Do and do not: two residential developments in the area

Author: Cyril Richert

7 Mossbury Road SW11

7 Mossbury Road SW11

The 6 residential units planned beside Travelodge Hotel in Mossbury Road are nearly completed. It was designed to integrate with the existing Victorian terrace houses of the street and, albeit having only one entrance and extension at the back, it will look like 2 similar houses. The building will comprise 3 x 1 bedroom and 3 x 2 bedroom flats over three floors. Continue reading

How does the Council allow substantial modifications of an application without much notice

Author: Cyril Richert

Following the last article on the Travelodge built in Clapham Junction, we made an investigation on the apparent modification on the structure of the implemented hotel construction, with the pop-up elevator plant on top of the hotel and the cladding used for the elevation, as it looked very different from the initial architect submission. Continue reading

Misleading images and the impact of a new construction

Author: Cyril Richert

The Council included explicit guidelines in its planning policy to prevent the use of eye-fish images on tall buidlings.

The Development Management Policies Document now states, para 2.49 page 23:

Detailed visual assessments submitted with applications in order to demonstrate compliance with this policy (I think this means DMS1 but it could mean the tall buildings section of S2UDS) will be required to accurately represent what would be seen by the human eye. The use of wide-angle lenses, for example, can distort perspective and distance, and thus the relationship between the foreground and background, and this will not be acceptable”.

All good, you might think?

In reality, as often with Wandsworth Council, those seems to be policies to please the amenity societies and the residents, but with no effect in actual issues.

Continue reading

Meeting Report – Updates from Hotel Developer Tim Glass from Oak Trading Company Ltd

Author: Cyril Richert

As we wrote at the end of December, there is a new application for the hotel proposed on Falcon Road/Mossbury Road, mainly due to the fact that they decided not to preserve the existing internal frame. The only visual consequence will be a reduction of height of about 1 meter. [see new application on the Council’s website 2010/5377]

I had – as usual – a very pleasant meeting with Tim Glass on Monday 10 January.

He explained that the exploratory work conducted on the site (25m digging) showed that it was actually much more complicated than expected to keep the existing frame of the building. Contractors told them that starting with a new frame would also be faster, as the whole construction could be achieved within 10-11 months instead of 15-18 months. Demolition should start in April 2011.

Our only concern was the additional 10% capacity, although we must admit that it should not cause additional servicing: no need of bigger vans, or additional refuse collection, and the increase in customers should be minimal. Of course during the construction time, there will be a crane and trucks, but with the parking space at the back of the existing building the potential issues should be contained at the bottom of Mossbury Road.

They are still negotiating with a hotel operator on the one hand and banks on the other hand for the funding, but they are confident on the result and they consider the site as a long-term investment.

With a size reduction (along with numerous changes already made from their original plan, as we highlighted in our previous comments to the Council) we are glad to support the application.

Our support comment is available HERE.

Read also:

Progress on Falcon Road hotel: new application with size reduction

Author: Cyril Richert

We received an update from Tim Glass, the developer, on the hotel for the Woburn site, 155 Falcon Road.

I am writing to update you on the progress at 155 Falcon Road. The general situation is that we are struggling on, but, as I am sure you can appreciate, it’s tough getting any scheme off the ground at present (especially obtaining funding). However, unless some other obstacle is put before us, we are still clinging onto the prospect of opening in time for the 2012 Olympics.

Apart from this, I wanted to let you know that we are having to make a further planning application to address some minor amendments that we want to make to our proposals. In summary, these are:-

  • We need to take down the existing frame which we were proposing to keep (and that’s all that we were keeping!)
  • This will actually allow us to reduce the overall height of the building by 950mm and to re-arrange the interior space so that the same plan/floor area can be used more efficently, including the creation one additional room per upper floor (ie the building is to be no larger -and infact a little less tall)
  • There will be minor adjustments to the fenestration to accomodate the above

I had hoped that such minor variations could have been dealt with by the Council without another full application, but evidently, this is not the case.

I am attaching a copy of a letter that we will be distributing to the residents at Mossbury Road early next week, to keep them informed and I think it is pretty self explanatory.

Incidently, the advice that we have from the builders, that we have approached, is that the entirely new build proposal will actually take less time to complete than we had anticipated for the approved scheme. I can’t make a firm commitment on the length of the construction period, as building contracts always have the capacity to take longer than planned, but indications are 10- 11 months and this includes the residential building, which is to be built at the same time.

I know that you had your reservations about the height previously, and I hope that you will welcome the marginal reduction in height (950mm) that is now propose, but, this aside, I am sure that you recognise the benefits of this development- in terms of a good quality new building, providing a much needed facility, as well as the contribution that it will make to the local economy. The way things are, I don’t think that there is the prospect of any other major developments taking place at Clapham Juction for a good many years. I hope that we can deliver this one.

First of all, we must thank Tim Glass for providing such update on the situation. We have already commented in the past on the pros and cons of the scheme which has been granted by the Council without much debate.

We still think that the building should have been reduced by 1 floor (or 3 meters). Economic viability was an argument put against any more downsizing, but the proof of the alteration above shows that it was possible to reduce the height with a similar number of rooms. In addition the increase in rooms (10%) will mean an increase in the need for servicing and therefore potential disturbance for the neighbourhood.

However we also thought that the overall scheme was good and the small size reduction is going in the right way and therefore very much welcomed. In addition this is another good news to see that the plan to develop the hotel is progressing (although delayed slightly by the new application); the builders advising that the new application means also that the building is faster to complete will also make shorter the period of disturbance in the neighbourhood during the construction phase.

Leaflet distributed in the area to publicize the new application can be downloaded HERE.

UPDATE 22 Dec 2010: We received an email from the developer who commented that 7 extra rooms aren’t going to make a significant difference to any activity etc that a hotel of 70 rooms would create (and I don’t think this would be unreasonable or indeed detrimental to the existing residents anyway). For example they won’t mean any extra visits for deliveries or collections of refuse/supplies or maintenance vehicles etc.

Hotel approved in Clapham Junction

>> Your chance to contribute: tell us what your think on Clapham Junction station redevelopment

Authors: Cyril Richert, David Hargreaves

The Planning Application Committee was meeting on Thursday 24th and decided to grant planning permission to the new proposal for a hotel development on the site of Woburn House, 155 Falcon Road.

The part dedicated to the proposal was a thoroughly dismal affair. Only Cllr Belton spoke against the 8 storeys, favouring 6. He also criticised the way CJAG’s contributions had been subsumed into a general category (following our complaint regarding the treatment given to those comments), saying that CJAG had been the most vocal community group over the last couple of years. Cllr Randall made a comment on the design.

Otherwise there was (or looked like for some observers at the time) an almost total lack of interest from the other Councillors [1]. No discussion whatever of alterations to the top floor. No discussion whatever of parking problems, except when one planning officer present said there was an “assumption” that all guests would arrive by rail. Nobody demurred.

Councillor Vanessa Graham, a good friend of the architect, left the room before presentation and therefore did not take port on the decision, nor vote.

Approval was given overwhelmingly.

We now hope that efforts will be made by the developers to make this proposal a success for Clapham Junction area. We know from discussing with the developers that a hotel operator has still to be found, but we see that as a clear encouragement given to local developers with reasonable projects.

We are disappointed that the Committee did not take the opportunity to debate more on the different issues raised by comments submitted. Points raised by Tony Belton and Billi Randall should have been the occasion of discussions instead of the rest of the Committee only waiting for vote-time. We would have thought that it makes a better explanation of the decision process and shows local democracy at its best… instead of giving the impression that real decision are taken behind closed doors[2].

As showed by the unanimous vote of the members of the Committee, approving a planning permission does not mean they cannot discuss some aspects of it. On the issue of parking, the Council could have also made a point to address the issue, independently of the developers plan (as we suggested – in a way supported by the developers). Apparently it was decided to adopt a wait-and-see attitude.

The Council has reported on the decision in its press-release today.

[1] However one of them said that they thought that there was not enough to argue against and it would have made no difference. As I said previously, half of the Committee is new and but hopes to build knowledge on planning issues quickly for good.

[2] As I said previously, half of the Committee is new and but hopes to build knowledge on planning issues quickly for good.

Hotel in CJ: Letter from the Wandsworth Society

>> Your chance to contribute: tell us what your think on Clapham Junction station redevelopment

The letter below is the comment of the Wandsworth Society regarding the new proposal for a hotel development on the site of Woburn House, 155 Falcon Road. It has been addressed to the Planning Service in Wandsworth council, and to all members of the planning application committee. In order to make it easier, we have linked in the letter the references to the CJAG comments. You might want also to read the complaint sent  regarding the treatment given to those comments.

Wandsworth Society

22nd June 2010

P.Landsberg Esq,
The Planning Service

Dear Mr Landsberg,

Re: Application No 2010/1455 Woburn House 155 Falcon Road London SW11.

We are writing to record the Society’s comments on the application to be considered by the Planning Applications Committee on Thursday 24th June.

We are largely in support of those comments made by the Clapham Junction Action Group in their letter dated 2nd June and after consideration of other comments made, we would wish to make the following observations:

1. We endorse the comments made that the height of the proposed building should be limited to seven floors or at worst that a setback should be made to the 8th floor.

2. The economic viability of the scheme should not be a material planning consideration.

3. We are concerned that the parking of cars by both residents of the proposed new flats and the users of the hotel will increase pressure on very limited roadside space available. Could ground level parking under the flats not be provided for the occupiers of the flats?

4. Houses in Mossbury Road will be overlooked by the occupants of the hotel accommodation.

5. If the Committee are minded to grant permission, we consider that a condition should be attached requiring the applicant to submit details at a scale of 1:20 and 1:5 for the external walls, windows and doors and that construction is not to commence until such details are approved to ensure that the design quality of the proposals are achieved.

We hope that these comments will be brought to the Committee’s attention.

Yours faithfully,

Philip Whyte
for the Wandsworth Society

CJAG ignored in planning consultation

>> Your chance to contribute: tell us what your think on Clapham Junction station redevelopment

Author: Cyril Richert

Decision for the planning application of a 8-storey hotel in Falcon Road will be made this Thursday, 24th June. However, in view of the planning report available on the Council’s website, we have decided to make a complaint to the members of the Planning Application Committee. I made all clickable links for relevant documents in this letter

Attn.
Planning Application Committee

Planning Application 2010/1455 – Woburn House (155 Flacon Road SW11)
Subject: COMPLAINT AND INFORMATION

20th June 2010

Dear Councillors,

I read with interest, but also with surprise the report concerning the planning application 2010/1455 – Woburn House (Hotel)[1] that is on the agenda of your next meeting on the 24th June. In its current form, this report is not only formally ignoring the presentation made by the Clapham Junction Action Group, but also does not address its purpose.

The consultation refers to 5 objections, 1 support and 2 general comments and in addition make reference to named responses of CABE, English Heritage, Network Rail, Engineering Services, Economic Development Officer, Environmental Services, WCAAC, Battersea Society and Wandsworth Access Association.

On the Planning page of the council’s website[2] we count 5 individual objections, 1 support and 1 comment + 1 comment made by the CJAG but wrongly a) attributed to Richert[3], and b) put as an objection. In addition, none of the other presentations quoted in the officer’s report are listed, except CABE and NR saying that they do not have time to respond or no comment to make. The CJAG contribution does not appear formally in the report but its arguments are blended into a general category. This does not give any credit to the group which has written 4 articles on its website[4], including a report after meeting with the developer, and together with the presentation of a 4 page comment with images[5] to the consultation.

I wish to bring to your attention that this is the second time in a few months that the CJAG (an organisation which represents many local people) is specifically discriminated against. On May 25th 2010, the Putney Society wrote a formal complaint to the Chief Executive of Wandsworth Borough Council regarding the conduct of consultation concerning DMPD and SSAD Planning Documents[6]. It specifically stated that the Council ignored a set of submissions, especially a contribution from the Clapham Junction Action Group. Both those contributions have been made on behalf of the group after consultation, and should be treated as such.

Last but not least, the report produced by the planning officer, albeit echoing our contribution on the changes made by the developer in addressing past criticism, is simply ignoring our concerns regarding the parking issue, that even the developers acknowledged. In our submissions we however made some proposals that you should be discussing during your meeting, and consider in your decision the list of conditions subject to planning permission. For your attention, you might wish to read the full extend of our comment that I append to this letter.

Yours sincerely

Cyril Richert

Clapham Junction Action Group

PS: Regarding the size of the building, you will note the fact that the report says: “The scale of the development reflects emerging policy”. Eight storeys is the maximum allowed for the area in the Site Specific Allocation Document submitted to consultation in April. This is also the size for this application.

You will certainly appreciate the fact that the government inspector in charge of reviewing the Core Strategy commented in February 2010 that the danger of putting formal limits is that developers will always apply for that number.

You will also appreciate that a 21 storey towers in Osiers Estate was approved by the Committee on 7 January 2010, while the emerging policy is limiting the number to 18 storey, advocating that new documents are subject to modifications after the consultation phase and therefore cannot be used in current planning applications.

One way or the other, the Council should decide!

[1] Page 44 of the report for the 24th June meeting and extract attached.

[2] http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/apply/showCaseFile.do?appNumber=2010/1455

[3] It is noticeable that, although we did not sent anything for application 2010/1620 (residential beside hotel). The planning department took a copy of our website article and labelled it as Additional Information: New Hotel Falcon Road – round 2 – Clapham Junction Action Group [19 April 2010]

[4] A few comments on Woburn House proposal: https://cjag.org/2010/06/02/a-few-comments-on-woburn-house-proposal/

Hotel proposal for Falcon road: issues raised and responses from the developer: https://cjag.org/2010/05/18/hotel-proposal-for-falcon-road-issues-raised-and-responses-from-the-developer/

Meeting Report – Hotel Developer Tim Glass from Oak Trading Company Ltd: https://cjag.org/2010/05/12/meeting-report-%E2%80%93-hotel-developer-tim-glass-from-oak-trading-company-ltd/

New Hotel Falcon Road – round 2: https://cjag.org/2010/04/11/new-hotel-falcon-road-round-2/

[5] Attached to this letter

[6] Formal letter of complaint from the Putney Society – 25th May 2010. Attached. Contrary to the response made by the Borough Planner, we followed the process recommended as Martin Howell in charge said that presentations could be sent to him directly.

A few comments on Woburn House proposal

>> Your chance to contribute: tell us what your think on Clapham Junction station redevelopment

Author: Cyril Richert

Here is the submission-comment sent to the planning officer regarding the new proposal for a hotel development on the site of Woburn House, 155 Falcon Road (PDF download).

Paul Landsberg
The Planning Service
Wandsworth Council
The Town Hall
Wandsworth High Street
London SW18 2PU
(planningapplications@wandsworth.gov.uk)

Planning Application 2010/1455 – Woburn House (155 Flacon Road SW11)
Ref: COMMENT

29th May 2010

Dear Mr Landsberg,

A new application is now proposed for the redevelopment of Woburn House, 155 Falcon Road (with a “contingency” on ref 2010/1020).

The site is currently occupied by a five storey office building, of mid-20th century origin. The site is within the Clapham Junction Conservation Area, and viewable in the context of the Grade II listed Falcon Public House, and the Grade II Listed Arding & Hobbs (now Debenhams) department store. It is proposed to demolish the existing 5 storey building and erect a 8 storey replacement + 2 Victorian style properties.

A previous application was presented last year to develop a 16 storey hotel and it was refused by Wandsworth Borough Council.

The former application was met with strong opposition from local residents (85 objections), local societies, English Heritage, the Mayor of London and Martin Linton, MP for Battersea.

Criticisms included:

  1. size of the building (16 storey building);
  2. the proposed development does not respect the historical and architectural homogeneity of its neighbouring buildings;
  3. noise and disturbance in parking caused by a 132 room hotel (potential noise from the delivery vans, servicing, etc);
  4. increase traffic all along the road (proposed entrance on Mossbury, a one way residential street) and create additional pressure on the limited parking.

In our representation last summer, we raised two fundamental questions that has to be addressed by the proposal:

  1. Is the scheme an opportunity for the vicinity; and is it going to enhance Clapham Junction?
  2. And is it going to create benefits and lead for future other redevelopments of Clapham Junction?

The least we can say is that the developers listened to all arguments and tried to address them in their new proposal.

  1. Size of the building: it is now a 8 storey building (instead of 16)
  2. Conservation area: the new building is much smaller and based on a refurbishment of the existing building. The proposed overall height of the development is said to be lower than the existing building which is immediately opposite it in Falcon Road. In addition 2 Victorian style residential developments will be build, similar to the one existing in Mossbury road.
  3. Noise and disturbance: there will be less servicing (such as refuse collection, deliveries etc.) to the new scheme because the hotel is about half the previous size and secondly, because there are no “in-house” café/ restaurant/bar facilities. The separate retail unit is planned to be a lock up shop arrangement –serviced from the front in Falcon Road.
  4. Increase traffic and parking in a small one way residential road: the main entrance to the hotel will be from Falcon Road (not Mossbury Road as per the previous application).

However we think it is necessary to make a few comments on the application regarding the following points:

  1. Size of the building
  2. Parking

Size of the building

The proposed site is very compact and lies at the bottom of an area of homogeneous Victorian and Edwardian low rise houses.

When we met with Tim Glass, director of Oak Trading Company Ltd in June 2009 regarding the proposal for a 16 storey building, he commented that although there was scope for cutting down the tower by a couple of stories (~14) or so, any more would make a hotel proposal non-viable. When we met 11 months later the viability became 8 storeys as he also commented: “I can honestly say that there is enough doubt about the viability of the existing 8 storey building proposal to know that we couldn’t reduce it by another floor and would have to go to appeal”. We fully understand the point of the developer about the viability of the project, but it is also obvious that we cannot put into consideration the interest of any developer on assessing the pros and cons of projects.

In its submission to the Council about the Site Specific Allocation Document  the Clapham Junction Action Group did not consider that the borough’s evidence supports a justification of any of tall building locations as justified.  Density (that can be justified with the PTAL rate of Clapham Junction) and tall buildings are two different concepts. Therefore, as it is still apparent in the SSAD, we recommended that the proposed size limit for Clapham Junction area be limited to 5-6 storey (below the size of Arding & Hobbs rotunda) maximum and taller buildings (6 storeys) be located along the railway.

We agreed in recent conversations with the developer that it would be more appropriate to talk in term of meters (5 storeys of the PCS building might make more storeys on the new hotel proposal) and we acknowledge that the proposed plan is showing a size lower height than the roof of the opposite PCS building. However, in term of urban architecture and regarding the existing low rise (2-4 storeys) properties of the entire street of Mossbury road we still consider that the design of the building would be more appropriate with 1 or 2 storey less (making it similar in size to the cupola in the building hosting Fitness First). In addition we note that the claim of PCS being taller is only accurate when considering the smaller ad-up roof, not covering the all building. The point shouldn’t be to rival with the size of surrounding buildings but to seat harmoniously with the other buildings.

We also note that the first application for redevelopment of the Wessex House building  (St John’s Hill) was refused by the Council for being 1 storey too tall in the street.

Therefore, without putting aside all the merits of the scheme, amendments should be encouraged to remove 1 floor (less than 15% of the rooms). The frontage of the top one or even two storeys could be slightly slanted backwards (perhaps with dormer style windows) or slightly stepped back (perhaps with small balconies in front) or both. This will enable the building to harmonise better with its neighbours.

This “diminishing” effect is a clear feature of the neighbourhood architecture and recent similar applications such as the Wessex house have tried to conform with it (pic. left) or Wigmore street (pic. right).

Wessex House redevelopment vue 2

Parking

We think there is a lack of information on parking which creates the space for future issues if the matter is not addressed properly.
The proposals (hotel + adjoining 6 units will be build on the existing car park) will definitely create additional pressure on the street.
Regarding the residential properties, there will be only 2 spaces only in front of the residential properties (current car park removed) for, potentially, 6 needs.

We know that the site’s location is classified at the highest PTAL (Public Transport Accessibility Level) possible, in terms of access by public transport. In addition, the London Plan, which is referred to in the Councils Core Strategy states that for hotels:

  • Small hotels, particularly those in central London, should have no on site parking provision.
  • Hotels in town centres should generally not have on-site parking provision or coach parking beyond operational requirements.

The current street limits to resident permit and pay-and-display only from 8.30am to 6.30pm from Monday to Saturday. However it is obvious for any passer by on Friday night and Saturday night that the street if often used by people leaving their cars when going to restaurants/pubs/nightclubs. It is reasonable to believe that the hotel will create additional pressure; if even only 5 out of the 70 guests hire a car for the WE and park overnight, it will use the street parking over its capacity thus preventing residents themselves to park in their street.

However we believe it is possible to find a work around without involving any additional cost. Two enforcements could be implemented:

  • making the street “resident only” parking;
  • getting into an agreement with Lidl or ShopStop for using their car park for hotel guests.

The developer acknowledged the situation and said  “There is no need for guests to park in Mossbury Road and I agree that this should be actively discouraged. Perhaps the residents only parking period (for residents only spaces) could be extended -even to all night, and I don’t think that any one is likely to risk a ticket or being clamped/towed away for the sake of a £10 charge for parking 100yds or so away.”

We acknowledged the merits of this proposal and the interest of a hotel scheme in the immediate proximity to the station. We think that work with developers showing concerns for the area should be encouraged. However, we believe that the council should discuss our points regarding the size of the building and the essential issue of parking.

While assessing the different aspects of this scheme, the council will have the opportunity to set an example for future developments in the borough as well as promoting a clear benefit for the community.

Yours faithfully

Cyril Richert
On behalf of the Clapham Junction Action Group

You can also refer to other articles we have published:

  1. New Hotel Falcon Road – round 2
  2. Meeting Report – Hotel Developer Tim Glass from Oak Trading Company Ltd
  3. Hotel proposal for Falcon road: issues raised and responses from the developer

I also encourage you to give your view to the planning department:

Ref: Planning Application 2010/1455 – Woburn House (155 Flacon Road SW11)

Paul Landsberg
The Planning Service
Wandsworth Council
The Town Hall
Wandsworth High Street
London SW18 2PU
planningapplications@wandsworth.gov.uk

Hotel proposal for Falcon road: issues raised and responses from the developer

>> Your chance to contribute: tell us what your think on Clapham Junction station redevelopment

Author: Cyril Richert

Following a comment received from David Hargreaves, Tim Glass, the developer for the hotel proposal in Falcon Road has answered the different issues raised. See below the “discussion”.

For more information about the proposal for Woburn House, 155 Falcon Road read HERE and see our meeting with the developer HERE.

Email from David Hargreaves commenting on the planning application:

Dear Cyril,

The new hotel plan is certainly a vast improvement and for the most part unobjectionable. My two main thoughts are these :

I agree with you that the building should only be seven storeys. Principles should be stuck to. More importantly, however, I think the frontage of the top one or even two storeys should be slightly slanted backwards (perhaps with dormer style windows) or slightly stepped back (perhaps with small balconies in front) or both. This will enable the building to harmonise better with its neighbours. Both the prominent tower on Debenhams and the prominent dome thingy on the Fitness First gym taper upwards, while the top floor of the CPSU building is severely recessed. This “diminishing” effect is a clear feature of the neighbourhood architecture and the hotel should attempt to conform with it. At the moment the hotel is planned as a uniform sharp-edged box. Minor alterations at the top would make an important difference to its overall look, very much for the better. The impact of this on the size of the rooms on the top floor/s would be trivial.

As you point out, it appears that no provision at all has been made for the presence of motor traffic. There is nowhere even to pull in, let alone park. Though the new plan is for a much smaller hotel, there will still need to be deliveries, and taxis will need to pick up and drop off. But where? None of these activities can take place on either Falcon Road or Falcon Lane without causing immediate traffic disruption. The only possibility therefore appears to be Mossbury Road. I think the two residents’ parking spaces immediately adjoining the hotel site there may have to be specifically allocated for short term hotel-related parking only. How will the residents of Mossbury Road feel about this, particularly when 6 new residential units are to be added as well? So far as additional parking is concerned, for example for the cars of hotel guests, it should be made an absolute condition of the granting of planning permission that the developers make a deal with Lidl or Asda and any successor owner/occupants of these sites to accommodate such vehicles.

Best wishes,

David

Response received from Tim Glass, Director of Oak Trading Company Ltd:

Dear Cyril,

As agreed, I am coming back to you on the recent comments that have been made on the design/height, parking and taxis

1. DESIGN/ HEIGHT

I am pleased that the comments about the proposed hotel building and its design from your contributors to date have been pretty positive, but we are bound to get some criticism, especially on design matters, that are subject to personal taste and opinion.

I can assure you that an enormous amount of care, effort and expense has gone into the design that is now presented. Our architects have been liaising with the Council Planning Department and the Conservation Officers (who incidently suggested the glass parapet which I think is a nice feature which will soften the roof line and add interest- although it doesn’t show up very well on the CGIs). Also, at the architects own suggestion, we engaged a separate firm of consultants (who have worked with major architectural practices all over the world) to scrutinize the emerging design and offer specialist advice on the reconstituted stone cladding system and other architectural features.

It really is nigh on impossible to keep everyone happy, but we have done our best to come up with a building to fit the bill. Actually, your contributor David Curran encapsulates what we have tried to achieve pretty succinctly when he says:-

“They’ve struck a decent balance between the need to blend in to the fairly varied but low rise Victorian streetscape, without falling into the trap of going for an appalling pastiche ‘traditional’ look (which really hasn’t weathered too well in the Shopstop, or the Asda, both only 20 or so years old but looking very cheap and tacky indeed…).”

With respect, I think that slants/mansard slopes/dormers and step backs are erring towards the latter territory and there is, frankly, very little at all that I would like to borrow or repeat from the neighbouring 80s architecture. Also, the dome on the Fitness first building and especially the cupola on top of the the old Arding and Hobbs building are, intentionally, very distinctive features which aren’t intended, surely, to relate to any other features and our roofline won’t match in with them, in some way or other- whether it is clean /square edged or slanted/set back etc.

Without wishing to get too “airy fairy”, the objective is to provide a building of quality (in terms of performance as well as appearance) that is it’s own, “honest” as opposed to pastiche/borrowed, design. It is intentionally modern with a clean/ fresh appearance. It doesn’t shout out at you or try to be a landmark, however, and the texture and shades of the reconstituted stone cladding are selected to harmonise with existing tones (in adjacent buildings such as Fitness First). If we were to start hacking it about we’ll soon end up with some sort of committee solution, or what is sometimes called, a “camel” ( I am sure you know the old joke “ a camel is a horse designed by a committee”).

Apart from the fact that I don’t think its appearance would be improved by it being 3 m or so less in height, you know my view on reducing the number of storeys. We honestly can’t and therefore won’t. Please also remember the point I made about actual physical height as opposed to number of floors and that each site should be taken on it’s merits.

As another of your contributors says we are not ”going for broke” (i.e. an extreme or intentionally overly bold scheme that we could cut down on). Instead, we have listened and reacted to all of the points that arose from our previous application, compromised as much as possible and come up with as good a scheme as we can.

2. PARKING

In terms of parking policy the site’s location is the classified at the highest PTAL (Public Transport Accessibility Level) possible, in terms of access by public transport and the idea is to discourage rather than encourage car use.

The London Plan, which is referred to in the Councils Core Strategy states (inter alia) that for hotels;

• Small hotels, particularly those in central London, should have no on site parking provision.

• Hotels in town centres should generally not have on-site parking provision or coach parking beyond operational requirements. (None of the operators that we have spoken to will accept coach trade, by the way)

Actually, the transport assessment which has been carried out for the proposed hotel concludes that the level of car based trips that the site would generate over the 12 hour period 07:00 to 19:00 would be lower than under the site’s existing use. Even so, it is recognised that a small number of guests may choose to, or occasionally have no alternative but to drive to the hotel. As you know, 2 disabled parking bays are proposed in Mossbury Road, but apart from this, any such general car parking demand would have to be met by public parking facilities in the area.

A public off-street car park (Stop Shop) exists opposite the site on Station Approach. This pay and display car park has around 30 spaces and is open 24 hours a day with daytime charges of up to £20 for 10 hours parking. In addition, parking for a 24 hour period is available in the ASDA car park (where there are plenty of spaces) for a £10 charge. There is no need for guests to park in Mossbury Road and I agree that this should be actively discouraged. Perhaps the residents only parking period (for residents only spaces) could be extended -even to all night, and I don’t think that any one is likely to risk a ticket or being clamped/towed away for the sake of a £10 charge for parking 100yds or so away.

3. TAXIS

I see that the transport assessment concludes that combined car and taxi trips generated by the hotel will actually be less than for the current building, although there is likely to be more taxi use for a hotel. The assessment suggests that the hotel may generate 28 additional taxi passengers (coming or going) in a 24 hour period, but it is also recognised that taxi trips generated by hotel use, frequently involve multiple use (i.e. more than one passenger at a time). Consequently, it is likely that the actual number of taxis (which are concentrated in the 17.00-23.00 hrs period) will be substantially less than 28 over a 24 hr period. In addition, outgoing trips which one might reasonably assume are about 50%, are often likely to start from Lavender Hill or the taxi rank in St Johns Hill. As with cars, the idea is to encourage public transport and so I don’t honestly think that a taxi rank or designated dropping off point for the relatively modest number of taxis actually visiting the site is a good idea.

I hope this helps

Regards

Tim

Additional comment received from David Hargreaves afterwards:

I have actually had another look a Mossbury Road. There is already a section on the south side I hadn’t properly noticed, pretty much opposite the hotel site, which has a yellow line and is restricted to deliveries. This might be able to serve adequately for both hotel servicing and taxi pick-up and drop-off. But the need to find proper parking for hotel guests’ cars, such as on the Lidl car park, remains important and must be addressed before planning permission is given.

If the presence of a hotel plus the building of 6 new residential units brings real pressure on residents’ parking in Mossbury Road, here is a cheeky thought. At the top end of the road outside HSBC bank is a special motorcycle parking bay. There may be a good reason why it is there, but equally there may not. If more car parking space is desperately needed, perhaps Wandsworth could find a new location for the motorcycle bay, perhaps in the station car park for example. This is obviously just shifting the problem, but anyway. There also seems to be an unnecessary yellow line outside no 65 near the motorcycle bay.

David