Green Light Given to Alton Estate Redevelopment

Fewer than quarter of flats in Wandsworth Council scheme classed as affordable

Block Q1 & Q3 (Part of Phase 2, Spring 2027)
Block Q1 & Q3 (Part of Phase 2, Spring 2027)


Recriminations Fly as Alton Estate Redevelopment Put on Hold

Housing Homeless Families Costs Close To £20m

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Plans to redevelop one of London’s largest council estates have been approved by Wandsworth Council.

The masterplan for the Alton Estate in Roehampton was taken over by the council in September after the original developers, Redrow, pulled out over the summer.

A number of older buildings will be demolished, including the original entrance to the estate at Allbrook House, and be replaced with towers up to nine storeys high, as well as a new library, health centre, children’s centre and shops.

The 1950s brutalist style estate which borders Richmond Park will see 1,108 new homes built.

However, only 24 per cent (261) of the new homes will be affordable. This is below the target level of affordable housing in the London Plan and Core Strategy.

Of these, 201 homes will be at social rent, compared to 158 currently on the application site – resulting in an uplift of 43 social rent homes.

Ward councillor Jeremy Ambache spoke against the application, highlighting the lack of affordable housing and current issues with overcrowding on the estate.

Cllr Claire Gilbert, who is also a ward councillor for Roehampton and sits on the planning committee, was the only person to vote against the application.

She said the proposal was “extraordinarily dense” and argued that there should have been a special meeting to discuss the proposals, due to their large and complex nature.

She asked officers if concerns highlighted in the Greater London Authority’s letter to the council last year had been addressed, and if decanting steps will still work on time given that work on Fontley Way has not yet been started.

Homes boarded up on the Alton Estate. Image: Darren Pepe

Officers said other than the issue of maximising affordable housing, all other concerns raised by the GLA had since been addressed.

They said that decanting timescales were not within the remit or control of the planning committee.

The council has since confirmed that the development will be phased to ensure residents can move straight into their new homes on the estate, if that is their choice.

Fellow Labour councillor Tony Belton approved the scheme, arguing that the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will “squeeze another three to four per cent” affordable housing out when he makes the final decision on the scheme.

Speaking after the meeting, leader of the council, Ravi Govindia said the decision was a “significant milestone.”

“This regeneration has always been more than just about bricks and mortar. Whilst this scheme will transform the lives of those that move into new homes, the wider community will benefit from the new jobs and training opportunities as well as access to better community facilities and open spaces that will ensure the Alton remains a place that people are proud to call home.”

A decision on the route to find a new development partner is expected before the end of the year with the procurement process commencing in early 2021.

Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter

October 30, 2020

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