New PR exercise on Winstanley & York redevelopment (with less green space)

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“). Continue reading

Planning Forum meeting 22nd January 2020

Author: Cyril Richert

Second meeting with Cllr Guy Humphries, current chair of the Planning Application Committee for Wandsworth. It followed the Council’s workshop on the future local plan the week before, which participants commented that it was well organised.

I attended on behalf of CJAG and noted that, although promised by Mr Humphrey at the last meeting, an official response to CJAG’s proposal for planning reforms has not been provided by the Council. Beside the minutes that are received later, I summarise below parts of the discussion. Continue reading

Peabody: at last they are building again!

Author: Cyril Richert

Peabody 20200123

Work continues to prepare the site for piling machines and to provide an entrance/exit at the top of Eckstein Road for emergency vehicles.

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. Continue reading

Big blow for the Council: Development granted in appeal after inspector says it is not dissimilar to what Wandsworth is allowing usually

Author: Cyril Richert

Soon up to 10 storey at the corner of Putney High Street and Putney Bridge Road

A development up to 10 storeys facing Putney High Street, has been granted by a Government Inspector in appeal after Wandsworth Planning Committee refused it (despite recommendation to approve from the officers).

Renowned architects Grimshaw proposed a series of building up to 10 storeys in 2017 on a site surrounding (but without)  the corner of Putney High Street and Putney Bridge Road to replace several buildings of 3 storeys (pictured above) comprising 115 flats and 8 mews houses, with 27 associated parking spaces (p.a. 2017/1874).

The site currently accommodates a collection of individual buildings, varying in height between 3 and 4 storeys and comprising shops on the ground floor with storage and offices above and frontages to Putney High Street and Putney Bridge Road. Continue reading

Bad journalism with the BBC

Author: Cyril Richert

On the last days of 2019, BBC News published an article on a main train station transformation project in Paris: Gare du Nord: Why Europe’s busiest station needs a makeover fast. This is a project that we have mentioned in October on CJAG’s website (here) and that we are therefore familiar with. After a (rather) balanced presentation of the opinions of different parties, the problem comes with the conclusion of the article:

“But truth be told, opponents of Stationord are fighting a losing battle.

Paris’s other big stations – Montparnasse, Saint-Lazare, Austerlitz – have already had their commercial makeover. Why would the Gare du Nord be any different?”

Continue reading

A lot of hypocrisy on Osiers Site

Author: Cyril Richert

While the chair of the Planning committee, Cllr Guy Humphries

  1. argue that the Osiers’ scheme was the last piece of the jigsaw envisioned to “reshape” the area,
  2. admits that local residents might not have been aware of the plan, and
  3. asserts that developers’ interest should take privilege over local residents amenities,

the members of the committee start having doubts over the Council strategy and turn down the proposal.

The process of filling Wandsworth Riverside started under the leadership of previous Council leader Ed Lister: Battersea Reach beside Wandsworth roundabout started to fill up with towers two decades about, then Osiers road sites and now York Road is changing fast. The previous size of 9 storeys above which buildings would be unlikely to be approved as long been ignored forgotten by the Council.

A decade ago, shortly after approving a scheme with a 36 storey tower for the Ram Brewery (later scrapped by the Secretary of States), Wandsworth Council approved a a scheme including a 21 storey-tower. It seems the norm nowadays, but it was a breach of policy at the time as the council documents stated that 18 storeys will generally be unacceptable. And while the planning officers conceded ten years ago (already!) that “the proposed density [was]in excess of both the urban and central setting” regarding transport, they praised the scheme. Although it was the tallest of the area, the developers of Osiers Estate have justified their high density because “a number of high density scheme ha[d] been permitted in the vicinity of the site” already! Continue reading

When other countries are weighing urbanism rules over private interest

Author: Cyril Richert

Porte de Montreuil project – Credit in leJDD.fr: Lautreimage / Play-Time

London has rows of 4-storey Victorian houses, Paris has got 6-storey Haussmann buildings, both inherited from the 19th century. During the 20th century, the French city had a few attempt to build towers, with the – nearly unanimously disliked by Parisians – 210 m Montparnasse tower and a cluster of high rise buildings along the river in the west of Paris. In the meantime, the city of London developed high-rise in its centre, with Tower 42 acting as a landmark for the financial district amongst other taller buildings, later joined by the Gherkin.

However things started to diverge at the beginning of the 21st century. While Paris stayed mostly the same (and that is mostly due to the Montparnasse tower, as shortly after its construction was voted a law in 1977 to limit the size to 37 m [1] on all new buildings [2]), London initiated a more drastic change of its skyline when Ken Livingstone became Mayor of London in 2000. Continue reading

Consultation on Ward boundary changes for Wandsworth

Author: Cyril Richert

Current 20 wards in Wandsworth

The Boundary Commissioners are just about to make decisions about the ward boundaries in Battersea. One thing we know is that all, or almost all, wards will change as a result of their first rather curious recommendation (decision?) to go from having 60 councillors (currently 3 in each of 20 wards in the Borough) to 58. If they were to stick with an equal number of representation for each ward, that would mean 2 councillors in 29 wards.

We have decided to submit a contribution, reinforcing our interest and commitment for the area. Continue reading

A new 16 storey tower proposed near York Road

Author: Cyril Richert

View of the proposal for 2-18 Yelverton Rd, London SW11

There is a new application (2019/2295) for erection of a part 3/16 storey mixed-use development plus basement, providing nearly 600 sq.m of commercial office + creative workspace at ground and basement levels and 74 residential units at upper levels; communal garden on the 3rd floor; with 6 car parking spaces. The site is currently occupied by the Sambrook’s Brewery which should relocate. Continue reading