The Battersea Society: Planning Committee submission The Battersea Society website 

Planning Committee Submission

Submission to Wandsworth Borough Council
Added on: 9 July 2016 at 09:36:47

Heliport House, 2016/2315

The Battersea Society objects most strongly to this application which reinforces our view that this is a vanity project designed as an exercise in architectural design rather than a serious development plan.  It will benefit a very small number of people, possibly those seeking an occasional residence in London rather than a primary home.  It will do nothing to contribute to housing need in Wandsworth.

We read with interest the objection made by Dutton-Forshaw and their view that the original scheme was not sufficiently thought through and their conclusion that, “given that this application is supported by even less information than the last, [this concern] is deepened”.

The original Design Review Panel report, although courteous towards the applicant, posed serious reservations about the design, not least the brief to retain the existing building.  We urge that this revised proposal be subject to further review by the DRP and this review be made public before any decision is taken.

The recently posted Design and Access statement (D&A) reads more as a sales brochure than as a serious review of the problems in developing this ‘interesting piece of architecture’ (p.47).  The document appears to have been produced in haste and contains a number of assertions which, from our own observations of the neighbourhood, appear mistaken.  Even if the assertions are accurate, the tone of the document does not promote confidence.

There is little or no information in the D&A about the impact on neighbours of changes such as two car stackers and an external generator. It does not properly convey the limitations of the narrow roads, the existing congestion on all forms of public transport and the further pressure on roads and public transport as new buildings are completed and occupied.  The proposal for twice-weekly private refuse and recycling collection will add to that congestion – is the applicant seriously saying that because the building has insufficient space for standard refuse bins they will need to hire a private contractor to empty smaller bins more often than the Council refuse service?   Perhaps some of the space currently allocated to parking for 30 bicycles could be used for refuse bins. 

We note that the parking survey was carried out at 3.00 a.m. and that even then there was a high level of parking occupancy.  The survey should be repeated during the daytime.  The proposals for car parking are unrealistic and unneighbourly.  If the building is fully occupied the residents will require at least one car space per dwelling either for their own or visiting cars and are unlikely to want to manoeuvre their cars onto car stackers.   There is no information about the hours of operation for car stackers, nor consideration of the noise which they generate.

We are surprised to see a figure quoted of ‘no more than 4-5 helicopter movements per day’ (p.40).

We are not persuaded that adding a ‘stainless steel blob’ will enhance the streetscape or the retained building at the base of the tower.

In conclusion, we share with Dutton-Forshaw and others grave concerns about this application and trust that the Council will take this opportunity to take a fresh look at the merits of this proposal.  They should require much greater reassurance about the impact and viability of the project than has so far been supplied. In the absence of this information, the application should be refused.

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