Major Planning Applications and Developments. Qtr 4 2013

Posted on Dec 11, 2013


During 2013 Wandsworth Borough Council (WBC) has given itself planning approval for a new school at Putney Lower Common in spite of significant local opposition Our letter about this application and for rebuilding part of Elliot school, which involves selling off almost half the site for residential development – which of course also got consent, but only with some changes requested by the Society.  Our letter about this application

Rising school populations have resulted in consents for additional classrooms for almost every primary school in the area, although few as conspicuous as the ‘green’ roof at Hotham School.  Sacred Heart School on Roehampton Lane is currently being rebuilt. 

 But despite the rising demand the selling off of school grounds continues.  Next to go will be the Catholic St John Bosco school near Tibbett’s Corner, which thanks to planning consent for 110 new homes from WBC can now be sold to pay for rebuilding their school in Battersea. Our letter about this application.  The Society is continuing to press WBC to explain how it plans to meet demand when the extra pupils reach secondary school age. 

 Upper Richmond Road:

Development continues apace here. At Nos.77-83 next to East Putney station the two new blocks are almost complete, with over half of the flats having already been sold to overseas investors.

 No.113 Upper Richmond Road (URR), opposite the Virgin Active Gym, has been demolished and construction commenced by London Square.  This will be mainly flats, up to 11 storeys high with some shops and one floor of offices.

London Square have also acquired No.111 next door and were hoping to add this to their scheme.  Their application suggested that the building is past its economic life, not viable for modern offices and that there is no demand for their office space.  Yet this building is the most modern of the large buildings on the URR and the Society has evidence that there had been a waiting list for offices in this block. Our letter about this application.  The Planning Application Committee is to consider this application during December. The developers have also submitted a second application to convert the existing building to flats instead, which Wandsworth are unable to refuse.  (See ‘Loss of offices to flats’ issue).

 In addition to these two, a proposal for Carlton House, at the junction of the URR and Carlton Drive, better known as the VSO building, has created an interesting situation. The owners consulted with immediate neighbours, proposing a part 10, part 5 storey development with the highest portion to the west. The neighbours considered that, in the context of the other excessively tall buildings that the Council had allowed to be built on the URR, this particular proposal was actually quite reasonable. It was therefore a surprise that after the developers has sat down with East Putney councillors and the Council’s design officer that the height of the proposed building increased by three storeys. Even more interesting was that the planning application was then refused by the Planning Committee in October, the case officer’s report citing loss of office space as one of the reasons. It is unclear whether councillors have finally listened to the residents that they are said to represent or whether it is just the proximity of local council elections. Our letter about this application.  No doubt this will be back. 

 Meanwhile demolition has also been completed at No.131, previously Tileman House, which gained planning consent in 2012 as reported in our previous update, but now seems to be being left as an empty site, and of the two buildings directly opposite East Putney Station where there is consent for yet another mixed use (mainly flats) scheme of 4 buildings of up to 11 storeys.

Putney High Street:

Work is well advanced on the extension to Putney Exchange which will bring a large two storey branch of H&M.  Pressure from the Society, as reported previously, and others did resulted in a promise that the exceptional glass screen by local glass artist ...  will be put back over the High Street entrance instead of being scraped.

 The application for a proposed 15 storey development bridging Putney High St and Putney Bridge Road, commonly referred to as the ‘Blades’ or the ‘Airwick’ building, has not progressed from any publicly visible perspective since late 2012. It has been reported that councillors have asked the developer to withdraw the application in its current form.  Our letter about this application

Other Locations:

It may not be in Putney, but we will still be able to see the biggest new tower of them all (at this end of the borough) from many Putney streets.  The latest application, recently approved for the huge scaled redevelopment of the Ram Brewery in Wandsworth includes a bulky 38 storey building right next to the listed Church Row, and another of 12 storeys directly behind this.  Approval was helped by the Council’s Design and Conservation officer opining that 38 storeys would not affect the setting of the conservation area and listed buildings, and thus of course not transgress any Council policy!  At the request of our neighbours in the Wandsworth society we objected to this application. Our letter about this application

 More assets sold: 

Other Council assets sold to developers were the Roehampton Community centre Our letter about this application and Olive Haines House, a residential home for the elderly. Our letter about this application.  In both these cases, and at Elliot school the Council seems to have agreed to development that exceeds its policies on tall buildings in order to maximise the land value. 


The council are consulting about the regeneration of the Alton West estate.  Our letter about this

The Society also commented at length upon the proposal by Roehampton University for developments around the listed Downshire House.  Our letter about this application  As we feared, consent was followed almost immediately by the loss of all the mature trees along the Roehampton Lane frontage.

Responses submitted to Consultations on Planning Policies:

- Changes to the management of conservation areas and listed buildings.

- Protection of local views.

- Space and other standards for new housing.

- Refuse storage and collections.

- Change of use without the need for planning consent from shops and offices to housing and the possibility of not needing consent for house extensions up to 8 metres(27 feet) deep.  See more about the offices change in the Loss of Office Space issue.