The Battersea Society: Planning Committee submission The Battersea Society website 


Planning Committee Submission



Added on: 6 March 2018 at 10:24:15

Response to Winstanley and York Road consultation February 2018

The Battersea Society appreciated the opportunity to talk through the revised proposals for the Masterplan, both when we met the team at the Town Hall and at the exhibition at York Gardens library.  


Masterplan layout

We feel the proposal to group the blocks around an enclosed park gives a better sense of space and more usable activity area than previous proposals. We are unclear, however, why the separate area of a pocket park has been defined at this stage, before the wider options for park activities have been considered. 


It appears that overall there is less open space than is currently the case and the need to avoid an oppressive and over-dense environment should inform detailed planning. 


From the material produced to date it is not clear how the road links and traffic management into and through the estate would work and this needs further explanation at planning application stage. Presumably the application will have a transport plan which projects likely traffic generation etc. There was mention of the 170 bus route being amended to run through the estate. The route, together with proposed bus stops, should be shown on the Masterplan as should cycle routes. 


We object to the proposal that there be an interior road for vehicles running between the park and the proposed blocks. We are not convinced that it is necessary to service the blocks from the park side and urge the masterplanners to seek  a solution which avoids this.While access may need to be provided for emergency and works vehicles and possibly removal vans, it should be possible to exclude all other vehicles from the park. 


This circuit could be used for cyclists to avoid the need for cycling within the main area of the park – see below re activities.


Timing


We are concerned that building disruption appears set to continue for a minimum of 10 years and would like to see fuller details of how this will be planned to isolate disruption to discrete areas, leaving residents of other parts of the development to enjoy a peaceful environment. 


Unit Size and Tenure


We are disappointed that Wandsworth Council has not been able to negotiate an affordable percentage above 35%, given the density of the plan.  We note with concern that there is already talk of increased height for some blocks.  Any consideration of this should be in terms of an increase in the percentage available for affordable tenure. 


No information was given regarding overall figures for the number of units by size and tenure.  This is needed as well as details as to how the build to rent block would be promoted, financed and managed. We are not yet convinced that build to rent is the right approach for market housing on this site. 


Mansion blocks


We support the general concept of the mansion blocks as high density but family friendly housing. Comparison was made between those proposed and the turn of the century mansion blocks local to Battersea and elsewhere in central London.  We are not clear to what extent this comparison is valid and, as presented, the designs look bare and somewhat forbidding.  We were pleased to know that consideration is being given to variations to the pediments of the blocks so that they did not present the rather monolithic rectangular blocks as suggested in the drawings. A walk along Prince of Wales Drive highlights the individuality of the blocks, a characteristic which we feel should be aimed for in the Winstanley blocks. 


While we welcome the objective of mixed tenure in each block it could raise significant management issues unless there is common management for all residents of each block. An on-site 24/7 service is essential either as a concierge service within each block or a staffed office serving several blocks.  The cost of this should be set against the need to ensure that there is quick response to owners’ and tenants’ problems and a high quality living environment is maintained for all. 


The courtyard configuration for the mansion blocks as suggested with private units onto the park and affordable away from the park immediately establishes a social divide. This could be exacerbated by units facing onto small communal courtyards. 


Noise and overlooking are inherent in this type of layout and can create friction between neighbours regardless of tenure mix. We suggest a preferable layout would be for the blocks to be opened out into N shape blocks with the tenure split up the middle and the communal open space on to the park (effectively two L shaped sections with perhaps a central access point on the long side).  With this configuration the social divide might be less obvious, noise and lack of privacy issues mitigated and servicing possible from the rear of the blocks away from the park.  


The proposals as presented bear a strong resemblance to the many brick ‘Court’ apartment blocks of the late 1920s and 1930s. These often have more communal open space than original mansion blocks. (cf Holmefield and Gilling Court in Belsize Park) and lessons about the management and use of common areas in such developments would no doubt be relevant. 


Library and leisure centre


We are glad to see the library, community and sports centre has been expanded and is proposed for an early phase of the development. Its location on the corner of Plough Road seems appropriate.  We like it facing inwards to the Park but it is essential that the charging policy is such that use of the centre does not become exclusive to those able to pay high hire costs and gym fees. The library of course must be accessible and available to all ages.


Taller towers along York Road


We continue to have concerns about the grouping of the tall blocks along York Road given the scale of schemes already approved to the north. We would like to see a 3D representation at street level of the total impact of all the proposed new blocks along the stretch of York Road from Falcon Road through to the new RCD building. Mitigating landscape and planting will be essential together with broad foot ways set well back from the carriageways. 


We fear that the aggregate impact will be canyon-like and have regularly pressed for such a visual to be used to inform decisions regarding planning applications made within the York and Lombard Road SSAD. 


Access to the riverside and to Clapham Junction


York Road will increasingly be a barrier for residents on both sides and one which is likely to be increasingly trafficked.  This will lead to tension between traffic flow and safe crossing for pedestrians.  We propose that real consideration be given to a cycle and pedestrian bridge over York Road..


Activities in the new park


How the park is configured and the type of facility local residents want and will use is something which no doubt will evolve over time. Focus/discussion groups with local organisations and residents who currently use the Park may be the best way forward to gauge what residents would like. 


It is essential that there are peaceful areas within the park for people to sit quietly, read and talk to friends.  While there needs to be space for cyclists this might best be served with a perimeter road designed for cycling.  See above.