Council opposes plan to redevelop Tooting Constitutional Club
Published: Tuesday 26th May 15
Councillors on Wandsworth’s planning committee have voiced their opposition to a development scheme that would result in the loss of one of Tooting’s best loved historic buildings.
On Thursday night the committee voted against plans to redevelop The Tooting Constitutional Club at 111-113 Tooting High Street.
The applicant wants to demolish all the buildings on the site and replace them with one of up to seven storeys high that would contain 46 flats and commercial units. The site’s existing large green space, which stands at the rear and was formerly a bowls area, would be lost.
Despite their opposition, however, the scheme could still win planning permission because the developer has lodged an appeal with the Government’s planning inspectorate which means the final decision rests with the Secretary of State who will be advised on the case by a planning inspector following a public inquiry.
Planning chairman Cllr Sarah McDermott said: “The committee decided unanimously that if we still had the power to say no we would have done so and rejected this scheme.
“But because the developer has already lodged an appeal, which under planning law he is perfectly entitled to do, the decision no longer rests with us.
“We will however be voicing our opposition very strenuously when that appeal is heard by the Government planning inspector.”
Councillors said they felt the scale, size and bulk of the proposed scheme would be unneighbourly and would result in “an unacceptable level of harm to the visual amenity of the immediate surroundings and additional overlooking of neighbouring properties”.
Councillors were also opposed to the loss of the site’s green space, the application’s failure to offer a sufficient level of affordable housing, and the loss of a prominent local landmark.
Earlier this year the council named the constitutional club as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), reflecting its important contribution to the social history of the borough. This designation means that if the owner wishes to sell the building he must give the local community a six month window in which to raise sufficient funds to purchase it.
The club was established in 1917 as a working man's club and throughout its history it has served as a social club for the community. The building itself dates back to around 1730 and is one of only a few still standing which date back to the time when Tooting was still a small Surrey village.