Monthly Archives: November 2016

Brook House conversion saga continues

The redevelopment of Brook House for flats is proving to be a serious concern for all those who love Mitcham Cricket Green Conservation Area.

When finished there will be nearly 50 new flats and they are already being marketed as far away as Hong Kong.

The principle of converting the building from offices to flats isn’t something Merton Council or we can do anything about. The Government has introduced new freedoms which allow this to happen without needing a planning application. But there is a great deal that can be done to reduce its impact.

In the work done so far the developer has shown little respect for either the local community or the prominent location at the heart of Mitcham Cricket Green Conservation Area and fronting the oldest cricket ground in the world.

brook-house-substation-161113A large substation has been erected without consent in the most prominent and unacceptable location, the historic Cold Blows footpath has been damaged, trees have been threatened, not least through the digging of destructive trenches that have been lined with metal, and the sensitive roots of mature trees being left exposed to frost. Spoil has been left and a floodlight erected.

Much of this unauthorised activity has taken place on public land as well as that within the site curtilage.

Now we are faced with an application for claimed “minor works” such as a substation, bin store, access gate, railing and external lighting.

Each of these is anything but minor given the location and has the potential to have a significant and negative impact on the Conservation Area where new development must by law “preserve or enhance” its character.

Yet the information provided with the application provides next to no information on any of the different “minor works” cited.

The application also fails to include details of the tree works that have been undertaken, without authorisation, on the site.

A further omission is the intrusive white street cabinet erected on green space in front of Brook House. This has been erected as a result of the residential demand which will result from Brook House’s conversion. We are unaware of any prior notification for this cabinet or that permission has been given. It should be relocated to the rear of the building and more appropriately coloured – this is within Merton Council’s power under the prior notification procedures.

We believe the information provided with this application falls well below the standard required, especially in a Conservation Area, and we believe the application is not fit to be determined.

As a result the application should be refused unless further information is provided and the application is re-advertised.

Looking ahead, we acknowledge that this development will be proceeding and ask that it:

  • Respects the key frontage to Cricket Green
  • Relocates the substation erected without permission in the most intrusive location facing Cricket Green to the rear of the site
  • Relocates the street cabinet to the rear of the site
  • Avoids anything but muted external lighting
  • Provides boundary treatments that respect the open character of the existing frontage to Cricket Green
  • Retains existing trees and ensure there is no further damage to them during construction and into the future
  • Presents a clear planting plan, specifying the species and location of plants and hedges and how they will be maintained in perpetuity.

Find out more about this development here and read our response brook-house-nov-16

Call for Lower Green war memorial to be nationally listed

mitcham-war-memorial-161106-01-for-webWe have today – Remembrance Sunday – asked Historic England to list the war memorial on Lower Green West. It has served Mitcham for nearly 100 years and is worthy of this national recognition.

The story of the war memorial is an interesting one. It began with the Mitcham War Memorial Committee formed in February 1919. This chose a site in the churchyard of the parish church. A memorial was erected in 1919 but was not popular. For Peace Day, the 19th July 1919, a temporary memorial was put on the Lower Green, near to the Vestry Hall which was then Mitcham’s Town Hall.

The War Memorial Committee then announced that a permanent memorial, on the site of the temporary one, would be erected. A form was sent out to all residents asking for details of the fallen, and 522 names were received. Another appeal was made for more names. The memorial was unveiled on 21 November 1920, by Lieutenant General Sir Herbert Edward Watts KCB, KCMG at a ceremony attended by 5,000 people. It was announced that iron railings would later be erected around the memorial, with a gate so that members of the public could add wreaths as and when they chose.

There are 588 names inscribed on the four panels. Known details and short biographies of many of those commemorated can be viewed on the ‘Roll of Honour’ website.

The memorial also commemorates but does not name those fallen in the Second World War and “those killed in other conflicts”.

The war memorial is of Portland stone and comprises an octagonal plinth of five steps, on which is mounted a rectangular block, on top of which is a Latin cross. It is estimated at 19 feet high. The names of the fallen during World War 1 are inscribed on four stone panels, on each side of the rectangular block. The vertical edges of this block are chamfered, each of which have a bronze sword mounted. The swords are unusual and each sword, made of bronze, points downwards, and has a pommel of a St Edward’s Crown. The hilt has six studs.

Photos after World War 2 show a wooden fence instead of iron railings so it is assumed that the original railings had been removed for the war effort. The current iron railings were possibly erected around 1950. The memorial was refurbished in 1962.

The war memorial is described as the “main focus” of Lower Green West in the Mitcham Cricket Green Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan.

We welcome Merton Council’s support for this application and thanks are due to local volunteer Wade Brice for much of the research which has been undertaken to support the application. Our application also supports the war memorials programme promoted by Civic Voice.

226 London Road planning application – our comments

One of the little explored pieces of Mitcham’s history is the Holborn Workhouse on London Road.

This covered a large site including that adjacent to Mitcham’s gem – the Grade I listed Eagle House.

The last remaining building is locally listed.

There have been a number of development proposals over the years and the latest is about to be decided.

It involves partial demolition of the locally listed building and its conversion into one bedroom flats along with a large new block of flats.

The previous scheme received a red rating from Merton’s Design Review Panel and we are not convinced the latest proposals are much better. They are too large for the site and do not pay enough respect to the setting of Eagle House or its historic walls.

You can find details of the plans here and read our response- 226-london-road-redevelopment-nov-16.

Burn Bullock – public consultation on initial development plans this Sunday

We have received the following notification about a public exhibition of proposed development of the Burn Bullock site.

You are warmly invite to attend a public exhibition and consultation looking at concept designs for the proposed development of the Burn Bullock site on:

Sunday 13 November
2016 from 12 noon to 2 pm
Tooting and Mitcham Community Sports Club
KNK Stadium, Imperial Fields, Bishopsford Road, Morden, Surrey, SM4 6BF.

[After the consultation, at 2.15pm the architects will be pleased to show interested parties around the site. Please note that the site is not fully accessible. Those attending should wear stout shoes and trousers. Some parking will be available on site.]

These plans are up for public consultation in advance of any planning application being submitted.