Artificial support orchestrated by the developers

2 mins read

Author: Cyril Richert
Up to the 4th of March 2009, we counted 550 objections on the Council’s website.
Most of the presentations are detailed, with arguments to express opinions on the plan. On 90% of the letters, you reject the towers, saying they are “two monstrosities“, “hideous, overpowering and totally out of keeping with their surroundings“,  “alien“, “obscene“, “out of scales, out of character“, “overwhelming“, “inappropriate“, “eyesore“, “aggressive/confrontational“, “send this proposal to Canary Wharf where it belongs, not nappy valley“, “poor design“, “feel horrified“… etc. This is definitely the number one objection and case for rejection; I don’t understand why it is not the number one preoccupation of the Council for the scheme, especially after their Wandsworth 2018 brochure claiming for a good place to live now and a better place for the future. You should read the letter sent by a local resident on that here.
But there are countless of other objections regarding the station development, the transport system, the environment consideration, the congestion created by the new residents. You can find very detailed letters on the Council website, and some of them have been published on our website here and there.
Even the Planning Officer is very concerned with the flaws in the proposal, as demonstrated by his letter sent to the developers here.
On the other hand, as we were denouncing the level of support recorded by the Council in December, most of them if not all being duplicate letters or sent by the same person (who happens to be working for a PR agency linked to the developers), we are now counting 162 presentations of support.
I was very curious to read about the arguments to defend the design, shape and height of the towers, the beauty of the schemes, and probably plenty of other positive arguments. Unfortunately there was no surprise: most (if not all) of the new support are again duplicate support card, with the same text as last December:

I would like to express my support for the Metro Shopping Fund’s redevelopment for Clapham Junction Station.
The proposals will help regenerate the Town Centre and will transform the station. This is once in a life time opportunity, it the plans are not supported we will face years of continued dreadful conditions at the station. I urge the Council to support the proposals.

Support cardYou can see an example of those “support cards” on the left hand side (click on the image to enlarge).
Therefore I cannot call them “letters of support” as they are just copies of formatted text by a PR agency working for the developers, not even local letters (one is coming from Liverpool!). In addition you probably noticed that they are only support for the station redevelopment, not the two 42 stories tower blocks Metro proposes to build.
If you remove those automated-without argumentation-fake support, some of them with not details but just a name, the number of support drops to less than… 50! Amazing, isn’t it?
In the document attached (click on the link) I have listed with colour codes the type of support letter:

  • orange: cards printed by developers/PR agency with the exact text above (I would like to express… etc) = 90 submissions
  • green: emails or letters with the exact text above (I would like to express… etc) = 25 submissions
  • pink: duplicate from the same person = 2 submissions (the Planning Officer removed dozens previously)
  • white: others = 45 submissions

So, 550 objections vs 45 genuine supports (i.e. not formatted by a PR agency).
But where is it located exactly?
We display two maps below with the following colours:
= objections to the planning permission
orange = “artificial” support with standard letter/card (organised by the PR agency)
blue= “genuine” support

map1= red vs orange+blue
(click on the map to see it bigger)
Map1 - Objections vs Support
map2= red vs blue (click on the map to see it bigger)
Map1 - Objections vs Support (we removed the "artificial" support)
As you can see, there can be NO doubt at all that there is a massive rejection of the developers’ proposal!

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CJI 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.


  1. I am sure the developers did not think there would be such objections – we do not want two “sore thumbs”!

  2. I hope when the Council does their tallying up, they do a similar analysis and recognise the false support for what it is!

  3. If the proposals for Clapham Junction get the go-ahead including the two towers it will destroy the environment and will also put immense strain on the local infrastructure. The plans are hideous and out of keeping with this area and should be scrapped. I am a local resident and have lived in the Northcote Ward for 22 years.

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