Merton members turn down 456-home scheme on Tesco site against officer advice

Councillors in south-west London have blocked plans for the 456-home, 15-storey redevelopment of a Tesco superstore site, against the recommendation of their planning officers.

The New Malden Tesco Extra site: redevelopment plans refused. Pic: Bill Boaden,
The New Malden Tesco Extra site: redevelopment plans refused. Pic: Bill Boaden,

The London Borough of Merton’s planning applications committee yesterday refused permission to housebuilder Redrow Homes for the mixed-use scheme on a site largely taken up with a Tesco car park in New Maldon.

Officers had recommended approval for the scheme, which would have seen homes built in blocks of up to 15 storeys, plus 600 square metres of offices plus 220 undercroft parking spaces and 830 cycle parking spaces.

The scheme would have provided 40 per cent affordable housing, which an officer’s report said was in line with London Plan policies.

In addition, the report said the scheme was supported by a London Plan policy encouraging housing delivery on suitable and available brownfield sites.

The plans received 492 letters of objection, including one from Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond.

Hammond’s letter said: "This application is inappropriate for the site and the local area and would overwhelm public services nearby."

The officer’s report accepted that the scale of the proposed development would be in contrast to the existing low-rise buildings in the area.

However, they concluded that the proposal would "have the potential to improve the street environment".

Officers said the site is in an area that the council's local plan designated as being appropriate for taller buildings "where contributing to the regeneration and enhancement of employment uses, and where they will not have a detrimental impact on areas outside of the designated industrial area".

The report said: "The proposal to introduce residential use to this under-utilised site responds positively to London Plan, draft London Plan policies and core strategy planning policies to increase housing supply and optimise sites and is strongly supported."

Planning contacted the council for the reasons the committee refused the application but had not received a response by the time of publication.

A report by planning communications firm Thorncliffe said that reasons for refusal had included excessive bulk and height, and traffic and parking impacts.

Earlier this week, North Somerset councillors went against officer advice to reject plans to increase the annual capacity of Bristol Airport by 20 per cent.

Earlier this month, plans for a 462-home mixed-use scheme on a west London site were approved by the city's deputy mayor, after the developer increased the scheme's proposed level of affordable housing from 35 to 40 per cent.

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