Permission granted for five storey block on Thessaly Road
The vacant site on Thessaly Road. Picture: Google Street View
A five-storey block of flats will finally be built on the site of a former pub in Nine Elms, nine years after it was bulldozed in 2013. Developers have tried to build new homes on Thessaly Road for years after the British Lion shut down around 2007, leaving the site empty for 15 years.
Seventeen flats will now be built on the boarded-up site, including three studios, 11 two-beds and three three-bedroom homes. Wandsworth Council approved the plans from Brahma Developments on Tuesday (April 26) but raised concerns that it will not be possible to provide any affordable homes.
Nine of the homes are set aside for shared ownership, which helps first-time buyers get onto the property ladder. But councillors heard that no housing associations had agreed to provide the homes for the development because of its smaller size. Councillor George Crivelli asked officers why nobody is “biting our hand off to have these nine houses”.
The head of housing enabling and projects said, “There has been a trend in the past two or three years whereby housing associations have been more reluctant due to the resources that they have to commit to a project with a small number of affordable housing units, which can be almost as much as the much larger schemes.”
He said housing associations prefer schemes where “affordable” homes are provided in a separate unit because they have “far greater control” over any service charges. He added: “Whilst we still would always try and ensure that we secure the affordable housing onsite, we have to accept that where the developer can evidence that no housing association wishes to acquire the homes that we would have to take a community sum in lieu.”
If affordable housing is not provided on the site the developer will have to pay £687,258 to Wandsworth Council, which would go towards infrastructure in the borough.
The mid-19th century pub was demolished in 2013 after Wandsworth Council gave permission for it to be turned into a block of 16 flats, with up to six storeys and a basement, but this was never built. An application for 20 flats on the site by another developer was dismissed at appeal in 2017 and the boarded-up site has remained empty ever since.
No car parking spaces are planned for the homes in the newly-approved development. There will be bicycle storage in the basement. The ground floor flats will have gardens while the upper floor flats will include balconies.
Councillor Sarah McDermott said it was a “very positive move to have small houses with gardens fronting the streets and will actually make more of a community in the area”. The development was unanimously approved by councillors before the local elections.
Charlotte Lillywhite - Local Democracy Reporter
May 10, 2022