Misleading image

Author: Cyril Richert

The developers are advertising their redevelopment proposal at Clapham Junction station and ask for our support:

MSF proposal showing only the station redevelopment.

Despite their communication tricks efforts, residents aware of the plan know that the station redevelopment represents less than 20% of the total amount they are proposing to invest in the scheme. The main part of it being two 42 storey towers:

Twin towers from severus road Scale model of the twin towers at Clapham Junction

Towers from Debenhams and TK-Maxx Tower aboveFalcon

So, who is displaying misleading images?

Debate or just bait?

Author: Cyril Richert

One of the local resident sent us this email below, received on Friday, from the Developers’ Public Relations company (their representative, Brendan Keown commented also several posts on this website). It makes interesting reading (especially the few words I put in bold), as you need to keep in mind that they reiterated several time their refusal for any further consultation:

  • Before the Public Meeting, where they were invited, they refused to participate, replying: “We are happy to talk to answer any further query that were raised but public meeting forums are not the best way to discuss elements of the scheme“.
  • In their more recent letter, responding to the Planning Officer’s request for further consultation, MSF suggested that prior to submission, they already had lengthy discussions with the Council, the GLA and other consultees, along with local societies (it does not look like the Battersea Society was very happy with that) and 4 days public exhibition and they refuse to hold any further consultation now that the application has been submitted.
  • It is also noticeable that they put down the offer made by the South London Press to organise a meeting between the Clapham Junction Action Group and themselves.

Since attending the exhibition on Metro Shopping Fund’s plans to rejuvenate Clapham Junction, you may have seen and heard much debate on the topic. To date, hundreds of people from Wandsworth and across London have already filled in ‘support postcards’, e-mailed Wandsworth planning officers and written letters to Wandsworth Council, urging councillors to back this once-in-a-generation opportunity.

With the planning application due to be considered by Wandsworth Council Planning Committee later this month on Wednesday, 20th May, there is not long to go. The debate still continues, and we are asking you to take a little time to demonstrate your support to the Planning Officer Mark Hunter at planningapplications@wandsworth.gov.uk or via Wandsworth’s planning portal website http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/apply/showCaseFile.do?appNumber=2008/4488.

It is also important show councillors how strongly local people feel, by attending the planning meeting itself at Wandsworth Town Hall (on Wandsworth High Street, London, SW18 2PU) 7.30p.m., Wednesday 20th May.

If you have any questions about the scheme or how to get to Wandsworth Town hall, please get in touch by email or call me on 020 7566 7964.

Thank you and I hope to see you there on the night.

Yours sincerely,

Brendan Keown
Senior Account Executive

QUATRO
Public Relations
20-24 Old Street
London
EC1V 9AB

So, is the debate they are welcoming spelled D.E.B.A.T.E or is it D-BAIT.

Jane Ellison's objection

[From Cyril Richert: We publish below, with the consent of its author, the presentation sent by Jane Ellison, the Conservative Parliamentary Spokesperson for Battersea, to Mark Hunter, the Planning Officer. Link with original PDF document is here.]


Author: Jane Ellison, Conservative Parliamentary Spokesperson for Battersea

Dear Mr Hunter

Whilst there is near-universal support for the strategic objective of improving a station as important and busy as Clapham Junction the overwhelming number of people who have contacted me also feel that the negative aspects of the current application, sadly, outweigh the benefits for the local area.

Living just off the Falcon Road, I am also a local resident and regular station-user so can comment from personal experience too. I have considered the original applications and the subsequent submissions this year from Metro Shopping Fund and Network Rail and cannot support the current proposals.

I therefore urge the Council’s Planning Committee to refuse the applications.

Some of my reasons for urging refusal can be summarised as follows:

1. The parlous state to which the nation’s finances have been reduced by the current Government has given added impetus to the argument that this is ‘a once in a lifetime’ to improve the station. It is argued by Network Rail that they cannot afford strategic investment in Britain’s busiest station and the only way they can fund improvements to the station is by working with a developer who needs a mix of retail and residential capacity on the site to achieve their return on investment.

It is precisely this ‘once in a lifetime’ argument that convinces me these proposals are unacceptable. Given the disruption and timescales likely to be involved in this development will we emerge at the end with a modern station fit to serve the travelling public of this area for decades to come? Much hangs on this critical question and I believe that the answer to it is No, with too many fundamental issues of station access, capacity and interchange still inadequately addressed.

2. The corollary of the ‘once in a lifetime’ argument is the argument that the proposed residential development at the site – the 42 storey tower blocks on which most local objections have centred – is a ‘price worth paying’ for station improvements. I cannot agree with this argument.

I think tall buildings of appropriate and attractive design, in a location that provides the right context, have a significant part to play in the economy and the evolving skyline of both our city and our area.

However the scale, height and density of the proposed towers are overwhelming and inappropriate for this location. Even accepting that issues of design are necessarily subjective it is interesting to note that unlike other developments these towers have found few friends to argue that they will enhance the local scene. Those who do not object to them have generally cited the ‘price worth paying’ argument above.

The Clapham Junction town centre is predominantly Victorian and Edwardian in character with low to mid rise buildings and some taller blocks to the north on the Winstanley estate. The proposed towers would I feel be overbearing and incongruous in this context. I regret that in design and conception the proposed towers do not look to enhance a townscape with its economic and social roots in the great age of the railways. As the Council’s Conservation Appraisal & Management Strategy for Clapham Junction (Paragraph 5.1 Draft 2008) says of the area “generally a high quality commercial centre containing a high proportion of valuable Victorian and Edwardian buildings. All these buildings make a positive contribution to the historic and architectural character of the conservation area.”

Would our successors look back and say the same of the proposed landmark towers above the station in a hundred years time? I doubt it.

3. The final point I would make is about a potential missed opportunity should this proposal go through. The area needs more high quality office space not less and in the Clapham Junction station site there is a golden opportunity to create an attractive and sustainable business environment to contribute to our local economy. With rail connections second to none and a vibrant local town centre only minutes from Central London and (with the coming of the East London line in 2011/12) in due course Docklands, it would be ideal. The proposed additional retail space offers nothing like the same opportunity.

Yours sincerely,

Jane Ellison

Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman

Councillor David Walden's objection

[From Cyril Richert: We publish below, with the consent of its author, the presentation sent by David Walden, Councillor for Queenstown ward, to Mark Hunter, the Planning Officer. Link with original PDF document is here.]


Author: David Walden, Councillor for Queenstown ward

Dear Mr Hunter,

I draw attention to the fact that I am a ward councillor for the Queenstown Ward. Although Queenstown Ward is at some distance from the site, my membership of the Council’s Passenger Transport Liaison Group over the last 3 years (thereby allowing me to participate in detailed discussions with the local bus and train operators), plus my experience as a regular user of the station for over 25 years, and as a resident in the St. John’s Hill area for a similar period, enables me to offer some comments on this proposal from a transport context.

INADEQUATE PROVISION FOR TRANSPORT USERS

The proposals in relation to the station itself and the interchange arrangements with other local transport are unsatisfactory, in that they in no way offer a complete solution to the acknowledged problems with which Clapham Junction Station must contend as a transport hub. No bus stops would be removed from the congested local roads, and indeed road traffic in the area would increase significantly because of the number of residential car parking spaces that are proposed. The last thing the Clapham Junction area needs is more road traffic.

Turning to the station itself, although two new station entrances are proposed, these provide access to an ageing footbridge which it is not proposed to upgrade or improve in any way. Many of the steps down to the platforms from this bridge are steep and narrow (those to Platforms 11 and 12 being particularly bad). Facilities at platform level are also unacceptably poor (the platform awnings on platforms 9, 10, 11 and 12 are wholly inadequate, and no improvement to these appears currently to be planned). Additionally, the complete closure of the subway as a means of access to the station is unnecessary and unhelpful for station users, given the shortcomings of the staircases down to the platforms from the footbridge to which I have already referred.

All intending passengers starting their journeys at Clapham Junction would in future be forced to use the staircases descending from the footbridge to reach the platforms. In my opinion, all that is needed is a reduction in use of the subway, and this can be achieved by the (already in progress) Brighton Yard reopening, together with some form of access directly from St John’s Hill to the footbridge. This would allow those entering the station to use the subway if they preferred. Step free access to the platforms is already being provided, of course.

Some supporters of the scheme have argued that this is a “once in a lifetime  opportunity” to improve station facilities for the 21st century. In my opinion, this proposal should be seen more as a huge missed opportunity to improve the station facilities. It should be recalled at this point that Clapham Junction is the 5th busiest railway station in the country (if interchange passengers are included-only 4 of the central London termini are busier). A more fundamental approach to solving Clapham Junction Station’s shortcomings is needed, and in my opinion, the present proposal does not begin to address those shortcomings. It should therefore not be seen as the solution to the problems that Clapham Junction Station faces as it attempts to serve as a major public transport node.

RAIL IMPROVEMENTS DO NOT APPEAR TO DEPEND ON THIS PROPOSAL

Network Rail is currently planning for the delivery of a project to allow 10 coach trains to operate on the suburban lines into Victoria Station. These trains serve platforms 14 and 15 at Clapham Junction Station, which will require lengthening to allow these longer trains to operate. This platform lengthening is project 15.05 of Network Rail’s CP4 Delivery Plan (published on 31 March 2009). Additional land to the south of the station is required to allow this platform extension to be carried out (since a realignment of the tracks will be necessary to allow the platforms to be of the required length-which incidentally addresses a long standing issue with the gap between the platform and the trains here).

I show below the key assumptions Network Rail are making with regard to the project (copied directly from the Network Rail document).

Key assumptions

  • That SDO will not be an acceptable alternative to platform extensions at this location;
  • that developer contributions may be available within the timescales required;
  • that no significant issues will be encountered with the purchase of land;
  • it is expected that the land will be acquired as part of the commercial property development. If this does not proceed then it will be necessary to purchase the land either directly or via a Transport and Works Act Order;

NB (my addition); SDO is an abbreviation for Selective Door Opening, whereby some doors remain closed where not all coaches forming a train calling at a station can be alongside a platform edge.

This shows that the proposed development, while welcome as potentially offering a contribution to Network Rail’s costs of delivering the lengthening of the trains on the South London suburban network, is not an essential requirement for that project to take place (since Network Rail indicates that it would use its compulsory powers to acquire the necessary land in any case).

Other supporters of the proposals have said that this proposed development, with its very tall buildings and other attempts to maximise capital values from the site, is the only way to secure the necessary improvements to the rail corridors using the station. The fact that Network Rail itself says that a Transport and Works Act acquisition would be used to obtain the land needed for the lengthening of platforms 14 and 15 surely gives the lie to that contention.

A further project aims to deliver 10 coach trains on the suburban lines towards Waterloo Station. The platforms that these trains would use (3-6 and 10 and 11) are either already of sufficient length to accommodate the longer trains, or can easily be extended without the need to acquire additional land.

CONCLUSION

To summarise, while I agree that there is a pressing need for improvements to Clapham
Junction station, it is my opinion that this proposal only partially addresses the need for those improvements, whereas the impact of the overall scale and type of the proposed development on the surrounding residential and local shopping areas is unacceptable (and I associate myself with Councillor Dawson’s comments on this aspect).

I therefore urge rejection of this proposal.

Yours sincerely

Councillor David Walden

Queenstown Ward

Councillor Peter Dawson's objection

[From Cyril Richert: We publish below, with the consent of its author, the presentation sent by Peter Dawson, Councillor for Northcote ward, to Mark Hunter, the Planning Officer. Link with original PDF document is here.]


Author: Peter Dawson, Councillor for Northcote ward

Dear Mr Hunter

In my capacity as a Northcote Ward councillor I have received many representations about these applications particularly from ward residents the overwhelming majority of which raise serious concerns and objections.

Having studied the applications as originally submitted in 2008 and the subsequent submissions this year from Metro Shopping Fund and Network Rail I have come to the conclusion, for the reasons set out below, that I cannot support these applications and would urge the Planning Committee to refuse them.

  1. The scale, height and density of the proposed 42 storey tower blocks are overwhelming and inappropriate for this location. This is not mitigated by the design of the towers which are overbearing in appearance and entirely out of character with the surrounding areas. The townscape to the south, east and west is predominantly Victorian and Edwardian terraces on which the proposed tower blocks would have a harmful impact while doing little, if anything to enhance the residential estates to the north of the station. In this context the local conservation area is described in the Council’s Conservation Appraisal & Management Strategy for Clapham Junction (Paragraph 5.1 Draft 2008) as “generally a high quality commercial centre containing a high proportion of valuable Victorian and Edwardian buildings. All these buildings make a positive contribution to the historic and architectural character of the conservation area.” Further in Paragraph 4.3 “The character and appearance of Clapham Junction Conservation area rely upon the strength of its architectural origins, which are essentially Victorian, and its association with the development of the railways”. In my view there is little relationship between the current proposals and the surrounding area. Adevelopment of this nature will be at the expense of the area’s character. Clapham Junction Town Centre is not a large locality, such as Canary Wharf, where buildings of this scale could be placed in an attractive and acceptable setting.
  2. The loss of current office space offering employment to some 450 people and the lack of new prime office accommodation in the proposals will have a significant impact on the commercial day-time economy of the Clapham Junction Town Centre area. This lack of new prime office accommodation would be a lost opportunity to encourage one or more major employers to base themselves in this Town Centre. It fails to capitalise on the existing excellent rail connections into and out of London which will be improved even further by the East London Line extension. The loss of office based employment potentially puts at further risk the valued local shopping parades of Lavender Hill, St John’s Hill, St John’s Road and Northcote Road.
  3. The proposals to ameliorate the interface between the rail network at Clapham Junction and the bus network are inadequate. Even the latest submissions from the developer only partially address the major problems experienced currently. As any redevelopment of this site is likely to determine the nature of the rail / bus interchange for years, if not decades, ahead this is a matter of major importance for the future well being of the Town Centre.
  4. The proposals in relation to the station itself are also unsatisfactory and partial. Though two new station entrances are proposed these provide access to an ageing footbridge which it is not proposed to upgrade and no through access is provided. Some supporters of the scheme have argued that this is a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to improve station facilities for the 21st century. Unfortunately this aspiration is not reflected in the reality of the proposals.

In addition I am concerned about the timing of any development as Metro Shopping Fund has not acquired key parts of the site and apparently does not expect work to start for at least 3 years. If the current scheme is approved Network Rail and other agencies are unlikely to give further serious thought to alternative ways of funding much needed developments at the station. While I acknowledge that some people do support the proposals mainly because of the pressing need to greatly improve the station facilities and they consider the tower blocks a “price worth paying” I do not agree with this point of view.

Improvements are desperately required at Clapham Junction station, not least because of passenger safety concerns, but in my view this application only partially addresses the problems at the station while the impact of the overall scale and type of proposed development on the surrounding residential and local shopping areas is unacceptable.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Dawson

Councillor Northcote Ward

Martin Linton's objection

[From Cyril Richert: We publish below, with the consent of its author, the presentation sent by Martin Linton, MP for Battersea, to the Planning Committee. Link with original PDF document is here.]


Author: Martin Linton MP

Dear Councillor McDonnell and members of the Committee,

I am writing to you with a petition signed by 552 local residents (to be presented at the council meeting) to object to these buildings on the grounds that they are far too tall and totally out of scale with their surroundings.

I have spoken to hundreds of people or sought their views in different ways and the vast majority are of the same view as me that we would prefer to keep Clapham Junction on a human scale.

Tower aboveFalconThe Falcon, as a listed building, cannot be pulled down but it can be made to look ridiculous by these huge towers just behind it, as this picture clearly shows. Tall buildings can work when they are next to other tall buildings, as in Canary Wharf, or even Vauxhall, but not in a shopping centre that was built in the late Victorian era and is mainly 4-7 storeys.

I know Wandsworth’s planning policies have long identified the town centres as possible locations for taller buildings, but that does not override the need to make sure buildings fit in with their surroundings. No one, looking at this picture, could pretend that they do.

As you can see from the petitions, the majority also ticked the box (where available) to support at least 50% affordable housing in any new development.

The great majority of people in Battersea face the problem that their sons and daughters cannot afford to rent or buy in the area and are forced to move far away, breaking up families and depriving elderly residents of the care and contact they would normally expect from their children and grandchildren.

That is why the Government set a requirement of 50% affordable housing on all new developments and I don’t regard this as an obligation that can be traded for station improvements, even when, as in this case, the station is in bad need of improvement.

Network Rail currently has £22 million in its five-year capital budget for 2009-14 allocated to Clapham Junction, mainly for platform lengthening and straightening (£20 million) with the remaining £2 million for what they call ‘cosmetic’ improvements. The Government’s Access for All scheme is also spending £9 million on installing lifts and re-opening the Brighton Yard entrance. The station certainly needs a lot more spent on it and is unlikely to receive any before 2014.

The Metronet development earmarks some £49 million for station improvements and the bulk of this would be spent on building escalators and lifts to the overbridge. This is certainly a benefit to Network Rail and TfL because it reduces the problem of overcrowding in the tunnel and spreads passengers more evenly along the platform. Benefits to local people will be modest. Many will find they have to walk further to the trains.

The development also involves a land-swap which will enable Network Rail to straighten platforms 15-17. As you may know, there are many local people who will not use platforms 15-17 because of the gap and there was a fatality on platform 15 some years ago. There will undoubtedly be a significant benefit to local people, but this has to be balanced against the impact of the towers.

The economic benefits of the development are more difficult to measure. 250 jobs would be lost at the PCS union and 150 jobs at Moss Bros. There would be a new shopping mall replacing the existing Station Approach. This sounds like a net loss of employment. It would be a different matter if the tall buildings were offices.

I appreciate that the Planning Applications Committee has a difficult job in balancing many different benefits and disbenefits in the schemes that come before it, but in this case I think the job is simple.

The overwhelming majority of local people do not want two 42-storey towers. They are in favour of station improvements, whoever pays for them, and are not against a new shopping mall to replace the station approach, but even taking account of the station improvements, they are overwhelmingly against this application.

I think they are right and I hope the committee will respect the wishes of the great majority of people living in the area.

Yours truly,

Martin Linton,

MP for Battersea

Overshadowing

Author: Cyril Richert

One of the concern often raised by objection is the case of shadowing caused by tall buildings.

As stated in one of the recent comment:

The study includes a picture of the overshadowing at 10.00 am as well as 12 pm however no picture is shown for the hours of the afternoon i.e. 3 pm and or 6 pm.
This needs to be added to the study to provide a complete picture of potential overshadowing.

A simple view of the neighbourhood on Google map shows the extend of shadows on buildings about 15 storey high. So you can easily imagine the consequences for 42 storiesShadows caused by tall building in the area of Clapham Junction

Clapham Junction Action Group Report to the Planning Committee

Author: Kate Williams

The Clapham Junction Action Group has published its report to the Planning Officer on Metro’s Revised Plans. The aim of our report is to ensure that the views of the community are properly represented and summarised, and we have therefore conducted a detailed review not only of Metro’s proposals, but also of the hundreds of letters published on Wandworth Council’s website. The letters of objection greatly outnumber those in support, and whilst the former are detailed with reasons given as to why the proposals should be rejected, the ‘letters’ of support are mostly in response to the developers’ postcard campaign or are in identical terms copied to the developers’ PR agents. Campaigns such as this do not call for reasoned arguments and as one local resident put it:

I am aware that whilst residents have been sent questionnaires asking for views on the improvements needed at the station … I do not recall one asking for confirmation of agreement to a 42 storey tower. It is therefore misleading to state that the development has incorporated meaningful consultation.

You can read the full report here (click to download), and read Metro’s summary of its revised proposals for the station improvements (which is published in seven parts) by following the links below:

Station improvement proposals – part1
Station improvement proposals – part2
Station improvement proposals – part3
Station improvement proposals – part4
Station improvement proposals – part5
Station improvement proposals – part6
Station improvement proposals – part7

Summary of CJAG’s Report

Whilst the full submission from Metro consists of many hundreds of pages, it is clear that very little has changed since its original application. The proposal still contains plans for two 42 storey towers, and a 23,000m2 shopping centre to compete with local shops.

CJAG’s main objection is to the appearance of the development and its lack of any human scale. Our report refers to planning guidelines which require tall buildings to be in context to the local environment and take account of the character of the area. MSF’s plans, by contrast, compete so violently with the surrounding area as to overwhelm and change its character entirely. The small footprint of the site is set to be developed beyond its reasonable capacity with the addition of 556 new flats and 23,000m2 of retail space, representing an urban density far in excess of anything that exists currently within over a mile of the site.

No independent analysis appears to have been commissioned on the impact of the towers on protected viewing corridors, and it is clear that their prominent location on the crest of the London Escarpment means that they would be highly visible from all parts of Battersea and most parts of London.

Our report draws on the overwhelming opposition within the community (615 objections on Wandsworth Council’s site (up to 23rd April)). Notwithstanding the Council’s policy on tall buildings (which CJAG believes should be reconsidered), the Council has a duty to take these objections into account and consider this to be the predominant case for rejection of the current proposals.

In addition, there are a great many other reasons why Metro’s proposals should be rejected when they are considered by the Council’s Planning Committee on 20th May. These include:

Loss of Amenity:

  • Clapham Junction Station: Metro’s plans for Clapham Junction station do not go anywhere near far enough, and may result in a situation worse than at present. Metro’s ‘improvements’ concern only the entrances to the station and do not impact on the problems of access to or overcrowding of the platforms. Nor do they create any extra capacity within the station: instead, the plan is simply to reverse the present situation whereby local people enter the station via the underpass, whilst those changing trains are directed to the over-pass. Placed in context, it is apparent that the gain to local residents is minimal and that if real improvements are to be made, we must look elsewhere.
  • Walking Distances: Metro has produced no evidence to back up its claim that the majority of station users will enjoy reduced walking distances to the station. In fact, when waling distances across the much longer over-bridge are taken into account, most travellers will have further to go to catch their trains.
  • Bus Facilities: At present, Metro’s proposals relating to bus facilities extends only so far as suggesting the relocation of a number of bus stops to bring them closer to the new station entrances. Although it now appears that Network Rail will provide a modicum of additional space for an integrated bus interchange in Grant Road, this relies upon future development and funding by the Council and TfL. An integrated bus/train interchange facility should be central to any plan to redevelop the site and not ‘parked’ for future consideration.
  • Traffic: Metro’s claims are entirely contradictory. If the development is to attract shoppers who are currently shopping outside of Clapham Junction town centre, then it is obvious that there will be an increase in traffic around the site. It appears extremely naïve to assume that a huge new shopping centre can be built, but that this will generate no significant increase in traffic or pressure on town centre car parking spaces.
  • Parking: Metro base their parking proposals on two assumptions, both of which are flawed. First, they state that restrictions on local street parking ‘will ensure’ that visitors do not use residential bays. This is incorrect. The majority of local parking allows for visitors to ‘pay and display’ on meters which allow for up to two hours. Second, Metro support their case by reference to vacant spaces in car parks owned or operated by Asda, LidL and Boots. We have spoken with the managers of each of these outlets and understand that none has been consulted about these proposals. Furthermore, they would object most strongly if shoppers were to use their facilities to shop elsewhere.
  • Medical Facilities: Initially Metro proposed to include an additional medical surgery within the development. It has since transpired, following a highly embarrassing letter from the Primary Care Trust, that this is to be a private medical facility and that Metro made no efforts to consult with the PCT regarding local needs.
  • Schools: Metro consider that there is plenty of capacity in local schools. In fact the issue of school places (particularly at reception and secondary school level) is of extreme concern to local people.

Retail Impact

The proposed retail development is considered to be unnecessary and having the potential to overwhelm the existing retail centres on St John’s Road and Northcote Road with numbers of predominantly chain outlets. Northcote Road currently enjoys a status as London’s most popular shopping street, whilst St John’s Road is attracting new ‘status’ outlets all the time. The area enjoys a wide range of shopping from cheap discount outlets right through to expensive boutiques, high quality independent food shops and a department store. No fewer than 7 supermarkets currently operate in the immediate vicinity.

It is therefore difficult to see what case can be made for such extensive additional retail provision at Clapham Junction. No independent retail capacity study appears to have been carried out. Metro’s own Retail Impact Assessment does not adequately demonstrate that the proposed shopping centre development would not cause further detriment on the vitality of the existing shopping and local market areas within St Johns Hill, Battersea Rise, Northcote Road and Battersea High Street – providing competition with these local retail centres and re-aligning pedestrian movements away from the principal cross-roads, discouraging movement in to Northcote Road.

Loss of Jobs and Failed Opportunity for Business

Metro’s proposal involves the compulsory purchase of offices belonging to the only significant office employer in the area, the Public and Commercial Sector Union (PCS). With such great accessibility to Central London, both airports, and the highly skilled and qualified workforce of South West London and Surrey, this location could easily attract a major international company as an occupier, lifting up the business profile of Wandsworth as a whole. The scheme completely fails to take full advantage of the site location, and in doing so represents an irreversible blight on that opportunity.

Inadequacy of Section 106 Commitments

Since the current station is set to be destroyed, it can be no part of Metro’s Section 106 commitments that a new station will be provided. These matters should be discounted and other Section 106 commitments required. A sizeable provision of affordable housing, in line with Wandsworth’s Council’s guidelines should be committed. Provision of affordable housing might to some extent, alleviate the demographic impact of starter homes for executives and buy-to-let investments being the sole focus of the site.

Insufficient affordable space in Clapham Junction also presents an issue for supporting more arts and creative industries in the area; essential for incubating independent trade and providing the context to create more cultural activity in the area. This would be important for creating a town centre with a point of difference.

[more information on section106 here]

Wind tunnelling

Metro’s wind tunnelling analysis considers insufficient locations on the station platforms, but demonstrates that in two out of the four locations measured, wind conditions are considered to be ‘unacceptable’. Unacceptable conditions will also be felt on the cross roads outsider the Falcon Pub and Arding and Hobbs. This situation is completely insupportable. One has only to visit Canary Wharf to experience the effects of wind tunnelling. On raw winter days the effects are miserable, and barely less so at other times of the year.

Disruption and Planning Blight

Whilst Metro has not seen fit to comment on the viability of the scheme under the present economic climate, it is noted that the Council does not consider that the development is likely to proceed in the near future. This matter will blight properties in the area for the foreseeable future. In addition, it is not at all clear whether present proposals including the Exemplar Scheme, South West Trains’ proposal to open a third entrance to Clapham Junction Station and plans for a further medical facility in the area, will proceed if the scheme is approved. These much needed improvements would be of real and immediate benefit and should not be put on hold pending a highly speculative development which may not proceed at all.

Conclusions

It is simply not sensible to approve an application which has no economic viability in the near future, and far more sensible to consider such proposals at times when they are more likely to proceed immediately. Such an approach would limit the impact on local residents, whilst allowing time for alternative and more popular proposals to emerge.

What is called for is a complete rethink of the strategy for Clapham Junction and the uses that the site might best be put to. Given the hiatus which exists as a result of the present economic climate, there may well be an unprecedented opportunity now to do so. Whatever plans emerge from such a process should be sympathetic in scale and directed to the needs of the local community. They should take as their starting point the creation of a proper station that reflects Clapham Junction’s strategic importance, the benefits of local work opportunities, and the need for affordable homes.

At the present time, however, the Council has a duty to reject Metro’s proposal for all of the reasons stated above. The community has spoken in unprecedented numbers and their views deserve to be recognised.