Putney Society Objects To 'Blades' Planning Application

Their letter tp the Planning Dept refers to five reasons for their opposition


Planning Application 2012/1833.
45-53 Putney High Street and 329-339 Putney Bridge Road, SW15

Proposed ariel view from Townscape report
Full application (2012/1833)

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Below is a copy of their letter to the Planning Deptartment of Wandsworth Council:

The Putney Society wishes to strongly OBJECT to this application. Whilst the Society wishes to support development proposals for Putney that are sensitive to and in keeping with their surroundings and respect the heritage of Putney that residents hold in high regard, this is scheme singularly fails to do so for the following reasons:-

Bulk and massing.

This location is rightly defined in the Local Development Framework as sensitive to buildings over 6 storeys. The scale of both buildings, particularly on the eastern side, is grossly out of keeping with the surroundings (even Jubilee House). The 15 storey tower is incongruous and damaging to views within and of Putney, and particularly the setting of St Mary’s church
and the iconic view of listed bridge and historic church from across the river. The bulbous overhang over the Putney Bridge Road pavement is unprecedented, and probably a trespass
on public land. The High Street elevation although lower is overbearing and intrusive on the High Street.

The combination of the above factors is particularly inappropriate in the heritage setting of St Mary’s Church and the closely adjacent Oxford Road and Putney Embankment
Conservation Areas with particular emphasis upon the imposition upon 3 storey Burstock Road, the alms houses on the Putney Bridge Road and locally listed 63 Putney High St. By aligning with Felsham and Lacy Roads it will also impose upon the Charlwood Road CA. This tower is in the worst possible place.

Public Realm.
The Site Specific Allocation Document calls for this site to provide a public square with
active frontages linked to both streets. Instead we are offered the existing service yard
made much smaller, but now acting as access to the new flats as well as a delivery yard, yet
no longer providing rear access to 37 to 43 High Street. It is well known that large shops
deliver in large vehicles, yet anything above mid size will be unable to turn in this space,
even if they can get in through the queue for the lights at this point. The result is sure to be
an increase in on street deliveries around two already very busy junctions.

The High Street frontage fails to take the opportunity to widen the busy pavement to the
line of 31 to 35 as has long been proposed by the Society.

The service yard, 12m wide with a 21m high building to the south will be sunless and
unwelcoming as an access to the flats, dangerous and congested with delivery vehicles and
cars queuing for lift access to the basement parking. As a dark dead end close to but hidden
from an area busy in the evenings it almost certainly fails ‘Secured by Design’. Contrary to
policy DMS4 there is no assessment of the impact on wind speed at ground level, likely to be
severe next to the gap on Putney Bridge Road.

The Wrong Kind of Development

The scale of the increase in floor space from 5,660 to 18,707m2 is excessive, constitutes
significant overdevelopment and harms local spatial character as noted above. The scheme claims an increase in retail space by adding a first floor, but Dyas and Boots already have this but don’t use it. Since the basement is full of cars, the first floor is likely to end up as storage, as at Sainsbury in Werter Road, or M&S adjacent to the site. Along Putney Bridge Road 4 out of 5 useful small shops will go, resulting in a reduction in ground floor space and retail choice. Fewer shops means less staff and a loss in employment.

As with too many recent applications there is a loss of office space contrary to the Core
Strategy policy PL8 and DMTC 13. Replacement of B1a space is a requirement of the SSAD,
and important to the vitality of the town centre. None of the other town centre uses
suggested in the SSAD are provided.

The rest is new flats. Consents granted for the Upper Richmond Road in the last year alone
already exceed the number sought for Putney town centre over the whole 15 year span of
the LDF, with more on the way. According to your own figures there is no need for Putney
to take more flats, and adding more here fails to take account of transport constraints as
required by policy 4.113. The site may have a PTAL of 6, making it ideal for workers and
shoppers coming in to Putney, but there is no spare capacity on the trains or roads for yet
more commuters travelling out of here in the mornings. The same is true of other infrastructure such as school places, doctors etc. No more large residential developments should happen in the town centre until this is addressed.
Affordable housing at 20% is below target levels.

Traffic and Air Pollution
The problem of traffic related air pollution in Putney High Street is severe and well known.
The council should not permit any development that makes this worse to any degree, no
matter how limited. The undersized service yard is likely to result in an increase in street
deliveries as noted above. Even those vehicles that do get into the yard will need to turn
through the almost constant queue for the junction at this point, again adding to
congestion. The 44 cars to be parked in the basement will get used, adding more traffic.
All of this will add to congestion and emissions, already in breach of European standards.

In addition to the excessive height and bulk noted above, the scheme is poorly designed or
incomplete, and therefore unable to be approved, in many significant details. Contrary to
planning requirements building materials do not appear to be noted on the drawings, but if
the muddy green triangles are storey height windows, then this will be an energy inefficient,
uncomfortable building to live in, contrary to DMS3.

Good design, as well as being visually satisfying, which this is not, must ensure that all
spaces inside and out are pleasant to use, and that all planning requirements are met.
Either there is no external amenity space for the market units, contrary to the Residential
Development SPG, or the balconies shown on plan are inconsistent with the elevations. In
any case these are often off bedrooms and are all too small to be useful, except for looking
down into the gardens of Burstock Road. Some of the flat layouts and rooms are unusable
e.g. the third bedroom in 2.10 on the third floor.

As too often, there are single aspect flats, whilst others face each other across the gap
between the two blocks as little as 12-14 metres apart, well below SPG guidance of 20m,
offering no privacy.

Access to many of the flats, once across the dangerous service yard, leads directly to a single
lift with no visible option of stairs, and finally for some to a north facing access deck.
Residents cycle parking is in a basement accessed by lift. This is impractical.

Refuse provision in the service yard is hardly enough for more than a handful of flats, with
apparently none for the shops.

This is not a scheme that can be sorted out by simply lopping off a couple of floors. Many of
the worst problems are at the lower levels. This proposal is fundamentally flawed and must
be REFUSED. To assist you we have appended a long, but by no means exhaustive list, of
the Council’s policies not met by this design. As demonstrated above there is NO overriding
regenerative benefit to the local economy, rather a further loss of town centre vitality.

The Putney Society is particularly disappointed that the above points, many of which were
raised at the developer’s earlier public consultation, were not reflected in a new design or
the developer’s report on that consultation. It is also disappointing that this unsatisfactory
application was apparently produced after several years of consultation with officers and

Yours sincerely
Andrew Catto
Buildings Panel Convenor
For and on behalf of the Putney Society.

Architects plans show the 15 storey as seen from Putney Bridge Rd (top of a double decker shown on high street)
Consultation period ends 29th June 2012

July 3, 2012