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Only People Power can topple towers!

by Lindsay Burns
from South London Press 30 January 2009

South London PressPEOPLE power could be the only way to topple plans to build "monstrous" towers in a conservation area.
At a public meeting on Wednesday, councillors and campaigners said public objections could be the only way to floor developersí plans for two skyscrapers next to Clapham Junction railway station.

Metro Shopping Fundís 142m tall towers would be made up of 556 luxury one- and two-bedroom flats.

The plans, which include an agreement to redevelop the station, were attacked by the Clapham Junction Action Group, the Battersea Society, the Labour MP for Battersea Martin Linton and residents.

The meeting at Wessex House in St Johnís Hill was packed with residents desperate to help defeat proposals for the biggest structure in the area since Battersea Power Station was built in 1955.

Leader of the Wandsworth councilís opposition Labour group, Tony Belton, urged people to attend the planning meeting where the towers will be discussed

He said: "As a member of the planning committee, Iím officially not meant to pre-judge. "All I can say is I have never voted for a 42-storey block before and Iíd be interested in the arguments that would persuade me to do so.

"Draw your own conclusions from that.

"It's difficult to do something unpopular when youíre standing beside 100 people who donít like what you're doing."

  Chairing the meeting was Cyril Richert, a resident who set up the Clapham Junction Action Group in October last year with Kate Williams.  The pair quoted from some of the 341 letters of objection received by the council, against 60 received in support.
 
  Battersea Society chairman Tony Tuck said the towers would be the biggest "rape" of the area since the station split Clapham and Battersea town in the Victorian times and quoted objection letters from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.
 
  The former parliamentary speech writer said: "This development would undermine  and destroy an entire community. But what really grates me is that no social housing has been offered."
 
  The developers say they cannot afford to include social housing because of the cost of redeveloping the railway station.
 
  The meeting will be held at 7.30pm on March 12 at Wandsworth Town Hall on Wandsworth High Street.

Date posted: 7 February 2009