Council to decide on ‘unsuitable’ Shakespeare Road housing development

architect CGI
Computer generated image of the planned development’s frontage on Shakespeare Road

Lambeth council officers are recommending that councillors accept plans for a 218-flat development at the Brixton end of Shakespeare Road – although there is no guarantee it can go ahead.

The flats – some in an 11-storey block – would replace the Norris waste processing plant.

waste processing site
The site as it is today

But the plans hit a snag in July when, in “a momentous win for clean air and common sense”, councillors rejected other plans for a waste processing plant in West Norwood in July.

Developer Urban & Provincial had linked the two developments to get round planning regulations.

These mean that, before the Shakespeare Road housing development can go ahead, the waste processing capacity that it would replace must be created somewhere else in the borough.

Urban & Provincial has close links to Southwark Metals which is still plannig to use the West Norwood site at Windsor Grove to create this capacity.

architectural graphic
Graphic from the planning application showing the height of the tallest blocks will be more than 56 metres

Council officers also recommended that the Windsor Grove waste site be approved, but councillors, in an unusual move, rejected this position unanimously.

Papers for the council’s next planning committee meeting, on Tuesday 14 September, make it clear that officers expect Urban & Provincial to appeal against the Windsor Grove rejection, and to succeed – allowing the Shakespeare Road scheme to go ahead.

Should this not happen, the approach seems to be be that “something will turn up” in the three years the developer will have to start work on the Shakespeare Road scheme before the planning permission for it runs out.

The Windsor Grove planning application was described as one of the most unpopular ever in Lambeth and the Shakespeare Road scheme also face strong opposition, particularly from the Brixton Society.

It says the plans “represent a gross over-development of the site and are unsuitable for this context”.

It highlights “excessive building heights, high density and adverse impacts on daylight and sunlight to surrounding homes.”

The Society points out that the proportion of affordable housing – even with a very wide definition – “is disappointing at only 30% of total dwellings”.

architectural CGI
Computer generated image from the planning application showing the development seen from the East

And, pointing out that “it is already impossible to board a northbound Thameslink train at Loughborough Junction in the morning peak”, the Society questions how the many hundreds of new residents of Shakespeare Road would get about.

The development would have only 11 parking spaces for Blue badge holders, and residents would not be able to apply for parking permits.

“The nearest bus route is the 322 along Railton Road, but this is only an infrequent single-decker service,” the Brixton Society adds.

“The number of new residents concentrated within a small area will overload the existing community infrastructure,” it sums up.

The Herne Hill Society agrees, saying the development is “too dense and out of scale for this location”.

The council has also received more than 150 individual objections to the scheme.

The full 100-page-plus report for the planning committee is available from the council’s website and the meeting, which begins at 7pm, will be streamed live online.