The Battersea Society: Planning Committee submission The Battersea Society website 

Planning Committee Submission

Submission to Wandsworth Borough Council
Added on: 11 July 2018 at 09:54:35

South London Mail Centre, 2017/6762

The Battersea Society strongly objects to the proposals in this application in which major changes are presented in such an obscure way that it is extremely difficult for non-technical readers to begin to assess what is now proposed as compared with the approved original masterplan. 

Ourmain concern is the densification of this development through the addition of 5 storeys to the currently approved 6 storey building proposed for plot D and for the further height proposed for plot B.  It is hard to see how a near doubling of height can be described as a ‘minor increase in height’. 

The canyon-like effect of the added height on plot D as shown on page 21 of the Design and Access Statement is clear.  It is also clear that the linear ‘park’ is now at best a linear boulevard. 

We are further concerned that over the years since CABE reviewed this scheme in 2011 there have been considerable changes to the design and massing, such as to make a fresh Design Review Panel (DRP) essential.  Additionally, in 2011 CABE expressed reservations about some aspects of the scheme.  Our letter of comment on 2016/2424 stated that: 

It would have been helpful if this latest application had indicated to what extent the changes meet some of the reservations expressed by CABE back in August 2011.  On this point we understand that this current application will be followed by a reserved matters application showing the design of the buildings, rather than the parameters as is now the case.  We trust that these applications will be the subject of a CABE or DRP review at an appropriate time.

This application also fails to set down how the plans respond to CABE’s reservations.

This alone should have led to a fresh DRP having been called, to assess and guide councillors and officers alike, let alone the fact that much of the final design awaited this reserved matters application – wrongly set down as a ‘minor material amendment.  This is a very major site and we are deeply concerned that the outcome will be a matter of regret to councillors and public alike. 

Finally we must comment on the standard of documentation from the applicant. We are accustomed to reviewing documentation including Planning Statements and Design and Access statements.  Despite this, we have found these particularly challenging, to the extent it could appear that the applicant is deliberately aiming to obscure the added height and density they seek. Nowhere in the documentation is there a clear summary and comparison of changes since the original approval. Occasionally there are references to changes such as in table 5.2 of the travel assessment addendum but where to find these details elsewhere in the documentation is not clear without hours of detailed scrutiny. This point is also made by the local Residents’ Association.

On a relatively minor point, we are concerned at the implications of the statement that the ‘loss of deep triangular recesses at ground floor [is designed] to inhibit antisocial behaviours and loitering’ ((also reflected in the apparent removal of any external access to the internal courtyards which were previously presented as part of the wider open access through the development). This suggests a fortress like and unwelcoming environment but it is hard to see without going back to an earlier application just what the change entails.

We trust that neither this, nor application 2017/6764, will be approved until significant modification and reassurance as to detail is provided to Wandsworth Council and the Planning Applications Committee.  This submission should be read in conjunction with our objection to 2017/6764

To see full details of this application and other comments, or to make your own views known please click here