As many of you will know, a planning application was submitted for the Winkworth’s site on Wimbledon Park Road shopping parade (2016/3337). The application is for prior approval to build a basement flat underneath the existing retail unit. Although the deadline for submitting objections has now passed, I know that many residents objected to this application. I have also made an objection as the local MP which I wanted to share with you:
‘Dear Mr Reilly and Ms Westoby,
Re: Planning application 2016/3337
I wish to register my objection to planning application 2016/3337.
As the local MP, I have been working with the local businesses on the parade, the Southfields Business Forum and local residents, who are extremely concerned about the developers intentions to push the business’ out of this parade by any means necessary. The businesses on the parade have made clear that the development of basement flats under these units will in most cases lead the businesses to become unviable and Southfields will therefore lose many of these small local independent businesses which contribute to the vibrancy of the retail offer in the area. The parade is an integral support for the broader Southfields Village retail offer of shops reaching from Replingham Road and extending round to Wimbledon Park Road. We cannot afford to lose a key part of the main shopping parade in Southfields village as a result of this, and I do hope the application can be rejected.
I also have concerns about the suitability and liveability of the prosed flats given that they will be below street level and access will be provided by way of an alley behind the shops and accessed via Pirbright Road. It is unclear when looking at the new development on Pirbright Road, how this access will be provided. There are also concerns about how this flat would be ventilated and how it is proposed to allow natural light to enter. In short, this does not seem to be adequate for a residential dwelling.
I would strongly urge the Council to assess these plans in considerable detail as the drawings are very basic and provide very minimal detail. It would be wrong to permit such a scheme without a high level of detail as it will be impossible to enforce action once the application has been approved. It is clear that this application will undermine the viability of the shop and in doing so, the whole shopping parade.
Justine Greening MP’
It is important that our community continues to object to any similar subsequent applications for this parade. Although the application is to convert the basement part of the building, for many of the businesses, having a residential unit underneath the shop will render their business unviable as they require the basement space. The types of arguments we should be using include concerns about the viability or retention of the shopping unit if permission is granted, whether the site is appropriate as a residential flat, the difficulty in ensuring a basement flat in this location has sufficient light/windows, and the availability of access to the site. This should be combined with the arguments we have been using on previous applications about the importance of the shopping parade to the viability and vibrancy of the retail offer in Southfields.
I will continue to monitor the situation and keep our community updated.