Council Restarts Failed Application For Putney Hospital

Pressure group "disappointed that this action is being taken before the Judicial Review"

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The Friends of Putney Common (FofPC) learnt on 9th August 2013 that Wandsworth Borough Council will bring forward “new information” related to their quashed permission to build a 2FE primary school and 24 luxury flats on the Putney Hospital site next week. FofPC is disappointed that this action is being taken before the Judicial Review into the legality of the proposed access roads to be built on Putney Common has been heard. The Judicial Review is scheduled to be heard by the end of October at the latest.

Nick Evans, Spokesman for Friends of Putney Common said “It is disappointing, but not unexpected, that the Council should think it appropriate to bring forward their plans for luxury flats and a new 2FE school immediately before the imminent Judicial Review. Yet again they have failed to listen to residents by putting forward the same flawed plans. We only hope that they honour the commitments given to undertake a full consultation which is the very least we should expect. We will hold them to that.”

Key points are as follows:
• The Judicial Review into the legality of the action taken by the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators (WPCC) to sign an easement agreement with the Council to build the access roads has been granted by the High Court. The hearing is scheduled before the 31 October 2013, with evidence to be presented to the court by the Defendant (WPCC) and Interested Party (WBC) by the 23 August 2013. FofPC will then have until the 13 September to respond.
• The conditional planning permission granted by Wandsworth to itself in October 2012 for luxury flats and a 2FE school was quashed in the High Court in March 2013, following a legal challenge by FofPC on the lack of an adequate screening opinion related to the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
• It is likely that the new information to be attached to the existing application (Wandsworth planning ref 2012/0758) will be a new attempt to provide a suitable Environmental Impact Assessment.
• FofPC recently provided a new analysis of the Council’s primary school projections which demonstrated that the Putney Hospital site was at the wrong end of the Thamesfield ward to meet the expected demand from new developments. The false public statement by Councillor Kathy Tracey that FofPC is against building any schools in Thamesfield has been challenged with an official complaint to the Council.

It will be necessary for any new information attached to the application to be a matter for extensive consultation with residents. With that in mind, FofPC can confirm that the Rt Hon Justine Greening has agreed to Chair an Open Meeting with residents and expect this will be held in October. The Conservators and the Council’s Children’s Services Department will be invited to present their case.

The Council will no doubt wish to organise a new series of consultation meetings with residents to present their controversial plans which attracted over 800 objections. The previous consultations were held as far ago as November 2011 and March 2012, but the application submitted was then declared invalid; due the multiple errors and that it did not comply with the most basic planning legislation.

The site is controversial as some 60% of the land is Putney Common and not owned by the applicant Wandsworth. Council. A new private road, some 120 metres long will be built on common, to service the school and luxury apartments. The building of the road is in breach of the 1871 Act that formed Wimbledon and Putney Commons. The Conservators of the Commons, a publically funded charity, have entered into an agreement to accept £350,000 from Wandsworth Council having been threatened with a Compulsory Purchase if they refused.

August 14, 2013