Streatham locals fight back over 14-storey ‘Soviet wasteland’ tower

By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter

Residents have hit out at plans to construct a 14-storey tower near their homes – with one local comparing the proposed building to a “Soviet wasteland”.

Developers want to bulldoze a Homebase store in Woodgate Drive, Streatham, and replace it with five blocks containing 237 flats.

But locals say the proposed towers – which range from five to 14 storeys – are too tall and will permanently damage hilltop views from nearby Streatham Common.

Mock-up of how 14-storey tower (centre left) would appear viewed from Streatham Common (Picture: Lambeth Council planning documents)

They also fear hundreds of new neighbours will increase GP waiting lists and make it difficult to get a seat on packed morning trains at the local station.

Tim Davie, 56, a programme manager who moved to the area 15 months ago, said the planned high-rise towers were inappropriate for the suburban area.

He said: “I’m not against new housing at all, but the plans for this thing are a monstrosity.

“It looks like something from the Soviet wasteland. It’s completely out of keeping with the area. The highest point in the area is Streatham Common and it’s going to be this large phallus sticking up from the ground.”

Artist impression of planned development including proposed cycle hub from Streatham Vale (Picture: Lambeth Council planning documents)

Mr Davie said it already took six weeks to see a doctor at the local GP surgery and was worried an influx of new residents would make waiting times even longer and put extra strain on trains passing through Streatham Common station.

He said: “Also the impact on local services. You can’t get a seat on the train at the moment and add hundreds people on to that, it will be impossible. It’s six weeks to get an appointment at the GP.”

Mr Davie added: “Homebase might not be the most beautiful building, but it’s very useful to have nearby it. We’re doing up the house and I’m there every week.”

Developers Hadley Property Group and Clarion Housing Group added a new GP surgery to plans for the development following feedback from residents.

According to planning documents, they are working with Lambeth Council officials to create a legal agreement to ensure a 520-square-metre unit on the ground floor can become a new doctors’ surgery.

They have also cut one or two storeys off several of the planned blocks following consultation. But local resident Alex Watt said the buildings were still too high for the suburban area.

Mr Watt, who is a director of Streatham Common Cooperative which manages the Rookery gardens at the top of the Common, said: “The local community is up in arms. It is a lovely residential local area, made up of low-rise Edwardian and Victorian housing.

“There is nothing remotely the sort of height that they are proposing building anywhere nearby, no precedent whatsoever. It’s just completely the wrong spot for a monstrous tower like this.”

A spokesman for Hadley and Clarion Housing Group said: “Lambeth, like so many other parts of London, has both a climate and housing emergency.

“That’s why we are committed to delivering a new car-free, sustainable and mixed-tenure residential scheme less than a minute’s walk from Streatham Common Station.

“As well as providing 35 per cent affordable housing, our plans propose a new and improved GP surgery to increase the capacity in the area by around 3,500 patients.”

Pictured top: Streatham residents say the planned tower is out of keeping with the area (Picture: Robert Firth)

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