By Sian Bayley
The Grade II listed Arding and Hobbs building by Clapham Junction station will be redeveloped into new shops and offices and have a roof extension.
Wandsworth councillors unanimously approved the plans at this week’s planning committee, praising the scheme for putting “a beautiful building back into use” and keeping the iconic building’s heritage.
The Victorian Society objected to the application, arguing that the proposed roof extension was “excessive, and damaging to the building.”
However, the developers argued that the extension was ‘stepped back’ and not too visible, and was needed to provide for an office environment on the upper floors.
Arding and Hobbs was built in 1910 as a department store and was recently home to Debenhams before they closed down for good this year.
TK Maxx will remain in the building, and new shops, restaurants and leisure facilities will fill the ground and lower floors over the next 18 months.
The upper floors will contain offices, and be occupied within the next two years.
Sascha Lewin, CEO of W.RE, the developers behind the scheme, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the new inhabitants could include some more “boutique-style retail” but there will not be a supermarket or another large shop taking up all of the space.
He said the introduction of new office space is the “most exciting aspect” of the scheme.
He said: “It’s directly opposite a major transport hub, Clapham Junction, and it sits in an affluent, very nice part of London, traditionally not used for offices.
“But what we’ve seen happen in London over the last 10 years is this footloose nature of occupiers who are not worried anymore about, ‘oh, I’m a media business, I have to be in the West End.’
“They are much more worried about, ‘I want to be well connected, I want my staff and my customers to be able to come to me easily, and I want a really great building.’ This is why Kings Cross has done so well.
“This is why London Bridge has done so well, areas which were, you know, complete No Man’s Lands in the traditional office occupier world. We felt that Arding and Hobbs at Clapham Junction really ticks those boxes beautifully.”
He added that nearby Battersea Power Station, and the relocation of Apple’s Headquarters, will give business in Wandsworth a boost.
He also hopes, post-Covid, that the redevelopment of the Arding and Hobbs building could revitalise Clapham Junction.
“I think it can play a really important part, and be a little bit of a kick start to regeneration for sure. You know, if you go up towards Northcote road, it’s a really aspirational place already to be. I think that that part of the town centre is really fun and much loved by the locals,” he said.
“We hope to replicate that around St John’s Road and around Arding and Hobbs.”
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