Twenty Storey Pencil Building Gets Go-Ahead

The Wandsworth Tower will slip into parking space behind 86-88 Garratt Lane

CGI showing the tower behind 86-88 Garratt Lane
CGI showing the tower behind 86-88 Garratt Lane. Picture: Wandsworth Council

A new 20 storey tower has been given Wandsworth council’s green light for development on the 100 square metre plot between 86-88 Garratt Lane and the River Wandle.

The 68 metre high, super-thin Wandsworth Tower will contain 27 new apartments and a riverside cafe on a plot which is currently being used as a carpark.

The Tower’s architect is the Clerkenwell-based Sergison Bates, who converted the former 1930s Old Paint Factory, currently known as 86-88 Garratt Lane, back in 2004.

Now a team of 35, since their first new build pub project in 1996, Sergison Bates have worked on major urban projects across Europe including the transformation of a former Citroen car factory into a major art gallery in Brussels and a complex urban courtyard residential development in Lavender Hill.

The Architect’s Journal reports that according to the architects the idea of a pencil tower emerged “in response to the uniqueness of the site, to minimise the footprint and mass of the building so that it would have considerably less impact on the skyline than conventional neighbouring tower developments”.

The site’s developer, Baylight Properties, says that the Wandsworth Tower’s white plaster-coated bricks reference the neighbouring Old Paint Factory – currently housing a GP practice – which together with the slim proportions complement the new 26 storey ‘pocket living’ tower, 11 Mapleton Crescent, recently completed just the other side of the river.

An artist’s impression of Wandsworth Tower. Picture: Baylight Properties
An artist’s impression of Wandsworth Tower. Picture: Baylight Properties

A landscaped river walk, which will be accessible to the general public, forms part of the scheme. A 90metre stretch will become part of the Wandle Trail and will connect Mapleton Crescent at the north of the plot and the existing walk which fronts Garratt Lane to the south. A pedestrian courtyard is also planned for the east of the plot with lighting on suspended cables and a balustrade.

According to the council, ten of the proposed residential units in the tower will be classed as affordable housing, which equates to 37% of all the apartments being built.

When the original plans for the Wandsworth Tower were submitted to the council, there were sixty-six objections, but councillors were eventually swayed by the large percentage of affordable housing and the Wandle River Trail additions.

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October 11, 2021