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London Mayor overturns Wandsworth's rejection of GRID's Putney scheme

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London mayor Boris Johnson has overturned Wandsworth Council’s decision to refuse GRID Architects’ plans for a mixed-use scheme in Putney town centre

Johnson called in the scheme in August (see below), a month after the council’s planning committee had itself ignored planners’ recommendations to approve the development, which includes 97 flats, ground-floor shops and a gym.

A spokesman for the mayor said: ‘As London’s population continues to grow, the mayor believes it is crucial that we build the homes the city needs as quickly as possible. He has carefully assessed this application and believes it will lead to the construction of valuable new housing for Londoners and help to regenerate Putney High Street.’

Councillors had rejected the British Land-backed scheme because of its height, bulk and design, which they said would mean it was an ‘incongruous addition to the streetscape and of insufficient quality to justify the proposed height’.

This was despite GRID reducing the number of storeys from seven to six.

A planning report by Greater London Authority planners concluded: ‘The building, whilst taller than its neighbours, is not excessively so, and is considered to have a good fit within the existing townscape and isn’t considered to be obtrusive on the skyline.’

Twenty per cent of the scheme’s housing units are set to be ‘affordable’ – either through shared ownership or below market rate rents.

Craig Casci, director at the AJ120 practice, told AJ: ‘From our side we are very pleased. The scheme provides high-quality retail, 97 homes, and new architecture – the plot is currently occupied by an ugly concrete building built on a bomb site, which has blighted Putney High Street for years.

‘The site allocation in the Wandsworth plan allows six storeys on the site and that is what we have provided, apart from one very one small bit of the building which goes up to seven.’

The design is a finalist in the commercial mixed-use category of the World Architecture Festival, being held in Singapore next week.

Previous story (AJ 06.08.15)

Boris Johnson calls in GRID’s refused Putney plans

London mayor Boris Johnson has called in GRID Architects’ plans for a mixed use scheme in Putney town centre after councillors refused it - against the advice of planning officers

The GRID scheme, which proposes 97 flats, ground floor shops or restaurants and a gym, received 211 objections when it was considered by Wandsworth Council last month.

Johnson had originally raised concerns about the proposals, prompting revisions to the designs including a reduction in height and the addition of more active frontages at ground floor level.

In his decision letter calling in the scheme, Johnson said: ‘The application would contribute to Wandsworth’s higher borough housing target and its draft target for Putney.

‘The intensification of town centre sites such as this are a strategic source of supply, necessary to avoid development on protected land.’

Craig Casci, director at the AJ120 practice, told AJ: ‘We welcome this decision as we were disappointed that councillors turned down the scheme when we had a recommendation for approval from officers.’

The council said that it had turned down the scheme ‘by reason of its height, bulk and design would be an incongruous addition to the streetscape and of insufficient quality to justify the proposed height.’

This was despite GRID dropping the number of storeys from seven to six.

The scheme is set to provide 20 per cent of housing units as ‘affordable’ – either through shared ownership or below market rate rents.

Johnson’s letter also said that concerns over the quality of homes had been resolved by the architects by the addition of a third vertical circulation core, reducing the number of units sharing each landing.

A spokesman for the Mayor of London said: ‘As London’s population continues to grow, the Mayor believes it is crucial we build the homes the city needs as quickly as possible.’

Call-in from Boris Johnson - explanation

‘The Mayor wants to assess this development, which would increase housing supply in the town centre, and will consider all of the planning issues as well as addressing the concerns expressed by the borough and local residents before taking a decision on the planning application.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Wandsworth Council is famous for not turning down high and unpleasant buildings unsuitable for the area, and now they actually have...would you believe, it Boris has come to the rescue of the developers. Putney High Street has a village atmosphere; it doesn't deserve to have such a boring building inflicted on it. Shame on Boris.

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