Category Archives: Planning Applications

The Canons plans not yet ready for a green light

There is genuine excitement in the air about the opportunity of over £5m investment in The Canons and its grounds with the support of the National Lottery.

We have worked with Friends of the Canons and Mitcham Society for over five years to bring these plans to fruition and were delighted by the success of Merton Council’s funding application in June.

We are looking forward to continuing our role in The Canons Partnership to support and deliver the project.

It is with a heavy heart, therefore, that we have found ourselves unable to support the planning applications needed to go ahead with the works. The detail of the plans still leaves too much at risk and we are still waiting for guarantees than financial surpluses generated from renting out office space in The Canons house and running the cafe will be reinvested in the future management and conservation of The Canons.

The plans require some damage to the listed house and walls, impacts on their setting and causes important trees to be felled. Some of this is necessary for the wider conservation benefits and the opportunity to share The Canons story with more people and put it on a financially sustainable footing. It is a difficult balance and we think more needs to be done to maximise the benefit to the local community.

We need to see more access to The Canons house and the new cafe opened up for community use in the evenings. The walled garden needs to be repaired with better quality materials and the project needs to take a much more sensitive approach to new lighting.

We are looking for the removal of eyesores – such as an empty storage container and poor floodlights – before permission to go ahead with new improvements. The wildlife impact of lining the pond needs to be better understood and there also need to be more guarantees over the impact of the building works.

The Canons project can achieve so much for Mitcham, and we want this very large injection of money into our area to achieve the maximum benefit.  We stand ready to work with Merton Council to support the changes needed to secure planning permission as quickly as possible.

Read our joint representations on The Canons

Deseret House – a case of desperate design

Mitcham town centre has been a focus for significant public investment in the last couple of years.

This has generally upgraded the public spaces and set a higher standard for design and development.

It is all the more disappointing therefore to find crude plans to build an extra two floors above Deseret House, next to the former Tesco on London Road.

This development lies on the edge of the Cricket Green Conservation Area and is far too bulky for the site. It would damage the retail parade and have a negative impact on Glebe Court.

Mitcham deserves better and we’ve teamed up the Mitcham Society to spell out why we think Merton Council should give the application short shrift.

Read our views here.

Intrusive flats planned for Sparrowhawk yard

The Sparrowhawk’s are one of the most significant Mitcham families and have long associations in the area.

The former Sparrowhawk scrap metal yard lies on the edge of Cricket Green Conservation area by Beehive Bridge and across the road from Three Kings Piece.  It is a large and prominent site now subject to a planning application for 29 flats on four storeys.

We have reviewed the plans and are unimpressed by the design.

It is a greedy development using up too much of the site and highly visible from the Conservation Area and Three Kings Piece.

The prominent balconies and failure to respect the surrounding 1930s suburban housing is especially notable.

We support the site being used for housing and believe its size means that the highest quality of design can be expected along with other public benefits, including communal space and improving the local public realm.

Read our views here

Queen’s Head development plans

 

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The Queen’s Head public house has served Cricket Green for nearly a century and the site has been a place of refreshment since at least the mid 19th century. Prominently located opposite the historic Green and on the corner of Bramcote Avenue the building has been officially recognised as making a “positive contribution” to the Conservation Area. The pub closed in 2016 and was boarded up and sold on by Shepherd Neame.

We were pleased to be contacted at an early stage by the new owners to discuss their development plans. While some of our feedback has been taken on board we have registered an objection to the planning application that has now been submitted to Merton Council. This will involve conversion of the existing pub and construction of two new flanking buildings to create eight flats. The design is neither sympathetic enough to the existing building nor bold enough to add to the street scene. The overpowering new block of flats along Bramcote Avenue will dramatically effect the open sweep as it enters Cricket Green and damage the Conservation Area. We have offered to continue to work with the developers to improve the plans.

Read our comments Queens Head pub

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Cricketers development gets go ahead – the silver lining

The fierce debate over the future of The Cricketers looks like it is drawing to a close.

The latest proposals to demolish the former pub next to the Vestry Hall and replace it with 11 flats were rejected by Merton’s Planning Committee following our objections and the views of the Design Review Panel.

The developers – Chatsworth Land – appealed and an Inspector has recently decided in their favour. The developers are now free to proceed with the scheme subject to some relatively minor conditions.

While the outcome is disappointing, this is a story which shows the value of standing up for the Conservation Area.

The development now granted permission is the latest in a long line and the least worst of all those put forward.

We also congratulate Merton’s councillors on the Planning Committee who held out against many of the previous proposals against the recommendations of their officers. Three previous appeals against Planning Committee decisions to refuse permission have been won thanks to councilors standing up for Mitcham against officers’ advice.

The final scheme is relatively modest by comparison to those which have come before. You can see some of the earlier proposals in the selection below – with the approved development in the bottom right.

The future of The Cricketers has been something of a litmus test for the Conservation Area. Now attention turns to the future of the Burn Bullock and Mitcham Cricket Pavilion where the very tradition of cricket being played on the green for over 330 years is at stake.

Read the appeal decision

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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