Mayor scraps Mortlake brewery development over lack of affordable housing

London Mayor Sadiq Khan yesterday refused a housing development plan at the Mortlake Stag Brewery site over a lack of affordable housing in the proposal.

The development was met with resistance by the community in Barnes, who are concerned the proposal by Squire & Partners and Reselton Properties could lead to pollution and destruction of green space.

A meeting back in December was cancelled as campaigners including the Mortlake Brewery Community Group (MBCG) argued that the plans did not take into account the impact of the closure of Hammersmith Bridge.

Co-chair of Mortlake Brewery Community Group (MBCG) Francine Bates said: “MBCG is more than delighted by the decision taken by the Mayor, as it is a victory for common sense and preserves the community from a hideous and inappropriate development.”

Mortlake Brewery Community Group, celebrating the Mayor’s decision

The 22-acre former brewery site was acquired by Reselton Properties in 2015 for £158 million, who planned to build 1250 homes, a ‘care village’ and a school and sixth to accommodate up to 1200 pupils.

Included in the proposals were also cinemas, a hotel, and restaurants, all of which could stimulate the local economy by bringing up to 350 jobs into the area.

Site of the former Brewery that is being redeveloped by Reselton Properties Credit: CDL Development

Michael Squire, senior partner Squire & Partners architects, who designed the project said Richmond Council’s original planning brief asked them to develop something that would enrich the area with a mixture of facilities and uses, and ensure it wasn’t an isolated area.  

He added: “It would be a new piece of the city which will be very valuable to all of those who live around it.”

However, both the community and Khan were not happy with the lack of affordable housing and claim the plans could result in poor air pollution and environmental destruction.

At the assembly hearing on Tuesday, Khan said: “Despite the hard work of the GLA team, the public benefits offered would not clearly outweigh the harm.

“I’m particularly concerned that the affordable housing offer which remains below the expectations that I have in my plan does not unbalance offset the adverse impacts of the development.”

Under the current proposals to build 1250 homes only 30% would be ‘affordable’.

MBGC said they do not oppose the site being developed but are concerned by destruction.

Bates said: “We are keen to see an increase in affordable housing in the area, but the proposals put forward by the developers would have created a dense forest of residential blocks on the river doubling the size of Mortlake.

“The resulting traffic, poor air quality and impact on local infrastructure was not considered which is why we opposed this scheme.”

Current view of Mortlake, compared with the development proposals. CREDIT: Mortlake Brewery Community Group

Mums for Lungs, an organisation campaigning for clean air, also welcomed the rejection due to the inclusion of a 500-space car park in the development.

Mums for Lungs East Sheen coordinator Melissa Compton-Edwards said: “This is a test case for how other major planning applications will be determined across the capital in congested and polluted areas.

“We want a London with both genuinely affordable housing and clean air for our children to breathe and safe walking and cycling routes to school. Not developments that lock in car-dependency and add to the traffic choking our streets and damaging our lungs.”

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