Archive for August, 2009

In the press

SLP-090825

August 26, 2009 at 8:57 am

Justine Greening’s view on planning: involve local communities

Justine Greening, MP for Putney and Shadow London minister, is writing to us:

Dear Cyril,

As you’ve seen, we’ve got our developers in Putney too! I think the best way forward is if I put you in touch to meet up with Jane Ellison our Conservative candidate for Battersea. […]

I am a firm believer that we need to make planning as local as possible to communities because they’re best placed to know what will work. If developers ever contact me then I always tell them to consult as much as possible with the community – after all the people who are likely to buy their developments are going to probably like the area and therefore be pretty much like the people who already live there, so finding out what the community wants is actually the best way of making sure that when we get more housing and regeneration it actually works, is something people will want to move into, and that’s in everyone’s interest.

Nationally, on the Conservative side we were against the recent Planning Bill that went through earlier this year, precisely because it took planning further away from local communities – its the one process that people do tend to get involved in. Though Ministers have had top down targets on housing I think the lessons from trying that approach have been that however badly we need to get more housing (and we do have an acute need), you can’t just ram through targets because it just sends a green light out to developers to max out their plots of land whatever the inappropriateness of the design and then communities and their councils vote down development anyway, so we’ve ended up much less new housing nationally than we could have with a planning process that allows communities to have their own debate and reach a more balanced view that works for them.

We’ve got a further policy paper coming out with more ideas shortly, but running through a lot of what we’re saying is that people should be able to better decide for themselves.

I hope that helps and I’ve no doubt Jane will be in touch!

Best Wishes,

Justine

August 24, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Planning: HiQ Tyreservices – Chatham Road

Author: Julia Matcham

Tyre Services-photoThe Council has published the documents for redevelopment of the site called “HiQ Tyreservices” (76 – 80 Chatham Road SW11, off Northcote Road) involving demolition of existing commercial building and construction of 9 residential units, 4 with internal garages and three additional off street parking spaces and cycle parking and 1 retail unit (use class A1).

The loss of HiQ TYRESERVICES in Chatham Road will be another nail in the coffin of a coherent local community with local facilities.

This development is puny in comparison with the giant blocks we have been fighting against at Clapham Junction but still important. ‘HiQ Tyreservices’, is described by the applicants on the Council’s website as a ‘tyre warehouse’. In fact it is a large garage that does repairs and MOTs. It occupies a big ground area and it is not surprising that the owner of the site (the garage is leasehold) has put in a planning application for redeveloping the site, something the manager of the garage only found out about when he saw the yellow notice posted on the opposite lamppost !

I guess it is impossible to stop developers seeing every large space they set their sights on as a potential row of houses and a pot of gold, regardless of the usefulness of the business currently standing on it. It is money asking to be made. Buy the site, buy the lease. develop, sell … bank the money! Why don’t we all do it!

The loss of a garage will be a serious blow to many local residents as there are fewer and fewer such facilities in the area.

While it is impossible to stop such behaviour, the Council is in a position to make the incentive less remunerative than the developers would like. It could be that the sale of the garage lease to the site owner is not a done-deal and depends on how much money the developer stands to make IF given planning permission.

The application is for 9 residential units AND a shop. 5×3 bed plus 4×2 bed units.

The way the houses (units) are crammed in is a credit to the architect’s ingenuity.

The proposal seems to me, and I hope will seem so to the Council, a preposterous overdevelopment. The façade of Tyreservices is three houses wide, but the ground area at the back is big (absolutely ideal for a local garage!).

Tyre Services  - elevationClick on the image to see it bigger

The planned units in a long row at the back seem to be based on the minimum legal requirement for the size of rooms, although the plans are not clear re- this. There are no gardens.

Tyre Services 9 res unitsThe total of 7 parking spaces proposed (3 outside and 4 inside) are not likely to represent the needs of approx 23 new residents plus whatever needs the retail shop may generate.

Hopefully the Council will reject this application.

Anyone similarly minded please email : boroughplanner@wandsworth.gov.uk (more details HERE) re – application 2009/2518 as soon as possible.

August 24, 2009 at 10:49 am 4 comments

Tileman scheme rejected: too high

Author: Cyril Richert

Following the recommendation of the planning officer on the planning proposal for Tileman House in Putney, the council has refused permission in its meeting yesterday.

Planning applications chairman Leslie McDonnell said:

At fifteen storeys the main block would be higher than any other development in the area. The proposed scheme would also sit uncomfortably alongside the existing buildings in Upper Richmond Road.

“The committee accepted the principle of development at this location. The existing buildings are unattractive, offering outdated office accommodation and contributing little to the street scene.

“However if a scheme is to work here it needs to better reflect the heights of the existing buildings in this part of Putney.

We welcome the decision which comes as a volte-face from previous point of view expressed by the 3 councillors of the area.

More information on the Council’s website.

UPDATE 24 Aug. 2009:
We received some feedback from John Horrocks (Putney Society) who attended the meeting:

Unusually, Councillor Edward Lister came to the meeting to tell the Committee about his concerns regarding a building of this height on this site. As one would have expected, this meant that none of the majority group expressed a contrary view. Or the minority group, either!

The modest ‘debate’ on the application was enlivened by an interesting exchange between Councillor Belton and Councillor Lister on the issue of the council’s Core Strategy policy on tall buildings and whether this is being applied appropriately across different parts of the borough. The application of the policy by the council does raise some interesting questions. The council’s tall buildings policy does seem rather flakey at the moment. Perhaps it will improve as time passes?!

August 21, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Tall building policy – proposal

Author: Cyril Richert

In view of the consultation on the new Local Development Framework (LDF) and the Core Strategy document (which sets out the the Council’s vision on the development of the borough for the next 15 years – more explanation here), we are working with the Battersea, Wandsworth and Putney Societies to submit a global comment on the “tall” building policy.

As promised, we are displaying the following draft, and wish you to participate to the debate by leaving your view/comment (form at the bottom of the article).

The final document will be officially submitted at the end of the month of August.

Core Strategy

Wandsworth Borough Council

Subject: “Tall” buildings

The Wandsworth, Putney and Battersea Societies represent the northern half of the borough. We are responding to the Inspector’s concerns about Wandsworth Council’s “Tall” buildings policy IS3(d.

The Societies believe this policy to be fundamentally flawed and contradictory of other planning policies. We are opposed to it, and wish to see straightforward, clear statements of policy which determine a core strategy understood by the Council and prospective developers alike.

A synopsis of the Societies’ views are as follows.

“Tall” buildings, those significantly taller than their neighbourhood, must be considered in their urban context. Proposals for such buildings should not simply attempt to show that they do not harm matters of planning importance but that they contribute positively to the character, appearance and quality of the Borough and surrounding London hinterland.

“Tall” buildings must stand up too to scrutiny in terms of need, appropriate location, architectural quality in their own right and their contribution to urban design.

Wandsworth Borough is neither a city nor a commercial centre but largely urban and residential. We identify the following policy constraints by which Planning Permission for “Tall” buildings would be refused.

  • TB1 Conservation Areas where historic environmental considerations and character are of significance
  • TB2 Buffer zones to Conservation Areas where a building would have an adverse effect upon a view or setting or focal point within a Conservation Area
  • TB3 Transport where proposals are further than 400 metres from a major transport node and there is insufficient access to public transport
  • TB4 Residential where a proposal will be within or adjacent to a residential area and have an adverse impact on the public and private realm
  • TB5 Views and Open Spaces where a proposal will have an adverse effect (a) locally and (b) in a wider London context upon open spaces, views, historic buildings and their settings.

Along with the above specific planning issues, the following matters which arise from the gist of Wandsworth Council’s “Tall” buildings policy and our knowledge and experience of the Council’s aims for the future of the Borough, also need consideration when drawing up a policy for “Tall” Buildings.

  • ‘Landmark’, ‘signature’, ‘iconic’ or similarly described buildings should not be encouraged for their own sake, except in areas clearly identifiable as having opportunity and not in conflict with 1-5 above.
  • Economics (aka Regeneration) should not be a planning factor determining the future of a site including such issues as site purchase costs.

Further consideration should also be given to sustainability issues for any building but especially for “Tall” buildings. Any “Tall” building must prove to be sustainable in terms, for example, of its negative carbon footprint, judged by construction, maintenance, services infrastructure, traffic and transport over its lifetimLastly, the Societies are most concerned that:

i) should individual boroughs adopt ad hoc strategic policies about “Tall” buildings, their impact could be far reaching, leading inevitably to an insidious, thin spread across London’s suburbs of individual tall buildings or loose clusters of them as one locality mimics another, raising the built skyline;

ii) that policies on Conservation Areas and the protection of Listed Buildings and their settings, townscape and the wider built environment should be reinforced. Whilst existing policies are sound and currently supported by Governments strategic objectives in PPG’s, they can be disregarded without arguments for doing so being subject to vigorous analysis.

That is why, the Wandsworth, Putney and Battersea Societies require clear constraints to restrict “Tall” buildings as has been presented.

You will find other articles on the core strategy debate on the website:

August 20, 2009 at 8:00 am 12 comments

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea: policy on tall buildings

Author: Cyril Richert

It is very interesting to read the policy on tall buildings proposed in The Draft Core Strategy for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea:

Introduction

4.1 English Heritage and CABE’s ‘Guidance on tall buildings’ encourages local planning authorities to include specific policies for tall buildings in development plans clearly identifying, in map-based form, areas which are appropriate, sensitive or inappropriate for tall buildings (para. 2.4 and 2.6). The London Plan also states that boroughs may wish to identify defined areas of specific character that could be sensitive to tall buildings within their development plans (Policy 4B.9).

4.2 The London Plan indicates that boroughs should explain what aspects of local character tall buildings could affect and ‘not impose unsubstantiated borough-wide height restrictions’ (Policy 4B.9). Furthermore, English Heritage and CABE’s Guidance on tall buildings recommends that local authorities should carry out a detailed urban design study when assigning appropriate and inappropriate areas for tall buildings. The urban design study should identify the elements that create local character, such as streetscape, scale, height, urban grain, natural topography as well as significant views.

4.3 In line with the London Plan and English Heritage and CABE’s joint guidance this analysis identifies appropriate, sensitive or inappropriate areas for tall buildings based on a detailed urban design and character study. This has been done through two converging approaches:

  • a sieve analysis designed to protect sensitive areas and views, and
  • a proactive assessment of where tall buildings could benefit the locality, improve sustainability and enhance the city image.

Summary

Identification of inappropriate, sensitive and appropriate areas for tall buildings

5.1 This supplementary planning document provides policy guidance on the planning and development of tall buildings within the Royal Borough. It is in direct response to the considerable importance placed by this Council, the Greater London Authority and central government on delivering sustainable development, and to the role that high quality design plays in a borough widely renowned for its superb historic built environment. Tall buildings represent only one model for high-density development.

5.2 It is not enough that tall building proposals demonstrate that they simply do not harm matters of planning importance, but that they contribute positively to the character, appearance and quality of the Royal Borough. They must stand up to scrutiny in terms of appropriate location, architectural quality in their own right and their contribution to urban design. Based on the sieve and proactive analyses, this document identifies six categories of area: three inappropriate, two highly sensitive and one possible area for the development of tall buildings.

5.3 Inappropriate areas for tall buildings

1. Conservation areas
TB1 Within the Royal Borough’s conservation areas historic environment considerations are of such significance that tall buildings will normally be refused.

2. Protected metropolitan view corridor
TB5 In accordance with wider national and metropolitan guidance tall buildings should normally be refused within the strategic viewing corridor of King Henry’s Mound to St. Paul’s Cathedral.

3. Areas outside major transport nodes and corridors
TB7 Outside the 400m (0.25mi) walkbands of major transport nodes, the development of tall buildings should generally be refused due to insufficient accessibility unless it is instrumental in bringing about significant public transport improvements.

5.4 Highly sensitive areas for tall buildings

4. Buffer zones of conservation areas
TB2 Tall buildings will normally be refused within the buffer zones surrounding conservation areas and at greater distances where the building would have an adverse effect on a focal or axial view from within a conservation area.

5. Backdrops of London panoramas and river prospect and landmark viewing corridors
TB6 New tall buildings will normally be refused within a landmark viewing corridor or a London panorama or river prospect backdrop.

5.5 Possible areas for tall buildings

6. Gateways and non sensitive areas
TB19 Areas around Latimer Road Station and Westbourne Park Station, along with gateway areas along the western border of the borough are designated as areas where tall buildings may be appropriate, subject to detailed planning and design considerations. Outside of these areas proposals for tall buildings will not be accepted.

5.6 Other key considerations
TB13 ‘Metropolitan landmarks’ should not be developed in the borough, since Kensington and Chelsea is a predominantly residential borough without opportunity areas as set out in the London Plan.

TB18 Tall buildings should only be located where there is a strong argument for sustainability, accessibility and improvement of the city image.

TB20 Tall buildings should be of outstanding architectural, sustainable and urban design qualities.

We can compare those guidelines with the ones proposed by Wandsworth Borough Council. In the Draft Stage One Urban Design Statement June 2009, we can read (page 18):

4.5 Revised Policy wording: It is recommended that Policy IS3 d – Tall buildings, is amended to read:

Tall buildings, that is those which significantly exceed the prevailing height of surrounding buildings, may be appropriate in locations which  are well served by public transport, such as the town centres and Nine Elms near Vauxhall, or at other defined focal points of activity, taking account of the existing historic context, providing they can justify themselves in terms of the benefits they bring for regeneration,  townscape and public realm. Tall buildings are likely to be inappropriate in other areas.

As we wrote previously, WBC’s core strategy document submitted to the Secretary of States is looking favourably to the expansion of taller buildings in Wandsworth borough:

  • Policy PL 12 (p69) “WandsworthHigher buildings reflecting the status of the town centre while respecting existing landmark buildings may be appropriate on some sites, such as at the northern end of the Ram Brewery site.
  • Policy PL 13 (p73) “Clapham Junction Taller buildings could not only help deliver significant regeneration benefits but also give a visual focus to the town centre
  • Policy PL 14 (p78) “PutneyDevelopments are likely to be at a higher density than existing buildings” [including] “proposals for tall buildings“.

To encourage “landmark buildings” and “visual focus” in town centres is translated as “tall” by developers (and planning officers?). However, it does not necessarily mean “tall”, as the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea specifies (Core Strategy – p103):

Exceptional architectural and design quality will complement a significantly strengthened revitalised retail offer, drawing on innovative and modern approaches to create ‘iconic’ buildings and open space. Iconic does not necessarily mean tall, as Barkers in Kensington High Street demonstrates. Building heights will need to respect the character and appearance of adjoining conservation areas.

August 14, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Tileman House: Town planner recommends refusal.

Author: Cyril Richert

The officers’ response to the application on Tileman House, Upper Richmond Road has now been made public.   The application is on next week’s agenda and has been recommended for refusal.  There are two reasons for refusal which are:

  1. The proposal by reason of its height and scale would form an overbearing and unduly dominant feature uncharacteristic of the surrounding area and prevailing buildings heights, would have a detrimental impact on the streetscape, and would have an inappropriate relationship with adjoining properties contrary to UDP Policies GEN7, TBE1 and TBE5, Core Strategy Proposed Submission Policies PL4, PL14 and IS3 and London Plan policy 4B.10.
  2. The local planning authority has received inadequate housing viability information in order to assess if the proposed level of affordable housing in terms of the overall numbers, the mix of types and sizes and the split between social rented and intermediate has been maximised on this site in order to secure the Council’s affordable housing target. The proposal is therefore contrary to Core Strategy: submission version policy IS 5 and London Plan Policies 3A.9 and 3A.10.

It remains to be seen whether the members of the Committee do or do not agree with the recommendations, but I think we can guess that the weight of public opinion has had some effect: On the Council’s website, there are currently 269 objections and …2 support letters! According to the planning officer report, we had 267 objections on the previous application withdrawn last year.

The Mayor of London raised also serious concerns about the height of the 15 storey element of the proposal.

More information on the Tileman redevelopment in our previous articles:

  1. Tileman House – Upper Richmond House
  2. Tileman House – Comments

August 14, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Meeting report: Grant Road development

Author: Cyril Richert

I met with Cheryl Urquhart (Land manager) and Jeremy Smith from Berkeley first (developers) and Hayley Ellison from TP Bennett (architect planning consultant). We had a very interesting discussion about the modifications of the initial scheme and the outcome of the consultation.

I initially presented the application for the redevelopment of the site along Grant Road to provide 452 self-contained studio rooms for use as student accommodation (for post-graduate students of Imperial College London) on an article HERE.

The purpose of the meeting was to meet with the developers, have information on the scheme and let them address the concerns raised by some local residents.

Shape and size of the building

The original scheme was granted planning permission last year  for residential. On this new application the height of the building is very similar, however there is 1 extra floor as the room heights are less with student accommodation than with normal residential. The small foot print reduction is due to the shape of student rooms, all standard 20 sq. meters (7×3). In addition, the initial car park was removed and used for other facilities and cycle storage.

Consultation

A public exhibition was held for the new scheme on 4th June and 6th June, attended by 6 people in total (2 from the Battersea Society).

Concerns were expressed for the trees. Developers have confirmed that the scheme is not removing trees surrounding the site, mostly protected. They will be removing some category C (not good quality) within the construction site.

Regarding the issue on parking 2 spaces are reserved for maintenance/security, 2 “car club” and 2 4 for disable spaces. The developers don’t believe that there should be any incentive to have a car: there will be 226 cycle parking in the basement. There is currently no CPZ (controlled parking zone) for the area (except on Grant Road), but it was specified that should the Council put one in place, there will be no right for residential parking given to the residents of the development. An additional argument is that any additional car space would involve removing more trees and could encourage residents to bring cars. They can give the example of the development in Borough (for Kings College), a similar scheme already occupied, where there is no parking (except for disables – but not in use apparently) and no disturbance.

In addition it was said that any disable will be primarily located inside the campus in South Kensington.

On the Council’s website (link here) there are currently 7 objections and 1 support. Points raised are:

  • Concern about possible impact on the adjoining site 50 Winstanley Road (vacant Children’s Home). The building appears tall on this corner and objectors would prefer to have the bay omitted.
  • Lack of parking space and loss of trees (the developers responded in our discussion above).
  • Decrease of natural light for surrounded residents.
  • Increase in demand for local services from 450 residents.
  • Use of the pedestrian crossing (answer is provided below by the developers with their proposal for a raised table under s106)
  • Opposition of the occupiers of the current site.
  • Buildings to high and out of proportion (need to reduce the scale as Winstanley Estate is a ‘mixed height area’ not a high-rise only estate).
  • Increase in noise, traffic and disturbance (answer is provided by the developers as they gave the example of an existing site above).

Section 106

About £170k should be allocated under section 106 to the following:

  1. increasing the foot-way (pavement around the site)
  2. raised table to provide a “secure” path towards the station entrance
  3. street lightening, CCTV
  4. 2 car club

No provision was made on the buses as study shows that there is enough capacity available on those routes.

In addition, students will be using public transport off-pick or essentially out of congestion time, therefore not creating pressure on the train/buses.

Scale-model

Last but not least, I was requesting more photo-montage/models to assess the impact on the zone. They came with the scale model of the development as you can see on the 2 photos below (click to enlarge).

Grant Road - Berkeley scheme - model1

Grant Road - Berkeley scheme - model 2

People can submit a comment using the form here, or write to the Council (addresses here with reference 2009/2279).


[From Cyril Richert: We received (14/08/2009) the following response from Hayley Ellison]

Dear Cyril,

Thank you for taking the time to meet with us yesterday. I have read through your report and just have a couple of comments, which perhaps you could include in the article. Just for completeness – I am a planning consultant (rather than the architect) and the scheme incorporates 4 rather than 2 disabled car parking bays.

With regard to the comments made by residents to date, as we discussed the overall bulk and mass of the proposed building is less than the scheme that was approved last year. The height of the buildings remains the same, but the footprint has been reduced. With regard to the proximity of the buildings to the adjacent property at 50 Winstanley Road, the footprint of the nearest building has been moved further east (in comparison with the approved scheme) so that the building would actually be situated further away from the vacant Children’s Home.

I hope these comments help. If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Regards,

Hayley


[From Cyril Richert: I received another email from Hayley Ellison and you can read my response in red at the bottom]

Dear Cyril,

Thanks for updating your article. With regard to the application and representations from local residents, we are monitoring the responses received by the Council to ensure we are aware of objections received. In terms of the current proposals, we have submitted a detailed planning application which assesses the potential impact of the proposed scheme in terms of planning, design, highways/transport, air quality, acoustics, trees, sustainability, daylight and sunlight, ecology and flood risk issues; reports covering all these matters accompany the application. Furthermore, the design of the proposed scheme maintains the height and reduces the overall scale of the development approved by the Council last year. Whilst we recognise that the proposals for student accommodation would result in a relatively modest increase in population above that likely from the residential development we consider that the assessments submitted with the application adequately address the planning issues and explain that the proposals are in accordance with planning policy. We have spent a significant amount of time discussing this scheme with planning officers and we undertook pre application consultation to consider people’s views. As we mentioned at our meeting, we always take care in our pre application discussions to ensure that by the time an application is submitted it has been negotiated to a point where it is fully justified and is not an opening gambit upon which negotiations commence. We think that the scheme proposed would be a high quality development that would positively enhance the area, including the public realm improvements which would be possible through the S106 contributions.

We trust these points address your queries, but please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further concerns.

Regards,

Hayley

—————-

Dear Hayley,

Thanks for your response. I will follow the case and let you know on any further issues/developments.

Regarding you message below, I would like to comment on you saying “We have spent a significant amount of time discussing this scheme with planning officers and we undertook pre application consultation to consider people’s views. As we mentioned at our meeting, we always take care in our pre application discussions to ensure that by the time an application is submitted it has been negotiated to a point where it is fully justified and is not an opening gambit upon which negotiations commence“.

As I mentioned, I had a meeting with different Societies of the borough and we all agreed that WBC lacks of clear guidance and regret that nowadays meetings with planning officers are held behind close doors, with no notes or record of what is said. It has created big misunderstanding in the past, frustration from the developers (like in the Clapham junction station redevelopment) were the planning officers were at odd with the local population. The MP from Putney was recently saying “we are being placed in a position of constantly having to object to piecemeal, inappropriate developments that do not address the needs of the local community.

Unfortunately, in WBC, current pre application discussion with the planning department cannot be self justification for turning down future amendments.

However, as it seems that Berkeley as always been responsive and open to consultation I feel comfortable that all opinions will be considered.

Best regards

Cyril

August 13, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Tall Buildings – Note of Exploratory Meeting (16 June)

Author: Cyril Richert

Wandsworth Borough Council is currently proceeding to the set-up of a new Local Development Framework (LDF) in conformity to the London Plan. The Core Strategy sets out the the Council’s vision on the development of the borough for the next 15 years (more explanation here).

The Core Strategy 2009 document was submitted to the Secretary of State on 20 March 2009 and an Exploratory Meeting was held on Tuesday 16 June 2009 (full notes are available here). The Inspector considered that additional work may need to be undertaken and that some changes are required in order make it sound. Her concerns related to three areas: affordable housing, tall buildings and implementation and monitoring. The purpose of this exploratory meeting was to hear from the Council what it intended to do in response to the concerns identified.

On the second point, tall building, it says:

15. The Inspector set the scene by referring to government-endorsed Guidance on Tall Buildings published by English Heritage (EH) and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). This urges local planning authorities to consider the scope for tall buildings as part of its strategic  planning. In identifying areas where tall buildings might or might not be  appropriate, local planning authorities should as matter of good practice,  carry out a detailed urban design study, identifying the constraints and  opportunities in their particular area. This work should inform specific  policies and locations in the development plan, clearly identifying in a mapbased  form areas that are appropriate, sensitive or inappropriate for tall  buildings. No such study had been submitted in support of the Core  Strategy and it was unclear from the submission document and the evidence base what had informed the Council’s approach to identifying  locations where tall buildings may be appropriate in both place-based and issue-based policies.

16. In response to concerns about the absence of an urban design study, the Council recently produced a Draft Stage One Urban Design Statement June 2009, copies of which have been provided to EH for comment and to the Inspector. The Inspector advised the Council that she would look carefully at the final version of this document to see

  • what account had been taken of the historic context of the wider area, the character of the immediate context, opportunities where tall buildings might enhance the overall townscape and sites where the removal of past mistakes might achieve the same outcome
  • whether there is any conflict between locations identified in the CS as areas where tall buildings might be appropriate and protecting strategically important views, and if so how this would be addressed
  • what changes (if any) are suggested to issue-based and place-based tall buildings policies stemming from the ongoing discussions with EH

17. In response, the Council confirmed that the Draft Stage 1 Urban Design Statement drew together all sources of information used to inform CS policies relating to locations where tall buildings might be appropriate, subject to meeting specific criteria. This draft document would be reviewed in the light of comments made by EH. The impact of tall buildings on strategic London views would also take into account the London View Management Framework and the Mayor’s recently published draft revised guidance on this subject.

18. It was intended to give more emphasise to the importance of historic context and to clarify how the Council would weigh the balance of costs and benefits when assessing proposals for tall buildings. The Council was also considering standardising references to tall buildings in the CS place-based policies. Any proposed changes to policy wording following discussions with EH would be reported to members in July.

19. A Stage Two Urban Design Statement would be produced for lower level DPDs. This would look at individual sites within the broad locations where tall buildings might be appropriate, indicating for example, areas where such buildings would not be acceptable, or where maximum building heights would need to be specified so as to protect strategic views.

20. EH confirmed that it had been in discussion with the Council about the CS approach to the location of tall buildings. It had been consulted on the draft Stage One Study and raised a number of issues with the Council, including what account had been taken of the London View Management Framework as adopted, and as proposed to be revised. Further information had been requested on landmark buildings in historic areas, and how CABE/EH guidance would be integrated into the tall buildings assessment criteria being developed as part of the Stage Two Study.

21. EH welcomed the Council’s commitment to give further thought to the height of buildings affecting views of the World Heritage site at Westminster and the relationship between building heights and strategic views. EH considered that amendments were required to policy wording to ensure that the costs and benefits of tall buildings would be given equal consideration.

22. In EH’s view, the publication of the revised Urban Design Statement and changes to CS Policy IS 3 and place-based policies relating to the location of tall buildings, together with clarification of the criteria for assessing tall buildings, represented the way forward on this issue. Whilst these minor changes would require a sustainability appraisal update, in EH’s view there would be no need for further public consultation.

In the Draft Stage One Urban Design Statement June 2009, we can read (page 14):

3.26 […] As EH/CABE guidance says “in the right place, tall buildings can make positive contributions to city
life
”. (Paragraph 1.1) “In the right place they can serve as beacons of regeneration and stimulate further investment”. Wandsworth has
identified this fundamental principle as being particularly relevant to 15 Wandsworth Town and Clapham Junction. The work described in the  following paragraphs of this report has begun to bring together different policy strands into spatially specific analyses, such as the protection of historic context with promotion of regeneration objectives. […]

4.4 It was always intended that the Policy should be construed as self-contained, integrating both the pro’s and con’s for tall buildings in one place, starting with the overarching statement at point (a) that “The Council will protect and reinforce the existing varied character and heritage of the borough.” By continuing with other constraints and requirements before identifying areas within which tall buildings might be appropriate it was intended that locations not identified were to be regarded as not even having the potential to be appropriate. However, for the avoidance of doubt the following is a suggested re-wording of the Policy outlined below.

4.5 Revised Policy wording: It is recommended that Policy IS3 d – Tall buildings, is amended to
read:

Tall buildings, that is those which significantly exceed the prevailing height of surrounding buildings, may be appropriate in locations which  are well served by public transport, such as the town centres and Nine Elms near Vauxhall, or at other defined focal points of activity, taking account of the existing historic context, providing they can justify themselves in terms of the benefits they bring for regeneration,  townscape and public realm. Tall buildings are likely to be inappropriate in other areas. Detailed criteria for the assessment of tall buildings and consideration of the appropriateness of tall buildings on individual sites will be contained in the Development Management  Policies Document and Site Specific Allocations Document.

4.6 A map has now been prepared showing all the locations in the borough where tall buildings may be appropriate […]

To read more about our thoughts on the Core Strategy and suggested amendments, read our article: Voices are coming from all directions for a review on Council’s guidelines for planning.

You might also consider whether the proposed 42-storey twin towers for Clapham Junction, encouraged by WBC planning services, were in line with point 4.4 above stating: “The Council will protect and reinforce the existing varied character and heritage of the borough”

More news on our views on the Core strategy coming soon...

August 12, 2009 at 8:49 am

Asda is planning a mezzanine

Author: Cyril Richert

The Council has published the documents for alterations including construction of a mezzanine floor within the existing Asda Store to provide additional retail floorspace, customer café and storage, construction of new external stairs to the east, north and west elevations and two new lifts (to north and west elevation) and a smokers shelter (west elevation).

On the papers submitted by the developers, you can read:

The existing site is relatively large and the amount of external work will be minimal. The car park will be re-lined and the existing glazed covered pedestrian walkway will be refurbished and repainted. Covered trolley bays will be installed to the car park to replace the existing exposed trolley corrals.

Escape stairs and access lifts are proposed to the side and rear Elevations with minor works to the existing pedestrian areas to accommodate.[…]

The height and overall size of the building will not be affected with limited works intended to the external car park and landscaped areas.

The proposed mezzanine floor has been sympathetically designed to reduce the visual impact and disruption to the local community.[…]

The comparison floorspace would be used principally for the display of an expanded George clothing range […]

The construction of the mezzanine extension will result in the loss of three basement car parking spaces, reducing the overall provision to 516, which include twenty-six disabled and seven ‘parent and child’ spaces. The proposals also include a further 13 cycle hoops, providing an additional twenty-six cycle parking spaces. […]

The works include:

  • The reconfiguration of the back-of-house area to provide a modern and efficient working space.
  • A complete refurbishment of the Customer Toilets and Baby Change area.
  • Replacement of existing litter bins.
  • The surface repair and redecoration of the external doors, travellators, steel railings, guttering and front entrance.
  • The full decoration of the floor, walls, columns and soffits throughout the basement car park, including entrance and exit ramps.
  • The Lighting levels of the basement car park are to be checked and upgraded where necessary.
  • The refurbishment of the covered walkway to include re-spraying and the cleaning of the glazing.
  • The complete refurbishment of the entrance lobby.
  • The redecoration of all perimeter walls and bulkheads.
  • The repair of the existing terrazzo floor tiling throughout the store where required.”

The Asda store has been operating in its current form since the early 1990s and is dated in its appearance and layout. Therefore we can understand the argument of the developers: “The current store is dated and in need of cosmetic upkeep. The Proposed Development will result in significant  refurbishment work being carried out during the construction period“. They also add that a recent survey have shown a demand for an in-store café facility.

If you want to let the Council know your view, contacts details are available HERE with reference to Planning Application No 2009/2604. You can also comment online HERE

August 11, 2009 at 6:15 pm 3 comments

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