Stag Brewery redevelopment, Mortlake
The proposed scheme follows certain aspects of the Planning Brief prepared by the Council in 2011, notably the creation of links through the site to the river, the refurbishment of the Maltings to provide the focus of a new community hub, etc, BUT -
The housing is significantly more dense.
The primary school has been replaced by a secondary school and the retention of the playing fields has been superseded by provision of a single all-weather pitch.
The upshot is a massive development potentially generating a considerable increase in traffic on Lower Richmond Road which is already grid-locked in the peak hours. This is not a sustainable development.
► The housing comprises 667 units plus 150 ‘flexible’ units (care units or residential), making 817 units in all plus a nursing home for 80. The housing on the east side of Ship Lane is to be accommodated in buildings the same height as the Maltings but in a cramped layout with courtyards in shadow. On the west side of Ship Lane they will rise higher than the 3 storeys indicated in the Planning Brief. We do not accept the density and massing as proposed.
► The affordable housing component is to be 20% but it can not be implemented until Phase 2. The GLA will no doubt expect a higher percentage and will challenge the Financial Viability Assessment. We would urge that the affordable housing be in Phase 1 as there can be no guarantee that it can be implemented in Phase 2.
► The secondary school is to be 6-form entry plus 6 th form, i.e. for about 1,200 pupils. This makes for a much larger development than the primary school envisaged in the Planning Brief thereby reducing the space for, and increasing the density of, the housing. The reason for the school is to accommodate a significant projected increase from feeder primary schools in the eastern part of the borough, but the site chosen does not have good bus connections particularly with Kew and North Richmond. Latest figures show that the demand for places in the feeder primary schools has now plateaued and we would therefore recommend a reduction in the size of the school.
► The playing fields – two grass football pitches and a cricket square – are designated as an ‘OOLTI’ but their replacement with a single all-weather pitch, fenced in and floodlit, would harm the character of the OOLTI, pose a flood risk and be a loss to cricket. We would recommend that the playing fields are retained and upgraded with reinforced grass which can offer almost as many hours of playing time a year as a single all-weather pitch.
► The traffic problem needs to be addressed. The development is to provide 703 parking spaces, mostly at basement level, and 881 cycle parking spaces, which is commended. The proposed reconfiguration of the Chalkers Corner junction will attract latent demand which will very soon generate further gridlock. There is no public transport improvement strategy, no consideration of the impact of more cyclists and pedestrians at the Sheen Lane level crossing and no thought given to a car-free development which could obviate the need for an extremely costly basement car park and provide more opportunity for affordable housing.
► The key to sustainable development is a range of mixed uses so that community and cultural facilities, shops, school, sports facilities and some degree of workplaces can be on the doorstep and all vehicular trips can thereby be minimised. There is an opportunity here for a new heart for Mortlake. The development proposed is not sustainable but adjustments can be made to make it more sustainable.
If elected, the LibDems in the local wards will press for:
► Further discussions with the GLA to review what level of density is appropriate for housing on the site given a low public transport accessibility level (PTAL) and what percentage of housing should be affordable;
► Further discussions with TfL and Network Rail to review the appropriate solution to the traffic problems and bus access in this area bearing in mind that the proposed reconfiguration of Chalkers Corner will merely attract latent demand and not provide any increase in the PTAL;
► Discussions with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to review the appropriate size of school needed on this site taking into account the significant fall in numbers in the take-up of the Borough's primary school places in the current year (2,174 as against a predicted 2,476);
► Discussions with Sport England to review whether the playing field area should be reduced to a single all-weather pitch for football (as proposed) or else retained and upgraded as two grass pitches for both football and cricket.
► Discussions with the Port of London Authority and the Environment Agency to ensure that the disposal of demolition waste and excavation soil and the import of construction materials can be done by barge on the river, not by heavy goods vehicles on Lower Richmond Road.