The current plan is for no public consultation on the development until after the design has been firmed up.
This is a proposal with huge ramifications for Mitcham and here we set out the issues and our views on how Mitcham Gasworks can be developed to provide hundreds of homes more in keeping with the local area.
The decision over what gets built is already shaping up to be pivotal in deciding on the future of Mitcham.
Will Mitcham be more like Carshalton Village or take a different direction and follow Colliers Wood and Hackbridge?
Will Mitcham retain its character of low and medium rise homes built at gentle density around an historic pattern of streets and green spaces? Or are we now looking at an alternative future where high rise tower blocks create something very different?
We’re keen to see the Mitcham Gasworks site used to provide hundreds of new homes. We’ve supported it being allocated for major development in Merton Council’s new Local Plan and have now met with the prospective developers, St William who are part of the Berkeley Group.
St William have so far refused to share details of what they are considering for the site despite them being put to Merton’s Design Review Panel last month. We’re told they are being amended following the Panel’s meeting.
It seems the local community is unable to be trusted with seeing how the designs develop, and will not be given the opportunity to inform the thinking at this crucial stage. Instead a basic “consultation” event for a preferred plan is being arranged for early in 2022 – after all the main creative work in deciding what will be built has been finished.
We’re told the current plans are for 650 flats rising to a towering 13 storeys.
Only around one third of the new homes may meet the official definition of “affordable” (and even this remains out of the range of most local people) and there will be a large number of “single aspect” flats with windows on just one side.
The decision over the future of Mitcham Gasworks is too important to just wait and see what the developers come up with.
We’ve prepared a 12 point summary of our expectations for the site and how it should be developed. Key points include:
- New buildings should be no greater than six storeys high and the scale of development should respect Merton Council’s planning expectations for no more than 400 homes on the site.
- The design should feel like a natural extension of Mitcham, creating a new neighbourhood based on streets and avoiding alien tower blocks with no local precedent.
- People should be able to walk and cycle but not drive through the site and it should open up new and improved routes to Church Road
- Field Gate Lane should be widened to become a new green route for walking and cycling while respecting its historic significance.
- At least half of all new homes should be affordable and all should be at least dual aspect
- The history of the site should be thoroughly investigated, including the potential for Roman remains, and this should inform its design and interpretation.
- The development should result in major investment in local community facilities, including Miles Road Playing Fields, Mitcham Community Orchard, Abbeyfield Close Recreation Area and Mitcham Parish Centre.
- The development should be co-designed with the local community
13 storey tower blocks have no place in Mitcham and we stand ready to work with the developers and Merton Council to support an alternative development at Mitcham Gasworks which provides hundreds of new homes while respecting Mitcham’s character and meeting local community needs.