£41m Solution To Wandsworth Town Centre Transport & Traffic Problems

could be provided by the redevelopment of the Ram Brewery Site

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Councillors gave the go ahead on 3rd December to plans submitted by the property group Minerva which will create more than 1,000 new homes and 400 jobs.

The scheme will restore existing listed buildings on the site including the Brewer's House and the stable block and provide space for new community facilities including a micro-brewery.

The full development comprises four town centre sites and includes the Capital Studios complex on Armoury Way and the former Young's offices in Buckhold Road.

The proposals set aside more than 20,000 square metres of commercial space for bars, restaurants and shops. These are designed to complement existing retail provision in the Southside Centre. Three new footbridges will be built across the Wandle together with public squares and a new riverside walkway.

Minerva will sign a legal agreement promising £41m for a series of transport-related improvements. The key project will aim to remove through traffic from the High Street by a redesign of the current one-way system. Transport for London are currently developing proposals with support from the council.

Wandsworth Station will also benefit with a £1m cash sum towards additional improvements beyond those planned by Network Rail.

The main brewery site will be marked on its Armoury Way frontage by a pair of 32 and 42-storey towers. Nine other blocks here will range in height from three to 15 storeys.

Planning applications chairman Leslie McDonnell said the whole town centre would benefit from the planned regeneration:
"This is an ambitious scheme which has the potential to transform the town centre by making it a place where people live, work and enjoy their leisure time. Whichever side of the town centre you live, you will be able to walk or cycle through the development on your way to the riverside or the high street or to stop for an evening out with friends.

"The new homes, shops and restaurants come with the biggest transport 'dowry' we have ever secured. It is the only prospect we have of getting the money to tackle the area's chronic traffic problems.We have not compromised on quality to get these benefits. The whole development has been designed to make the most of the site's unique industrial heritage. It aims to create an attractive environment that will change for ever people's perceptions of the town centre.

"The committee had set three main tests for the development. Was the design and lay-out right for a busy, urban location? Would it link up effectively with the wider town centre and would it deliver the huge transport improvements that the whole area has needed for years? The answer was yes on all counts." 

Backing the scheme, the Wandsworth Town Centre Partnership described the brewery site as 'pivotal' to their vision for the area. The scheme would act as a catalyst for securing Transport for London investment in the road network and improving local bus services.

The Mayor of London said the tall buildings met his requirements for the highest quality design. He stressed the importance of repairing the damage done by the current traffic lay-out and confirmed that were no another means of funding improvements on the scale now envisaged.

He added that GLA designers were satisfied that the applicant had produced 'convincing proposals for opening the River Wandle, for new river crossings and for public spaces throughout the scheme.'

You can view the applications at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/planning reference 2008/0955; 2008/0964; 2008/0969 and 2008/0960.

December 4, 2008