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Planning Submission

Added on: 30 July 2015 at 12:00:45

Examination in Public Submission: Battersea Riverside

Policy DMO8 Focal points of Activity:
v) Is a focal point in the Lombard Road area justified?
(Also Site Specific Allocations in this area)

1.Since the submission of the formal documents, Wandsworth have prepared, for the Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 16 June, a committee paper on the designation of Lombard Road/York Road Riverside as a focal point for the purposes of the Local Plan and a draft Area Spatial Strategy for the development of the area. This no doubt will form part of the package of documents to be considered during the Examination.

2. The Inspector asks whether defining this area as a focal point is justified. The Battersea Society strongly supports its designation and the preparation of the draft SPD setting out a spatial strategy for this area. However in relation to the designation of this area as a focal point we have concerns relating to:
a) justification and implementation of the tall buildings policy
b) impact of tall buildings on the environment along York Road
c) protection of local businesses and potential local employment loss
d) inadequate consideration of the impact of new residential development on overloading of public transport and local roads.
e) the lack of significance placed on the relating development in the focal point area to the the adjacent Battersea Square conservation area

3. In recent years sites within this area have faced very strong pressure from developers and decisions on planning applications have had to be taken without a formal strategic spatial framework (albeit that some sites ware in the SSAD and another six have been added). This has resulted in some notable applications for development considerably higher than 9 storeys some of which have been withdrawn or refused. However two notable approvals to which we objected are 12 -14 Lombard Road ( 28 storeys immediately adjacent to the Heliport and listed Cremorne Bridge ) and Heliport House (38 Lombard Road -15 storeys providing only 14 residential units over existing 5 storey mixed use building).

4. In addition Master Planning for the regeneration of the adjacent Winstanley estate was taken forward in a somewhat isolated way without this linkage to the areas along the river. This document rightly recognises the linkages through the regenerated Winstanley Estate from Clapham Junction across York Road to the river and by way of the proposed new pedestrian/cycle bridge to Fulham.

4. The Battersea Society will be formally responding to consultation on the draft SPD during July. In the context of the Examination are main concerns are:

a) the inclusion of the majority of sites as ones 'where tall buildings could possibly be justified' (page 10 draft SPD). This includes 12 of the 16 sites in the SSAD and although any over 9 storeys would be subject to evaluation against the criteria in DMS4b) on past experience this effectively gives the green light to developers to submit proposals for far taller buildings. as appropriate for tall buildings. Indeed the planning history included in the draft SPD is out of date in particular in relation to 12 -14 Lombard Road where permission has recently been granted which could foreshadow subsequent developments. We consider (along with other local residents' groups) this massive development totally out of character with the adjacent listed Cremorne bridge. . While always welcoming high quality public realm at ground level, this document overstates provision of such amenity as a justification for building high. 12 -14 Lombard road is a case at point where our view is that the height is not out weighed by accessible high quality public space around the base of the building onto the riverside.

b) that York Road as a result of the proposed tall buildings policy could become 'canyon' like with high developments on each side given the latest proposal for the early phases of the Winstanley estate to face on to York Road and provide decant blocks. The present green fringe will be lost to what is increasingly a highly polluted part of the borough due to slow moving heavy traffic throughout the day. We welcome however the protection of York Gardens. The experience from sections of Nine Elms Lane suggests that pavement frontages have to be considerably wider than average to avoid this overbearing environment at street level. The design principles for the relevant sites along York Road do not reflect the need for wider pavements and planting to moderate the impact of taller blocks and wording of policies for this area need to be strengthened.

c) the lack of discussion of the effect of the proposed major increase in residential units on public transport and road capacity, both of which are already over stretched. We have repeatedly asked both the borough and TfL for forecasts of the cumulative growth in demand, by modal split, through from Battersea Bridge to Vauxhall given the total residential growth over the next 10 years. We would question the assumption that the new pedestrian/cycle bridge will significantly dilute existing pressures on public transport routes, it may be that the pressure points are merely moved down the route from Clapham Junction. Policies should state that applications should provide evidence in transport plans not only of their individual impact but cumulatively in relation to other approved development in the Battersea -Vauxhall corridor

d) the potential loss of employment in the mixed uses currently scattered across the site. Again it will be imperative that new developments honour the proposals in the SPD that there must be like for like replacement of employment floorspace in new developments. We are concerned about change of use from industrial to town centre uses which could badly effect the many small business operating in this area which provide essential local services often to other larger commercial interests in central London.

e) the insignificance paid to connecting the area to the Battersea Square Conservation area . There is no specific reference to the need for tall buildings to be sensitive to the character of the conservation area nor to the important riverside linkage under the railway through to the iconic view of St Mary's Church. The policy should state more clearly that heritage statements indicating the impact on the Battersea Square Conservation area must be submitted.