Even the Council’s own proposal can’t bear following its own planning documents

1 min read

Author: Cyril Richert


We have just received last Wednesday (although dated 8th October!) a new application for a 26 storey tower at Garatt Lane. You might not consider this as our prime area of interest (although it is close to the Ram Brewery that we commented on, and this is just in front, beside South side!) however the proposal on Council’s land raise some attention, not only because of the size but primarily because it contradicts blankly Wandsworth borough Local Plan for the area.

* = listed buildings

The planning application 2014/5149 says:

Demolition of existing buildings and erection of four new buildings ranging in height from 4 to 26 storeys to provide 202 residential units, 2,389sq.m of commercial floor space (Class A1, A2, A3, A4 and A5, B1(a)) and D1 (relocation of Wandsworth library) and associated parking, access routes, amenity space, public realm works and alterations to the adjacent Old Burial Ground on Garratt Lane.

You will note that this is the Council’s own application.

The Wandsworth Society responded to the initial consultation in July. We supported the removal of unsightly existing buildings, and a contemporary design for replacements, but strongly objected to an “excessive” 25-storey tower (now being 26!):

“The Wandsworth Society welcomes in principle the redevelopment of the site and the removal of existing buildings. A contemporary design for the new buildings is appropriate and the approach adopted by the architects could produce an acceptable scheme.

But the height of new buildings proposed, particularly the 25-storey tower, is excessive and must be addressed – in accordance with the Council’s own recent and clear statements on new development in the neighbourhood.”

Indeed the statement in the Site Specific Allocations Document (Feb. 2012) states (page 80):

Tall buildings: In accordance with the Stage 2 Urban Design Study – Tall Buildings, the site is sensitive to tall buildings […] Para 2.8 of the S2UDS refers to both the offices in Garratt Lane and Welbeck House as “less successful” and some reduction of existing storey heights will be sought, in part, on both sites. This is to ensure a better relationship to adjoining listed buildings and to enhance the appearance of the Wandsworth Town Conservation Area

However, in complete contradiction, the developer’s Heritage statement (i.e. the Council, as this is their own application, not a private developer) states:

“The general impact will be positive, adding distinctive and well-designed new buildings at the heart of the centre, reinforcing its historic function.”

Therefore once again we wonder what is the point of spending so much effort and money in a planning department, when planning documents produced can be ignored at will. Indeed, Cllr Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said this year that they were not more than … guidelines!

A lively discussion is posted on Streetlife about the scheme.

You can comment on the application until November 16th 2014, on the Council’s website (online comment HERE).

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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.