Councils play damaging property game: short-term gain but long-term threat to London

Authors: Cyril Richert & Jane Clifton

Capture from BBC 1 Inside Out documentary

On Tuesday 3rd September, BBC1 released a very interesting documentary on Council regeneration plans (BBC1 Inside Out 03/09/2018). The programme featured Westminster’s “regeneration” programme (this city council plans to flatten 300 homes at the Ebury Bridge estate in Pimlico to make way for 750 new properties, the majority of which will be sold on the private market) but it also dealt with the issue more widely – the property development activities of various other London Councils.

The 29-minute documentary clearly shows why getting rid of council housing in favour of expensive redevelopments and making financial gains for the Councils (and more obviously private developers) is such bad news long term for London: pushing out vital elements of the population who help to keep the city running.
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CJTCP – meeting 17th July 2018: feedback

Author: Cyril Richert

As usual when I attend the Clapham Junction Town Centre Partnership (business associations) meeting, I give a quick feedback on some specific points that were discussed.

Most of the meeting was focused on the progress of the Business Improvement District for Clapham Junction. Continue reading

In an alternative reality, the Council is giving itself a ‘pat on the back’

Author: Cyril Richert

New façade of the Alchemist pub in St John’s Hill

The façade of the Fishmonger/Alchemist pub in St John’s Hill has been “restored” with an additional element on the left of the original building. The Council is now claiming that it has been “restored back to its original Victorian-era splendour after the council took legal action to force the developer to rebuild it“.

However in reality the initial planning permission to knock down the façade and rebuild was refused, the developers did it anyway, then submitted a retrospective application similar to their original one, this time approved by the Council. Continue reading

Winstanley regeneration: Can we trust the Council?

Author: Cyril Richert

Following the initial consultation in 2013, the Council has presented several exhibitions (so-called “consultations”) of what Ravi Govindia calls now “the vision created with the help of the local residents“.

As the leader of the Council might reveal soon the 50+ storey landmark that he is planning for the area (nicknamed Govindia Wharf) this is interesting to see the difference between what local residents responded to and the current presentations.

Board presenting the result of the consultation in 2013

Evolution of the size of the leisure centre proposal from 2013 to 2018

Evolution of the size of the Grant Road proposal from 2013 to 2018

Evolution of the size of the main Winstanley blocks proposal from 2013 to 2018

Do you think this is a definition of “taking into account the result of consultation“?

And by the way, this is Winstanley & York estates in 2018:

Winstanley & York Road estates in 2018

Shop Stop is being sold for £100m

Author: Cyril Richert

The 70,000 sq ft retail parade constructed in 1987, Shop Stop scheme at the entrance to Clapham Junction station on St John’s Hill, SW11 is being sold.

The shopping parade was previously owned by the Metro Shopping Fund, the joint-venture with Landsec and Delancey, but is now 100% owned by DV4, clients of Delancey, having bought in the other 50% in April 2017. The price is said to be around £100m – a circa 4% yield

Current retailers include a 5,000 sq ft Sainsbury’s Central, M&S Simply Food, Paperchase, Café Nero, Hotel Chocolat, Mac Cosmetics and Monsoon, as well as a 14,000 sq ft gym let to Fitness First. The property also contains office space on the first and second floors, with additional basement parking. Continue reading

PCS to become a NHS centre

Author: Cyril RichertThe saga of the PCS building continues. A planning application (2018/2208) is being submitted to transform the first floor from office space to a healthcare facility.

Harmless enough, it seems to be due to the local community healthcare services having been transferred from St Georges NHS trust (who already have local facilities in the area) to Central London NHS trust (who don’t have many); it’s been a bit of an issue for a while in health circles and this seems a reasonably pragmatic (and cheap) solution. The NHS should receive appointments from hospitals for maternity/sexual health. Continue reading

Winstanley regeneration: when the “consultation” becomes a farce

Author: Cyril Richert

Latest plans for skyscrapers on York Gardens

With the latest developments along York Road, we have now potentials for even taller buildings“, I was told at the Winstanley & York exhibition in November 2017 by the head of the project team.

New “landmark tower” (32 storeys) on York Garden

Indeed he was right: every new exhibition the building size increases by X% and their new proposal shows a 32 storey tower (as usual called “a landmark tower“), which is part of a block including also a 20 storey tower and a 17 storey tower! Continue reading