The Battersea Society: Planning Committee submission The Battersea Society website 


Planning Committee Submission



Added on: 29 September 2017 at 08:40:47

Royal College of Art Battersea Campus

Overview


We welcomed both the earlier opportunity of hearing directly about the proposals and of seeing and discussing further changes at the recent exhibition. 


We note, and support, the RCA’s intention to provide a safe, animated streetscape and their plans to extend partnerships and engagement with the local community. 


Neighbourhood engagement 


Plans to open up the extended campus into the surrounding neighbourhood are attractive, as is the fact that public events will continue to be held.  We shared the view of earlier respondents that these have been poorly advertised and are pleased to see that the RCA plan to do more to build awareness of public events. The Battersea Society has a local events listing on our website and we would be happy to include RCA events.  Simply send us an email with full details. 


A café would be even more attractive as a local facility if it had some elements of a neighbourhood convenience store and corner shop – selling papers, sweets, bus passes and suchlike. 


19 Bus – and charging points. 


We are very pleased to read that the development will have no impact on the 19 bus. 


It is considered essential that not only is the south travelling bus stop retained – and improved – but that there is space for the 19 bus to start and finish as currently.  For the many existing and potential residents this is because other buses, while frequent, arrive crowded during rush hours and an empty 19 is vital. 


Any change which took away the empty start would have a detrimental impact on RCA’s relationship with its near neighbours. 


We trust that electric charging points for cars will be included if appropriate.  We have a general concern about the loss of garages in Battersea but this is something we will raise with WBC. 


Design Proposals 


While we are happy with the proposals for the interior and exterior spaces we have reservations about the exterior design, especially the Parkgate Road ‘landmark’ building and its impact on views from Battersea Park and the Battersea Park Conservation Area. 


We like the proposal for brickwork openings to the first and second floor studios and for seating areas in Howie Street.  The idea of seeing into parts of the building along Battersea Bridge Road is excellent. 


We acknowledge the tension between a design which reflects its South Kensington heritage – the reason we were given for the design of the Dyson building – and the prominence of a building within the Westbridge Road Conservation area.  We acknowledge that red brick is used locally but the example shown at the exhibition suggested that in use this has variations in light and shade.  We have some concern that the brick proposed would be dense and light absorbing.  However we are hopeful that in reality our concerns will be found to be groundless. 


The change from the original design for the building facing Parkgate to one with what can only be described as a white cube on top of a brick base does not look at all attractive as presented.    The white top looks top heavy compared with its base – perhaps a result of the Galileo theory of radiation (noted courtesy of Grand Designs) and the building will be very prominent as seen from Battersea Park. 


It may be that design evolution is continuing and we look forward to seeing the final designs to be presented within the planning application in due course. 


Conclusion 


We welcome an extension to the RCA campus in Battersea and find much to admire in the proposals.  We look forward to seeing the next stage.