. They knew the Council did not want to wait for that long and the application was approved in February 2018, as we predicted.
And then… nothing for nearly 2 years! The construction site remained desperately empty as a no-man’s land!
October 2019: Public exhibition launching phase 2
Peabody organised a new exhibition to announce that work was planned to start soon to build the second phase of the St John’s Hill regeneration project (and indeed diggers where in action before Christmas).
CJAG spoke with consultants at the meeting and they explained that it took longer than expected as a new design was agreed in 2018 and they wanted to take advantage of the change of some technologies. However it was obvious that they were tense and had difficulties to hide that the real reason behind the delay was a forced redesign to compress cost and mitigate a difficult economic situation (where Brexit increased uncertainty).
However they are confident (hopefully more than they were in 2017!) that they should complete phase two in Spring 2022 with the aim at final completion of phase three in early 2025, i.e. 13 years after their project was approved. The piled foundations will start in February.
In conclusion, Peabody once seen as a proud provider of social homes, has lost a lot of credibility, seen by many in the area of Clapham Junction as a ruthless developer forcing plans opposed by local residents (we remember Peabody’s project management telling us that at the end of the day, it is not the local community that they need to care of, but the Council they need to convince), and blackmailing the Council to get an even taller scheme granted while unable to deliver on time for their promise.
UPDATE 22/01/2020: Drop in Session – Thursday 23rd January
Come along to the Peabody Community Centre between 4.30pm and 6:00pm if you have any questions about the upcoming piling works.
Alternatively, please get in touch with Sarah Wright by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE 23/01/2020: Updated photo on top of article. Work continues to prepare the site for piling machines and to provide an entrance/exit at the top of Eckstein Road for emergency vehicles. Plot 6, nearest the railway, will be the first part of the build.