Outline Planning Consent granted but there is still much to do
Dear Plaza Supporter
Last week the Planning Inspector upheld the appeal and granted Gresham outline planning permission to demolish the existing building and replace it with a mix of residential, retail and leisure. A copy of the Inspector’s decision is posted on our website Gresham’s outline application back in January with its huge amount of irrelevant material continued to cause confusion and debate right through the appeal process. In the end the Inspector stripped away all the irrelevant data and gave outline consent purely on the basic application.
So what does this mean? Well, after nearly a year the picture remains very unclear. The Inspector agreed that the new building can be a mix of residential, retail and leisure uses but gave no guidance on what amounts of each would be acceptable. He also said “only means of access is agreed at this time” and everything else i.e. appearance, landscaping, layout and scale of the new building is “reserved” for a full planning application.
The Inspector was sympathetic to the retention of D2 leisure and made a number of comments about the need to protect it, referring to the applicability of the National Planning Policy Framework, and citing “existing sports and recreational buildings should not be built on…unless they are clearly shown to be surplus to requirements or replaced by a better provision in terms of quality and quantity”. He also cited Policy DMO2b citing “that change of use of development involving the loss of indoor sports facilities will only be permitted where…it can be demonstrated that there is no current or future need or demand for the facility”. These statements are important references when the full planning application is ultimately submitted and considered by Wandsworth Council and I think it that respect we have much to be confident about.
We recently met Justine Greening MP and she reconfirmed the importance to her of retaining meaningful D2 leisure use, in both quantity and quality, on this site. We will also be discussing next steps with our Councillors, who have been very supportive to date, to ensure we keep the momentum up and the pressure on Gresham to engage with the community.
There is much to play for and we will be there at every stage of the process.
21st November 2012