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


Planning Committee Submission



Added on: 8 July 2020 at 09:03:42

Response to consultation on plans for Arding and Hobbs building

The Battersea Society Planning Committee were grateful for the Zoom presentation from W-RE on the proposals for the future of the former Arding and Hobbs building. Rather than respond to the on-line questionnaire we provide below our comments. We know that a number of Battersea Society members have responded individually through the questionnaire. 


Concept and design issues


Overall we welcome the apparent desire to keep and, where appropriate, restore heritage elements of the building, in particular the external façade and some of the interior details. This will be critical to successful long term viability. 


We have a major concern about the scale and design of the proposed new two-storey roof structure. We consider a fuller justification is needed for a two rather than a one storey structure. In addition, further consultation and discussion of the design options for the structure is needed. 


While it appears that the proposed solution is designed to echo the design of the listed building we have reservations about this approach.  Such a design could not only be an intrusive addition  to the roofline from higher up Lavender Hill and looking up from Falcon Road, but one that draws attention away from the building and so diminishes rather than complements it.  It may be that a neutral addition, slightly set back, would be a better solution. We also have concerns about the impact of the added storeys on residents on the eastern side of Ilminster Gardens. 


In the presentation little was made of the second main entrance on the corner of Ilminster Gardens. This has potential for further opening up the ground floor from the main pavement through to the higher areas of the store and creating an interesting variation in levels internally. 


Lower floors


The building is at the heart of Battersea and there is now an opportunity to restore the building back to its being a significant destination in its own right (as it was when it traded as Arding and Hobbs). We consider that the proposal to retain the basement, ground and first floors for general public access, retailing etc. is a sensible and attractive way forward.  A more open view between  the street and the interior both at ground and first floor levels would be essential to attract people in off the street. 


There is a strong wish for an attractive high quality food and restaurant outlet accessible to the station, with long opening hours - somewhere to meet friends, shop, wait between trains etc. This would need close management from a single company, experienced in this type of development. (A comparison suggested was Time Out’s Market development in Lisbon.) 


A range of niche outlets including smaller fashion, design and specialist retailers could act as a draw to the building and be welcomed by local residents. 


Other possibilities and opportunities might be using some of the building for a small theatre company, music productions, art and design exhibitions.  Other suggestions include the relocation of one of the local major food retailers to larger premises and pop up units and possibly meanwhile uses prior to the major works being undertaken to avoid blank hoardings (even if embellished) for too long. 


Higher level offices


We are supportive of office use at higher floors as we consider this site is inappropriate for residential or hotel/short let apartments. We would wish to see a flexible range of work space and rental regimes in order to support small local and developing enterprises. We agree that Clapham Junction has the potential for mixed use development including offices, and is classified as such in the Draft London Plan. We are aware, however, that attempts to establish office promises at a significant scale in Clapham Junction – as in the Barclay’s Bank and PCS union buildings – have not been altogether successful; and that therefore careful analysis and marketing will be required.  It also seems inevitable that office use will be re-thought, at least in the short term. 


Access and servicing


While an upgrade to the external façade, windows and public access from Ilminster Gardens is urgently needed, this has to be set in the context of also improving delivery and servicing on that side of the building. Present arrangements have damaged the roadway and pavement, and create significant pedestrian hazards when large delivery vehicles block the pavement. 


Environmental Issues


We understand that heating is likely to be via air source heat pumps.  We are not persuaded these are comparably efficient to ground source heating.  The possible lowering of the basement floor provides an opportunity to install ground source heating and we hope that this will remain an option 


Conclusion


We look forward to hearing more about the proposals as you assess the many responses you have received.  We recommend that further public consultation takes place before an application is made to Wandsworth Council.  We are happy to play a part in publicising further consultation.