Déjà vu: The Winstanley and York Road regeneration plans in trouble

Author: Cyril Richert

The Winstanley and York Road regeneration plan is running out of funding even before they start phase 1. The proposed solution is to defer the leisure centre (and the controversial 32 storey tower) to concentrate on smaller towers (up to 19 storeys!). The good news is that Council had the opportunity to acquire an additional 115 shared ownership units to be converted into Council units to assist the decant of existing buildings.

The Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee will meet on Thursday 11th February. The original meeting on January 20th was postponed and rumours of financial difficulties on the Winstanley and York Road project began to spread. It seems likely that the postponing of the meeting was needed to finalise a review of the project and draft new proposals. In his latest newsletter, Labour Cllr Tony Belton wrote:

“All was going well until on the 29th January we were warned that the Council’s partner in the Joint Venture project, Taylor Wimpey, is having difficulties raising the necessary finance. As a result, there will need to be a quick review of the project and of the timing of fundamental phases of the building work.”

The agenda of the Committee meeting reveals indeed that there is a major item dedicated to the estate regeneration scheme (paper No. 21-46). Continue reading

The full case against Winstanley & York Rd scheme: social cleansing and contempt for local residents

Author: Cyril Richert

The Clapham Junction Action Group has sent a contribution building the case against the Winstanley and York Road regeneration plans push forward by Wandsworth Council. In this (long) article, we not only present the full arguments developed in the report, but we also deal with the enormous money pocketed by the Council with this development and the apathy and lack of ambition of the local Labour party.

We support the principle of regenerating the Winstanley and York Road Estates. The estates have been neglected by the local authorities and in the recent decade the area has been rightly labelled “one of the most deprived estates in the borough”.

However, we consider that the consultations have been conducted as a meaningless statutory obligation, that legitimate local resident concerns were systematically dismissed or simply ignored, and that the whole scheme has been conducted by Wandsworth Council with a partisan political agenda in mind. Allowing such plan would contribute to deteriorate further the already poor level of trust expressed by communities towards local government.

Green light from Sadiq Khan

The phased demolition of most of the existing buildings of Winstanley and York Road estates, being replaced by a huge development, providing 2550 residential units in blocks ranging from three to 32 storeys, has been given a green light by the Mayor of London.

In March 2019, the Mayor of London delegated the decision on the first review of the Council’s scheme for Winstanley and York Road estates. The first report (stage 1) supported the overall design strategy but required more scrutiny on the provision of housing. It also recommended that the Council updates its policy to protect the new open space created (2.49 hectares, a loss of locally designated open space compared to existing) to ensure that it benefits from appropriate policy protection in the future.

A second report (stage 2) on 23 November 2020, Sadiq Khan himself ratified the formal approval from City Hall.

Undercover “social cleansing” organised by Wandsworth Council

Continue reading

Consult, then ignore. Make policy, then ignore = the full process of planning decisions in Wandsworth!

Author: Cyril Richert

32 and 20 storeys where the Council think it would make a positive contribution to the area and that would not harm the townscape. The area is currently mainly built with 2 to 8-storey blocks.

In 2015 Wandsworth Council distributed a Planning News leaflet called “Battersea Riverside Consultation” asking for opinions on their planning framework to guide the development of the Lombard Road/York area. Although the final policy ignored the consultation comments, the latest proposals for the area show that the full procedure (including drafting the policy itself!)  was just a waste of time and money and – as usual with Wandsworth planning policy – is meant to be ignored. Continue reading

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

Winstanley Estate Regeneration in parliament

Author: Cyril Richert


House of Commons – Friday 22 March 2019
Marsha De Cordova MP (Battersea, Labour)

Marsha de Cordova, MP for Battersea, secured a debate on Winstanley Estate Regeneration on March, 22nd (Citation: HC Deb, 22 March 2019, c1433).

There are interesting comments, mostly about the lack of social units in the scheme (currently council houses representing the majority of homes on the estate, while of the proposed 2,000 extra homes, just three will be council homes), while Wandsworth Council has nearly 7,000 families on its housing waiting list, and that the Council is accused of promoting “social engineering” within the Winstanley and York Road estates. We also learn that last year, 90% of the houses built in the borough were unaffordable private homes, while less than 3% were council homes.

Unfortunately Rishi Sunak, Under-Secretary for Housing, Communities and Local Government, refused to comment on the case and instead made a general statement about the government priority to build more affordable homes (missing the point raised about specifically social housing – not 80% of private market rent or shared-equity schemes) and praising the Tory leadership of Wandsworth.

You will find below a full transcript of the debate, with some specific parts highlighted when we found it appropriate (video is available HERE). Continue reading

Ganley Court: strong objection from residents to developments of up to 31 storey towers

Authors: Owners and residents of No. 17, 18, 20, 23, 40, 42, 43 and 44 Ganley Court

Latest plans for skyscrapers on York Gardens

NB: This is a transcript of the detailed objection of Ganley Court residents regarding the Planning Application 2019/0024, which is proposing to build on York Garden up to 2550 residential units ranging from 3 – 31 storeys above ground level including leisure centre, health, flexible commercial uses, park, landscaping, public realm, energy centres, car/cycle parking and new vehicle accesses.

We are the owners and residents of No. 17, 18, 20, 23, 40, 42, 43 and 44 Ganley Court, Winstanley Estate, SW11 2EW. We are all freeholders of well-maintained low rise terraced family-sized houses of three and four bedrooms with garden. We believe that the changes being proposed are substantial and that, despite our feelings about the Master Plan having been made clear from the beginning, the rights and needs of the freehold residents of Ganley Court have been neglected and undermined throughout the consultation process. We therefore request further consultation and a revised planning application before this is determined. Continue reading

Horror plans to redevelop Clapham Junction/Winstanley area

Author: Cyril Richert

An article from the Evening Standard a few days ago revealed to the general public some pictures of the plans instigated by Wandsworth Council to redevelop Winstanley & York estates. We have already explained in many articles how Wandsworth Council ignored some results of the consultation 5 years ago and has conducted parody of consultations along the process. For a reminder, you can just glance at our previous article: Winstanley regeneration: Can we trust the Council?

There is not much to add to the pictures published in the Evening Standard and that we post below. It resembles more Canary Wharf or even New York in some extend and as “phallocratic” tower-plans go (as Boris Johnson famously named them in 2007) the budget for this “grand” design slipped from £1bn in 2017 to £1.4bn nowadays. Who knows, it might soon reached £2bn if you had 2 or 3 more skyscrapers… And to reuse a headline describing the former Mayor of London, it could be Tory’s dire legacy for Clapham Junction. Continue reading

Winstanley Phase 0: Less Trees, Less Space and High rise

Author: Cyril Richert

Phase 0 of the Winstanley and York Road estates regeneration has now started. Usual trick applied: the picture published is only showing the top 6 floors of a tower that will reach … 20 floors.

This phase comprises of three separate developments along Grant Road, which in total will deliver 139 new residential flats along with the relocation of the Battersea Baptist Church and Thames Christian College. Continue reading

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.
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