Councillor welcomes "common sense" listing decision

Published: Wednesday 11th November 15

The regeneration of the Alton area in Roehampton has moved a step closer after the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport confirmed that Allbrook House and Roehampton Library will not be listed as buildings of ‘special architectural or historic interest’.

The minister’s final verdict follows a report by Historic England (formally English Heritage) which concludes that the two buildings are not of sufficient quality or interest to qualify for protected status.

The listing application has been rejected.

Allbrook House and the library are located at the gateway to the Alton Estate, a site which has been earmarked for new homes and modern community facilities including a new library and village green. If they had been listed this key part of the Alton Area Masterplan would have to have been rethought.

The minister’s decision means the council can now proceed with its plans to revive the neighbourhood which have been developed in close consultation with local people and stakeholders over the last two years. The proposals have the unanimous backing of all Wandsworth councillors.

Council leader Ravi Govindia said:

“We are pleased that both the Secretary of State and Historic England share our view and have rejected the listing application. We can now put this expensive waste of time behind us and get on with developing the plans to improve this area and providing the new homes and modern community facilities local people want.

“The fact is that Neither Allbrook House nor the library match the quality of the other protected buildings on the estate. They were not executed as originally planned and create an awkward, unattractive and  poorly functioning entrance from Roehampton Lane. At ground floor level  they provide dark, isolated spaces which attract anti-social behaviour and cause local people real concern. Common sense has prevailed.”

Historic England’s report lists several “principle reasons” for recommending the listing application be rejected, including:

“ * Architectural interest: the relationship between the library and slab lacks cohesion, and the separated nature of their designs has created unpleasant spaces in the piloti undercroft;

* Fulfilment of function: the gateway piazza was never realised and the positioning of the slab limits, rather than opens-up, lines of sight toward the estate to the west;

* Alterations to the library: the design intention, internally, has been lost through alterations;

* Historic interest: the estate as a whole is of international significance for its design and planning, but Allbrook House and the library are not principal elements;

* Architects: the approach of the LCC and the designs of John Partridge are better represented in the buildings to the west;

* Group value: the building stands removed from the heart of the estate hence lacks a strong visual relationship with its listed buildings.”

The council’s plans for the Alton area include replacing  many outdated homes with high quality properties  set around a much improved environment, a stronger local economy and with modern community facilities. All existing council tenants and homeowners living on the estate are being offered the chance to stay and share in the area’s revival.

Over the course of this project hundreds of additional properties would also be built, including more homes for social rent and shared ownership.
For more information and to sign up for e-newsletters all about the regeneration project visit

An artists impression of the new-look Danbury Centre from the Alton Area Masterplan.

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Recent comments

Who in the world made the application for listed status in the first place??? Unfortunately, the article does on mention this. I am really curious as to their motivation.
Justin Carmichael

14 November 2015

These buildings are hideous beyond description. Anyone who imagines they are of "architectural or historical importance" is wildly out of touch with how real people want to live. The buildings are (yet another) example of how 1950s architects knew little - and cared less - about the real lives of the people who had to live in or with their buildings. These know-alls were in love with a vision of "modernism" that was an ugly - and arrogant - imposition on the people who had to live with it every day. These misguided and misshapen buildings should be razed to the ground, and the people of Roehampton should have architecture they can enjoy and feel comfortable with.

13 November 2015

Looking at the hideous new developments now going up all over London, Tim’s concern is only too justified. Most modern architects (whom I know well – I come from that world) despise the views of the public and are determined to foist their experimental visions upon us. But the Localism Act 1971 states that local people must be given a say not only in what is built in their area, and where, but “what the buildings should look like”. We must insist that WBC invite us to exercise that right - and I believe they will. Maritz Vandenberg.
Maritz Vandenberg

13 November 2015

I look forward to the council replacing one eye-sore with another - just look at the plans the council supported for Clapham Junction and the disgusting peabody development 9next to the Junction) that is in no way in keeping with the area. I fear for what may lie in wait that will remain an eye sore for another 50 years... At least there was common sense in not keeping a horrible piece of brutalist architecture.

13 November 2015

Having lived at the centre of the Alton Estate (and close by these buildings) for more than 17 years, and participated in all WBC’s improvement and regeneration consultations in that period, I’m delighted by this sensible decision. For all its merits, Albrooke house is a grim and forbidding slab, and the spaces around these buildings a mess, which need to be totally reconfigured. Maritz Vandenberg.
Maritz Vandenberg

13 November 2015

Thank goodness. The Alton estate is a complete eye sore. The regeneration of Roehampton is long overdue.

13 November 2015

What a shame. These buildings were revolutionary at the time they were built. It's a shame that Historic England lack the foresight of the people who built and designed these buildings. There's a real stuffy, snobbish, backward-looking bias against 50s/60s architecture when really there are some fine examples of this ouvre (admittedly, most is rubbish).

13 November 2015