The long awaited plans for the future of Benedict Wharf have started to emerge.
This is the largest brownfield site in Mitcham and it will become available for development once SUEZ moves its waste facility to a new site on Beddington Lane.
We have previously welcomed the move and the plans to re-use the site for housing. Something in the order of 500-800 homes are planned.
The site has huge potential, including to strengthen links between Mitcham and Morden. It is a little known fact that Mitcham Parish Church is closer to Morden Hall Park than Merton Civic Centre but Benedict Wharf is a major psychological and physical barrier.
The plans revealed by SUEZ at a recent public exhibition are a step in the right direction but miss out on some of the key opportunities for improving access and lack the detail required for us to be confident of the proposals.
There are widespread concerns that the site might be developed for 10 storey blocks of flats looming over the area – including over London Road Playing Fields.
We have asked SUEZ to rethink and provide homes based on houses and streets. We are also keen to see a mix of developers involved, including the potential for custom-build housing and community land trusts.
It is disappointing that SUEZ is limiting community engagement to just one more public exhibition in 2019 and we have asked it to rethink its approach and not rush to a planning application in the Spring.
Read our submission on the December 2018 public consultation
View the information boards shown at the December 2018 public consultation
Let us know what you think – email@example.com
We have welcomed plans to separate the Grade II listed Wandle House from the 1960s office block it has been linked for over 50 years.
Wandle House is an important part of Mitcham’s story with links to the assemblage of historic buildings by the ford across the Wandle by Bishopsford Road.
The planned development is an all too rare example of a scheme which will improve the Conservation Area for the Wandle Valley.
There are also opportunities to improve the landscaping and reduce the large area of hard standing and car park.
We are also alert to the possibility of the office block being converted to flats following the precedents of Justin Plaza and Brook House.
You can read our submission here.
Merton Council has submitted an application to itself to install a memorial stone at Lower Green West war memorial.
We secured national listing for the war memorial last year.
The memorial stone will recognise William White, Mitcham’s only Victoria Cross holder from World War I and it will be set flush to the ground immediately in front of the war memorial.
Remarkably, Merton Council had to declare its own application invalid for failing to provide key information and a site plan.
We have welcomed the plans and ask that they are supported by a method statement that sets out how the sensitive installation should be managed and that there are long term guarantees that the stone will be maintained.
You can read our submission here.
A new development of 9 flats has been proposed for the back garden site behind Preshaw Crescent.
This follows the collapse of the earlier Wandle Housing plans and has resulted in access now being off Russell Road.
The plans are presented as amendments to the earlier proposal but they are substantially different. We have asked Merton Council to pause any decision while the developers update the information to take account of the changes.
We find the scheme poorly designed and it fails to address the earlier unauthorised clearance of trees from the site. It is also hard to see how construction vehicles will access the site given the developer’s own analysis reveals they need to mount pavements to get round the tight corners on the access routes.
We have also pointed out the missed opportunity to improve access through the site rather than leave it as a dead end.
You can read our submission here
The La Sporta building on Church Road has always been something of a conundrum.
After years of lying empty and falling into neglect it has struggled to find a purpose. There is a covenant preventing housing being built on the site although this didn’t prevent early discussions with Merton Council some years ago. The Council has since admitted it has lost the note of the advice it provided.
Now it is being slated for demolition.
The building itself provokes mixed views. The important of its location is, however, without doubt. At a key gateway to the Conservation Area it is in the setting of the nationally listed Mitcham Parish Church and also the old Vicarage. It can also play a part in the wider redevelopment being planned for the Benedict Wharf site when Suez moves out. This should rid us of the oversize Hallowfield Way and provide new homes and community facilities.
We are keen to uphold Merton’s planning policy protecting community uses and so have asked that the La Sporta building isn’t demolished before we know what might follow.
Read our comments here
Read what we said about Benedict Wharf
Date Valley School is located at the end of one of the most characterful streets in Merton.
Cricket Green road is a cul-de-sac framing the historic cricket ground and lined with listed and locally listed buildings.
The travel demands of a school in such a sensitive location were always going to be problematic and so it has proved.
The school has a travel plan which bars parents from driving up to drop off and collect children and it encourages a walking train from The Canons.
It is honoured only in the breach. Major parking problems along Cricket Green and in Chatsworth Place are a more than daily occurrence during term time, including fly parking, obstruction of residential spaces, flagrant breaches of the school travel plan and illegal parking on private land alongside a failure to enforce the parking restrictions introduced when the school opened.
We also have regular reports of verbal abuse being levelled at local residents who challenge drivers in breach of the school travel plan and the police have needed to attend incidents which have arisen.
Despite this Date Valley School has applied for planning permission to open on Saturdays till 1.00pm and to extend its hours of activity into weekday evenings.
A similar proposal was turned down by Merton Council in 2014. We believe the boundary of acceptability has already been crossed and an extension of hours will make an already intolerable situation worse. The application should be refused.
Read our comments on this application.