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Blears calls for inquiry into Wandsworth housing scheme

Communities secretary Hazel Blears has launched an inquiry into a series of residential towers planned for the site of the former Ram Brewery in Wandsworth, South London, a week after she called in a similar scheme in West London

Blears is unhappy with the height and design of the EPR Architects-designed scheme in Wandsworth. In a letter to the local council, she also raised concerns about the provision of affordable housing, protection of listed buildings, the proximity of gas storage tanks and the capacity of the local public transport system to handle the extra traffic.

Like the £500-million Foster + Partners-designed Arcadia development in Ealing, West London, which Blears called in on 16 February, the Ram scheme had been approved by local planners and London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Blear’s actions have infuriated Wandsworth Council. ‘It’s unbelievable that in the depths of a recession we have a government that would put at risk £1 billion of investment in a suburban town centre,’ said council leader Edward Lister.

‘The Ram Brewery development would have been the catalyst for the wider regeneration of Wandsworth town centre. It would have created 1,000 new homes, 400 new jobs and helped solve the traffic problems in a problematic one-way system.’

The 2.6ha Ram complex would include 42 and 32-storey towers and provide 829 new homes, alongside shops and restaurants. Another linked scheme in nearby Buckhold Road contained a further 207 apartments. Under the planning approval granted by the Council in December, developer Minerva would have spent £41 million on improvements to Wandsworth’s traffic system.

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