Westfield House, Wandsworth

Boyer was initially instructed to secure and extend a planning permission that was about to expire. The permission, which was for demolition of a records storage facility and erection of new buildings up to five storeys on a site located between a large park and the River Wandle in Wandsworth to provide 195 dwellings and a park-side cafe, had not been implemented due to lack of viability. Consequently the client also needed to revisit the amount of affordable housing the development would deliver to enable it to be implemented.

The clients were advised that the first priority was to secure the permission and that an application to extend the time limit for commencement of development, using powers introduced in October 2009, would be the best course of action. The extension of time application was complicated by the local Development Plan and London Plan being replaced during the lifetime of the permission, meaning the replacement documents needed to be considered through the extension of time process. Boyer successfully negotiated the extension of time and secured the permission for a further three years, persuading the local authority and Greater London Authority that updated requirements in relation to housing design and associated matters could be overlooked in these particular circumstances.

Boyer then recommended a new application to amend the extended permission, which reduced the amount of affordable housing in order to make the scheme viable. They advised on other amendments that would be necessary to ensure the current proposals complied satisfactorily with updated planning policies, while recognising and promoting the significance of the extant permission as a consideration.

The resulting permission reduced the amount of affordable housing provision to 20% which was a significant reduction on the previously approved permission. The revised proposals had minimal changes to the original scheme, despite the original scheme no longer complying with several updated policy requirements. Boyer persuaded the planning authorities that given the planning history and materiality of previous permissions, and the need to enable development as promoted in the National Planning Policy Framework, that the strict requirements of policy and guidance that would be applicable to fresh applications would not be reasonable in this case.

The permission was also achieved ahead of the local authority’s Community Infrastructure Levy charge coming into force.

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Grant Leggett Director Tel: 0203 268 2431
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