The Battersea Society: Planning Committee submission The Battersea Society website 

Planning Committee Submission

Submission to Wandsworth Borough Council
Added on: 2 September 2016 at 09:47:21

3 Culvert Road, 2016/4188

In preparing the Battersea Society’s objection to this application we have looked at Wandsworth Council’s committee report on the development to the west of this site, at 475-491 Battersea Park Road.  The overbearing proposals for 3 Culvert Road meet few, if any, of the criteria the council used in recommending this more modest proposal, 2011/0185, for approval.

Specifically: the design, height, bulk and massing of the proposal respond poorly to the surrounding context including nearby listed buildings, the buildings to the east along Battersea Park Road and to the two adjacent conservation areas – the Latchmere Estate and Battersea Park Conservation Areas.  

Given this context we cannot agree that the area suffers from a poor and incoherent streetscape and poor urban character.

It is unneighbourly in relation to the lower developments of Merryfield Court, Lloyd Court and Challis House.  It fails to recognise that Culvert Road is not, as stated in the application papers, a cul-de-sac but a narrow, heavily trafficked route through to both the industrial estate at the junction of Culvert Road and Sheepcote Lane and a minor rat run between the Latchmere Road and Battersea Park Road.

We note that justification for the acknowledged loss of daylight and sunlight to Merryfield Court is that the ‘very good levels of daylight’ they receive is ‘uncommon in an urban environment’.  In other words, residents have been luckier than they deserve so shouldn’t complain that this new building will reduce daylight to their flats.

It will also be visible from the Shaftesbury Park Estate Conservation Area to the south.

The application sets out in support of the height both the Castlemaine tower and, to the east, the Doddington estate.  This 20 storey social housing development is part of ‘a late example of the punchy high-density architecture of the 1960s’ [see Survey of London, volume 50 p.178-179 .  It would not meet current planning policies and in any case we are being asked to assess a commercial development on land formerly in public ownership which provides just 12 social housing units, 6 each of 1 and 2 bedrooms, rather than a large quantity of social housing.  The site location overview on page 7 of the Design and Access Statement clearly shows that Castlemaine is an anachronism within the streetscape, while the graphic on page 32 shows how the proposed height at 3 Culvert Road is overbearing in relation to its neighbours

It would make more sense if the proposed new building were to be sited in Dagnall Street on land currently earmarked for the Sports Hall, was of a similar height to existing blocks in that street and set within the context of the Doddington to the north and east, much of which is set well back from Battersea Park Road.

The main argument for the addition of a tall building at this site is that a Sports Hall will be provided for the Harris Academy.  Yet there are few plans set down for this and no commitment as to timing.  This is noted by the Design Review Panel who advise that the design of the sports hall to the Harris Academy should be submitted at the same time as the tower to emphasise the link between the two.  This has not been done.

It is a further matter of concern that the Design Review Panel report includes concerns that ‘details of the building are still evolving [and] they do need to push harder to achieve exemplary architectural quality and sustainability’. They ‘strongly advise’ the Council to ensure that the architectural quality of the tower and the public benefits that it will deliver (our emphasis) are sealed in to any planning permission’

This proposal is for a building too tall and overbearing for its location and one which fails to meet the requirements of DMS 1, a, b, c, d and o.  It has failed to demonstrate that it meets criteria set down under DMS 4 in respect of a building above 5 storeys in height.  It lacks certainty in relation to both architectural quality and public benefit.

This application in its current form should be rejected and the developer required to think again about the location of residential and sports hall buildings and to develop plans for the development of both within the same time frame.

We look forward to the Design Review Panel statement being posted on the application’s website.

To see full details of this application and other comments, or to make your own views known please click here