Planning Applications, Sewage & Rat Runs

Labour's man Stuart King writes to Putney

Related Articles:
Sign up for our free weekly newsletter

Comment on this story on the

Tileman House
Just as we put one major controversial planning application (Putney Place) behind us plans emerge for another: Tileman House. Tileman House is a building even less attractive than the current Putney Place office-block. But just because a developer is intent on demolishing one unloved building should not mean that we offer unqualified support to whatever they want to build in its place.

The initial artist’s impression of Tileman House is an improvement on what is there now, but the planned height of 16 storeys is still twice as tall as next door 125 Upper Richmond Road (the building that houses the Heathbridge Doctors Surgery) which is itself a big building.

I find it hard to believe that such a high building is in the interests of the residents of St John’s Avenue or Putney Hill who will have to live in its shadow.

It is worth pointing out that presently there are 19 flats in the existing Tileman House whereas 106 are being proposed for the new development. We cannot continually squeeze in hundreds of residents without quantitative changes in public transport, health, education, recreation and employment facilities.

I have written to Berkeley Homes, the owners of Tileman House, to attempt to avoid the massive communal anxiety and time-consuming campaign the residents had to put in to defeat Putney Place. And on the subject of Putney Place, I’ve also had a reasonably encouraging letter from the Chief Executive of Oracle – that site’s owners – pledging to work closely with the community on any new plans they may now draw up for the site.

Thames Tideway Tunnel
London’s Victorian sewer system is rarely able to cope with heavy rainfall in the Capital, which means untreated sewage is often discharged straight into the Thames at Hammersmith (and other outlets), causing problems downstream in Putney, not least for rowers but more generally for anyone who enjoys the river. Thames Water has unveiled a radical plan they believe will address the problem: the Thames Tideway Tunnel, which they plan to build along the route of the river from Chiswick to Beckton in East London.

There is controversy surrounding this “super sewer” but I start from the position that it is unacceptable in this day and age for raw sewage to be poured into the Thames. It is hugely damaging to the eco-system in the Thames, costs Thames Water huge amounts in fines whenever it happens (which of course we end up paying through our water bills) and simply should not happen in one of the world’s richest countries. I’ve obtained a detailed briefing on the tunnel, which you can download here. Do let me know what you think of Thames Water’s plans.

Danebury Avenue rat run?
At present, there is a traffic barrier at the end of Danebury Avenue by Alton School and Ibstock Place that stops any vehicles from accessing Priory Lane. It was introduced some years ago to stop rat running along Danebury Avenue. I have now unearthed council plans – drawn up at the direction of senior Conservative councillors - and seemingly supported by Putney’s MP, to remove the barrier. Outrageously, the Conservatives have been incredibly secretive about these plans. NO local consultation has taken place. My enquiries have uncovered that these plans are quite far advanced, and in typical Wandsworth fashion the intent is no doubt to consult AFTER the council has taken a decision.

I decided to ask Roehampton residents what they think; I hand delivered over 1,000 ballot papers giving residents three options: no change; removal of the barrier for all vehicles; or a retractable barrier that would allow buses through but no other traffic. With votes still coming in, support for leaving the barrier alone is running at 78%. Only five residents so far agree with the Conservatives that Danebury Avenue should be turned into a massive rat run.

You can, as always, get in touch with my at my constituency office by phoning 020 8788 8961, emailing or via my website.

December 4, 2008