Open letter from the leader on Swandon Way planning application
Published: Thursday 21st September 17
The leader of the council Ravi Govindia has written an open letter to the people of Wandsworth on the Mayor of London's decision to call in a planning application to build homes near Swandon Way. The application had been rejected by Wandsworth Council.
"A decision by the Mayor of London to call in and renegotiate plans for high rise homes near a suburban residential area threatens to undermine the ability of councils to determine what is right for their communities.
An application for 15-storey and 10-storey buildings with 24% social housing next to a suburban residential area in Swandon Way, Wandsworth Town was overwhelmingly opposed by residents and twice rejected by their council because the buildings were considered too tall.
The Mayor’s planning team has subsequently negotiated with the developer without input from the local council and taken over determination of the new application at a former Homebase site, the result of which is an application for even taller buildings with marginally more affordable housing.
Few local authorities have done more than Wandsworth when it comes to delivering homes that are more affordable to residents. We have built nearly 2,000 homes available for shared ownership and discounted rent in the last two years – the second best record in London. We are also not opposed to tall buildings, as long as they are in the right location.
We take decisions by weighing up the need for development with consideration for how appropriate the application is to the area, factoring in impact on infrastructure.
This decision was turned down because it is in the wrong location. We also believe that there is insufficient infrastructure to cope.
Councils like mine are best placed to make these decisions because we know our areas. The Mayor of London should be looking at planning applications that are of strategic importance to London as a whole. This is not one of them. In seeking to take this decision, the Mayor of London is setting a very dangerous precedent which could have major implications for communities across London."
Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council