Local developments

Planning News - May 2017

16/P3135 - Parkgate House (in Motspur Park). The applicant has approval already to convert the offices to 19 Flats, but has submitted an application to remove the Mansard roof and construct 6 additional flats. This has been refused by the Planning Applications as being overbearing and inappropriate to the local street scene. The applicant has however submitted an Appeal which is to be considered by an Exchange of letters. The Inspector appointed will have to make a ‘site visit’.  It is worth remembering that because the building is very close to the railway lines and the Station, full development is unlikely (even if the Appeal is upheld) until the proposals for Crossrail 2 are much clearer.

 17/P 0609 Wyke Road (a stretch of land alongside the railway tracks). The application is to develop 10 one bedroom flats. This is still under consideration but Crossrail 2 Ltd has commented that the ‘application site is in close proximity to the safeguarding limits ‘of land required for the development of CR2 if it goes ahead. 

A very robust Objection has been submitted by the Wimbledon Society. It is worth noting that there have been several applications over the years on this site (mostly for Office space) and all have either been Refused or withdrawn. 

17/P 0833 - 240 Burlington Road This is a purpose-built block for Students of Kingston university. The application is for ‘Change of Use‘ only into a Hostel. No structural changes to the building or its appearance are being proposed. The applicant claims that because more suitable accommodation has been built for the students much closer to the University in recent years the building is only half full and uneconomic to run. The aim is to provide accommodation for rental in the wider market.

The Association has written to the Planners requesting strict conditions be imposed if the Officers are mindful to approve this application. 

17/P 0036 -  63 Grand Drive The application is to demolish the bungalow and double garage at the end of a long drive and construct 5 three-bedroom houses. The driveway leading to the site is very close to the last bus stop in Grand Drive going North which might involve traffic problems if, and when, approved. 

16/P 4741    641 Kingston Road   The Public House known as The Junction Tavern. The applicant (The Olive Garden) plans to convert the building into a 21 bed Hotel. The application has been approved but just like Parkgate House and Wyke Road, this building is very close to the railway lines and one wonders whether anything is likely to develop until Crossrail 2 proposals are firmed up. 

 

At the meeting of the Planning Applications Committee on 16th March it was agreed to restrict the time permitted by Objectors speaking at meetings to a total of 6 minutes instead of 9. The rule that the Applicant has the same amount of time to speak (as ALL the Objectors together) has been maintained. This is likely to be a problem with large applications where several people have requested to speak. They will have to consider who can make the best case in the limited time available.

Local Transport - Have Your Say

Tell Merton how you think its public transport could be improved.

The Public Transport Liaison Committee meeting to be held at the Civic Centre from 7.15 p.m. on Wednesday 10th May 2017, is your chance to learn about how transport is changing and to put questions to Transport for London and other providers. 

This public meeting is led by the Sustainable Communities Scrutiny Panel councillors and is organized primarily to give residents an opportunity to ask questions on transport topics of local interest.  

There will be presentations on the Mayor’s Draft Transport Strategy, buses, trams, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and Mitcham town centre update, followed by question and answer sessions.  Following the meeting the Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel will make recommendations for improvements to the Council’s Cabinet and to relevant transport providers to ensure that any issues raised at the meeting are fully considered.  

 

For more information or special requirements call 020 8545 3837 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wyke Road 17/P0609 and other matters.

A Planning Application in Wyke Road (17/P 0609) to provide 10 one bed flats built as part 3 and part 4 storeys, has been refused but the applicant has submitted an appeal. Over the years there have been several applications for this site, mostly for office space. since it’s very close to the railway tracks and is probably regarded as unsuitable for residential use. 

We were informed at the Raynes Park Community Forum on 8th March that Workspace Ltd.  were holding discussions with the Council about "further development " on the Rainbow Industrial Estate close to Raynes Park Station which would require planning approval. The nature of the proposals is unknown to us but if planning approval is required it suggests that they are considering a material amendment to the approved residential scheme.  Any proposals for additional or new light industrial or storage uses would probably not need planning approval. 

A Planning Application for the site of the Dundonald Church in Kingston Road has been submitted (17/P0763) with a proposal to demolish the existing building and replace with a new Church at ground floor level with 15 flats above in a development which would be part 3 and part 5 storey. 

We were also informed at the Forum meeting that an application is expected to be submitted soon for the Railway Tavern 641 Kingston Road to convert the building into a hotel. No further details are available at present.

It was pointed out that all these proposals (apart from Dundonald Church) are on sites very close to the railway tracks and it is possible that the motivation for the proposals in some cases is to seek compensation if the ' application site in question proves to be partly or fully 'safeguarded’ (i.e. required for construction) by TfL for the development of Crossrail 2. 

P16/4853 - Former Wolfson Centre, SW20

To:       Planning Representations

            London Borough of Merton

From:   RP&WBRA

Date:   13th February 2017 

Re:  Planning Application 16/4853 – Former Wolfson Centre, Copse Hill, SW20 

We write to object to the above application which represents a significant departure from the established design principles with resultant negative impact on the Copse Hill Conservation Area.   We would suggest that the design approach does not preserve or enhance the character of the conservation area and indeed has a negative impact on the neighbouring MOL (see 5.5 of the Merton Core Planning Strategy). 

Most significantly, we object to the excessive increase in density proposed. The proposed density is  close to 200 habitable rooms per hectare, which for this site, we believe, should be no more than 150 to 200.   In a Conservation area such as this, we consider that the density should be very much at the lower end of this range.  Also seeking to build 5 and 6 stories in a Conservation Area is unacceptable. The height should be restricted to that of the surrounding buildings.                                                                                                                      

Additionally, there is no compelling case for this revised P/A in terms of the number of proposed housing units.

(Figures sourced from Merton Annual Monitoring Report 2014/2015).  The GLA London Plan target for Merton was 320 Dwelling Units per annum, which was well exceeded for 5 years in a row, but for the 5 years from 2016 to 2021 this target (set by GLA) has been increased to 411 dwelling units per annum. For years 2014/15 the number of housing completions was 459 well above not just the old target but also the new target. 

Moreover Merton projected housing provision for the next 5 years safely exceeds not only the new target but also the figure if the 5% safety 'buffer' is added on. 

The neighbouring site is a SINC – home to nocturnal bats and wildlife, we would suggest that there will be a detrimental impact of light pollution from the proposed large blocks. 

According to Transport for London, this site has low public transport accessibility with a rating of 1b, i.e. only one bus and a 20 minute walk to the nearest station.  The Application is proposing a total of 96 car parking spaces.  These two factors suggest a potential for very many additional cars onto Copse Hill with a resultant deleterious effect on traffic congestion in the area and pollution. 

Policy CS8 of the Merton Core Strategy sets a target of 40% affordable housing on sites providing 10 or more homes (subject to viability) and London Plan Policy 3.11 seeks to maximise affordable housing.   This proposal allows for only 25 units (30%) which is inadequate. 

In summary, the proposals are in conflict with Policy DM D2 (Design Considerations) of the Sites and Policies Plan July 2014 by failure to relate appropriately to the siting, scale, density and height of the surrounding buildings, the local context and the local landscape. Also the potential increase in traffic density is very likely to result in adverse impact on the lives of nearby residents and have adverse impact on road safety.  

 

We urge the Planning Applications Committee to refuse this application.

Crossrail 2 - Update February 2017

What the RPWBRA is doing? 

Through its membership of the Raynes Park Association (RPA), our association is joining forces with other local residents’ and business associations, in anticipation of another round of public consultation on Crossrail 2 in Spring 2017. 

Crossrail 2 coming to our area 

Crossrail 2 is a new railway line, which is planned to come through Raynes Park and Wimbledon stations, providing a completely new link from our area to central London and northwards into Hertfordshire. 

The Crossrail 2 trains are planned to provide a direct service from Raynes Park to new destinations in central London. After calling at Wimbledon, the trains will run in tunnels all the way to Tottenham Hale. There are expected to be several below-ground stations in central London, including inter-connections at Victoria, Tottenham Court Road and Euston/St Pancras. 

It will thus make many destinations easier to reach, without the need to travel via Waterloo. For example, it should be easier to reach the City and Docklands by taking Crossrail 2 to Tottenham Court Road and changing onto the soon-to-open Elizabeth Line, rather than going via either the Waterloo & City or Jubilee tube lines, as at present. 

In the opposite direction, the Crossrail 2 trains are planned to serve the existing Network Rail branches all the way to Shepperton, Hampton Court, Chessington South and Epsom. These branches will also continue to carry national rail services to and from Waterloo. These branches, of course, converge on Raynes Park. 

Public Consultation in Spring 2017 

Whilst Crossrail 2 in not programmed to be completed until 2032, we are likely to have several years of construction work in our neighbourhood. Despite this seeming far in the future, the opportunity for us to have our say is likely to be very soon, because once the key decisions are taken, it will be much harder to change things later. 

Currently, the Crossrail 2 team is considering the recommendations of the National Infrastructure Commission and the Government on the business case for the scheme. They have been tasked with finding £4bn savings from a budget of around £27bn, which is quite a challenge. 

As a consequence, the next phase of public consultation, which was originally scheduled for the end of last year is now postponed until this spring. 

What the results of the cost saving exercise may be and when the public consultation may re-start, we have no idea. Stephen Hammond, our MP, has asked for a meeting with Crossrail 2 to find out what we might expect and when. 

Impact on Wimbledon Town Centre 

In the winter of 2015/2016 there was an initial public consultation concerning the underground section through central London, which included the area to be taken up by an expanded Wimbledon Station and the land required above ground immediately to the west of Wimbledon Station for sidings to allow trains to reverse direction. 

Whilst these proposals were very much an initial outline and broad-brush in nature, they proved highly controversial, as they implied that the Centre Court shopping mall would be demolished, together with many other buildings (both old and new) around the station. 

Due to the largely adverse public reaction, Crossrail 2 went away to reconsider their plans for Wimbledon Station. Whilst we know that several other ideas about how the extra platforms may be accommodated were under consideration during 2016, nothing more has been made public for the reasons explained above. 

Safeguarding 

As part of the 2015/2016 consultation process, Crossrail 2 issued “Safeguarding” plans. These delineate the boundaries of the land likely to be required, both during construction and for the permanent works. These plans have a statutory significance, insofar that (a) any planning applications within the safeguarded areas must be referred by the planning authority to Crossrail 2, in case they might have an impact of the scheme and (b) that landowners within the safeguarded areas may apply for compensation from blight, if they consider they have materially suffered as a result. 

However, the safeguarding plans published so far for our area only relate to the public consultation that has taken place over the proposals for Wimbledon and the associated sidings. 

Nothing has been published about any proposals west of Lower Downs Road. 

Likely Changes in Raynes Park and Motspur Park 

However, we know that it is planned to run something like double the number of trains through Raynes Park and onto the four branches to Shepperton, Hampton Court, Chessington South and Epsom. The initial proposals indicate that this will necessitate two extra railway lines running between New Malden and Wimbledon, through Raynes Park. (one in each direction). This would thus increase the existing four lines to six along this stretch of track. 

However, we know that Network Rail have been busy working with Crossrail 2 on the design details and we expect that new information will be forthcoming fairly soon. 

Suffice it to say that these additional lines will be a tight fit through Raynes Park town centre, particularly at the station, where there is very little spare railway land. 

Ideally, if Raynes Park Station is to be significantly modified, we like to see straighter platforms (without the dangerous gaps we have at the moment) and step-free access from street to trains on all platforms. Whilst, of course, the devil will be in the detail, the RPA is keen to get the best outcome for Raynes Park. 

We are also concerned about what is planned for the two level-crossings along West Barnes Lane (i.e. at the junction with Burlington Road and at Motspur Park), as it seems inevitable that these level crossings would cease to be practical with the planned increase in trains. It is also anticipated that improvements will also need to be made to Motspur Park Station. 

We consider it important that any changes to the station in Raynes Park incorporate improvements to the connectivity with pedestrian, cycle, bus and road routes. We also would like to see the plans incorporate improvements to the public realm around the station. 

Find Out More 

You can find out more and subscribe for email bulletins on the Crossrail2 website, http://crossrail2.co.uk/ . You can also find out more on our MP’s website, https://www.stephenhammond.net/campaigns/crossrail-2 . 

In the meantime, we urge local residents and businesses to participate in the next public consultation, when the time comes. 

 

Jerry Cuthbert, 2 February 2017

Morley Park - Update August 2016

Works to complete the park and drainage issues

Those of you who live in close proximity to the park might already be aware of a serious issue with drainage on Morley Park.  This has brought work to prepare the playing fields to a halt.  The south west corner of the playing field area was under water for much of the winter and the problem has continued despite the installation of soakaways and other works to implement the required playing field drainage scheme.  

During the recent exceptionally wet weather the scout site and buildings (which are just below the playing field area) were flooded, and water flowed down onto Cottenham Park Road.  The public right of way between Lindisfarne Road and the scout hut has been regularly flooded even during more modest rainfall. 

 At a meeting on 20th June Berkeley Homes were still claiming that they expect to seed the fields in 4 weeks time and that the playing fields could be ready by January 2017.  The specification for the works Berkeley Homes are required to do on the playing fields before the handover of the park to the Council requires 2 seasons growth for the new grass but handover by January 2017 could only allow for less than 1 seasons growth.

Under the terms of the planning consent Berkeley Homes are obliged to complete works to the park prior to first occupation of the new homes on the hospital site.

Future Management

The Council is preparing to grant a 99 year lease for the playing fields and pavilion to the Ursuline High School (UHS) when Morley Park is eventually transferred to the Council. 
 

Discussions between LUNG, the Council and the Ursuline School on the management of the rest of the park are now on the assumption that the Council will retain responsibility for the management but with an ‘advisory group’ which would include representatives from the local community and the UHS i.e. the council will not grant a lease to a community trust. 

Negotiations for a tripartite lease for the rest of the park ended after LUNG proposed an alternative model which did not include UHS as a lessee.  This would have been a simpler model avoiding conflict of interest with the school’s role as both sole lessee of the sports facilities and a lessee with shared responsibility for the rest of the park. 

Jane Barnes
(Residents Association of West Wimbledon’s representative on LUNG)


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