Latest High Path Scheme Is "Over-Development" Say Opponents

Plans show a block rising to eleven storeys by South Wimbledon tube

High Path development plans

New plans for the re-development of High Path, including an 11-storey block on Morden Road, contain "significant design faults" and represent "over-development" according to the Wimbledon Society.

Clarion has just submitted its detailed plans for the latest phase of the re-development of the High Path estate, which replaces just over 600 homes with up to 1,570 residential units.

While demolition and building work has been underway for sometime elsewhere on the estate, which originally developed over time between the 1950s and 1980s, the current application centres on the area behind South Wimbledon station.

In an application made to Merton Council for the whole re-development in 2017, outline permission was granted for blocks rising to 10 storeys as a maximum height.

But the detailed application for the next phase of the scheme, which covers demolition work set to take the whole of 2024, includes a block on Morden Road which would rise to eleven storeys.

The latest detailed plans covering 374 new homes, a public square and an energy centre serving the wider estate state the building work would be complete by 2027.

But Chris Goodair, Chair of Wimbledon Society's Planning and Environment Committee, has objected on the group's behalf. He said: "This is a development that appears to be mainly driven by the achievement of numbers, resulting in over-development. As it does not comply with important plan policies and standards, it should not be accepted."

The Society has added on its website: "In our view, the plans for this area contain significant design faults. Many of the apartments are single-aspect (windows only facing in one direction) thus preventing cross-ventilation. This is contrary to planning guidance in the London Plan.

"The proposed block fronting Morden Road would be eleven storeys tall and would face modern blocks on the opposite side of the road creating a 'canyon' effect. Other blocks would be so close together as to infringe normal standards of daylighting. Internally, the flats would open on to narrow corridors with no natural lighting."

Mr Goodair also said that while the Society was not able to offer technical views on fire safety, the reliance on a single staircase for buildings with "such a very high occupancy seems to be highly problematic".

A heritage report prepared by on the behalf of the developers by estate agent Savills said: "The proposed designs were described and independently assessed for their effects on the immediate and wider townscape. It was found that the Proposed Development is of high quality and has been sensitively designed in order to be sympathetic to the setting and significance of the Grade II listed South Wimbledon Station as well as the wider townscape.

"It was also considered that the existing setting of the listed station is of poor quality and does not contribute to its significance. As such, the Proposed Development was concluded to result in no harm to the significance of the Grade II listed South Wimbledon Station, with the introduction of such high quality architecture providing an improvement in the townscape here (and therefore the setting of the station). There are also numerous public benefits provided as a result of the proposed development."

The image below was included in the report to show how the new development would look from the Kingston Road traffic lights.

There is no date yet set for Merton Councillors to discuss the latest phase in the controversial scheme.

High Path development plans

February 12, 2023