Last October I reported on the intention by the Labour council to allow the developers St James to undertake a hideous development in Wood Lane including a 28 storey tower block.
Last night the Planning Applications Committee considered the matter. The report included objections from the Labour MP Andrew Slaughter summarised as follows:
“Raises objection to the planning application. Excessively scaled 10-28 storey buildings are inappropriate for the area and will block out natural light to neighbouring properties. Will cause loss of privacy to existing residents who will be overlooked by thousands of residential properties. Concern raised about density of the proposals and the affordability of the homes if they are unaffordable for local people. Proposal should address local housing needs.”
The Hammersmith Society added:
Indeed only 19 per cent of the properties on the site will be designated “affordable” housing. Under the Conservatives property developers faced tougher negotiations – and needed to provide 30 per cent or 40 per cent.
Even that 19 per cent but not necessarily be genuinely “affordable” – it will be “an appropriate mix of intermediate, affordable rented and social rented housing.”
In terms of height it exceeds even the planning officer’s own guidance – with their prejudice in favour of tower blocks. Yet they said let’s build it anyway:
“The proposed number of tall buildings (in both the detailed and outline elements) exceeds the limited number envisaged in Core Strategy Policy WCOA for the Opportunity Area, and the general height and mass of the scheme is greater than what is set out in the indicative WCOAPF masterplan. Notwithstanding this, it is considered that the proposed development provides a satisfactory design response, in terms of having no adverse impacts on the surrounding built environment which includes the Wood Lane Conservation Area and Grade II listed Television Centre building and adjoining sites which are subject to redevelopment and regeneration.”
While two Conservative councillors – Lucy Ivimy and Alex Karmel – spent a hour asking challenging questions of the proposal Cllr Michael Cartwright for Labour said we “shouldn’t worry about the details” because St James are “a subsidiary of the UK’s biggest homebuilders” and that we can “trust them to get it right”.
All the Labour councillors ignored Mr Slaughter’s objections and voted to inflict this eyesore scheme on the borough. Among those brushing aside his objections? Cllr Iain Cassidy of Fulham Reach Ward – who as Mr Slaughter’s office manager was doubtless responsible for ensuring for objection was sent in.
Truly extraordinary, particularly the supportive comments regarding the benign, even paternalistic of St James. I feel I have travelled to a strange alternative universe where the current cadre of Labour councillors are behaving exactly in the manner that they used to caricature their Conservative opponents. I just came back from Amsterdam. Every building from the airport to the city centre is between 4 and 7 storeys high, a perfect scale for humanity. I flew into the sprawling dystopia that is Greater London, where we have completely different ideas about what is good for us.