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

Planning Committee Submission

Added on: 19 March 2021 at 12:16:47

Response on proposals to redevelop the City Mission building: 120 Battersea Bridge Road

The Battersea Society was surprised that they were not included in the notification about the consultation on these proposals, only having been alerted to them belatedly by a local Councillor. However we appreciated the Zoom session provided for us which gave a better understanding of  the scheme. Our response below follows the headings in your online consultation together with additional points we wish to make.

Do you support the principle of redeveloping the site for community facilities, creative workspace and housing?  

Yes.  We argued strongly during the consultation on the Randall Close/ Surrey Lane Estate proposals  that redevelopment of the City Mission hall should be an integral element of the masterplan. Unfortunately this was not the case and your proposals are inevitably something of a late add-on to the approved development for the abutting sites.

More information of how both the workspace and the community facilities are to be managed and the rental policy for both are needed .  It is important that local residents are not priced out and that links are established with local start- up support schemes and with other community groups.

Do you agree that the provision of modern community facilities will benefit local people?

We hope so but are disappointed at the lack of consultation.  There appears to have been little or no liaison with other local church, religious and community groups with whom the new provision and activities might be shared. Local residents during the Randall Close consultation were concerned that there should be some form of community facility and it was a lost opportunity for joint working at that time. As the development goes forward better cooperation with residents, the local community and faith groups will be essential to realise the potential of the new facilities.

In terms of the design for mixed use by different groups  it will be important to ensure that the main entrance and access to the workspace is welcoming both for secular activities by  local residents and for other faiths and does not appear to be too formal an entrance.

Do you support the provision of affordable homes in this development?

Yes. It is essential that all new development has as high a proportion as possible of affordable units. However we would prefer to have at least one 3 bedroom unit affordable.

Do you agree that the design of the proposals is of a high quality and will significantly improve the appearance and vitality of the surrounding area?

We have a number of concerns about the positioning of the block on the site, its height and proposed materials.

First we feel the building line set by the former police station should have been used, rather than moving it significantly forward.  The current proposed positioning well forward of buildings to south and north, together with the proposed height, is likely to lead to an over-bearing building hard up against the pavement, standing proud of its surroundings and taller than the buildings on all sides.

Preserving the sight line through to the former police station, north along Battersea Bridge Road would have been welcome in terms of maintaining views of the police station. It would also have positioned the building as a welcome addition to the whole area rather than a dominant newcomer.

It might have been preferable to limit the height to the 6 storeys approved for Randall Close or at least to omit the penthouse.   Again this would maintain better views from Battersea Bridge Road  and relate to the other building to the north of Hyde Road.

While we understand the arguments for not replicating the distinctive terracotta of the former police station, from the visuals provided we find the purple/dark red tiling unappealing. While the material itself adds to the design we consider a softer tone to blend with the brickwork might be preferable.

Other comments

Relationship with block C of Randall Close development:  the material presented lacked drawings showing side elevations of how the development sat beside the proposed block C of the Randall Close development, including overlooking, shadowing etc. This should be included in final proposals. 

Public realm: There is an opportunity here for improving the public realm along Battersea Bridge Road as well as round the corner into Hyde Road. The removal of the ornamental pear tree adds little to this. If the tree has to be removed, some additional green planting should be provided to soften the frontage on both street frontages of the building.

Environmental Concerns:  We were disappointed to hear that the building was unlikely to achieve BREEAM outstanding due to technical difficulties in compliance resulting from the design.

Consultation We feel the consultation should have been more extensive and better publicised, given the mixed use proposed and the site’s significance on Battersea Bridge Road and in relation to the Surrey Lane Estate.