Large developments encline to ignore Wandsworth planning policies

2 mins read

Author: Cyril Richert

Is Wandsworth a new free land for developers wishing to erect high luxury towers ? Was there a pledge from the Conservatives at the last local election to transform Wandsworth landscape? Or is it the case that developers come in number for higher schemes because they know that the Council will look at their proposals with sympathy (and maybe even encourage them)? And why developers ignore Wandsworth planning documents when submitting applications to the Council?

Within the last 12 months we’ve seen several major developments, all including very high towers, proposed for Wandsworth, within 1.5 mile of Clapham Junction.

A common characteristic to all those schemes is that they contradict the Local Plan, Wandsworth own planning documents. However in all cases it is obvious that pre-discussions with the Council did not discourage developers in anyway to pursue their plans.

Part of Wandsworth Local Plan is the Site Specific Allocation Document (SSAD) produce by the Council’s planning department to give guidelines to what is possible and what they would consider inappropriate. The indications given in the SSAD and the schemes proposed by the developers couldn’t be more apart:

GarattLane_TowerSouth Thames College/Welbeck House/17-27 Garratt Lane, SW18 (SSAD 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

>>> The Council is proposing a 26 storey tower (while existing building are 6-9 storeys)

winstanley_towers_proposalBramlands: Grant Road/Falcon Road Junction

On the picture produced in the draft Wandsworth Stage 2 Urban Design Study (S2UDS) – Tall Buildings (December 2009), one can see that the site at the corner of Grant Road/Falcon Road is considered, by Wandsworth planners, as suitable for a maximum of 6-storey building. The draft says (page 22):

2.43 The site of 140-150 Falcon Road and the area fronting on to Grant Road immediately to the north of the station suffers from a poor layout and design. In common with the rest of the town centre south of the railway this part of Falcon Road contains buildings of generally of three to four storeys. Here, applications for development of 5 storeys and above will be subject to the criteria of the tall buildings policy. Applications for buildings of more than 6 storeys will generally be unacceptable, and will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

>>> The Council’s project team working on the area has suggested in all its pre-consultation exhibitions and documents that several towers up to 25 storey could be erected at the location.

28 storey tower proposed for Lombard Road, SW1112-14 Lombard Road, SW11 (SSAD page 174)

Tall buildings: In accordance with Core Strategy Policy IS3d, tall buildings in this location are likely to be inappropriate. In accordance with DMPD Policy DMS4, the height at which a development in this location will be considered to be tall is 9 storeys.

>>> Private developers are running public pre-consultation with a proposal to build a 28 storey tower at the location.

Last April, The Putney Society, Wandsworth Society, the Clapham Junction Action Group and Friends of Putney Common community group published a dossier to express their concerns at the way Wandsworth Council has dealt with a number of important planning applications, in the context of published planning policy documents and guidelines.

Is it surprising that in view of the previous decisions, and while the leader of the Council declared a few month ago that planning policies are only guidelines, developers feel all welcome to submit their schemes without specific attention to the local planning documents?

Did you like reading this article? Help us write more!

Clapham Junction Insider (formerly known as the CJAG website) has been publishing local news for over 14 years and remains committed to providing information about the local community and engaging in public interest journalism.

Our goal is to feature a wide range of community campaigns and initiatives, local societies, charities based in the area, fundraising efforts by residents, and provide assistance to residents.

We have always been dedicated to these endeavours and have no intention of changing. In fact, we would like to expand our efforts further.

Until recently, all the stories, analyses, and reports published have been made possible with the invaluable help of many volunteers. However, it requires a significant amount of time and effort, and we are frustrated that we cannot do more. There are numerous topics we would like to cover, but we require financial resources to provide regular information.

Therefore, we kindly ask our readers to consider offering financial support to sustain these efforts. Any contributions made will help support community and public interest news, as well as the expansion of our coverage in this area.

2 ways of supporting our project

Do you think what we are doing is helping the community and you want to encourage us to do more? We have set up two ways of supporting our project:

  1. Paypal: For one-off contributions, you can just use your bank card. However if you wish to encourage and support us regularly with a small amount, you will need a Paypal account to set up a monthly subscription. Click here to donate.
  2. Patreon: this is a well-known membership platform that connects content creators with supporters. Mainly, it offers financial tools that let supporters subscribe to projects that give creators a predictable income stream as they continue to create content. Click here to subscribe and support us regularly.

If you do support us in this way we'd be interested to hear what kind of articles you would like to see more of on the site – send your suggestions to the editor.

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.