The Battersea Society: Planning Committee submission The Battersea Society website 

Planning Committee Submission

Submission to Wandsworth Borough Council
Added on: 10 September 2018 at 12:33:38

South London Mail Centre, Plots B&D 2017/6762 and 6764

The Battersea Society has welcomed the opportunity to learn more about this development but regret we continue to have concerns about the effect of these, and future planning applications, on the underlying parameters of the agreed masterplan.  As a result we have to maintain our objection to these applications.

It is not possible to assess these applications in the absence of a revised masterplan showing all blocks, A – F; these proposed changes within that; the specific implications for blocks E and F; and finally, a commitment that the reduction proposed for blocks E and F to balance the increase in B and D will be maintained when further applications are made for these blocks.

This information is needed to ensure that, when finally built, this scheme is attractive and welcoming rather than of such a density that it is overwhelming at ground level and with much less space than is suggested by the computer generated graphics.  These inevitably give a false sense of space both at ground and higher levels. 

We call on Royal Mail as the overall developers of this site to provide this master plan information to Council officers and to members of the Planning Applications Committee as a key part of these applications. A timetable setting down the current dates for key stages for all parts of this development would also be helpful. 

We have the following detailed comments on aspects of the scheme for blocks B&D: 

Justification for the extra units:  This appears to be that added height is needed to ensure accessibility for all tenants to all amenities without leaving the building.  It might also be that the high level of amenities proposed requires a higher number of tenants to allow a viable operation.  We would like to know if other design solutions based on the original heights have been explored to meet the accessibility needs.  Some indication of viability costings at different tenancy levels would also have been useful. 

Linear Park :  This, and decisions made in relation to other developments, mean that this is no longer a park in the accepted sense but rather landscaped public realm.   Such landscaping is essential in that it breaks up and softens hard public realm areas for residents and those travelling through.  It is unlikely to prove a destination in itself.  While Mill Pond Square is not part of the linear park we would like to see some reduction in the predominantly hard landscaping currently shown. 

Design:  While we understand that surface changes are planned to soften the block-like effect of the proposed buildings we are unconvinced that the best design solution has yet been achieved. 

Vibrancy at ground level.  We welcome plans to move retail and cafes to ground level to add activity and life to the surroundings.  We were surprised to hear that WBC and the Nine Elms team have not undertaken any overall retail viability assessment and will discuss this further with members of the Nine Elms team. 

Parking and Deliveries:  There is a need for detailed TfL and Royal Mail master plan proposals for road and laybys for the whole area, together with modelling for the traffic turning on and off Nine Elms Lane.  We consider the PAC and officers need to review this as part of the assessment of this application.  We have made the point before that the increasing number of personal deliveries is already causing problems, and this will be no exception.  The.availability of a concierge may speed the drop off process but there remains the danger that the two access streets could become cluttered and dangerous rat runs. 

Rental Policy:  We are supportive of rental property as part of a mix of housing and appreciate the flexibility of tenure length and the mix of all forms of tenancy within the building.  However we remain concerned about the ability of Greystar to maintain an agreed quota of discounted rental units as rents inevitably move upwards.  The maintenance of an agreed size mix of the discounted units needs to be a condition of the approval of any application. 

We can understand the frustration of this applicant to our calling for further information from Royal Mail and its partners and hope they will join us in pressing for this.  This is a small site and these buildings will form a major part of it.  It is in neither Greystar’s, nor the Council’s, interest for this site to be other than an inviting and well-designed scheme overall. 

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