by Dundonald Lib Dems on 18 November, 2020
Speech by Cllr Simon McGrath at the Council meeting on 18 November 2020, on the Lib Dem proposal to close a loophole in planning rules allowing applications for buildings taller than the proposed building height guidance (click here for YouTube recording of the debate).
“You will recall that it is as the result of a motion from the Lib Dem councillors that this Supplementary Planning Document is coming to full Council: originally it has been proposed that an all Labour cabinet would agree it, with no one representing Wimbledon in it.
“It does seem an extraordinary time to be putting this document forward. It is based on building more offices in Wimbledon to take advantage of Crossrail 2: it seems very unlikely that Crossrail 2 will go ahead, the pandemic is likely to bring about radical changes in the use of offices and the Tories are proposing radical changes to the planning law. It would have been much better to get clarity on some of this first before putting this before us.
“In the consultation on various versions of the document one thing has been clear – that residents do not want tall buildings in the middle of Wimbledon. But unfortunately that has been ignored.
“This document proposes a height of 48m -12 storeys, whereas the tallest building at the moment is 35.9m – 9 storeys. That is bad enough but Para 5.3.60 means that even this is meaningless. It says:
“‘Therefore, the building height guidance should not be taken as writ, but be used to inform what level of uplift in height may be considered appropriate for the context of each site. Building height guidance must be considered alongside architectural quality, mix, contribution to the public realm, neighbouring context, sustainability and other relevant policies’.
Madame Mayor, this means that there are in fact no controls on building height.
“Our amendment is very simple. We want to take out the clause which enables buildings of any height to be built and reduce the maximum height to 40m or 10 storeys. We can’t make the change directly in this document as for legal reason it would have to go to consultation.
“People in Wimbledon are not opposed to change – we know that our town has changed and will continue to do so. But that change has to be with the support of local people and a proposal which allows buildings of any height will not get that support.”1 Comment