Objections from all the main parties made against proposed roof top venue
Residents from across the political divide in Putney have joined forces to fight a second application for a late-night rooftop venue on top of Putney Exchange.
Local group Putney Against Palmhouse (PAP) say that: "The proposed development is a thinly disguised re-run of the Pergola on the Roof application that was withdrawn last year after a large number of objections and comments were received by Wandsworth Council and circulated in online forums".
Representatives of all the main political parties in the Putney area have now made objections to the scheme.
Putney Against Palmhouse (PAP)
The Putney Exchange shopping centre along with owners BlackRock UK Property Fund and developers Incipio Group Ltd argue that the venue will not cause the level of noise feared by objectors and that it is vital to the continued viability of the shopping centre in a tough trading environment.
© Nick Austin
34-year-old Putney High Street resident Nicholas Austin told this website, ""Putney, unlike the other venues that the operator runs, has a highly dense and centralised population. Over 80% off addresses within 250m of this venue are residential. In their other venues they struggle to get to 40% residential in the immediate locality. The noise generated from a glazed structure would have a devastating effect on the lives of families living around this proposed development. No person can legitimately argue that this structure will contain the noise of 700 people, music, workers, vibrations and dancing to an acceptable level, and contain it as well as a properly insulated brick structure".
Mr Austin says he is within the target age of the venue, and wants Putney to thrive, however he continued: "The local residents are committed to the regeneration of the High Street as much as Blackrock and Positively Putney are, after all we are the people that actually live here. If the operator had come with a well thought out food led venue along the same lines as Market Hall Fulham, I have no doubt it would have been met with a lot of support. Blackrock has continually mentioned the decline of the high street and there are multiple shop units in the corner of the exchange or the former Marks & Spencer building that would be far more suitable for this venue."
Di McCann, from Wandsworth Green Party added: "We all enjoy good food, drinks, music and company in aesthetically pleasing surroundings. But a venue catering for such large potential numbers must not be sited in a quiet residential neighbourhood like ours. The streets surrounding the Exchange building are homes of professional working people, families and children, and retired people, who all value peace and quiet, while coping with high street traffic noise and aircraft constantly flying overhead day and night.
"Apart from the considerable disturbance to our quality of life from noise and light pollution, the 30 or more weekly van and lorry deliveries of food and drink plus collections of waste generated, no doubt all by diesel/petrol vehicles, will add to the existing untenable traffic congestion and illegal levels of air pollution on Putney High Street".
PAP's analysis of comments from concerned residents posted on the Council’s website at the end of January suggested that noise, loss of parking, and a feeling that the Exchange rooftop was an improper venue for the new development were uppermost in residents’ minds. Other issues, including anti-social behavior, pollution and traffic concerns, followed closely behind.
In January, the three Conservative Councillors objected to the plans, "...concerns about late night noise and the effect on parking. We are also worried that such a venue, with up to 700 drinkers, will adversely affect the family-friendly nature of the shopping centre. Residents made their feelings known the last time an application was made at this sensitive site. We shall be supporting local people again and ensuring their concerns are taken into account".
The local Liberal Democrat party
have also registered their objection to the scheme.Long-standing Thamesfield resident and Liberal Democrat candidate for the May local Council elections, Paul Benton told this website that the LibDems were objecting on three counts, "Unfortunately, this year’s planning application is not an improvement of the earlier proposal. Instead of reducing their plans in response to residents’ concerns, BlackRock has in fact scaled up the proposed activities: with a 40% increase in the capacity of the venue (from 500 to 700), plans to take away 21 % more parking spaces than previously proposed (to 305) and to increase the operating hours significantly".
Labour parliamentary candidate for Putney and councillor for Bedford ward, Fleur Anderson told this website, "Regenerating our High Street and making it a 'destination' rather than having more empty shops is very important. But this needs to be balanced against local residents' concerns about extra traffic, lack of parking and late night noise. I am encouraging residents to contact me, and I will ensure that the planning committee hear your views".
Matthew Wheeldon, a director at BlackRock UK says 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".
| Details of the application can be found at Planning Application - enter 2019/0124 in the search box. The deadline for comments has now expired.
The full comments can be found on the planning portal.
February 15, 2019