Posts filed under ‘Clapham Junction’
Author: Cyril Richert, reviewed by Shirley Passmore and Claire Bennie
Meeting with Peabody Trust – 22 January 2010
Following our report of the scheme to redevelop Peabody Estate in Clapham Junction, Claire Bennie, who is managing the project, offered to meet with us and explain the need, the purpose and the consultation process.
It was a very pleasant, constructive and open conversation for more than 2 hours and we will try to report below the essence of the discussion.
Founded in 1862 by London-based American banker George Peabody, the Peabody Trust, known for short as “Peabody”, is one of London’s oldest and largest housing associations with about 19,000 properties across the capital.
Six years ago, the government created a series of criteria defining a minimum standard for estates. Peabody calculated the cost to them would be £150m and therefore immediately stopped talking about new building and concentrated its effort on refurbishing instead. In the process, they identified 4 estates were they thought it could be better to redevelop rather than to repair, and Clapham Junction is one of them.
Clapham Junction estate contains 351 flats (275 affordable rented and 76 short-term leases). In the 60’s they converted all the flats by making bathrooms within the properties. 13 years ago they replaced the windows. However Peabody is considering now the possibility of redeveloping the site with a totally new estate.
Right from the beginning they have involved the tenants and started the discussions at the beginning of 2007. The residents helped in choosing the designer. Following rules from the European Union, they called for an international competition and eventually chose Hawkins Brown to draw up plans for a £100 million new estate (to be compared with a cost of £8-10m to refurbish only). An independent agency was asked to do a survey and they got a positive reaction from the neighbourhood. However some concerns were raised mainly:
- size of some of the buildings
Peabody started to talk with the borough planners in February-March 2008 about their scheme.
The economic crisis in 2008 halted the plan and they did not do anything in 2009. However they recalculated the economic potential of the redevelopment of the site at the end of 2009 and as it looked financially viable, they decided to restart the process.
During the consultation process the role of the Societies (primarily the Battersea Society and the Wandsworth Society regarding the location of the area) was highlighted with regard to the effect on the local area.
Particular consideration will be given to:
- density (in relation to the London plan)
- private amenities and space
- parking (although there are different opinions on car policy, any residential building attracts cars, even if only usage at weekends)
Albeit being a non-profit organisation, they have to make the scheme pay for itself and therefore aim to maximise the density and potential of the site. This will also mean some of the properties will be for private sale.
Of course the question of the size of the towers was raised. On the current sketches, they show a 21-storey tower, along with a 13-storey and 10-storey building. Located at the top of the hill, they will appear to be about 28 storeys when viewed from Arding and Hobbs and will nearly double the size of the estate in Grant Road (Peabody said that the datum heights between the Clapham Junction crossroads and the Peabody site will be measured accurately using OS data to ensure that everyone has the same data.).
They are concerned with the planning documents produced by the Council stating that (Site Specific Allocations Document – p94):
“Applications for buildings of 5 or more storeys will be subject to the criteria of the tall buildings policy […] tall buildings in this location are likely to be inappropriate.”
But they also highlight apparent contradiction in the wording of the same documents as it also says:
“Further west across the site the built form could be more intense of 6 to 8 storeys with taller buildings towards St. John’s Hill.”
Therefore they will seek to clarify the guidelines with the Council. They also wish to discuss with the local residents and amenity groups. If the property market seems to flourish again, they could achieve the same benefits with a lower density and smaller buildings, or could position the buildings in a different way. However they have tried to minimise the impact on the adjacent properties near the common, as well as protecting the residents from the railway noise with taller buildings on the other side.
In terms of design Peabody will pay the utmost attention to reaching the highest quality. The statement to give all residents private, outdoor space, will be addressed by providing balcony or roof terraces to all flats, or private communal gardens. Parking spaces will be built under raised-gardens and directly accessible through the streets in the estate.
The scheme will be a mix between rented social housing grants and the sale of private homes with approximately:
- 32%: 1 bedroom flats/houses
- 32%: 2 bedroom
- 32%: 3 bedroom
- 4%: 4 bedroom
It is proposed that the private and rented homes will be mixed within the estate.
Current residents will be relocated block by block (flats on temporary leases will be emptied to be available for the relocation of tenants).
The schedule could be:
- September 2010: planning application
- 2011-2020 (upon approval): work
Peabody Trust aims to organise about three further meetings with the local community before a planning application is submitted, each of which would be held in advance of three similar meetings with the town planners. We suggested that a mock-up of the scheme could be on display permanently in one of the lodges in the estate for instance.
Author: Cyril Richert
Beside the Neighbourhood School Campaign for a secondary school in the area of Clapham Junction (possible site being the former Bolingbroke hospital) I quickly publish below 3 links to be added to the debate:
- School and college achievement and attainment tables (government’s website): results for the area of Battersea here.
- Three Wandsworth secondary schools are among the country’s top performers in this year’s national league tables. A press release from Wandsworth Council said:
From a total of 3,196 state secondary schools, Southfields Community College and Chestnut Grove School recorded the fifth and ninth highest scores respectively in the Contextual Value Added (CVA) league table.
In addition, Ernest Bevin College was named the fifth most improved school in the country with GCSE results rising 35 per cent over the last four years.
- Just two companies remain on the shortlist of firms bidding for Wandsworth’s Building Schools for the Future contract. A press release from Wandsworth Council said:
Bovis Lend Lease Ltd and Willmott Dixon Ltd have been selected to go through to the final stage of the tendering process. A preferred bidder is expected to be chosen by the end of July.
They will produce detailed plans for investment in the two ‘sample’ schools, Southfields Community College and Burntwood School, and ICT investment across all the schools.
A new Catholic secondary school, Saint John Bosco, will also be built as part of the project and Elliot School in Putney will be completely remodelled.
Author: Cyril Richert
Meeting with Network Rail – 21 January 2010 – 1pm-2.30pm
Paula Haustead [Network Rail – in charge of delivering plans for CJ]
Lucy Norton [Network Rail]
Chris Wiggan [Network Rail]
Cyril Richert [CJAG]
1- Current situation
They have been deeply disappointed by the recommendation for refusal coming from the planning officers for the planning proposal from Metro Shopping Fund (Delancey). They said that (contrary to our sources) there was no plan for Clapham Junction before the Twin Towers (I was told not to use those cursed words) Delancey’s plan. Actually Network Rail (NR) worked since CP2 (Control Period 2 – funding period 2001-2004) and for 5 years (2004-2009) with Delancey and the Council to come up with a proposal. They also said that it was part of their instruction from Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) to work with third parties and private investors. The total cost of that study was £2m!
They are currently spending money on a new entrance (Brighton Yard entrance) which will hopefully direct 30% of the flow of passengers entering or exiting the station at St John’s Hill currently. According to projections of ORR it should cover up to the year 2026 when the same level of congestion currently experienced will be observed again.
The East London Line will arrive in platform 2 (instead of 1 as originally planned) and will be sharing with the over-ground. Platform 1 will stay unused as it is. However they are likely to keep the track in case it is needed in the future.
Plans for Heathrow link are still under discussions and there is no confirmation that it will stop at Clapham Junction (again, this is not what we heard).
The number of overground trains going to and coming from Willesden Junction should double (NR proposes to restore double track to the “Latchmere Curve” during the summer of 2010. This will enable the frequency of overground services to Willesden Junction to be increased to 4 trains per hour from 2011).
2- On going improvements
The cost of the new entrance is £1.5m with £500k coming from the government, £300k from the Council (not redirected from the Exemplar Scheme as we might have suspected previously) and £700k coming from various funding, including TfL and London Heritage (?). NR made very clear that it was the only station in the all country with “Access for All” scheme providing a new entrance.
From the £2m planned for cosmetic improvement (repainting, lightening, canopies,…) some will be redirected to pay for the Brighton Yard entrance (as a cost example, a single ticket barrier is £30k). The global funding for Brighton Yard was overseen by an industry group called The Clapham Junction Forum made by NR, London Underground, TfL, SWT, Southern.
Lifts are currently installed on all platforms (part of the “Access for All” government policy). Original funding from the government was £8.5m but they think now that costs will exceed this amount. Work is meant to finish in June 2010 and at the same time a temporary “smaller” station entrance for Brighton Yard will be opened (example of what it coult be in the picture below).
I asked them about the possibility to create a stair-case at the level of Brighton Yard entrance, coming from St John’s Hill (see current plans from NR HERE) to avoid going all along to reach the vehicle entrance. However they explained that:
- it is about 6m high and it seems to much;
- it would mean reallocating/6 month notice for the shop under the arches at the point;
- they do not have the funding.
They had some delays as they needed to destroy a café on platform 15/16 to install the lift. However as the whole station is in the Conservation area, it took an extensive (and difficult) 6 month period to get the necessary authorisation. Although the bridge is not listed, this experience makes it really unlikely that they will look for more amendments in the future.
Bus stops won’t be reallocated (road to narrow) but an additional bus stop will be created before the entrance coming from Wandsworth town.
The £20m allocated to platform lengthening and straightening at CJ is no longer considered necessary and goes back to the pot of funding for all Sussex lines! They managed to realign the platform 15/16 without the land that was meant to be provided with Delancey’s plan (no talks about platforms 11/12 and 13/14 which were in funding period CP4 2009-2013 – p63).
3- Presentation to Lord Adonis, January 20th
The Transport Secretary wanted to know what is happening after his announcement. At the meeting he requested (January 20th) were representations for the 10 stations included in the plan. Cllr Edward Lister (leader of Wandsworth Council) was also attending the meeting.
They confirmed that Clapham Junction has been defined as the most in need along with Manchester Victoria station (receiving £10m apparently). A decision was made to concentrate on a few major improvements instead of spreading the funding on a lick of paint (although you could spend £2m repainting CJ station, they said).
As was reported by Martin Linton before, they suggested spending the funding on facilities for passengers inside the station, mainly platforms 9/10, 11/12, 13/14:
- Canopy extension.
- Waiting rooms.
- More staff.
- More stairs (from the overpass).
- Repairs on subway.
No plans for station concourse, entrance refurbishment/extension.
As we already urged Lord Adonis to better use the funding for providing a more ambitious vision on the future of the station, I was told that:
- they were presented with reports (from South West Train?) from passenger demands for better platforms
- extending canopies will avoid people packing at the same points under adverse weather conditions and therefore will improve train usage
- NR has a mission to focus on train users and passenger needs, not residents. Therefore they shouldn’t be the prime initiator for CJ station regeneration.
I was told that those proposals were supported by South West Train, Southern, TfL and Wandsworth Council (Cllr Lister). You will notice that I asked if the Council thinks that providing waiting rooms and canopy extension (although very welcome) are much more important than refurbishment of Grant Road for example, I was quickly answered: “No, no, that’s not what I said“.
As shown on the picture taken the day of the meeting on platform 10 at Clapham Junction, they are already installing waiting area (probably part of the £2m “cosmetic” improvements). But NR was not aware of anything and surprised when I raised the point.
4- Regeneration of the station and CP5
However, it was repeated several times, there won’t be much allocation for Clapham Junction station in CP5 as it already received a lot currently!!!
NR said they do not see the £5-10m funding provided by Lord Adonis as an emergency funding to make the station – branded second worst in the country – up to a minimum standard. Therefore it might be seen by NR as a welcomed CP5 advance funding and could explain why they now consider that they will concentrate next funding effort on other stations.
It is clear that NR considers that its priority is for passengers, not residents. They said that the local authorities should take their responsibilities if they want to regenerate the area and provide with the necessary funding. Therefore they do not intend to come forward with any plan for making Clapham Junction a better station from the outside.
Of course they welcome any element of survey or consultation that we might present, but our discussion should also involve South West Train, Southern, Tfl, and local authorities. It seems that they won’t ask for any more funding for Clapham Junction station for CP5 if the Council does not come forward with some vision of what could be done and of course a beginning of a funding. After all, even if NR provided the biggest part of Birmingham New Street redevelopment, they were only focusing on the station and it was the local authorities who developed the vision, they added.
Therefore it looks like they put the ball into Wandsworth Borough Council hands now!
Author: Cyril Richert
Meeting with Office of Rail Regulation – 16 November 2009
John Larkinson [Deputy Director ORR]
Nick O’Hara [Head of Corporate and Industry Relations ORR]
Martin Linton [MP for Battersea]
Tony Belton [Leader of Opposition Wandsworth Borough Council]
Cyril Richert [CJAG]
Kate Williams [CJAG]
This meeting was organised by Martin Linton in view of exploring possible funding for the redevelopment of Clapham Junction Station.
We were explained the role of Office of Rail Regulation in regulating Network Rail and making sure that government plans, Network Rail commitment and funding are all addressing their purposes. The current phase of funding is 2009-2013. There are currently limited additional funding immediately available but which we can explore with Network Rail: Network Rail Discretionary Fund (NRDF) [each scheme must not exceed £5m] and National Stations Improvement Programme (NSIP) [£165m for 150 stations]. The new planning process for the next government is starting in 2010 such as:
- 2010: the industry will come with options (definition of projects and allocations).
- 2011: the government will examine a draft proposal.
- July 2012: the government will provide new specifications.
- 2013: ORR will review, analyse and check the funding for 2014-2019 (CP5).
- 2014: project implementation for CP5.
ORR was very receptive to our concerns and confirmed that Network Rail is the first contact to station redevelopment and has an obligation to address projects that they receive (they get a £50m budget to do so). Of course it would be worth to involve the franchise companies (South West Train, Southern) and TfL (for overground and East London Line).
Meeting with Network Rail – 7 January 2010
Martin Linton met with Robin Gisby (Network Rail – Director, Operation and Customer Services) along with colleagues Timothy Potter and Paula Haustead, Lucy Norton (who will be responsible for delivering any improvement project to redevelop the station). Unfortunately, despite Martin Linton’s request, Robin Gisby’s office did not find appropriate for us to attend the meeting, but instead offered another date (to our request) in January (see below).
NR confirmed that Clapham Junction station was their top 2 priority (after Manchester Victoria station , officially branded worst station in Britain in November 2009, which will receive also additional funding from the European Union through their Council). The debate is apparently going on whether to redevelop half of the station well or all of it half-good (er, it is actually more a question of 10% redevelopment or all the station with small repairs and cosmetic improvements I think). NR should present a plan to Lord Adonis, Transport Secretary, on January 20th regarding:
- Canopy extension.
- Waiting rooms.
- More staff.
- More stairs (from the overpass).
- Repairs on subway.
The “not so good” news is that only 3 lifts should be in operation (platforms 1/2, 3/4, 5/6) with an additional two coming soon (platforms 7/8, 9/10) but there are delays on the remaining (platforms 11/12, 13/14, 15/16, 17). In addition, as the Brighton Yard building is currently used as a construction site for storage mainly, work for the new station entrance is being delayed and should only be finished by 2011 (which means that CJ won’t be step free before this date).
London, 13 January 2010
Dear Lord Adonis
Mr Linton has kindly agreed to deliver this letter to you, and we hope very much that you will consider it carefully and reply in due course.
We are a local action group committed to improving conditions at Clapham Junction Station. Last year we were instrumental in stopping a commercial development of the station site which, in the opinion of the many hundreds of residents who took the trouble to write letters to Wandsworth Council, would have done nothing to alleviate the problems of the station whilst proposing an over-development of the site which was entirely out of context with the area.
Thanks to your Station Champions initiative Clapham Junction station has been recognised in a Government report as being the second worst in the country due to its overcrowding, lack of facilities and dilapidated condition. We thank you for visiting the station in November and understand that you were also appalled at what you saw. Indeed you were quoted as saying:
”There is no obvious evidence of any investment or modernisation at Clapham Junction for 30 years apart from the installation of some new lifts.
One of Europe’s busiest stations, it doesn’t have a single escalator, the platform canopies cover only a minority of the congested platforms.
There is virtually no waiting area and no bike parking that I could see.
The station badly needs a new entrance which links into the overpass, relieving pressure on the congested tunnel linking the platforms, and this is now proposed.”
As a result of the report, at least £5 million and maybe significantly more has now been made available to fund immediate improvements. We understand that you will be meeting with Network Rail on 20th January to hear their proposals which, we understand, will be restricted to extending canopies, repairing the subway, and providing additional staff, waiting rooms and more stairs from the over-pass to the platforms. Funding is already in place to provide a third, step-free access from Brighton Yard and to go ahead with much needed platform lengthening and straightening works.
Whilst extremely welcome, these measures do not go far enough to tackle the fundamental problems of the station. The main station entrances on St John’s Road and Grant Road are on the scale of small tube stations and will remain poky and overcrowded. The subway will remain congested with regular queues building up to pass through the ticket barriers, and the rickety over-bridge will retain its antiquated ‘seaside-pier’ ambiance, providing only the most basic access, with none of the facilities which the public expects of a major 21st century railway station and interchange.
What is required is a long term vision for the station with substantial funding being made available in the next review period from 2014. The short-term funding which has recently been announced should form part of this longer-term vision, and not act as a constraint on future redevelopment. For example, if new canopies and stairs are being proposed now, then they should be designed with a longer term goal in mind to modernise the existing overpass and underpass and extend their facilities in the future. Otherwise, there is a real risk that the money being made available will be wasted.
We would suggest that Network Rail should invite design proposals immediately for a full redevelopment of the station to meet its current and future needs, and that the new funding should be integrated within these proposals as a first stage to a full redevelopment. There is a need to provide new station entrances linking the overpass and underpass both at St John’s Hill and Grant Road, and any current proposals relating to these structures should be designed so that they may, in future, be fully integrated within this wider redevelopment.
We enclose with this letter a draft dossier that we have produced setting out the challenges for Network Rail together with some suggestions as to how these might in future be addressed (we are currently in the process of collecting views of local residents too that we intend to communicate to Network Rail). These are by no means the only solutions which might be considered. Network Rail’s framework designers and contractors might propose alternative solutions which could prove equally effective in addressing both the current problems of the station and its future expansion. Above all, it is incumbent on the government to ensure that the new public money that has been made available is spent wisely in providing facilities which will see the test of time, and not be rendered obsolete by a future redevelopment.
We will be meeting with Network Rail ourselves on 21st January and hope that by that time you will have passed on the message that further, significant measures will be required in the next funding period. We look forward very much to hearing of your discussions, and would be extremely happy to meet with you at any time.
With kindest regards
Kate Williams and Cyril Richert
Author: Cyril Richert
There is an interesting discussion going on since mid-October about the opportunity of a new school in between the commons on the website NappyValleyNet. Some people suggest supporting existing schools already in place and stopping huge amount of pupils travelling from other borough into them, and that support should go on local school rather than avoiding them due to some pre conceived ideas about the kind of children who attend. Others highlight that there is no secondary school in the all area of Clapham Junction and Northcote Road, that Wandsworth closed so many schools in the past and that taxes should provide good local state secondaries in every neighbourhood.
However it seems that the Council is now fully engaged and being openly supportive and bringing in the involvement of relevant shadow cabinet members.
Edward Lister, Leader of the Council, has made a statement to the website NappyValleyNet saying:
“I want to keep you up to date with developments on the ‘free school’ plan which is being promoted by the Conservatives’ Shadow Children’s Secretary Michael Gove.
Michael Gove’s team met with my colleagues to discuss the growing interest from parents in parts of Wandsworth and Battersea in setting up their own self-run schools within the state sector.
This was attended by Executive Member for Children and Young People Cllr Kathy Tracey, Chairman of Children and Young People’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee Cllr Peter Dawson and Jane Ellison, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Battersea.
Just because schools are in the state sector, they don’t have to be state-run. Currently the major obstacle to progress is the way central government controls schools’ funding. With a more radical approach we could free up the system so that it positively encourages local alternatives – whether these are led by parents’ groups or private companies.
So we can move this forward we have invited Michael to a meeting with interested parents. This will take place in the next few weeks and we will publish details on nappyvalley.net
I’m also keen that other parents groups around the borough should be aware of the opportunities. Anyone interested in setting up new schools can get in touch direct with the New Schools Network, a charity that offers free support to groups looking to establish non-selective state schools.
I will keep you up-to-date with developments on these exciting changes for parents“
An article was published in the Evening Standard on Wednesday 16 December about family run schools:
Website of the New School Campaign: http://www.thensc.net
Author: Julia Matcham
The Council has published (6 January 2010) the new application for redevelopment of the site called “HiQ Tyreservices” (76 – 80 Chatham Road SW11, off Northcote Road) involving demolition of existing commercial building to provide a shop, 5 houses and 3 flats , with roof terraces and 6 off-street parking spaces.
There are a number of reasons for opposing this development proposed to replace the very useful HiQ Tyre Services which stands at the bottom of Chatham Road, not least the loss of such a valuable facility.
In this new application, which is very little changed from the last one, the developers are now applying for 8 (instead of 9) residential units, and a shop. This is still far too much. Proposed are 5 x 3 bed units, 1 x 2 bed, 2 x 1 bed, plus a shop which they suggest will have 6 employees.
There are 17 double bed spaces and two single bed spaces. If all the beds were to be occupied, that would mean a possible 36 new residents of Chatham Road.
Add to them the shop employees (estimated by the developers as 6) and please consider the proposed provision of 6 car parking spaces!
Allowing developers to cram people into small gardenless ‘units’ has a deleterious effect on the community. We would like people to be able to enjoy living in this road and be part of a neighbourly situation.
The word ‘units’ describes the situation perfectly. People are not happy in units… they move on as fast as they can. Five decent houses in that area would be quite enough and would be more likely to contribute to a stable friendly community.
Not long ago we have had a block of 6 houses built where Crete Shipping used to be. More recently we have had 4 big residential units built at the back of areas that used to service the community. At the top of the road Robert Hughes’ building got a change from working units to ‘live-work’. This road is already densely occupied.
The loss of HiQ Tyre Services, which is in fact a general purposes garage, will be a serious blow to many local residents. There are fewer and fewer such facilities as the value of the real-estate eclipses the value of the businesses.
I can see from the ‘Design and Access Statement’ on the web that the developers have been discussing the development with Mr Bob Leuty of Wandsworth’s Planning Department, and they seem to have been reassured that their plans meet the Council’s criteria. I do hope the Council will think hard about allowing the road to be degraded by overcrowding.
Click on the image to see it bigger
You can compare the “change” with the previous application 2009/2518:
- The people at the garage thought the owners were sorting out a new lease!
You may contact the planning application service to let them know your view:
Planning Application/Mark Hunter [Ref: 2009/4484]
or write to:
Planning Service – Technical Services Department, Town Hall,
Wandsworth High Street,
London SW18 2PU
- Planning: HiQ Tyreservices – Chatham Road (August 24th 2009)
- HiQ Tyreservices – Chatham Road: planning withdrawn