Back to the drawing board for Wimbledon YMCA as 24-storey tower proves unpopular with residents


A ‘stop the tower’ campaign was launched by residents


By Sarah Ward

The Wimbledon YMCA has announced plans to go back to the drawing-board after proposals for a 24-storey tower on the Broadway were met with opposition.

Rogers Stirk Harbour, the architecture firm headed by Richard Rogers, who designed the Millennium Dome, will be working with the YMCA to reach an alternative for the centre after local residents started a ‘Stop the Tower’ campaign.

The designs had proved controversial as the tower, which would have been 10 storeys higher than any other building in Merton, was criticised for being out of place. Residents complained that it would cast their homes into shadow.

Richard James, Chief Executive of YMCA South West, said: “Local residents have told us they support the YMCA and our work in the community, and there is broad recognition of our need to work with a development partner to secure our long-term future.

It is, however, clear the 24-storey height of our proposal does not have local support and, as a result, we have taken the decision not to proceed with current plans.

“We recognize the strength of feeling locally and believe it is only right to respond in this way,” he said.

Plans were exhibited in October for the £15million ‘flagship’ development: 140 luxury apartments conjoined by a piazza to the YMCA building, which would house 100 residents. The current building, constructed in the 1970s, is only seven storeys tall.

Merton Council leader Stephen Alambritis told the Wimbledon Guardian that the council would not support the plans for such a tall building as it was not within their planning policy.

Councillor Alambritis said: “I think where they are at with eight to 10 storeys is fine.”

Follow us @SW_Londoner

Related Articles