AGM of the Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union Council

3 mins read

Author: Cyril Richert
Trades councils are often very important organisations in an area if, like the Battersea and Wandsworth one, they are active. They bring together trade union branches in the area to campaign on relevant issues, particularly jobs, pay etc.
The Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union Council held their General Council meeting in January (see report below) and their AGM on Monday 9th February at 7.30pm at the PCS HQ, Clapham Junction.
The meeting concluded with an address by Imogen Radford from the No Towers in Clapham Junction Campaign who discussed the impact this development would have on local jobs.


Author: Imogen Radford
I went along to the AGM/General Council and spoke briefly to the meeting developing the points below:

Clapham Junction development: impact on the local economy
Talk to Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Council 9 February 2009
Summary of the plans

  • Two tower blocks with 550 one and two-bedroom luxury flats
  • Shops – lots more around the station
  • Station improvements
  • Demolish PCS, Moss Bros etc

Impact

  • Jobs
    • Loss of 400 to 500 in offices, secure, permanent jobs, well-paid.
    • Many new jobs claimed for the new shops.
  • Local businesses
    • Loss of business from the 400 to 500 staff, and 350 visitors a week to PCS for example, shops, pubs, restaurants etc.
    • Loss of prestige of having trade union and company headquarters in the area.
  • Local economy
    • Less stable employment in shops, more vulnerable to recession
    • A less mixed workforce, fewer well-paid staff
    • Higher proportion of people who only live in the area and work elsewhere, particular impact on the daytime economy, making the shopping area are vulnerable to competing areas which retain more of a mix and more employment locally.
  • Impact on local community
    • Impact of about 1000 new residents, possibly in buy to let flats, transient population, making less of a contribution to the local community
    • Insufficient facilities in the community – schools, hospitals, sewerage and drainage
    • Insufficient improvement of the station to cope with this growth in use
  • Transport
    • Insufficient improvement of the station to cope with further growth over the next 20 years
    • Congestion for pedestrians, as underpass closed, bridge only access to platforms, and insufficiently increased areas for movement
    • Station access less easy, as the entrance near the junction will be closed, and access only possible from Grant Road and much further up St John’s Hill
    • Parking insufficient for the number of flats, so people will park in nearby estates and streets
    • No increase in buses provision to cope with the extra numbers of residents
  • Impact on the area of inappropriate buildings
    • Conservation area, massive impact on the character of the area of inappropriate design of buildings, disproportionate sized tower blocks, modish other buildings
  • Lost opportunities
    • The planned improvements to the junction and pavements might not go ahead
    • Local NHS plans for a health centre might not go ahead, medical Centre in the development insufficient and absolutely no discussion with NHS
    • Network Rail work to improve the station might not go ahead (other than the lists installation already underway)
  • Wasted opportunities
    • Lack of a Wandsworth wide strategy on development in the area, so piecemeal proposals unconnected, including Putney towers turned down, Wandsworth towers agreed, hotel plans for Falcon Road?, Clapham Junction development?
    • Lack of a Clapham Junction wide strategy for improving the town centre, so not taking account of local business, economy, community etc, just reacting to this proposed development
    • No London wide strategy on tall buildings. Mayor of London inconsistent and contradictory in his approach
    • Potential for employment in Clapham Junction missed and lost by this proposal – very accessible area (13th most accessible in London, apparently)
    • Transport strategy not joined up
    • Connection between Clapham Junction and Heathrow?
    • More imaginative use of the station site, especially as it is partly up on a hill
    • Major redevelopment of the station to cope with increased growth, linked with the local area

What we can do: Raise in your branches

  • Objection e-mail/letter to Council
  • Attend planning meeting once date known (12 March or 16 April?
  • Local MPs and councillors
  • Mayor of London
  • Petition
  • Comment on website
  • Keep up-to-date on the website
  • Help with the campaign

Resources

  • Campaign leaflet
  • MPs newsletter
  • Item on website about the response of business
  • My e-mail about impact on PCS employee
  • New leaflet due out soon from the campaign

The response was very positive and interested.
There were people there who clearly had a lot of very interesting knowledge about Wandsworth, and talked for example about how Wandsworth Council deals with section 106/planning gain [CR: article here]. Basically they bank the money, we don’t see any improvements that benefit the local community, and this just keeps the council tax down.
They routinely do not require developers to include affordable housing.
And there is a massive oversupply of housing in the area — it is turning into a dormitory area. There have been 30,000 new dwellings built since 1992. Demolishing commercial property and replacing it with housing.
There are 3000 unsold dwellings in the borough, and there is a particular development in Plough Road, Wimbledon, where it is 60% unoccupied. Clapham Junction development will just add to this glut.

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CJAG News editor and Clapham Junction Action Group co-founder and coordinator since 2008, Cyril has lived in Clapham Junction since 2001.
He is also funder and CEO of Habilis-Digital Ltd, a digital agency creating and managing websites and Internet solutions.