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.

Ravi Govindia

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

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Recent comments

I really hope the Mayor of London is NOT able to interfere with Wandsworth Councils decision ! Another High rise building would be another 'blot ' on our landscape ! Plus there is far too much traffic in the area without adding more !

24 September 2017

Thank you Mr Govindia for a well founded recommendation that local councils are better at deciding what is right for their areas, rather than the Mayor of London. He should have confidence in his local councils to make the correct decisions. All the points you raised are absolutely valid and supported by local residents.
Phillida Welch

22 September 2017

The Mayor of London Mr Khan should not be allowed to take over this application because it is NOT for the benefit of the area and the Community as a whole!! Thank you Ravi Govindia for this open letter and supporting the rejection of this application. I really DO HOPE that Mr Khan will NOT be allowed to let this application to go ahead.
Aniko Jancsek

22 September 2017

While I support the council's opposition to the scheme proposed for the Homebase site in Swandon Way, Mr. Govindia conveniently forgets that just as many residents near the former Homebase site in York Road and around Cremorne Bridge opposed applications for even taller buildings in those locations, which the council repeatedly ignored. If appropriate development was such a concern, those applications would have been rejected. But in those cases it suited the council to accommodate developers' wishes in return for significant CIL contributions, even though none of those developments meet the council's own affordable housing guidelines. Now he knows what it feels like to be ignored by an authority that has other priorities.
Christian Swalmius-Dato

22 September 2017

These proposed buildings are already tall enough & any interference by the Mayor should be robustly opposed.
James marsh

22 September 2017

If you knew the area and the local residents you would not have made such a stupid comment! You would know that local residents are not denying that we need more housing. we are objecting to the planned building you are wanting to build. Its disgusting and will destroy the livelihood of the area. Crime will increase and traffic will become unmanageable. TFL has already confirmed they will not be increasing the number of trains to the station causing even more chaos. You can't even get rid of the beggars outside Wandsworth Town station after several residents and shopkeepers have complained at least 10 times for over 7 months! how are we expected to believe you have the local residents best interest at heart!
Dianne Meyer

22 September 2017

I also seem to remember that there was very little criticism when Boris Johnson called in anything. Strange, that.
LSusan ofthouse

21 September 2017

Jane is absolutely right. WBC does not always listen to what its residents say. Desperately need social housing, and a little more thought about the impact some of these, quite frankly, overpowering developments have on communities.
susan lofthouse

21 September 2017

We absolutely support Ravi Govinda's position on this. The final decision should be with Wandsworth Council, after consultation with the residents of Wandsworth.
Eve & David Bristow

21 September 2017

WBC has an appalling history. "Affordable" does not mean affordable to those in most need of housing. Where is the council providing accommodation for potential council tenants? What is WBC doing to provide accommodation for those who cannot afford the "affordable" and those who are homeless? Is WBC still offloading its waiting list to areas outside of Wandsworth, including (as was suggested) Birmingham or Southend? Wandsworth Council seems to be hell bent on social cleansing of the worst sort, presumably in order to boost the value of their own properties.

21 September 2017