NatWest Bank 290 Walworth Road (20/AP/1169) – Object!

They are back again. With their previous planning application (19/AP/0442) refused by Southwark Council and their appeal thrown out by the Planning Inspector, the developers are back with a scarcely different scheme that the WS is fighting.

If you are able to, please object as follows and, if you would like to, please make use of the following grounds:

  1. If you would like to object/make a comment, then please go to:
  2. Pop into the search box 20/AP/1169
  3. Make A Comment. We have suggested that the overall grounds for objection include being “out of keeping with the character of the area”. WS is objecting on the following grounds:
  • The latest proposals will cause unacceptable harm to the former NatWest bank building and to the special character and appearance of the Walworth Road Conservation Area. The proposed extensions would be inharmonious and visually dominant, eroding the ability to read and interpret the original function and form of the former bank building and its historic role within the high street and the community it served. The degree of harm to the former bank building building would be severe.
  • The loss of the existing historic roof would clearly cause irrevocable harm to the former bank building. Aside from the loss of original historic fabric, the particular form and profile of the roof can be seen as integral to the architect’s originally intended composition which utilises a carefully considered hierarchy of classical elements, of which the roof profile serves as one.
  • Very poor quality living accommodation at the busiest part of the Walworth Road. The scheme that is proposed to make two additional storeys on top of the former bank building appears to replicate a temporary ‘box park’ of shipping containers. This egregiously undermines the appreciable qualities of the bank building. The proposed set of red brick cottages further undermines the standalone and landmark qualities of the bank building by dwarfing and dominating it with the use of three storeys of brick including another “shipping container” parked on the roof.  Together, along with the proposed dwellings directly to the west, this corner will become severely over-developed.
  • The cottages are arranged to make very low standard accommodation with a living room in a basement which has no direct sunlight and a bedroom that faces onto Carter Street. The living room lightwell is likely to get used as a rubbish bin by passers-by and those using the food takeaways in the immediate vicinity.
  • The flats overlooking the Walworth Road are planned with balconies and glass balustrades. The use of this form of window with large expanses of plate glass are without precedent on the Walworth Road and have no place in the Conservation Area. Opening windows and balconies in this location are wholly unsuitable. There are no other examples of important planned amenity spaces overlooking the Walworth Road at this first floor level.
  • Overall, this is a highly unsuitable location for what is in reality substandard housing accommodation, and the harm that is caused to the designated heritage asset far outweighs any potential public benefit.

Many thanks to Marek Drewicz and Diana Cochrane for all their work on this application.

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