Welcome to the Wandsworth Society website, whether as a visitor or as a member of the Society. Our September Newsletter is here. Our November Newsletter will be published, distributed to members, and available on this site very shortly. Earlier Newsletters can be found on our Archive page.
Latest news and events (updated
Our programme of events, including meetings and outings, has recently been updated. For full details, see our Events page. Over the next month:
The Battersea Society has invited us and other local groups to join them for an important meeting of borough-wide interest – and, indeed, interest across London:
Tuesday 1 November, 7 pm start, York Gardens Library & Community Centre (opposite HomeBase on York Road), SW11 2UG.
‘Affordable housing’ – fact or fiction?
Principal speakers will include Lord Kerslake, Chair of the Peabody Trust (and former Permanent Secretary of the Department of Communities and Local Government) and Councillor Paul Ellis, Cabinet Member for Housing, Wandsworth Council. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion – all will be welcome to join in.
Thursday 10 November, 7.15 for 7.30 pm, West Side Church, Melody Road, SW18 2QQ. A Special General Meeting (quorum of 25 Society members needed) has been called to consider a motion for increases in the Society’s subscription rates – see our Events page for further details. (Non-members may attend, but not vote.)
It will be followed at 7.45 for 8pm by
A World War 1 Centenary event (on the eve of Remembrance Day), commemorating the death in battle of the brilliant young English composer, George Butterworth, best known perhaps for his setting of Housman’s A Shropshire Lad. Andrew Neill, Society member and English music expert, will present an account in words, pictures and music of that event. Andrew was responsible for the much admired programme, ‘The Woods Cry Out’ (which the Society helped to organise), at the Town Hall last November.
There are also two Society outings in November (see our Events page for details):
Thursday 17 November, 6pm
Guided tour of the new Tara Arts Theatre, 356 Garratt Lane SW18
Friday 18th November, 10am
Visit to Sutton House & Breakers Yard, Hackney
Wandsworth Society in the news
17-storey tower for Homebase site (Swandon Way) rejected
The Council’s Planning Applications Committee (PAC) at its meeting on 27 June refused approval – by 4 votes to 3 – for a ‘revised’ application that still included a 17-storey tower. The Society had objected strongly to this scheme from the start (see below). Our objections were frequently mentioned in the debate and had been supported by a range of other local groups, including the Riverside West Residents Association, Transition Town Wandsworth, the Tonsley Residents’ Association, the Battersea Society, together representing several hundred people. See also the Wandsworth Guardian report: Plans for controversial 17-storey building on Homebase site in Wandsworth Town rejected by councillors.
“Developer defies order to rebuild pub and submit new housing plan”.
The Evening Standard report on 24 June under this headline reflected local concern over the continuing saga of the Alchemist pub site (once the Fishmongers’ Arms). The Society’s comments about Planning Application 2016/0647 are quoted: “We believe the application [for rebuilding on the site] should be refused as the information provided is inadequate and insufficient to satisfactorily describe the proposed work, and critically the appearance of the front elevation”. The PAC is expected to consider the application at its meeting on 21 July. See the 27 May Wandsworth Guardian report, “Permission sought to rebuild Alchemist Pub in Battersea after it was demolished without consent”. It also quotes the views of two members of the Society’s planning group.
Current planning issues
Homebase site, Swandon Way
The Society objected strongly to planning application 2015/6608, which involved a 17-storey tower overlooking the Tonsleys and Old York Road – another development proposal in apparent conflict with the Council’s own policy for tall buildings in the immediate area. The scheme was initially due to be discussed by the Council’s Planning Applications Committee (PAC) on 23 March. However, the developer, faced by an onslaught of criticism (including from the Society), sought further time to “address residents’ concerns”. The revisions made appeared to many to be merely “cosmetic”; there was no reduction proposed in the height of ‘Station tower’. The revised scheme was considered by the PAC on 27 June (see above).
The Society’s original letter to the Council is here. Having seen the officers’ report on the initial scheme, we sent further comments, which can be seen here.
Having seen the revisions, we sent in further comments here.
Planning application 2015/4797 for the change of use of parts of Neal’s Lodge, Wandsworth Common, as a pre-school for some 62 infants, proved very controversial. The application was approved by the Council’s Planning Applications Committee on 24 February, by 7 votes to 3 (Cllr Critchard (Lab.), Cllr Heaster (Con.) and Cllr McCausland (Con.). In the view of the Society and many others, major concerns remain over the impacts on the Common. See the Society’s comments on the application here. The lease to the pre-school has not yet been awarded. Local residents have applied for judicial review.
Our President, Shirley Passmore, wrote to the Council on this subject (see Planning News in our February Newsletter). Her letter is here.
As noted in the February Newsletter, the Society has supported the landscaping proposals for Springfield Park. You can see our letter here. And you can see pictures of how the Park might look here.
The Historic Environment
The Council recently sought views on a revised Supplementary Planning Document (to form part of the Local Plan) on the historic environment. Our enthusiasm for the text was not unalloyed. You can read our views in a letter here, which includes a link to the Council text.
Crossrail 2* – consultations
A further round of public consultation on Crossrail 2 concluded recently. The Society’s response can be read here. The consultation included a new proposal to route Crossrail 2 through Balham rather than Tooting (the route earlier proposed) and the construction of a ventilation & access shaft on the edge of Wandsworth Common opposite the junction of Honeywell Road and Bolingbroke Grove. Details can be accessed here. There are other links, more details on other aspects of the consultation and an interactive map at www.crossrail2.co.uk including more fact sheets. You can read more about Crossrail 2 shafts here. There will be further consultations in due course.
Replacing Wandsworth Town’s gyratory road system*
Transport for London (TfL) has been consulting further on its revised proposals, details of which can be found here. Many Society members and other local residents submitted their personal responses to the proposals. The Society’s own submission (17 January) is here.
Another tall tower for Wandsworth Town centre*
... despite our objections (see here) the Council has now approved the developer’s revised application for a taller tower, offering a lower proportion of ‘affordable’ housing.
*For background information, see our Current Concerns page.
An eyesore approved:
Despite the opposition of many local residents and the Wandsworth Society, the Council’s Planning Applications Committee approved on 21 May the Council’s plan to erect an 11.5 metre high illuminated advertising hoarding on the north-east corner of East Hill, at the junction with Trinity Road. You can read the Society’s objections to planning application 2015/0507 here. Our Chairman wrote recently to the Wandsworth Guardian, expressing the Society’s concern over the development. Further correspondence followed. We understand that the Council is now considering the need for a Council policy statement on such advertising hoardings, as the Society and others have sought.
Despite the strong objections of the Society and many local residents, the Council’s major re-development project that includes the building of a 26-storey tower on the South Thames College site, overlooking (overshadowing) the Old Burial Ground, is now set to go ahead. For more, see Current Concerns.
Initial building work has begun on the Ram Brewery site – now described as the ‘Ram Quarter’
See www.ram-brewery.co.uk, where you can find details of the first building phase (and of the neighbourhood construction liaison meetings that some Society members have been attending). Enabling works are being undertaken by Keir Construction. The first phase of building involves the restoration of heritage buildings within the brewery complex and the construction of 338 apartments, the basement for the development, an energy centre and links to Southside shopping centre. This phase is due for completion in early 2017. The Society’s earlier involvement with the project is described on our Current Concerns page. Following recent planning approvals, the planned tall tower block (Phase 2) will now reach 38 storeys.
*For background information, see our Current Concerns page.
The Wandsworth Society is a non-political community environment group, formed in 1971 (registered charity number 263737). In an area of London that is changing rapidly, we aim to:
- safeguard the character, quality and integrity of the built environment, open spaces and rivers (Wandle and Thames), in and around Wandsworth Town and Common;
- raise community awareness of the need for conservation and sensitive local development policies;
- contribute to local debate on environment and transport matters;
- influence decision-making on planning proposals, particularly to curb excessive or inappropriate development, but also to support welcome new developments;
- campaign for improved traffic management and public transport across the area; and
- improve the quality and enjoyment of life in Wandsworth for all its residents.
We aim to make a difference for the better, as the Wandsworth environment continues to change.
The Society's Constituon is here.
- through membership, affiliation or participation, the work and aims of -
Civic Voice, www.civicvoice.org.uk
The London Forum of Civic and Amenity Societies,
The Wandle Valley Forum www.wandlevalleypark.co.uk
The Wandsworth Common Management Advisory Committee
The Wandsworth Cycling Campaign, www.wandsworthcyclists.org.uk
The Wandsworth Environment Forum
The WEF meeting held in the Town Hall on 19 January discussed 'Rubbish, Recycling and The Circular Economy'. The minutes here contain a lot of interesting material - and questions needing answers and/or further discussion. You can read about the ‘circular economy’ here. Dealing with rubbish is an important - and often fascinating - issue! The Society, along with other local groups, is a member of the WEF and all are welcome to attend its meetings.
The West London Rivers Group, www.wlrg.org.uk