‘No Shaft on Common – Residents’ protests force Crossrail2 U-turn’ is the front-page story in the current edition of Wandsworth & South London Press. A Department for Transport (DfT) consultative document last autumn included plans for a tunnel running beneath Wandsworth Common. The tunnel, it was recommended, would need an emergency access and ventilation shaft on the Common (in the area of the children’s playground near the Skylark cafe) and another on Trinity Fields. Unsurprisingly, these proposals prompted widespread concern and criticism. Along with others, including Wandsworth Council, the Society recommended that an alternative route should be found. The DfT is now expected to publish alternative proposals for public consultation later this year. The Council has made clear that it will consult with the Wandsworth Common Management Advisory Committee (MAC), on which the Society is represented, about any implications for the Common.
Wandsworth Town: 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 the Old Burial Ground, is now likely to go ahead. The Mayor of London has decided not to intervene.
The Council’s planning applications committee approved the scheme (by a majority of 6 to 4) at its meeting on 16 December. The Council’s press release of 17 December, “New shops, library and 200 homes for Wandsworth Town”, can be seen at www.wandsworth.gov.uk.
Our letter asking the Mayor of London to direct refusal of the application or take it over for his own determination is here. In essence, our argument was that “the decision [by the Council] to recommend the application for approval was based on a report to the Planning Applications Committee that failed to give proper weight to significant parts of the Local Plan and did not properly assess the justification for the tall building and the harm it caused”.
The Mayor’s response to our request is here. We are, however, considering the possibilities for further action (see the February Newsletter, page 2 here).
Replacing Wandsworth Town’s gyratory road system: Transport for London (TfL) has completed an initial public consultation on its proposals, the “key objective” of which “is to help improve the look and feel of Wandsworth town centre by removing through-traffic from the main shopping areas”. The draft plans, with maps, commentary and artists’ impressions are here. Many Society members responded to TfL’s online survey.
Our Planning Group, following a meeting with TfL, has now written a letter here, setting out the Society’s views, in preparation for further consultations later this year.
Initial building work has begun on the Ram Brewery site – now described as the ‘Ram Quarter’. See www.ram-brewery.co.uk. The Society’s earlier involvement with the project is described on our Current Concerns page. Following recent planning approvals, the tower block will now have 38 storeys (rather than the 36 earlier approved).
Battersea Arts Centre and Wandsworth Museum have announced that they have united “to create a brand new home for culture and heritage in South West London”. A jointly issued press release is here.
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.
- 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 Wandsworth Common Management Advisory Committee
The Wandsworth Cycling Campaign, www.wandsworthcyclists.org.uk
The Wandle Valley Forum www.wandlevalleypark.co.uk
The West London Rivers Group, www.wlrg.org.uk