Author: Cyril Richert
This time the plan from Wandsworth Council to force as many skyscrapers as possible in the Winstanley-York estates area is not hidden under some regeneration scheme illustrated by rows of maisonettes. The Council has published a press release last week illustrated by one of the “impression” of their vision for the future of the area, although it was publicly revealed in February last year in the Evening Standard (see photos here).
Objections ignored by the Council
According to the website (we have confirmation since last Planning forum and the Alton estate case that the Press Release can be totally inaccurate), “the Winstanley and York Road plans were developed following extensive consultation with local people“. Of course you can always organise as many consultation as you want if you choose to ignore their result when it contradicts your plans (the Ganley Court residents know a lot about it!). This was confirmed by the leader of Wandsworth Council Cllr Ravi Govindia who said a few years ago that hundreds of objections were neglectable in comparison to the borough’s population (read our article: “Deceitful Wandsworth Council used to misrepresent consultations“).
The Planning application (2019/0024) shows 489 different documents to download and read if you want to learn about the full proposal. Among them are 81 objections sent by residents who are tired to write to the Council about the different consultations and be ignored or dismissed at best.
We have already demonstrated how the Council was lying [*] to the residents during consultations, dismissing consultation results and always increasing the overall size of the development. A quick overview of the objections sent by local residents clearly highlight the case:
- “The council had written to us all initially when they used materials that made it very clear there would be fewer high-rise buildings” said several residents.
- Another one wrote: “The original proposals, which saw the residents and community support the most dramatic of the proposals for most demolition and development (which I also supported), did not mention multiple 31 story towers.“
- Residents of Falcon Estate said: “whilst The Falcons Estate have no objection to the principle of the redevelopment of the site, there are concerns that the proposals as presented are unacceptable“.
- An objector said: “Take us in consideration and don’t treat us a second class citizens“. Several others commented: “Are we worth less than the new upcoming residents? Why?“
They all urged for a reduction of units to be considered.
The press release confirm also what we reported previously: only 35% of the new homes would be affordable, to compare with an area where the vast majority of the homes are either social of affordable rent. The figure of 2,550 new homes is likely to represent more than 4,000 occupants, which is going to put an enormous pressure on the local amenities and Clapham Junction Station (already a concern for Network Rail as Jill Stone, Network Rail development manager told us last year). Where is the Council’s report on the cumulative impact of all developments planned for the York Road area? It does not exist.
Less green space for Winstanley-York estates
Last but not least, the usual misleading presentations apply: you might remember that 10 years ago, twin skyscraper developer for Clapham Junction was presenting as an improvement the fact that they were rebuilding the entrance of the station… that they needed to destroy to build their proposal. Here we have exactly the same presentation: the current York Garden will be bulldozed (and should give place to a 31-32 storey tower at least), Ganley Court freehold terraced houses should be destroyed with their garden and a new green space created.
And in reality the news open space will be smaller and only completed in 2035. York Garden is totalling 3.68 hectares (Google map measurement) and the press release revealed that the new open space will be only 2.49 hectares (-32%) while the number of homes should grow by more than 300%!
It makes a joke of the pledge from the Leader of the Council to be the cleanest and greenest inner London borough.
And as usual the Planning Officer managed to dismiss all objections with their standard moto: “The application delivers significant public benefits, which outweigh the harm in respect of residential amenity set out in this report” (p326 of the report).
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The (“controversial” – as labelled by the Wandsworth Times) plans were approved by the Conservatives Councillors of the Council. The scheme will now go to the Mayor of London for final consideration.
[*] Dorothy Byrne (Channel 4’s head of news) told the BBC in August 2019: “If someone has deliberately spoken an untruth and we have evidence, we have to consider saying that what is said is a lie.“
Update 05/02/2020: Labour councillors Kate Stock and Simon Hogg wrote to the Council to raise concerns over affordable housing, the height of towers, jobs for local people, communication with residents and the environmental impact. Read more HERE.