Declining Putney Exchange Needs Palmhouse Say Owners

Falling rents and empty units means 'new life' must be brought to town centre


Palmhouse Project Acknowledges Residents' Concerns

Thamesfield Councillors Oppose Palmhouse Project

New Plans For Roof Of The Exchange Shopping Centre

Royal Horticultural Society Denies Endorsing Rooftop Plans

Sign up for our weekly Putney newsletter

Comments on the forum

The owner of the Putney Exchange Shopping Centre has said that the current tough trading environment means that it is essential that schemes like the Palmhouse proceed.

Matthew Wheeldon, a director at BlackRock UK commented, "Putney Exchange has been an integral part of the town centre since its development in 1990 and within the current owner’s stewardship for over 20 years. During that time we have witnessed the constant changes in shopping habits and tried to keep pace with this evolution by adapting the retail and leisure mix to ensure that the Centre remains relevant to contemporary trends. It has been well documented that High Streets across the UK are struggling to attract shoppers and the proliferation of empty units where there used to be thriving businesses is not an uncommon theme. Unfortunately Putney is no exception to this with the loss of a raft of national multiple retailers including Marks & Spencer, River Island and Top Shop. In order to preserve the vitality and viability of town centres alternative uses, often leisure-related, need to be introduced. “

Artist's impression of The Palmhouse

He added that they have witnessed significant decreases in tenant demand for retail space in Putney Exchange some of which have been the result of businesses going bust. This has led to an increased number of empty units and falling rents which he says are significantly below the levels achieved 5 years ago in real terms. In addition he gave figures for car park usage at Putney Exchange which shows a 27% decline over the last five years.

He concluded, “In light of these challenges, we are looking at ways to help breathe new life into the town centre for the benefit of Putney residents and visitors alike to encourage prolonged dwell-time, increase spend and attract fresh investment.”

BlackRock say that they have made a multi-million pound investment into the centre in recent years and are considering other initiatives to revive it including a ‘boutique’ cinema and a gym. They claim that the four existing London venues run by Incipio Group have proved to be very popular and operate very successfully.

Mr Wheeldon said, “Incipio has created a bespoke concept that we firmly believe will make a positive contribution to the town centre by supporting a whole raft of businesses and encourage more people to visit, shop and spend their social and leisure time in Putney".

The current proposal is the second attempt following the withdrawal last year of the pop-up Pergola. The venue proposed to be run by Incipio Group and will according to the application offer; '3 restaurants with capacity of 233 people per restaurant, that will change on rotation every 6 to 12 months. There will also be a central bar(s) to cater for our guests and table service will be available whenever suitable'.

However, not all residents are opposed, one contributor on the forum commented, "There appears to be an assumption that this venue is going to attract 18-year-old ravers and clubbers because they want the ability to host late night private events with a dance floor on selected evenings throughout the year. This assumption is unfounded.

"Being a regular at Market Halls in Fulham and Victoria, and Pergola at Olympia and Paddington, I very much doubt this is going to be a venue full of 18 year old ravers at night (we have the Fez for this!). Please go and visit the other venues to see what pleasant places they are to spend an evening with friends eating good food with a glass of wine before writing it off. You will most likely find them full of local work professionals such as myself.".

Incipio have tried to reassure residents over fears of noise and 'club' mentality saying that all licensable activities will have ended by 10.30pm and there will be a strict curfew to which they say they will always adhere. They say sound levels will be 'meticulously monitored' and they are 'most definitely not a nightclub'.

They claim the proposed structure will be fully enclosed and designed in alignment with a noise consultant and an architect with suitable materials to ensure that there will not be 'noise breakout' to nearby homes.

The application has received support from Positively Putney, in a letter to the planning department, Chair, Toby Lewin-Lloyd said, " One of Positively Putney’s key objectives is to maximise Putney’s potential by working tirelessly to make it a vibrant and attractive place for those who work, live and visit.We feel that the Palmhouse would complement the thriving night time economy in Putney, bringing something truly unique to the town centre".

Details of the application can be found at Planning Application - enter 2019/0124 in the search box.

Click here for full statement from Matthew Wheeldon, Director of BlackRock UK.

Click here for full statement from the Directors of Incipio Group.

Click here for the support statement from Positively Putney .

February 8, 2019

Bookmark and Share