Planning chairman's statement on Battersea Power Station decision

Published: Friday 23rd June 17

Following last night's Planning Committee decision on changes at Battersea Power Station, the committee chairman Cllr Richard Field has released the following statement:

“The escalating cost of restoring the power station building means this development project is facing significant challenges and the committee had a very difficult choice between accepting a potentially lower number of affordable homes, or refusing the application and risk losing all of them.

"This development also directly funds the Tube extension which is bringing 25,000 jobs to Battersea, so the stakes are extremely high.

“I believe we made the right choice and in doing so have safeguarded the delivery of thousands of other affordable homes across the Nine Elms regeneration area which are dependent on the Northern Line Extension being delivered. This change also means that 386 affordable homes will now be built by the power station developer in 2020, two years earlier than previously planned.

“Last year Wandsworth delivered the second highest number of affordable homes among all 33 London boroughs and we would never accept a potential reduction in low cost homes unless the case was overwhelming.

“The Mayor of London was asked to engage in this decision-making process several weeks ago but remained completely silent until the day before the committee met when we learned he had commented on this matter via social media rather than contact the council. Mr Khan of course very recently approved a vast housing development in neighbouring Merton with only nine per cent affordable housing.”

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Recent comments

What is the latest news regarding the PRINCE of WALES Pub at the corner of BALHAM NEW ROAD and CAVENDISH ROAD please. I am living near this Pub and signed a petition to KEEP IT OPEN. I made numerous phone calls to your office without success. Thank you!
Walton Nangle

8 August 2017

As someone who regularly deals with planning officers and committees during both pre-app stage and post planning, this strikes me as an extreme abuse of both public spending but more importantly public trust. A developer forecasts their Internal Rate of Return on projected market rates and construction costs, if those forecasts are incorrect then this is the fault of the developer, it does not absolve them from their commitments pre-planning. To use a variation to a section 106 agreement constitutes a serious abuse of the process in order to satisfy the developers need to maintain profit margins. Planning committee's hold a great deal of power, and the councils weakness here will create a dangerous precedent.
Chris Ratcliffe

28 June 2017

It is a disgrace that Wandsworth Council has reduced the number of affordable homes on this multimillion pound development. This is in the context of the obvious need for more affordable and council housing in the borough. This is clearly unacceptable to many local residents and should be revisited. When will the council meet with those who have protested this decision? What other proposals were considered? It seems that ordinary people are losing out as a result of poor financial management by the council. Once again!!
Francine Koubel

28 June 2017

Will the non affordable homes be lived in ? Will they be like some many other properties just an investment opportunity. It appears the Council has gone back on its pledges about the number of affordable homes to be built. I suggest an independent inquiry about the legality of this decision.
Philip Manners

26 June 2017

This is a disgrace. Once more Wandsworth Tories have shown themselves to be completely in thrall to the developers. May we please see the communications and the revised cost estimates from the developer which substantiate this absurd claim that "the project is facing significant challenges" that could warrant "the risk of losing all [the affordable homes]? No, thought not. Citing commercial confidentiality the Council will no doubt expect us all to trust them in yet another instance of developer blackmail. Surely the total cost of the proposed affordable homes is an insignificant part of the overall cost in any event! Cllr Field is himself a property consultant which begs the question as to why he did not recuse himself from such a decision
Marcy Carpenter

25 June 2017

This is an absolute disgrace. The Council have been taken for a ride. I warned that something like this would happen. The developers are utterly unscrupulous and are claiming that they will 'only' make 15 - 20%profit unless tney cut the 250 'affordable' homes!!!!!! The Council should hold them to the original agreement which legally must hold up. It is a disgrace the wayi they have developed the whole site,with far to much high rise spoiling the outline of the Power Station anyway.
CarolTibbs

23 June 2017

Unfortunately this will create a precedent. Planning Permission is often given because there is a promise of a small number of "affordable" dwellings. What happens to those when a developer is given permission to cancel some of them? WBC should stand up to them. it should call their bluff. When developers make a mistake, it is not fair to expect the Council (and people desperately in need of housing) to get them out of a hole. They are big boys (and girls). They should plan their developments more carefully.
susan lofthouse

23 June 2017

This is not helpful: Wandsworth Council should display more integrity than making statements without figures or evidence. There is no reference to the number of 'affordable' home lost by this change or how many additional 'non-affordable' dwellings will take their place, or what the capital cost changes are, or how significant. This type of shallow statement represents a huge own-goal for both public authority and developer, giving the impression that a smokescreen is being used to hold the project to ransom for commercial gain, when in reality this may not be the case. I expect Private Eye will pick this up so watch that space..
George Murdoch

23 June 2017

Utterly shameful. Where in God's name are ordinary people in London supposed to live?
longtimebalhamresident

23 June 2017

How many affordable homes will not now be built? What is the total number of homes planned overall for the site? Thank you.
David Phillips

23 June 2017

This is a shameful decision. Who will be able to afford to live near Battersea to take up any of the fanciful 25,000 jobs if they ever materialise? WBC is kidding itself it is making a wise decision but after all much of what Cllr. Govindia has boasted will be the value of this development has been shown to be pie in the sky. The Plough Lane development is in no way "vast". I do wish the WBC news writers would be required to check their facts before trying to offer excuses to cover for their employers' embarrassments. Compare it with the Brewery development and offer some evidence if you can?
Celia Blair

23 June 2017

How can you sleep at night? No change to the number of Luxury homes at full spec, but desperately needed affordable homes that's ok to cut, shameful, shameful. The next election can not come soon enough
Philip slade

23 June 2017

Putting others down is not a good way to raise oneself!! Your contract with the developers has failed to deliver! Just swallow the nasty pill!!
Isobel Smallacombe

23 June 2017

Any increase in affordable homes is to be applauded
Linsey Cornwall-Jones

23 June 2017

This statement implies that the affordable homes are dependent on the tube extension. All the homes being built there need that extension and would be worth less without it. Developers have yet again gone back on promises to deliver affordable housing. When will this stop?
Karen Byrne

23 June 2017

I've never heard such rubbish - this a blatant move by the borough place developers' profits ahead of social housing needs just a week after the Grenfell Tower disaster showed just how marginalised the poor are becoming in London. Perhaps you can enlighten us as to the advance sales at Battersea have been made to non-doms at a time when the capital faces a housing crisis? Shame on you.
Peter Strong

23 June 2017