Planning Issues: Putney Place & The Redevelopment Of Roehampton
Labour's man Stuart King writes to Putney
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The deadline to have your say on Putney Place is drawing rapidly nearer: there are just seven more days to submit views to the council before we have to wait and trust that councillors do the right thing by Putney.

I was pleased to get the chance to speak at the Putney Society meeting with the planners and architects of Putney Place and represent the views of the 360 residents – to date – who have returned my survey on this matter. This is a fantastic response and I thank you if you’re one of the 360 who have taken the time to have your say. If you haven’t completed my survey there is still time to have your say at:

Where respondents have asked me to submit their surveys to the council I have done so, and the planning application documentation page for Putney Place is now filling up significantly with both my surveys and submissions submitted direct by local residents.

I’m still analysing the responses I’ve had, but I can report that so far opinion is running at 95% against, 4% for these plans – that 4% representing nine people! Opposition to this plan is quite simply overwhelming.

I cannot help but note the remark by Putney Society Chairman John Ewing in his letter of invitation to the public meeting which stated that the [Conservative] Council “appears to have no overall town plan for Putney”. Too true.

One of the comments made most often by those returning my Putney Place survey is bafflement that the Conservatives have allowed this application to progress so far. The reason is simple: there has been an abject lack of local leadership which has sent a message to any stack-em-up, pile-em-high developer looking to make a quick profit that Wandsworth is open for business. We see it in Putney Place. We see it in the pending plans for Capsticks. We see it in the Ram Brewery and Buckhold Road. And also now at Clapham Junction.

A great opportunity has been squandered by the Conservatives, while Putney’s Tory MP cheers from the sidelines, putting her Party before Putney.

It’s also apparent in Roehampton, where the Council is railroading redevelopment plans for Danebury Avenue. The Council could find just 21 people to support these plans just nine of whom actually lived in the area affected. This from an area of 12,000 people.

Because the Council has failed on any reasonable definition to consult thoroughly, openly and fairly on redeveloping Roehampton, I took it upon myself to consult this area too. The result are now in. While the Council cobbled together a mere 65 responses, my survey was completed by over 300 – and more are still coming in. The council found 21 people in favour; at the last count 128 respondents have said they’re either strongly or somewhat opposed to these new plans.

A whopping 91% oppose building on the green space alongside Roehampton Library; Nearly three quarters of people want all or most of any new homes built on the Alton to be affordable housing; Two thirds oppose a supermarket if that means traffic will be sent down residential Danebury Avenue. On question after question Roehampton residents reject the council’s plans.

But Roehampton does want and need new investment. Roehampton would like better shopping facilities and more choice. Roehampton wants better community facilities. None of the hundreds who’ve responded to my consultation have said the area couldn’t be improved. But not at any price, and certainly not at the price the Conservatives are demanding.

I’ve published the detailed results on my website – you can download the report here and read for yourself what Roehampton wants. The outcome is clear – almost as overwhelming as the response to Putney Place. Just as the Council has a duty to listen to residents about that plan, they have as much of an obligation to hear Roehampton loud and clear. They must scrap their new plans. They should return to the blueprint they’ve been consulting on these past two years. They should protect the green space, provide new affordable homes for local families and provide the community facilities residents want and need.

If they got a move on pursuing that course of action they’d have my full support, but absolutely not for steamrollering on with unpopular plans for which they have no mandate.

I talk about both Putney Place and Roehampton redevelopment in more detail in the Autumn edition of the Putney Paper, which will be delivered all over the constituency in the next few weeks. You can download the edition here.

And if you want to keep informed about these and many other local issues please subscribe to my fortnightly email bulletin – the next is due out on 14 th October so sign up now if you don’t want to miss it. You can read my earlier e-news bulletins here.

October 10, 2008