The Battersea Society: Planning Committee submission The Battersea Society website 

Planning Committee Submission

Submission to Wandsworth Borough Council
Added on: 24 September 2016 at 10:03:55

28 Battersea Square, 2016/5089

The Battersea Society objects to the proposal to convert the current retail area to residential.

As set down in our objection to the withdrawn application 2016/0299, the proposed change of use is in conflict with the London Plan, Council policies and with the character of the Square as noted in the Draft Battersea Square Conservation Area Appraisal.

There is no evidence that the property has been marketed as set down in Policy DMTS7B.  Change of use would run counter to the recently issued Conservation Area guidance from Historic England in relation to the need to maintain retail viability (p.31 and local character (p.36)While not specifically identified as a Town Centre, the Draft Appraisal correctly identifies the Square as the ‘historic heart of Battersea’ a village area which ‘has a mixed use character and the retention of small businesses is key to its economic buoyancy” (p.24). The Council’s Town Centre SPD point 7.6 p20. refers to the London Plan policies  in that

2.15:  ‘planning decisions should enhance the quality of town centre retail and consumer services’

4.8: the need to support ‘a successful and diverse retail sector’

and, most relevantly here,

7.1:  the importance of ‘creating lifetime neighbourhoods [which] make a positive contribution to quality of life, local character and quality of the urban realm’

These comments, though related to Take-Away outlets, are equally relevant here.  The loss of this retail outlet would add to the sites already lost and contribute to a loss of footfall which would endanger the viability of the remaining businesses.  Recent losses include:

Businesses at Cotswold Mews and offices fronting the Mews
Dentist in Ship House – despite our understanding that there was a dentist very keen to take over the practice
Thai on the River restaurant
and soon to go, the Royal Academy of Dance

The decision of Gail’s bakery to open an outlet here should help the marketing of this property as a retail outlet and is a welcome exception to the erosion of retail and office space within the Square.

It is not clear from the Design and Access Statement whether other proposed changes are as extensive as those proposed within 2016/0299 and to which we objected.  

This application for change of use is not justified and, if agreed, would damage the Conservation Area and the economic viability of the area.  It should be refused.

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