Residents’ concerns about the draft Masterplan
In the lively Q&A session which followed the Council's presentation on the draft Masterplan, residents raised many concerns about the Masterplan:
- The assumed need for growth. Where is the evidence that Wimbledon requires a big increase in office space? The Masterplan contains no data in support of this assumption. Can the town’s infrastructure – roads, services etc – support the projected 8,000 extra jobs? Has the Council taken account of new technology and flexible ways of working, which are likely to reduce demand for traditional office space?
- Tall buildings (pages 92 and 93 of the Masterplan). The Masterplan refers to "mid-rise" development in the town centre, but, particularly around St George's Road and over the station, it envisages buildings up to 18 storeys high. Many residents expressed the view that such buildings are in fact high-rise and would be out of character with the rest of Wimbledon’s town centre and neighbouring residential streets.
- Traffic management. People questioned the impact of further intensive development on an already congested and polluted town centre. James McGinlay conceded that there was little scope to pedestrianise the town centre or to re-route traffic, without adversely affecting other areas.
- Plough Lane. There was some concern that the Masterplan failed to look at Wimbledon as a whole, e.g. by considering development in the Plough Lane area and South Wimbledon. James McGinlay responded that the Council was obliged to plan for growth in the town centre, where demand was strongest.
- Affordable housing. Paul McGarry confirmed that land values in Wimbledon Town Centre made it uneconomic for developers to include low-cost housing in new schemes. The Council was encouraging affordable housing in other parts of the borough.
- YMCA. The YMCA building was acknowledged to be problematic, but James McGinlay confirmed there are no current planning applications under consideration for the site.
- London Plan. It was suggested that the Masterplan is inconsistent with the Mayor of London’s draft London plan by allowing for intensive development of Wimbledon Town Centre and in effect making Wimbledon a ‘metropolitan area’. Many residents were concerned about the scale and volume of development planned, transforming Wimbledon into a ‘mini Croydon’.
- Crossrail 2. A question was raised as to whether the Masterplan was partly intended to help the economic case for Crossrail 2. Enhanced land values around the station, created by permission for high-rise buildings, would certainly make the Crossrail 2 project more viable.Type your paragraph here.