Author: Cyril Richert
Residents of Mossbury road, Falcon road and area have recently received a leaflet presenting a proposed development of Woburn House, 155 Falcon Road.
The site is currently occupied by a five storey office building, of mid-20th century origin. The site is within the Clapham Junction Conservation Area, and viewable in the context of the Grade II listed Falcon Public House, and the Grade II Listed Arding & Hobbs (now Debenhams) department store. It is proposed to demolish the existing 5 storey building and erect a 7 storey replacement + 2 Victorian style properties.
You might remember that a previous application was presented last summer to develop a 16 storey hotel and that it was refused by Wandsworth Borough Council.
The application was met with strong opposition from local residents (85 objections), local societies, English Heritage, the Mayor of London and Martin Linton, MP for Battersea.
- size of the building (16 storey building);
- the proposed development does not respect the historical and architectural homogeneity of its neighbouring buildings;
- noise and disturbance in parking caused by a 132 room hotel (potential noise from the delivery vans, servicing, etc);
- increase traffic all along the road (proposed entrance on Mossbury, a one way residential street) and create additional pressure on the limited parking.
Oak Trading Co Ltd have now prepared a completely revised scheme, which has recently been submitted for Planning Consent (I couldn’t find the reference number on the Council’s website), and may be summarised as follows (extract from the developer’s brochure):-
- The structural elements of the existing building are to be retained but the existing building will be comprehensively refurbished, including complete recladding and extended (including 3 additional floors) to provide a 70 room hotel (approximately half the height of the previous scheme).
- The main entrance to the hotel will be from Falcon Road (not Mossbury Road as per the previous application).
- There will still be a commercial shop/restaurant unit on the ground floor but this will be independent from the hotel and, as before, its entrance will also be from Falcon Road.
- A separate application is to be submitted shortly for a residential redevelopment of the car park which, although adjoining the hotel, will also be independent from the hotel/commercial unit. This building has been designed to harmonise with the existing terrace of houses in Mossbury Road and will comprise 3 x 1 bedroom and 3 x 2 bedroom flats over three floors.
This building will also provide an appropriate buffer/transition between the existing terrace of houses and the proposed hotel and is of the same scale as the existing buildings higher up Mossbury Road and stepping down with the contours.
The least we can say is that the developers listened carefully to all arguments and tried to address each of them in their new proposal.
- Size of the building: it is now a 7 8 storey building (instead of 16)
- Conservation area: the new building is much smaller and based on a comprehensive refurbishment of the existing building. The proposed overall height of the development will be lower than the existing building which is immediately opposite it in Falcon Road. In addition 2 Victorian style residential developments will be build, similar to the one existing in Mossbury road.
- Noise and disturbance: there will be less servicing (such as refuse collection, deliveries etc.) to the new scheme because the hotel is about half the previous size and secondly, because there are no “in-house” café/ restaurant/bar facilities.
- Increase traffic and parking in a small one way residential road: the main entrance to the hotel will be from Falcon Road (not Mossbury Road as per the previous application).
You will find below a few images from the developer’s leaflet.
As we did last year, we will try to meet with the developers as soon as possible. Of course we will have in view our recent comments and representation on the Site Specific Documents for Clapham Junction area. However we can already praise the work done by the developers in listening and addressing the concerns and objections raised by their previous application.
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Not bad – not bad at all. Looks like a decent design, that is a marked improvement on the current building (which is completely out of keeping with the area and does nothing for the already down-at-heel Falcon Road). They’ve struck a decent balance between the need to blend in to the fairly varied but low rise Victorian streetscape, without falling into the trap of going for an appalling pastiche ‘traditional’ look (which really hasn’t weathered too well in the Shopstop, or the Asda, both only 20 or so years old but looking very cheap and tacky indeed…).
This road needs a bit more activity at street level to make it feel safer and more pedestrian friendly – and having something other than a completely blank brick wall facing Falcon Lane should also be a big improvement.
I noticed a couple of weeks back that Oak Trading also resubmitted the old (almost 5 years old) planning application for the building for renewal, which was a more basic conversion to flats on the upper floors and a renovated office (with a restaurant on the first two floors) – presumably as a backstop, though I think they have now moved on from that design. Somewhere in the system, there’s an existing permission for the construction of two houses on the car park, which I presume is also being resubmitted.
At the risk of going off on a tangent, I still think the PCS building opposite should have retail at ground level, rather than the dreary mess that’s there at the moment – as it stands, for all of the efforts to clean up the underneath of the railway bridge there’s little to draw anyone down Falcon Road unless you live there, which means its shops suffer.
Sounds great to me. Much better than the previous application, and that building is such an eyesore at the moment.
Shops in PCS would make sense, but I’m still hoping they will redevelop that area into a smart shopping centre (minus the towers though..)
That’s a relief. On the face of it we are let off time-consuming argument. How nice not to have a developer going for broke!