The Alton Regeneration Consultation is open until July 1st – please have your say.
My submission is below, and you can make comments here:
Your comments can just be a sentence or two to share your views. They don’t need to be technical.
How to have your say:
- See other people’s comments and leave your own: https://bit.ly/Alton2020
- Or email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will pass them onto the planning department.
- Or call Janet Ferguson in the planning department on 02088715266 or email email@example.com
Alton Regeneration revised planning application March 2020
Planning Application 2019/2516
Fleur Anderson MP response
Overall there are some changes which I welcome and in which the plans have been improved since last summer. However on the areas of the biggest concern to local people there hasn’t been any improvement. If this huge opportunity for Roehampton to be regenerated is to benefit local people, then there must be more affordable housing than just 24%, more youth services and a better transport offer.
The Mayor of London has highlighted concerns about consultation of local people in the development of the scheme in his letter to the Leader of Wandsworth Council of 27th August 2019. This is still a problem as this consultation is happening during the on-going lockdown but not adapting to enable people to participate. I have held two community virtual meetings to share the plans and encourage participation and the main feedback has been dismay from local community leaders that people don’t know that this consultation is happening and how to get the information they need to respond to the new plans. I have formally requested an extension of the consultation and that participative methods are used.
Current works and activities such as moving the shops around, closing the ATM, the delayed start of works at Fontley Way and moving out people in temporary accommodation and boarding up flats has been very unsettling and concerning for local residents. The cancellation of the recent Roehampton Partnership meeting showed a disregard for the local community leaders and involvement at a key time of the project, and an increasing number of residents are feeling disconnected from these plans at a time when community engagement should be high.
Last summer over 500 local people signed a petition to ask for a better deal from the Alton Estate Regeneration.
The majority of respondents said they wanted to have more affordable housing and not to price the community out of the new homes. They also said that they wanted to save the trees, have less separation between private and council blocks. The five most important issues for people were:
- More council homes
- More and better youth facilities
- Better transport and more buses
- More community space for local groups in the new library
There are some positive changes in these plans:
In the new plans the trees on Harbridge Avenue have been saved and there is much better family friendly design in the layout of the flats and the landscaping in the wider estate. Some of the flats didn’t have windows in the kitchens, didn’t open out into the courtyards and didn’t have enough space for a dining table. But now they do.
I am pleased to see important green improvements in the new plans, which we have campaigned for. With more use of natural energy and state of the art environmentally friendly heating and electricity, it is very positive that the planners were asked to look at this again.
As listed in the Equalities Impact Needs Assessment (EINA), there are positive outcomes but also temporary and permanent negative impacts of the regeneration which are disproportionately on residents in temporary accommodation who are from BAME groups, and the disruption caused will impact people with severe disabilities and very elderly relatives. There needs to be further work to address these negative impacts, especially during the many years of construction.
My main objection is that this is no improvement in these plans in the four areas identified by local people:
- More affordable housing and a mixed community There is no overall increase in affordable housing. Only 24% of the new estate will be affordable housing.
The June 2019 plans had 17% of the units in social rent, 4% of the rooms shared equity and 2% in shared ownership. The March 2020 plans have 18% social rent, 3% shared equity and 3% in shared ownership. This means just 24% of the estate will be affordable housing. This is an area and a borough that currently has a housing crisis.
The new plans still have 847 expensive private ownership homes and only 5 additional affordable homes. There are 261 council and leasehold homes out of a total of 1108. There is no increase in the amount of floor space dedicated to affordable homes. The private homes are expected to sell for over £600,000.
Local people want to see more homes which local people can afford to live in. We can do better than just 24% affordable and social housing, especially when so many people need homes.
For example, Grahame Park Regeneration in Barnet has 38% affordable housing, and Clapham Park in Lambeth has 50%.
A local resident summed up the views of a majority of local residents in saying to me, ‘I have lived in Roehampton my whole life and as I seek to solve my households overcrowding problem it disheartens me that house prices are so high in Roehampton and the surrounding area, forcing me to leave the Roehampton community in order to have better living conditions.’
The small number of freeholders who live on the estate are rarely mentioned in the plans, despite their comments in previous consultations. It is acknowledged (EINA p54-55) that freeholders and private tenants of leasehold and freehold properties may not be able to afford the new house prices and this is a concern.
The GLA report said ‘affordable housing is considered to be segregated on the periphery of the site and must be better integrated throughout the scheme’. It is welcome that blocks O and A are in the centre of the development and are now social rent and shared equity homes. But the development remains segregated between private and affordable blocks. This is far more likely to result in a divided community and I agree with residents that this also increases the risk of some blocks being better maintained than others. This is not a good starting point for achieving the aim of the development being a ‘mixed community’ and the blocks should all be mixed tenure.
- More and better youth facilities There should be more not less youth space in the new development. The space in the new library replaces two very well used youth facilities: the Roehampton Youth Club and the Base. These were 556 sqm, but the replacement provision is only 321 sqm of dedicated space in the new library building. There should be more space for youth services to reflect the increased numbers of young people and the increasing need for youth support. There is multi-generational space in the library and this will be well used for community events and celebrations, and for other groups. But the feedback from the youth services is a for a space for young people which is ‘theirs’. There is also a strong need for more outdoor sports areas which have been reduced over many years. There was originally meant to be a youth bus which would move around to provide a youth service across the estate but there is no sign of this.
The temporary reprovision of youth services during the lengthy rebuild time started last summer and is inadequate and failing to meet the needs of young people of Roehampton. Modifications to the Base have not resulted in an equivalent services to having the Base and the Youth Club.
(Youth facilities are summarised in the Non Residential Management and Governance Statement p8-10 and the negative impact in the revised EINA p26))
- Better transport connections and more buses. There is nothing about improved transport in the current plans. Current buses are frequent enough. So there should be a clear commitment from Transport for London, negotiated in advance, to increase the level of bus services. This will impact every aspect of life in the new estate especially employment opportunities. There is a sharp contrast with Nine Elms development which will have a new tube station. The same significant transport increase is needed for Roehampton. Keeping the current poor level of transport will significantly impact on employment opportunities for residents and the success of the regeneration.
- More, dedicated community space in the new library. There is a lack of community spaces in the area currently, and a far less provision in Roehampton than other areas of the borough despite high levels of need for places for the community to come together for a whole variety of reasons. The community hall and kitchen is welcomed, and community organisations also need space to meet and organise activities. The community area/pod spaces in the library could provide this function, but separate community rooms would be better. The current plans partially meet the need but are not a good enough deal. (These are summarised in the Non Residential Management and Governance Statement p8-10)
I would welcome more assurances about who will be running the Minstead Garden Club room to ensure that this will be a community provider who will provide affordable services for residents.
I would also welcome more assurances about the community space opening hours in the new library as residents want to be able to use this at evenings and on weekends and for the facilities to be affordable for all residents as there is a real shortage of affordable
Member of Parliament for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields
PPS to the Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA