Site 18 is the red area on the town centre map below and is split in ownership. Lambeth Council wishes landowners to redevelop this in accordance with policy. This policy has been arrived at over the last 10 years with extensive public consultation. Briefly:
“The council will promote its development as a hub of community life and a centre of commercial activity and will ensure that development results in the commercial strengthening of the centre as a whole. Taller or distinctive buildings of high quality will be sought to act as focal points and destinations. Development will need to be of a scale and form related and appropriate to its context.” Further, a key policy element is: “Landmarks may include buildings of particularly attractive architectural design and destination uses.”
To achieve this ambitious idea a cohesive plan needs to be formulated and it is essential that the property owners of Site 18 work together. Unfortunately the owner of the Brooks Laundry portion states that attempts to engage with other landowners have been unsuccessful and wishes to push ahead with standalone plans. They have declined to work with the community on plans that would better meet our local needs and wishes.
What is being proposed is their vision and could hardly be called a community hub or attractive. A planning application has been submitted that proposes a single 7 storey block of flats close to York Hill Estate and a 4 storey office block next to Waylett Place (see remaining pictures above). There will be no town square, no public places or destinations.
Whilst ‘plain vanilla’ cheap design might be acceptable in a non-central location, it is totally unacceptable for this landmark town centre location and shows a lack of ambition on the developers part.
The proposal would bring some welcome housing and up to 80 office jobs. This is a commendable objective but developers need to work with the community rather than in isolation to achieve the best outcome.
The full detail can be viewed on the Lambeth Council planning portal by entering the application number 18/00580/FUL in the search box. You can add your thoughts under the ‘Comments’ tab soonest, but before final date of Thursday 12 April.
There is a mass of information, 113 documents, and Lambeth Policy is also central to the proposal, so the following key points are offered which you may wish to reflect in any comment you make:
· The application is for 51 homes in part 6, part 7 storey flats close to York Hill Estate
· Some of these flats would be affordable, including for rent
· Up to 80 office jobs in a 4 storey building facing Waylett Place
· There would be a road between the two buildings
· Office workers may be expected to displace shoppers in Waylett Place Car Park
· There would be paths connecting Norwood Road with the York Hill Estate
· There would be no public destinations or uses within the site
· There would be no retail, restaurants, gyms, etc, or indoor or outdoor leisure space
· Nothing would be added to what West Norwood currently offers
· Good architecture is difficult to define but most would think this bland and unimaginative, and of a too familiar kind. Policy requires “Landmarks… of particularly attractive architectural design and destination uses.”
In conclusion Norwood Forum and Norwood Action Group take the joint view that whilst the proposals would bring homes and hopefully jobs they are stunningly under-achieving. It brings nothing that will benefit the larger community but box-like architecture that has nothing distinctive of place, just the boxes you see anywhere where cheapness is the only consideration.