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

Planning Committee Submission

Submission to Wandsworth Borough Council
Added on: 6 August 2020 at 11:26:13

(Retrospective) Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Joseph Church 2016/5803

The Battersea Society strongly objects to this attempt to formalise what has been constructed outside the terms of planning approval. We consider this application should be referred to the WCAAC before any decision is taken as there are additional changes to the proposals affecting the church and church hall as well as the overall impact on this part of the Battersea Park Conservation Area. 

Although the unapproved elements are presented as relatively minor they include a 2m overall increase in height of roof, changes to internal floorspace and balconies, changes to the retail unit, the church hall layout, adjacent church and open space. These changes render an egregious design even more dominant in this part of Battersea. The new block has occasioned more negative comments from our members, residents and visitors to the area than any other local building. This is because its scale and form are so intrusive locally, including from the platforms of  Battersea Park Station (as shown in Part 2 of the DAS), from the Rosary Gate entrance and rose garden in Battersea Park and in both directions along Battersea Park Road.  It is a tragedy that such a building has been erected adjacent to the fine Victorian railway architecture and to the listed church and opposite the sensitively designed  Battersea Exchange development. 

It is another unfortunate instance when, despite reasoned objections, the Council approved changes and added height despite opposition not just from ourselves but from Heritage England. These made an over-dominant building worse.  Copies of our objections to the 2014 and 2016 applications follow. Our original objection to the building still stands. 

As we said in our objection of November 2016 we are still concerned about the proportion of affordable units. We very much hope that work can be undertaken to remove the added height but if this cannot be done we consider it essential, as the minimum quid pro quo, that any retrospective approval  should have the condition that the extra 4 units are all affordable in perpetuity. 

8A Battersea Park Road, 2016/5803 

The Battersea Society objects strongly to this proposal further to increase the dominance of the proposed new building at the expense of the setting of the listed church and of the Battersea Park Conservation Area. 

In 2014 an increase in the height was proposed – and subsequently approved.  At this time Historic England wrote: 

The proposed residential accommodation associated with this proposal is of a significant scale and massing, which will challenge the visual primacy of the church as the focus of the site. Though of an interesting, contemporary design which draws on the steeply-pitched roof of existing buildings for architectural reference, the height of the building challenges the existing church, and consequently may harm the character and appearance of the conservation area.

Our own letter of objection, attached, echoed this view.  The visualisations of the consented and approved schemes shown within section 3 of the Design and Access Statement clearly show the adverse effect of any further increase in height.  It appears that the increase also materially affects the overall massing so that it fails in any way to complement the shape of the church but appears not only taller but narrower than the church.

These visualisations also show the visual clutter of the balconies on to Battersea Park Road.  We think it unlikely that these will serve any purpose other than fulfilling requirements for outdoor space given the traffic density and frequent standing traffic. 

We have two further concerns.  First while this may be car free there needs to be space for off-road temporary parking for service vehicles or for disabled access.  Second we can see no mention of affordable housing within the papers.  We assume the requirement for this will have changed with the proposed increase in the number of units.

We trust this application for a harmful change to the consented plans will be refused.

Mount Carmel Development, 2014/1471


The Battersea Society has considered these revised proposals for redevelopment of the site of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Joseph church.

We wish to object to these proposals on the grounds that the height and form of the proposed residential block are over-dominant in relation to the church, which has recently been locally listed, and in relation to the existing street elevations, the listed and newly restored station building and the listed public house opposite.  We are also concerned about the incongruous balcony detailing on the residential building, both on the elevation facing the church and onto Battersea Park Road.  In our view the proposed residential building would not sit comfortably alongside the proposals for the church hall which, as with the earlier proposals for a residential building drafted in 2013, are a more sympathetic treatment for the site and local area.

We recommend that, given the significance of the site within the streetscape of the Battersea Park Conservation Area, these proposals be considered by the WCAAC and their advice provided to officers and councillors.