Mayor 'Calls' in Decision on 14-Storey High Development

Scheme on Osiers Road had been rejected by borough planning committee

Scheme on Osiers Road had been rejected by borough planning committee

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has declared his intention to ‘call in’ the decision by the Wandsworth borough planning committee to block plans for a major development on Osiers Road near the Wandle Delta.

In other cases such a move has been a prelude to schemes getting approved if the developer agrees to increase the proportion of affordable housing.

In April the planning committee rejected the controversial plans for a large-scale mixed-use development which contained a number of tall buildings, the highest of which was 14 storeys. The scheme would provide office space and 168 residential units with roof terrace and balconies. The decision was supported by a significant number local residents who had objected to the scheme. More than 350 objected to the plans during the scheme’s various phases of consultation.

Objections ranged from the scale, size and bulk of the proposed towers, which people complained would be on too small a site, overbearing and excessive. The designs were said to lack architectural merit, be out of keeping with their surroundings and described as “piecemeal and chaotic”, resulting in a significant loss of light, outlook and visual amenity.

Councillors from both parties voted to reject the plans – on the grounds that “the proposed development by reason of its scale, siting, mass, and layout would be an inappropriate and unneighbourly development, resulting in an unduly dominant proposal which would be out of keeping with the surroundings and detrimental to the streetscape, resulting in undue harm to the amenity of neighbouring properties, including a sense of enclosure and a loss of light and outlook.”

In an unexpected move City Hall’s deputy mayor for planning Jules Pipe has written to the council to say the Mayor had decided to determine the application himself.

That decision had been taken even though he recognised “that Wandsworth Council has taken a positive approach to approving new homes in the borough during the last three years and that the council has exceeded the annualised development plan targets for both housing and affordable housing during this period”.

A senior Wandsworth councillor said that Mayor Sadiq Khan risks “riding roughshod over local democracy and local interests” if he overturns a decision by the council’s planning committee.

Responding the decision, Wandsworth’s planning chairman Cllr Guy Humphries said: “This is a bad day for local democracy.”

He added: “Local councillors are elected by local people and are accountable to them. They are perfectly capable of making coherent and informed decisions in the best interests of their local communities.

“Why does the Mayor think he knows more about Wandsworth and most importantly more about this particular neighbourhood than the people who actually live there.

“The decision to refuse this scheme planning permission was based on a solid understanding of the defects of the application and on the needs of local people and what would be an appropriate development in their neighbourhood.”

A hearing will now be arranged at City Hall in due course to discuss the application. This meeting will be open to the public


July 13, 2019