Grant Road/Winstanley development: protest on work disturbance

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Author: Cyril Richert
As published in October 2009, the Council approved the redevelopment of the site along Grant Road (Griffon House  & Lanner House 6 Grant Road SW11) involving demolition of existing buildings and construction of new building between 6-11 storeys to provide 452 self-contained studio rooms for use as student accommodation (for use of post-graduate students of Imperial College London) together with associated car and cycle parking, landscape treatment, amenity space, access and servicing facilities.
I met with the developers in August 2009 (read HERE).
Protest on construction site disruption
Application for 2 buildings, 6 Grant RoadResidents have expressed concerns on the disruption caused by vehicles using the public pavements for parking and accessing the construction site.
John Marshall, one of the local resident, has written to Wandsworth Council claiming that Berkeley First contractors are denying pedestrian access by parking vehicles on the pavement and opening the gates outward, completely blocking the pavement. He highlighted 4 contraventions to the special conditions attached to the licence to the site and provided photographs (as shown below):

  1. They are opening the Gates to the site outward (thus blocking the pavement and forcing people to walk on the road) as well as inward.
  2. They are parking vehicles on the pavement on Winstanely Road completely blocking pedestrian access
  3. They have not obscured the traffic signs, instead they removed the traffic sign on Winstanley Road so as to facilitate the parking on the pavement of said construction vehicles.
  4. Construction vehicles unable to drive on site are using the pavement on Winstanely Road as an extension to the construction site, again blocking pedestrian access.


He asked for the work to be suspended until agreement is found to prevent re-occurrence.
The Council officers responded that they were contacting Berkeley First to get as many issues addressed as soon as possible and try to reduce the negative impact the current works are having on the surrounding area. They also confirmed that the costs of repairing any damage caused will be relayed back to them. However there is no sign that any measure was taken to enforce health and safety requirement.
The old children’s house to be included within the development
The location of the old Children’s home site (50 Winstanley road) has been sold by Wandsworth Borough Council to Berkeley First (report January 2010) (in orange colour in the photos below).


The planning application database being currently unavailable, I was not able to retrieve more information and little is known about the use that Berkeley First wants to do with the new site.
You might remember that the current permission raised questions about the density and size of the buildings (with the provision of 452 studio flats). Any building extension would reinforce the same arguments; but the additional space could also be used by the developers to increase the public space and thus lower the density of the scheme.
Feel free to post in the comments if you know more.

if we can get as many issues addressed as soon as possible and try to reduce the negative impact the current works are having on the surrounding area, and will request that as well as responding to this department, they also respond to you acknowledging your complaints and hopefully giving you reassurances that these problems will cease.

From the points that have been raised in both you email and telephone call from today, and your previous contact with Paul Foster of our Environmental Services team – I received a copy of this email chain yesterday, the 20th of July. The main issues that this department will be looking into are the gates of the site entrance opening outwards onto the public highway and causing a potential obstruction to the footpath outside the site, and the removal of the parking post as this may have created a potential trip hazard on the footway and will also be required to be replaced. I will raise the issue of the HGV’s parking on the footway, this office cannot undertake any enforcement action on this matter as this falls under the parking departments remit, they have been made aware of these issues and will take the appropriate enforcement action where necessary, we will however make it very clear to Berkeley First and their contractors that they may be causing damage to our footway and possibly apparatus belonging to the various public utilities which is located below our footway, and that the costs of repairing any damage caused will be relayed back to them.

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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.

3 Comments

  1. It’s normal procedure to contact the Highways Department of a local council in cases where a traffic or construction management plan is not being adhered to. It’s certainly usually prohibited to open gates outwards as shown. Berkeley are usually pretty good and run very clean sites compared to most contractors/developers (they run their own sites).
    Such problems can rapidly be resolved by negotiation and the threat of any injunction is enough to get things fixed. Did your correspondent contact the council first- it’s the most effective way and they get down quickly?

    • David> I have copy of correspondence with Wandsworth Council. As I wrote, they addressed the problem, but moves seem slow.
      Berkeley First and Wandsworth council were contacted and according to Mr Marshall there has now been some improvements but the developer is still using the Winstanley Road and the pavement as an extension to their construction site.

  2. David/Cyril, I have been writing to Wandsworth Council and Berkeley First on a daily basis with regard to the ongoing problems the local residents have been experiencing. Wandsworth Council are reluctant to intervene and generally do not reply to my emails. I am not sure if this is due to the close relationship of Wandsworth Council and the Berkeley Group. Wandsworh Council sold Berkeley First this land, and granted the planning permission so therefore they are not and independanlt and objective party. They have now sold the adloinging site to Berkeley First and are in the process of granting planning permission for that too, so to acknowledge failings at the current Winstanley Road/Livingstone Road site would undermine this. As a result I have referred the matter to the health and safety exectuive.
    The development was always overambitious, to the extent that they did not allow enough space for construction vehicles to drive onto the site, requiring the use of the pavement and road at Winstanley Road as an extension to the construction site.
    Any ideas as to how the two parties can be held to account for the ongoing health and safey issues would be appreciated.

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