Last Updated on June 22, 2021 by Kingston Society

A controversial plan to build 499 new homes and two 19 and 15 storeys tall extra towers on the site of Tolworth Tower has been rejected by the Council. 

Lack of affordable housing, loss of office space, lack of 3 bed flats, car-parking, amenity space & height of towers were some of the reasons given by the council for this refusal. We think this is a right decision and are happy with this outcome.

The shoddy application was submitted by private real-estate investors Meadow Partners in January this year, and despite lengthy negotiations with the Council dating back to 2019 the scheme was dismissed on numerous grounds. In abridged form those reasons are:

1. The applicant has failed to demonstrate through the submission of accurate and consistent information that the scheme would be deliverable or that it would provide the maximum reasonable amount of affordable housing

2. The applicant has failed to demonstrate through the submission of cogent and consistent evidence or robust justification that there is no quantitative or qualitative demand for the existing employment use of Tolworth Tower as offices, or for a range of alternative employment uses such as smaller and affordable offices. The scheme would also result in a net loss of ground floor commercial space and designated shopping frontages fronting Tolworth Broadway which could adversely impact the viability and vitality of the District Centre.

3. The applicant has failed to robustly demonstrate that the site is unsuitable to provide a minimum of 30% of dwellings as 3 or more bedroom units and no robust arguments or evidence has been submitted to demonstrate that a policy compliant provision of 3 or more bedroom units would be unviable. The proposed development would fail to contribute towards meeting the objectively assessed need within the Borough for 3 bedroom units.

4. The proposed tall buildings would conflict with the locational requirements  of the London Plan  and the scale of the proposed tall buildings of the proposed design would compromise the comfort and enjoyment of the proposed private and communal open spaces within the proposed development.

5. Through the submission of conflicting and insufficient information, the applicant has failed to demonstrate that the proposed development would provide sufficient levels of private and communal amenity space and child playspace. It has further not been robustly demonstrated that the proposed amenity space would be of a good quality given the incomplete assessment in relation to sunlight and overshadowing and the wind comfort levels of “standing” for areas of communal and private amenity space.

6. Due to the identified inaccuracies with the submitted information in relation to car parking numbers across the site, Officers are unable to conclude that the proposed level of car parking is justified and that the proposed mitigation measures would be appropriate. No mechanism has been provided to secure the financial contribution towards the funding of a potential future Controlled Parking Zone (or to preclude residents from applying for car parking permits within any such designated zone) or Car Club membership for residents.

7. Insufficient information has been submitted to demonstrate that the proposed development would not increase flood risk on-site or elsewhere.

8. The proposed development has failed to adopt a site wide approach towards heating and additional overheating measures and no legal agreement has been completed to secure the necessary net-zero carbon off-set payment. A robust Circular Economy Statement has not been submitted and the proposed development would fail to provide the minimum Urban Greening Factor score of 0.4. The proposed development would therefore be contrary to Policies SI2, SI7 and G5 of the London Plan (2021).

9. The applicant has failed to submit a robust Fire Statement  to the satisfaction of the Greater London Authority. It has therefore not been demonstrated that the proposed development would achieve the highest standards of fire safety.

10. No mechanism has been submitted by the applicant to secure the required financial contribution to mitigate the site specific primary healthcare requirements that would arise from the proposed development.

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