The Battersea Society: Planning Committee submission Welcome to the Battersea Society website 


Planning Committee Submission


Submission to Wandsworth Borough Council
Added on: 5 October 2020 at 18:41:07

Palmerston Court: 2020/2837

While the Battersea Society considers these plans to be a significant improvement over the approved scheme (2016/5422) we have a number of concerns which lead us to object to this application as it now stands.  We trust these reservations can be considered further and amended plans presented.


Our concerns relate to:  the size and massing of the blocks; the design of the office tower; the lack of an economic case for the proposed office and Enterprise Business Unit (EBU) uses; lack of information about pedestrian and cycle movements; the northern access to Battersea Park Road; the proposals for the Public House; the restriction of Passivhaus aspirations to the student accommodation; and the loss of trees and the viability of the landscaping proposals.


Massing of the blocks on site and daylight penetration:


Overall the proposed development is taller and more dense than the consented scheme.  We share the concerns of the Design Review Panel on the space between the blocks and in particular the poor light levels for 55 of the student rooms which fall below the BRE recommended levels. This needs to be addressed either by reducing the size of the development (which is probably unlikely) or by re-configuring the uses within the buildings.  Would it be possible to use the space of these units for some of the communal uses placed at higher levels for example laundry rooms or the cinema which is currently on the terrace level (see 4.3.5 of DAS) and relocate some student rooms at that higher level?


Block A: Office tower:


The external treatment of the student accommodation towers is striking and effective. That of block A for office use does not sit easily alongside them and appears rather utilitarian in comparison with the glazed exteriors of the other towers. This is surely an opportunity for a far more exciting approach, especially given that is opposite the sophisticated Gehry and Foster and Partners blocks on the Power Station site


Economic case for proposed office and EBU uses:


The submitted papers appear to have little analysis of the demand for /market forecast for the proposed uses. It is unclear which part of the office sector block A is targeting, and how this development relates to other offices and small unit provision within Nine Elms. In addition, given the uncertainty of the future of office space in Central London should the design offer greater flexibility of longer term use?


Pedestrian and cycle movements generated by development:


While there is discussion of circulation within the site and off it onto Havelock Terrace and the Battersea Park Road junction, no indication is given of how pedestrians and cyclists using the site access it from further away. For example what route will the relatively large numbers of students using the rail and tube stations, and local bus stops take? Where will they cross Battersea Park Road? How does the site access relate to proposed cycle lane arrangements locally?  Will there be a change to the functioning of the lights at the Prince of Wales Drive Junction?  


Northern Access to Battersea Park Road


It may be that the steps will provide safe access to Battersea Park Road but this will be for those without mobility problems – or indeed a cycle.  The developers should consider adding a lift to their plans and, in addition, show how Battersea Park Road will be crossed.


Public House


Flanagans is an important and characterful public house and it is disappointing that the proposals take no note of this heritage and propose what appears to be a bland urban space set within the office block.  This heritage should be acknowledged and thought given to preserving this important link with the local community. 


Energy:


The passivhaus aspirations for the student accommodation are praiseworthy (as is the overall carbon reduction of 90%) but these should not be limited to the student accommodation but extended to the office tower.


Trees and landscaping


The size of the buildings proposed means that nine trees are to be removed including a mature plane and a mature lime.  It might be impossible to retain the mature lime and to have trees in the ground rather than in planters but we ask that the developers look again at the proposals and seek to retain some at least of the existing mature trees.  While overall the landscape strategy and planting look attractive the areas proposed are in reality very small.  We would ask that further consideration be given to the nature of the planting to ensure that its scale is manageable in the long term. (Comparison with some of the areas elsewhere in Nine Elms and Battersea suggests that planting, while attractive in the first couple of years can, over time, become overgrown and difficult to maintain).


In conclusion, we cannot support the proposals as they now stand but are hopeful that our concerns can be addressed and look forward to reviewing changes in due course. 


You can see full details of this application and other comments, or to make your own views known by copying 2020/2837 and pasting it into the box you will find here