Wandsworth is ‘easy’ place to build skyscrapers

Wandsworth Guardian: An image of the plans for the Ram Brewery

From Wandsworth Guardian By Alex Rucki

Soaring skyscrapers are being given the green light in direct opposition of council policy, leading to accusationsWandsworth Council is putting developers needs ahead of residents.

Following the granting of permission for a 20-storey tower in Wandsworth Town last month, four times taller than the guidance maximum height for the area, Councillors Tony Belton and Peter Carpenter put forward a motion in a council meeting calling on the council to curb accepting applications in contravention of planning policies.

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Do we REALLY need another betting shop in Tooting?

Sadiq with Rex, Andy and Alaina – Graveney’s team

News that another betting shop may open in central Tooting is being met with anger by the local community. The former HS Samuel jewelers at 17 Mitcham Road has been targeted for planning and licensing permission to become a bookies.

Tooting residents have expressed their dismay about a new betting shop being located in the town centre to Graveney Councillors and MP Sadiq Khan.

Sadiq said: ‘Many of my constituents are concerned that there is already a heavy concentration of betting shops in Tooting, especially along the High Street, including Tooting High Street, Garratt Lane and Mitcham Road.  Local residents, who live and shop in the area do not want another betting shop to open in Tooting Broadway and I share their concerns. It is important that Wandsworth Council encourages diversity on our High Street and does not allow so many betting shops to operate in one town centre.

In a recent article in the Evening Standard Tooting was described as ‘rooting’ and ‘the next Shoreditch’, following the recent surge in popular bars, restaurants and art clubs on the High Street. The popular franchise, Eggfree Cake Box has just opened in Tooting and the Soho House group are soon to open a Chicken Shop on Tooting High Street. It is fantastic to see Tooting attracting exciting new businesses and being seen to the outside world as a desirable place to live, eat and shop, but I am very concerned that allowing any more betting shops to open on our High Street will put people off from shopping here and other retailers from setting up in business here.

Another concern is that a betting shop in such a prominent location, across from Tooting Broadway Station, could attract more on-street drinking in the area and therefore lead to more anti-social behaviour and disruption. There is an alleyway adjacent to the property where groups can gather, and there is a real worry that this could ultimately lead to the site becoming a source of noise and disturbance in the local area, and one that residents avoid.’

Graveney ward Councillor Andy Gibbons said ‘It’s important that the local community objects to this application as residents’ opinion should count when it comes to deciding what kind of area we want to live in. A lot of school children travel through Tooting Broadway to get home, and they shouldn’t be walking past a parade of gambling arcades, bookies and pawn shops. The government should be looking at ways to keep a mixed economy in town centres, not making it easier to turn retailers in to betting shops.’

You can find the application and object online here: http://planning.wandsworth.gov.uk/WAM/showCaseFile.do?appType=planning&appNumber=2013/5390

Sign Sadiq’s petition to save Tooting high street: http://www.sadiqkhan.org.uk/save_our_high_street?recruiter_id=27509

Labour’s policy on betting shops: http://www.labour.org.uk/betting-shops-clustering-in-areas-of-deprivation

Evening Standard article on Tooting: http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/attractions/tooting-is-officially-rooting-sw17s-best-bars-restaurants-and-culture-8929104.html

Councillor Tony Belton’s Latchmere May Newsletter (# 49)

Can local Councillors make a difference? Yes they can….

Graveney Councillors Object To ‘Overdevelopment’ at Franciscan Rd. Centre

Having listened carefully to the views of local residents and looking at the plans, Graveney Councillors  have sent in an objection to the planning application for the building of 45 housing units in the Franciscan Road Professional Centre playground.

We object on the following grounds:
• Over-development – the scale of the building is large and intrusive.
• Loss of playground space for the new primary school opening in the Professional Centre. This causes additional concerns as this is the space which would be used if the school had to be evacuated in case of emergency.
• The design includes windows and balconies which look onto the playground and into the play area of Toots nursery.
• The design will overshadow the play area and the lower storey classrooms of the new primary school as well as the play area of Toots nursery.
• Parking – the staff of the professional centre and the teachers will have to park on the surrounding streets, exacerbating existing parking problems.


New Planning Application for RACS Building

Artist’s impression of the new building

Consultation on the future of  the former RACS building  in Tooting begins this week.  You can view plans at 88 Cowick Rd Mon – Fri 9am – 4pm; or go to the  exhibition 4th & 11 Aug at 220 Upper Tooting Road. The plans are essentially the same as the previous proposals.

The proposal retains and restores the RACS building facade, and  includes four new shops, a hotel (83 rooms), community space, student housing (75 rooms),  62 car parking spaces and 60 cycle parking spaces.

Full details and a consultation response  form are available here:



Labour has supported revised plans to reduce the amount land for disposal at Putney’s Elliott School. 

The changes mean that more of the site can be retained for educational use and important school features like its outdoor amphitheatre can be kept.
The updated proposals follow extensive consultation and discussions with bidders for the site. For more read the link below:



By Sadiq Khan MP

This morning I received confirmation from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP that Springfield Hospital’s planning application to re-develop the site will be permitted. 

This was the final point (bar a challenge in the High Court) where residents would be able to easily lobby against these plans – and I am extremely disappointed that the result has gone this way. The government preaches localism, and putting planning powers back in the hands of local residents, but has ignored the views of thousands of people living around the hospital who opposed this planning application.

In this decision the Secretary of State addressed the objections about loss of Metropolitan Open Land, loss of the golf course, impact on the transport and neighbouring residential roads, stating that “He considers that the adverse effects of the proposed scheme, including harm to the MOL, loss of the golf course and concerns about congestion, should be weighed against the cumulative benefits (also taking account of the impact of the Northern Line upgrade in helping to reduce road congestion).

You can read the full decision document, and the planning report, on my website here.

This isn’t the end – the hospital now needs to do detailed planning work to bring this development to fruition, and I believe there will be opportunities for engagement and negotiation at this stage to ensure that the worst aspects of these plans are dealt with as far as possible.

Throughout this campaign the overwhelming majority of local residents have always accepted that there is a need for the hospital to be regenerated, and have never been against development in principle – they were simply against the overdevelopment of the site. I will continue to work to support local residents in this matter, and to bring about a development that is good for all of the community, as far as this is now possible.

I will be meeting soon with the Chair of the Trust and the new Chief Executive to discuss their plans, and what they can do to rebuild relations with the local community.

Please do get in touch with me to let me know your views on this decision.

I will of course keep you updated. http://www.sadiqkhan.co.uk/index.php/contact

The over-development threat to Southfields

By Josh Kaile, Labour’s Candidate In Southfields 

For the last three years or so, the dominant over-development threat to our area has been the plan to build two 42-storey towers on the Ram Brewery site in Wandsworth Town. For comparison, the tallest tower block anywhere in our area is just across the road from the site – Sudbury House above Southside shopping centre, which is 28 storeys. So the Ram Brewery plans would have added towers one third taller than the tallest we have right now.

We all know how visible and from how far away the Southside towers are: just imagine for an instant the impact the Ram skyscrapers will have on an area which is characterised by low-rise, human scale development.

The Ram Brewery plans were stopped in their tracks when the then Labour Government ordered a public inquiry into them. But they haven’t gone away: they’re just dormant; indeed in only a matter or weeks or months the developers – hand-in-glove with the Conservative Council – will bring back a new application and yet again expect it to be rubber-stamped.

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Putney’s Opposition To Towers Is Not “noise”

By Christian Klapp – Putney Thamesfield Election Candidate

I cannot disagree more strongly with my Conservative opponent that concerns about overdevelopment are “noise” that “we have to look through”. The Conservative candidate wrote in his article on the Putney SW15 website earlier today: “A lot of residents have raised concern over the number of big developments, and we have to look through the noise.”

I know how strongly residents feel about the over-development blight to Putney: rightly so. To have the thousands of objections Putney has made dismissed as “noise” frames perfectly the choice before Putney at the by-election in a fortnight’s time. The idea that Putney must continue to expand regardless of whether the area can cope with the additional homes and simply because there is demand is wrong.

 This stack-em-up, pile-em-high mentality is what blighted so much of inner London during the 1960s and 1970s. The message being sent to Putney is: vote Conservative if you want to be ignored on over-development and any other issue they think they know best on. Or vote for me if you want a councillor who listens.

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