Local developments

Contraversial Telephone Mast

Residents in Coombe Lane close to the junction of Cambridge Road and others close by, are concerned at a proposal to site a telecoms mast and associated box on the corner and close to residential property.  

The mast is being relocated from the Rainbow Estate  and objections are being made on the grounds that it will be obtrusive and unsightly in this position and that it could be better accommodated along the slip road from the A3 to Coombe lane, without being in such close proximity to people’s homes. 

We hope the Planning Officers and the Telecoms company concerned will consider any alternative sites suggested.

Crossrail 2 - Update September 2017

As our members may have noticed, very little new information has been forthcoming since the end of 2015.

This is because, following the public consultation, which finished in January 2016, and the subsequent official report on the results, Crossrail 2 was tasked by the Government and the National Infrastructure Commission to prepare a Business Case. 

The business case, which is confidential, was completed and submitted to the government by March 2017. 

There was not much news after that as our politicians were then focussed on June’s snap general election. 

Following the election, Liz Truss, in her new role as chief secretary to the Treasury, announced that she is responsible for public expenditure on infrastructure, housing, planning, roads, HS2 and Crossrail 2. So it would seem the project is still on the cards. 

Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, then had a meeting with Sadiq Kahn, the Mayor for London, at which CR2 was discussed. The Transport Secretary agreed that London needs new infrastructure, to ensure it continues as the UK’s economic powerhouse. However, it would appear that, whilst the business case indicated that London could fund half of the scheme over its life, this is not the same as funding half of the up-front costs during construction. 

The Mayor for London and the Transport Secretary have agreed to work together to see how Crossrail 2 might be affordable for the UK taxpayer. It seems that if there were a successful outcome from this exercise, a new public consultation would be launched and the safeguarding of land in our area would be clarified. 

Reading between the lines, it seems likely that the crux of the Business Case was that government money would fund the major part of the capital expenditure, followed by income streams being generated from development along the route, which would then form London’s contribution. 

Some financial engineering may be feasible, for example by using private finance, with the prospect of future income streams being the payback. However, one can’t help but be concerned that the focus on achieving a lower capital cost may result in the scheme being pared back, both in terms of extent and quality. 

This could have major implications in dictating the choice of options for Wimbledon, what happens in Raynes Park and Motspur Park and further along the branches to Epsom, Chessington South, Shepperton and Hampton Court. 

In the meantime, representatives from the Crossrail 2 team have been making contact with various groups in our area, including the Raynes Park Association and the Friends of West Barnes Library. The purpose of these meetings is to establish contact with our community ahead of the next public consultation. When this is likely to be, we do not yet know. Maybe the next Budget, planned for November, will trigger something. 

However, we have been told that the main proposals for Motspur Park Station would involve providing step-free access to the platforms. At Raynes Park, the station is intended to be an interchange between Crossrail 2 and South West Railway services, so improvements there may be more extensive. 

The implications for the two level-crossings along West Barnes Lane and the impact this might have on our local road network remain to be seen. 

 

Jerry Cuthbert

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. 

Rainbow Industrial Estate - Planning Approval Granted

Many of you will be aware that planning approval was granted by Merton Council last September for redevelopment of this site. In fact there were two applications, one to provide 215 flats and 9 houses plus a small number of office and small business units. The other was to provide, what is known as, a ‘Kiss and Ride‘facility at the entrance. This, in brief, is a drop-off and pick-up arrangement incorporating a roundabout.

 

 

 

 

Office of the Mayor - The Greater London Authority (GLA ) 

The approval by Merton Council was, to be precise, only in draft form. The reason for this is that with applications on large sites and where the proposals are for more than 150 residential units the GLA holds responsibility for the final approval (unless the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government intervenes). As I write this aspect is unknown but is probably unlikely. 

At City Hall - GLA HQ - planning matters are delegated to a Deputy Mayor, Sir Edward Lister. He informed Merton Council on 24 November last year that the GLA were content to leave the ‘determination’ of the applications to Merton and therefore did not wish to direct refusal. All of this was notwithstanding a robust Objection to both applications by this Association and by many other people. The grounds for our Objection were fully set out in the Guide in the February edition last year.   So the applicant - Workspace 12 Ltd - would now be free to proceed with their proposals. This does not mean however that demolition of the present buildings and redevelopment is likely to start in the near future   for several reasons. 

Change of Use 

As with all large scheme applications approval is granted subject to a number of formal ‘Conditions‘and in this case it is quite a long list. In large part the reason for this is the very significant ‘Change of Use‘being contemplated - in short the conversion of what is currently an Industrial site into a largely residential development. Workspace Ltd. or more likely specialist companies acting for them, will be required to submit reports to Merton Council covering a wide range of issues, When these reports are considered they will  (hopefully from the  point of view of the applicant) be ‘discharged‘ meaning the Condition has been satisfied or the proposals are acceptable. 

Conditions 

It might help if I give a couple of examples. Bearing in mind that Rainbow has been an active Industrial site for many years it is probable that there is at least some contamination of the land. There will be a Condition that the extent of this will have to be investigated and suitable measures set out to deal with the problem. I should add that this particular task - on a site like this - could take several months. There have been instances where it has taken years to clean up serious contamination. 

Secondly there will be a Condition that proposals for ‘Soft Landscaping ‘should be provided: trees, shrubs and green spaces. As you might imagine there is not much greenery on site at present!  In this case the Council will assess whether the programme of work looks acceptable and if so will ‘Discharge‘the Condition. 

Most of these Conditions have to be dealt with before any actual construction work starts but some come into play later on e.g. a programme for the maintenance and upkeep of the site for a specified period of time.    

Land Ownership 

The Rainbow site is a bit unusual in terms of land ownership. Workspace hold title to a large part of the site beyond the railway bridge but the entrance roadway, up to the bridge, is owned by Network Rail who also own land and a large building close to the railway lines. These NR facilities were excluded from the proposals in the planning applications. You can see from this that redevelopment of the Estate is far from straightforward but there are one or two further complications. 

The ‘Kiss and Ride ‘Proposal 

It would appear that right up to the time when Merton Council gave draft approval to the applications last September there was no clear evidence that Workspace and Network Rail had agreement over use and therefore redevelopment of the entrance roadway. This does seem odd bearing in mind Workspace have been working on their plans for some 5 years and given that there is only the one entrance with no scope for an alternative. In short the entrance is critical to ANY redevelopment of the site. It does make one wonder whether the Kiss and Ride will be delivered and this is supposed to be THE aspect of the proposals of benefit to the wider public.

That said there is another tricky issue waiting in the wings. 

Crossrail 2 (CR 2) 

Many of you will have heard about this huge scheme still very much in the planning phase. For us locally the main focus of the proposals is the intention to provide rail links from Shepperton, Chessington South and Epsom to Victoria and Euston all routed through Raynes Park Station. The CR 2 proposals are being worked up - it would appear - on a Station by Station approach and are subject to revision all the time depending on, for example, ground surveying and the feedback from consultations. 

The CR 2 Team, including representatives of Network Rail and Traffic for London wisely point out and I quote “We still cannot guarantee that a railway will be built“. The current plan is for two additional tracks running south from Wimbledon Station into Raynes Park Station which would have new, much longer platforms and new signalling. Raynes Park Local Centre would be facing a huge building programme if, .of course, it all goes ahead. To give you a flavour of what might be to come - one of the published documents says - “Raynes Park will become a Major Interchange Station with up to 20 CR 2 trains per hour into, and across, central London“. Perhaps our Station will become Raynes Park Junction.  Perhaps! 

‘Safeguarding‘the Land 

As you can imagine huge building works at local Stations and alongside the tracks will require additional land either permanently or (relatively speaking) on a short term basis. So the CR 2 Team are ‘safeguarding‘ land either side of the existing tracks and Stations, but as far as we are concerned, this process of setting the boundaries of land needed has only reached just North of Wimbledon Station. 

The ‘safeguarded‘areas would be needed for storage of materials and heavy plant and of course the construction of additional tracks and platforms etc. As we understand it, when all the construction is finished, a lot of the land previously ‘safeguarded‘ in the wider areas will be returned to the previous use. But there will be inevitable loss of land and probably some buildings for the new tracks and rebuilt Stations. 

Impact on the Rainbow Estate 

We still wait to see the proposals for ‘safeguarding‘ the land around Raynes Park Station the details of which may not be available until well into next year but it is worth looking at what has happened at another site similar in some ways to Rainbow. 

The CR 2 proposals include a 20 mile tunnel under Central London which was originally intended to emerge SOUTH of Wimbledon Station at the Dundonald Road Industrial site. However this was changed and the tunnel ‘Portal‘, as it is called, would now be NORTH of Wimbledon Station on the Gap Road Industrial site. 

It so happens that a Planning Application was submitted on this site in late 2014 for a mix of residential and business use not very long before the Crossrail team were setting out the boundary of the land which would need to be ‘safeguarded‘ in order to build the ‘Portal‘. In the event the whole of the Application Site (for the residential/business application has been ‘enveloped‘by the safeguarding process. As you might guess in consequence Merton Council has refused the Gap Road Planning Application. Is it possible, I wonder, whether the same fate awaits the Rainbow site only with a different sequence of events? 

What Happens Now?

Well, planning approval for the residential/business redevelopment of the Rainbow site sits on the table but there are a string of Conditions which need to be worked through and presumably some sort of working arrangement will be needed between Network Rail and the developers over redevelopment at the entrance roadway if we are ever to see the long-awaited Kiss and Ride;  but then sometime during the second half of next year the CR 2 Team will define the boundary of land to be ‘safeguarded‘ around Raynes Park Station. 

In the light of what has happened at Gap Road and the extent of the ‘safeguarding’ we can expect around Wimbledon Station you have to wonder how much of the Rainbow site will still be available for residential/business redevelopment  once the CR 2 Team get to grips in our area. Remember there is only the one entrance to Rainbow which I assume would HAVE to be safeguarded but more than that surely it would be critical to be retained as the entrance for plant and materials for the re-building of Raynes Park Station perhaps for the whole of the construction period - up to 10 years! 

This sounds like a muddle. If the Greater London Authority and the Government are serious about CR 2, and remember it has been known for ages that Raynes Park Station is crucial for the proposed extension of CR 2 services out to Kingston, Surbiton and beyond, would it not have made more sense for either the Mayor or the Secretary of State to have ‘directed‘that the Planning Application considered last September be put ON HOLD until the availability of the Rainbow site was much clearer? Sadly there does not seem to be any process for this sort of joined-up thinking.

Click the following link for our previous article about the Rainbow Estate - Rainbow Estate Planning Application - September 2015.

 

 

Proposed Redevelopment of West Barnes Library

Merton Council is planning to redevelop West Barnes Library (Motspur Park). Having considered how such a development would fit into the Borough’s Development Plan, the Library Service is shortly to begin seeking ideas on what facilities you would like to see in a new library. This will lead to a Development Brief that will be used to seek a developer to undertake the project. 

The Council currently envisages a development similar to the one at Raynes Park Library; incorporating some form of residential space on several floors above the ground floor. The ground floor would contain the new library, plus a meeting room and toilets. 

The site’s close proximity to Motspur Park Station and the opportunity to incorporate step-free access to the station, should not be overlooked.  

More information can be found at  here . Later this month (September 2014) the public consultation will begin and you will be able put forward your own views, via the council's website.

During the development works, the Council plans to operate a temporary library somewhere else within Motspur Park.

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Raynes Park Ehancements

The Raynes Park Association, of which our Residents' Association is a member, has launched a campaign to sort out the southern entrance to the "Scew Arch", which is currently a scruffy hodge podge of weed infested planters, rubbish bins, stumps of old street lamps and general urban detritus. Here's some idea of what it could be like.

rp - south

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