Protestors slam ‘social vandalism’ claiming Putney development plans would ‘increase pollution and block sunlight’

A group of concerned Putney residents are protesting against proposals for a vast new development that would dominate the high street and increase the already high pollution levels.

Although the final development plans for 56 – 70 Putney High Street have not yet been submitted residents are determined to put a stop to the hulking proposal before it is too late.

The problem with the 80foot residential and retail building is the risk of increased pollution to the High Street, which is already one of the worst in London, and that it would mean the closure of a pioneering children’s play centre.

People protesting the development have registered score of objections with the council’s planning department.

Protestor Alexander Boot called the scheme ‘yet another egregious act of architectural and social vandalism committed by modern councils’.

A spokesman for the Better Putney Group, Keith Hawkins, said: “We want residents and local businesses to have their say.

“We hope that the plans will be reviewed fully and rejected by the Council, and so fresh proposals addressing the many concerns can be made by the developers.”

In a residents’ meeting held on February 8 there was a strong turn out of Putney locals, several councillors and Wandsworth’s prospective Labour candidate Sheila Boswell.

The residents’ main concerns were the possible consequence of such a development would be the contribution it will make to the ‘canyon effect’ already plaguing the high street which could also have a knock on effect to pollution.

The canyon effect is caused by rows of tall buildings with no gaps, reducing airflow by blocking wind and trapping exhaust fumes and other pollution.

Julia Jamieson, a Putney mother with a young baby, registered her objection with the council planning department.

She said: “My main objection is around the scale and the height of the proposed development and the specific impact that this will have on pollution and light in Putney high street.

“As a mother with a young baby, the pollution in Putney is already unacceptable.

“I use Eddie Catz frequently and am very disappointed that this will no longer be available. There is nothing else of this nature in Putney, and it’s a part of the local community.”

Putney High Street is already one of the most polluted roads in the UK.

The campaign group Clean Air In London reported that the high street had such excessive levels for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) that it had passed the limit set by the EU for the whole year on just the 5th January 2015.

The Putney Society have objected to the development on the grounds of height and pollution – more than 130 objections have been lodged with the council already, with just 3 supporting the proposal as it stands.

The proposed height of 80foot will dwarf structures such as the Exchange shopping centre and will significantly block sunlight from surrounding businesses and homes.

Protestor Robert Baylis said: “This development that is not in keeping with the historical and contemporary strengths of Putney.

“The proposed block will also increase the threat to wildlife in the area. The works to construct this eyesore would be disruptive to a major artery in London and do little to improve transport via this important route.”

However, most Putney residents do want the site to be developed in some way that would be more in keeping with the high street.

Mr Hawkins said: “If rejected, a better designed, lower height building with a real public square, more affordable housing, less impact on privacy and light of nearby homes, and with the inclusion of some office space and a home for the Eddie Catz children’s play centre, may well then be presented by the developers.”

With only 26 planned parking spaces for 108 flats residents are already worried about the extra pressure that will be put on the street parking and already overcrowded public transport.

Picture courtesy of Magnus D, with thanks

Related Articles