I have been contacted by many constituents in Herne Hill and Loughborough Junction about the planning application for a 29 storey tower and a 20 storey tower on Hardess Street/Wellfit Street and Hinton Road. I have previously opposed this development and I continue to believe that these proposals are wholly unsuitable for the local area. Along with local Labour councillors, Cllr Jim Dickson and Cllr Pauline George, I have written again to Lambeth Council to object to the development.
The towers are both far too tall for the site. At 29 and 20 storeys they will be more than twice as tall as any other buildings in the surrounding area. The nearby Loughborough Estate, comprising a series of tall residential blocks, has a maximum height of nine storeys and there are no existing policies to support Loughborough Junction as a location for tall buildings in London. The proposed towers would be visible from a significant distance, including from Herne Hill town centre and Ruskin Park. The skyline would be completely dominated without local people ever having been consulted on the principles of such a significant increase in height in this area.
I am also concerned that local transport services do not have the capacity to serve the proposed additional 170 households. Outside of lockdown restrictions, peak time trains travelling through Loughborough Junction are already full and it is regularly impossible to board due to overcrowding. The station is inaccessible with steep steps and narrow platforms which will be much harder to navigate with a significant increase in daily commuters. Buses travelling through the area are also overcrowded in the morning and evening peak. I am concerned that the developer’s plans quote the journey times from Loughborough Junction to central London but make no mention of the capacity issues residents experience.
The plans will not deliver the housing our local community needs. The application specifies that the scheme will deliver 35% affordable housing at ‘tenures that meet local needs’ but there is no explicit commitment to social housing. Lambeth has some of the highest levels of housing need anywhere in the country and I am contacted everyday by constituents in desperate need of housing. The need is overwhelmingly for genuinely affordable social housing at Council rents and any new development in Loughborough Junction should be aiming to make a significant contribution to meeting the need for social housing. It is not acceptable that there is no firm commitment to do so in this application.
Finally, I am very concerned that having previously received substantial, clear feedback that this proposal is not suitable or acceptable for Loughborough Junction, the applicant appears to have re-submitted an application with no substantive changes from the previously submitted scheme. This is not indicative of a developer who is listening to the local community, wants to work with the local community or has regard for the needs and views of local residents.
I firmly believe that these proposals should be rejected. The local Labour councillors in Herne Hill agree and I hope that Lambeth Council will reject this application.