Posted on Mar 01, 2015
Building Issues Update
The overdevelopment of Putney continues apace. Forty plus metre skyscrapers of 11, 12 and 13 storeys, inconsistent with a low rise green and leafy suburb, are built or under construction in East Putney on the Upper Richmond Road at nos 131 to 11 storeys, the old Tileman site, 113 and now 111 to 12 storeys, the London Square development, and at 84 to 88, the Putney Plaza site to 11 storeys.
In addition to the Upper Richmond Road, 5 storeys of flats are being built at 5 Oakhill Road on the site of the previously council owned Olive Haines sheltered accommodation, now apparently surplus to needs. At 31 Putney Hill two additional storeys are being added to a three storey block being refurbished. Members will be aware of challenges in 2013/14 with Elliot School not needing any outdoor space on site for sports and a two form entry school on the old Putney Hospital site.
We are pleased to say that the Buildings Panel had a productive meeting with the estates company for TopShop who showed us their ideas for improving the store with some reasonable additional low rise residential accommodation on top.
Currently under scrutiny
The Society is engaged with applications from British Land for 56-70 Putney High Street and by A2Dominion for 85-93 Upper Richmond Road, the old VSO building, and proposals for a major regeneration in Roehampton.
56-70 Putney High Street
This site, currently occupied by Halfords through to Barclays Bank and Eddie Catz, is also known as the Werelhave site. The application is for a brick faced building of xxxx storeys on the High Street frontage rising to 8 storeys at the northwest corner with a public square at the south west corner. The Society is a little surprised to find an application for only eight storeys but has three particular concerns. These are that the frontage to the High Street is too tall, out of keeping with other building heights and stark in design. The public square to the rear is quite small, makes too much of the commandeering of Lacy Road (not in their ownership) and incorporates Walkers Place which will be the route for servicing the retail premises, refuse collections and flat owners with parking spaces. Thirdly and particularly importantly there is considerable concern about the effect of this tall development on the already excessive pollution on the High Street particularly through the blocking of the prevailing wind from the southwest.
This application has attracted a lot of attention, much of it fresh faces realising what is happening to Putney. The obvious challenge to the existence of Eddie Catz has raised a lot of objections although it should be noted that the loss of a particular business is not a planning consideration.
The application can be viewed at the following link:- Planning application 2014/7344
Two letters from the Putney Society raising objections and concerns can be viewed on the following link:-
85-93 Upper Richmond Road
This site is on the corner of the Upper Richmond Road and Carlton Drive near East Putney station, the old VSO building of 7 and 1 storeys. The application is for a 12 storey central tower block where the current 7 storeys are located with other 9, 11 and 4 storey elements providing 70+ flats and 3 regular parking spaces. The 12 storey element would be the same height as the 13 storey part of the Langham Square building to the east. The proposal brings a 9 storey block the full length of and closer to Carlton Drive. The site is one of those identified in the Local Plan as suitable for redevelopment although the identified site includes the Erico House building to the west which is in different ownership. The Local Plan document for this site states that height and mass on the eastern side should be retained and any higher element should be towards the centre of the whole site. The current proposal provides none of this and the public realm to be provided on the north west corner amounts to 9 sq m. Office re-provision and affordable housing provision are both less than a previous planning application for the site which was refused in early 2014, in part on the basis that these aspects were insufficient. A2Dominion are an affordable housing developer.
The planning application can be viewed at:- Planning application 2014/7032
The Society’s objection letter can be viewed at:- Objection 2014/7032
Roehampton - Alton Estate Regeneration
The Final Alton Area Masterplan was approved by the Council 's executive group in October. The Council now need to adopt the Masterplan as formal planning guidance for the area in what is called a 'Supplementary Planning Document'. This will require another round of consultation which is scheduled to begin on 6th April and to run for seven weeks.
The council web site for Roehampton Regeneration can be found at: http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/info/200169/roehampton/1536/roehampton. However, a web site, from a newly formed group of residents, the Alton Regeneration Watch, who are sceptical about the whole regeneration programme and have been raising questions accordingly, can be found at: www.altonwatch.org.uk.
The Continuing Tsunami
Many residents seem unaware that the Local Plan produced by the Council identifies many sites in Putney deemed as suitable for redevelopment and on a scale much greater than the current premises. These include; the cinema and Jubilee House site next to St Mary’s Church; the corner of Putney High Street and Putney Bridge Road (often referred to as the “Blades” because of a previous planning application for 15 storeys, now withdrawn); the Putney telephone exchange site in Montserrat Road; the Sainsbury site in Werter Road and Erico House at 95-99 Upper Richmond Road, being the 2nd half of the site encompassing the old VSO building at nos 85-93.
All of these identified sites are shown in the Local Plan as being “sensitive” to tall buildings and having heights of 5 or 6 storeys at which the tall buildings policy will be applied. This leads many people to believe that the sites are judged as not suitable for tall buildings and that 5 or 6 storeys is the suggested height. Sadly the opposite is true. “Sensitive” is better read as “Suitable” for tall buildings and the 5 or 6 storeys words quoted are the commencement point for the tall building policy not the suggested maximum height. The 6 storey guidance was in place for every new building on the Upper Richmond Road in East Putney. The lowest new building under construct is 7 storeys. The remainder range up to 13 storeys with most reaching at least 11 storeys and ranging from 38 to 44 metres in height.
Whilst planning decisions continue to eradicate significant corporate scale office accommodation from Putney, contrary to the Local Plan, smaller scale office accommodation is rapidly being lost due to the Government’s Permitted Development rules. Under these rules, recently reaffirmed, office accommodation can be converted to residential accommodation without planning permission being required. The theory being that unused offices could be used to help “the housing crisis”. The reality is that small professional firms, the Secretary of State for Business’ “engine for growth” are being given notice by landlords and push out to make way for developers to cash in on the housing boom. Even Wandsworth Council does not think that this makes sense! The Society wrote to Justine Greening MP:- PD Letter to Justine Greening explaining our concerns. We received a reply which can be read here:- Justine Greening PD reply.