Plan for 24-storey Battersea tower block refused due to lack of affordable housing
CGI of the proposed development as viewed from Lombard Road. Picture: Hawkins Brown/Greystar
Plans for a massive 24-storey tower block in Battersea with more than 500 flats have been slapped down as there wasn’t enough affordable housing. Wandsworth Council threw out the proposal last night after hearing the block would not include any affordable homes.
Permission has already been granted for a 20-storey tower block on the site with 168 homes, including 60 affordable homes. But Big Yellow Ltd and GS Battersea Owner Ltd applied to make the building taller and increase the homes to 547 in shared living accommodation managed by Greystar – called “urban living”.
A statement with the application reads: “Whilst urban living will meet the needs of many households whose needs are not met by the market, as per the national definition of affordable housing, it is defined as a market product. A financial contribution will therefore also be made to support the delivery of family sized social rented housing within the borough.” This was set at £16.5 million. But Wandsworth Council’s planning committee said the proposal failed to meet need in the borough.
A council report using data from consultant Avison Young estimates it would cost between £1,430 and £1,733 a month to rent the homes. It says they would be affordable to households on incomes from £61,285. Labour councillor Jamie Colclough said: “People who are already on this level of income could already comfortably afford a nice studio apartment anyway in the borough so I’m struggling to see where the need is for this kind of housing.”
Labour councillor Sheila Boswell said the development would be “out of reach of the very people that actually need this accommodation” and “it doesn’t meet the need in the borough”. Conservative councillor Ravi Govindia added: “You just have to work out how practical is it – are there 547 young people who live in the borough who are able to afford it and willing to move there, and I venture to say the answer is no, there isn’t.”
CGI of the proposed development for 57-59 Lombard Road as viewed from York Road. Picture: Hawkins Brown/Greystar
Councillors also raised concerns about the density of the homes and their size. Conservative councillor Mark Justin said: “If this was one dedicated block for key workers, one dedicated block for a London university or something for nurses for St George’s Hospital I would have thought that’s brilliant.” He added: “I don’t like the idea that Battersea is going to be an experiment for this kind of high-density tower block living and that’s really my concern.”
The tower block is the second part of the application for the site. The first phase has been completed and saw the construction of a new Big Yellow self-storage building including studios and offices. There is still permission for the 20-storey block.
Charlotte Lillywhite - Local Democracy Reporter
August 24, 2022