Council Says No To "Alien Towers"

rejects claim that Putney Place would provide 'a focal point of community identity'

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The council has refused planning permission for a pair of 21 and 26-storey towers on land opposite East Putney station.

The scheme would have involved the demolition of existing office blocks at 84-88 Upper Richmond Road.

The redevelopment proposals, which included 300 apartments and more than 3,400 square metres of office space, were rejected unanimously by the planning applications committee on November 6th.

While the applicant described the towers as providing 'a focal point of community identity,' the committee concluded that the buildings would 'loom large over the more domestic scale of the surrounding area.' 

The committee found that the development would overshadow neighbouring houses in Disraeli Road and present an incongruous and an unattractive appearance.

Planning applications chairman Leslie McDonnell said, "The committee could not see any justification for a scheme of such overwhelming size and scale. The towers were clearly designed to challenge existing perceptions of Putney. But to many local people this seemed like confrontation for confrontation's sake.

"The architecture is bold, but as the Borough Planner's report says, this serves only to accentuate the alien nature of the buildings. When a development sets out to be so different it invites the closest possible scrutiny. The big question is whether it can improve an area. In the eyes of the community and the council, this scheme clearly fails that test."

The committee found that while more intensive development was possible on this site and there was a need for modern, flexible office accommodation, the current application was overbearing, incongruous and out of character with the surrounding area.

November 7, 2008