How many more new homes will be provided?
There’s a proposed increase in the total number of homes, up from 1,103 to 1,108. The total number of council homes has increased from 256 to 261, comprising 201 homes for social rent and 60 shared equity and shared ownership homes. Council homes make up 24% of the total number of new homes proposed on the application site. They account for 30% of the new homes to be provided in the detailed element of the development.
Why can't you provide more council homes than you are proposing?
The delivery of new and replacement housing, of a high quality and in a variety of tenures, is just one of the many benefits of the regeneration proposals. The revised proposals maximise the provision of council housing, whilst still being able to support a wide range of other improvements including:
- The provision of new multi-purpose community buildings
- The provision of new and replacement local retail facilities and office floorspace
- Improvements to children’s play facilities
- Significantly upgraded public spaces and connections, including a new village square, greener streets and more usable routes through the estate
A financial viability assessment has been prepared to assess the maximum reasonable amount of council housing that the proposed development is able to provide. This assessment has been submitted for consideration as part of the planning application. The recent amendments to the scheme have not only resulted in an increase in the total number of council homes proposed, but also ensure that more will be delivered at an earlier stage in the development process. The detailed element of the planning application includes 75% of the council housing that will be delivered across the scheme. As the scheme will be developed over several years, there will be future opportunities to review council housing provision, with more homes delivered at a later stage, if financially possible.
Why have you increased certain types of council housing?
The council's housing regeneration team has considered the needs of existing estate residents alongside the feedback received from consultees in response to the application details submitted in June 2019. As well as increasing the overall number of council homes, the council also proposes changes to the tenancy/ownership types (known as the tenure mix).
Existing council homes within the application site are wholly social rent homes. To improve housing choice and availability on the application site, a range of council housing tenures, including social rent, shared equity and shared ownership, will be delivered.
The proposed tenure and unit mix is designed to meet the needs of existing secure tenants and resident leaseholders/freeholders who wish to continue living on the regenerated estate. The changes include more council homes for rent and increased provision of shared ownership units. The number of social rent homes has increased from 188 to 201, the number of shared ownership homes has increased from 23 to 31, and the number of shared equity homes has been reduced from 45 to 29, to reflect the lower number of resident homeowners who wish to remain on the estate. Council housing for social rent will make up 77% of all affordable housing. All “excess” shared equity homes, which are not taken up by resident homeowners, will be made available for households via the council’s usual application and waiting list process.
Will you be providing replacement homes for all existing residents?
All secure council tenants and resident homeowners, who live within the application site, will be given the opportunity to move into appropriately sized new housing, according to their needs.
How do you know what type of homes people need?
Housing needs surveys, undertaken in 2017/2018, helped the project team to understand the likely demand for replacement council housing and set out the quantity and tenure mix required. A further housing needs survey was undertaken in September 2019 to identify any changes in need, due to residents moving or increases/decreases in household size. The revised tenure mix reflects the latest information about residents’ needs. Further housing needs surveys will be undertaken during the course of the redevelopment to ensure evidence of housing need remains up to date.
All homes are designed to Building Regulations ADM (4) Category 2: accessible and adaptable, which should provide easy access and future adaptability. While demand for wheelchair accessible housing amongst existing residents affected by the regeneration proposals is currently minimal, 10% of all homes will be designed to Building Regulations ADM (4) Category 3: wheelchair dwellings.
Will the new homes for social rent be the same size as existing homes?
Replacement housing for secure council tenants remaining on the estate will be appropriately sized according to their needs and will contain the same number of bedrooms as existing properties, unless otherwise agreed with the affected households. Homes are all designed to meet or exceed modern space standards and design quality guidance, with efficient, practical layouts and appropriate ceiling heights. In some instances, it is possible that residents will move to a different sized property, having agreed this with the council following a needs assessment. Recent changes in housing needs, due to the expansion or reduction of some households, have been taken into consideration in ensuring that the new homes meet their needs.
The proposed number of homes for social rent has increased from 188 to 201 and the proposed amount of social rent floorspace on the application site has also increased overall. The total floorspace of existing social rent properties on the estate is 11,158 square metres. The scheme submitted in June 2019 proposed 15,411 square metres and the amended scheme proposes 16,372 square metres – an increase of 5,214 square metres, or an uplift of 47% over existing social rent floorspace.
Will the new homes be better than the existing homes?
The proposals will deliver new and replacement homes of a high standard that will offer existing residents a better quality home and place to live. The new homes will be built and finished to meet modern building standards, to ensure they are safe, well insulated and energy-efficient. The regeneration scheme will not only offer good quality living accommodation, it will also replace outdated and unsuitable retail and community facilities. These facilities and services will support the development of a successful and vibrant community.
What is the difference between shared ownership homes and shared equity homes?
Shared ownership and shared equity schemes are both types of “intermediate” housing, which are defined as affordable routes to home ownership.
Shared ownership gives people an opportunity to part-buy and part-rent a home, when they may not otherwise be in a strong enough position financially to purchase a home. Shared ownership purchasers typically use a mortgage to fund the share they are buying and pay rent on the remaining share. The homebuyer can buy additional shares while they live in the property – through a process known as “staircasing”. It is possible for a purchaser to staircase all the way to owning the entire property. As and when the homebuyer’s financial interest in the property increases, the rent payable to the council or housing association reduces proportionally.
Shared equity provision on the application site is entirely driven by the needs of existing homeowners, who have expressed a desire to continue living on the estate after redevelopment. It is highly likely the value of newly built homes will exceed the value of existing properties with the equivalent number of bedrooms. Resident leaseholders, who will not be means tested, will be able to buy a new home in the regeneration area through the council’s shared equity scheme. For example, if a leaseholder can afford to fund 75% of the cost of a new property the council will retain a charge on the other 25%. The resident pays no interest or rent on the 25% and only has to repay the council’s proportion if the property is sold.
Leaseholders will be able to increase the proportion of the share of the property they own over time, buying up the council’s share, with the money being reinvested by the council into affordable housing. The council’s remaining equity stake in a home would only be realised on a sale of the property to the open market. This will be reinvested by the council in the provision of affordable housing.
Why are you providing fewer shared equity homes than originally proposed?
The proposed number of shared equity homes has been reduced from 45 to 29, in line with a reduction in demand for these properties, as some resident homeowners have chosen to undertake early moves. This reduction has directly resulted in the provision of more homes for social rent.
What happens to the shared equity homes if existing residents choose not to buy them?
If any of the shared equity homes proposed as part of the scheme are not taken up by resident homeowners, these will be transferred to the council, to be delivered as affordable housing for rent in accordance with the council’s affordable housing policy.
Will existing residents be required to move away from the Alton Estate?
Wandsworth Council has pledged to ensure that all secure council tenants and resident homeowners, who currently live within the application site and whose existing homes are proposed to be demolished, will be able to continue living within the Alton Estate and will only be required to move once.
The regeneration masterplan allows for phased demolition and construction, to minimise inconvenience to existing residents. The phased delivery of the site will allow people to move directly from their current property into a newly-built home – either within the main development area, or to new homes on two satellite sites within the wider estate.
The two satellite sites are located at Bessborough Road and Fontley Way and the development of these sites will increase the delivery of replacement homes and improve choices for residents. Both satellite sites are expected to be ready for occupation up to two years ahead of the completion of Blocks A and O – offering an option to residents who will be required to move in the early phases of development. Further details are provided in the Updated Decant Strategy.
Will residents really only have to move once?
One of the council’s top priorities is to ensure that secure tenants and resident homeowners are able to move straight into a newly built replacement home, with minimum disruption and without the need for temporary moves.
All directly affected residents were given a phasing programme, together with information about the new replacement homes, earlier this year. Three information drop-in events were arranged, as well as one-to-one meetings with residents, to discuss how the changes will affect them. Some residents have already chosen to undertake early moves to homes elsewhere within the estate or to another location.
How have the council homes been better integrated in the scheme?
The project team has carefully considered comments made by the public and the GLA and the proposals have been amended to provide a more integrated scheme, as well as delivering more council housing in earlier phases of the development.
Council housing has always been proposed within Block A and Block Q. Whilst they are located on the edge of the main development area, they are very much integrated within the wider Alton Estate and surrounded by existing mixed tenure blocks.
The revised plans propose to locate council homes in Blocks A, F, O and Q as described below.
Blocks A and O
Blocks A and O are included within the first phase of development and each proposes a mix of tenures.
Block A sits at the heart of the new village centre, which has been carefully positioned to serve as a central point for Roehampton, which draws together the Alton East and West estates, as well as providing a central place for residents in Roehampton village to visit and enjoy.
Block A now proposes more homes for social rent (35 rather than 24) and fewer shared equity homes (5 rather than 16). Direct access is offered to a broad range of community facilities, including the new library, youth centre and GP surgery, as well as a mix of shops on Danebury Avenue.
Block O was previously proposed as a private housing block, but will now offer 29 homes for social rent and 6 shared equity homes. Block O is located at a key focal point of the development, adjacent to the new village square and regenerated local centre. Residents of Block O will share access to the courtyard and play space located between blocks O and N.
The regeneration project team continue to believe that Block Q will offer exceptional family accommodation with an extensive high quality courtyard garden and play facilities. Block Q also offers unrivalled access to the open space of Downshire Field, which is a quieter environment better suited for families and children to play and relax. Its position offers easy access to the new children’s nursery school and community facilities proposed at Portswood Place. The location also includes easy access to public transport links, with the site conveniently close to bus stops along Roehampton Lane that provide frequent services to local schools, hospitals and larger town centres, such as Putney and Barnes. Block Q is also the part of the regeneration scheme closest to Barnes railway station.
Blocks Q1 and Q3 are included in the second phase of development. The mix of Block Q1 still proposes 33 homes for social rent and 10 shared equity homes and Block Q2 will provide 31 shared ownership homes. Block Q3 now has 39 homes for social rent (up from 36) and 8 shared equity homes (down from 11). The proposals balance a commitment to deliver family housing on Block Q, with the desire for wider tenure integration and distribution across the scheme.
Within the outline element of the application, to be delivered as a later phase of development, it is proposed that Block F will accommodate 65 homes for social rent, thereby ensuring council housing is integrated with the private tenure blocks to be delivered in this phase of the development.
Will the council homes be built to the same standard as the private housing?
The amended plans propose to provide new homes in a greater variety of tenures, to meet a wide range of needs and help create a mixed and balanced community.
All the units will be constructed to a high standard and the development will be “tenure blind”, meaning there will be absolutely no distinction between the council homes and private blocks, in either build quality or appearance. The council has worked directly with the design team to ensure a continuity of approach across the scheme.
The redevelopment will result in the loss of mature trees, is it not possible to save them?
The quality and longevity of all existing trees on the estate have been assessed and an Arboricultural Impact Assessment has been undertaken to assess the impact of the proposed development. The survey of trees and other vegetation was conducted in accordance with British Standard 5837.
Extensive efforts have been made to retain existing trees where it is feasible. Some tree loss is unfortunately necessary, given the broad scale of redevelopment, changes to levels within the site boundaries and the complex nature of underground services (existing and proposed). Some of the existing trees on the estate have been found to be in poor health, or structurally defective and need to be removed for these reasons alone.
One of the key amendments to the planning application is the retention of 29 existing trees on Harbridge Avenue. The avenue includes a range of species, predominantly lime trees. Historic England and some members of the community expressed concern about the loss of these trees on the existing character of the avenue and the retention of trees will help maintain it.
The removal of four existing trees is proposed in this area to allow for level pedestrian crossing points on Harbridge Avenue as well as for vehicle entry to Block K. The design team has applied careful consideration in locating these elements to ensure minimal tree loss. Further enhancements include lush understorey planting beneath the trees and garden bed planting along the Avenue.
To enable the proposed delivery of a new bus turnaround area at the junction of Danebury Avenue and Tunworth Crescent, it will be necessary to remove 15 existing trees – all of which are Category C trees of low quality, with a remaining life expectancy likely not to exceed 20 years. There are no amendments to this planned removal, which was detailed in the proposals submitted in June 2019. There are 23 new trees proposed to replace those that will be removed.
There are currently nine trees located in the green space adjacent to the existing library building, eight of which are Category C trees of low quality and one is Category B (of moderate quality). The proposal to remove these trees, to enable the provision of a new Village Square, remains unchanged.
Harbridge Avenue is currently uneven and difficult for pedestrians to navigate. Will the retention of existing trees prevent you from making it more accessible?
The existing uneven hard surfaces will be removed and new 2.5-metre-wide footpaths will be provided, alongside garden bed planting, to offer a better environment for pedestrians. The new soft planting will help to absorb some of the level changes in this area. Granite paving blocks, which are currently positioned at the base of trees, will be salvaged and reused at the edges of level crossing points. Seating will also be provided within planted areas, near to the stepped routes through the estate, to provide resting places.
Are you proposing enough new trees to compensate for the loss of mature trees?
As a consequence of the retention of 29 additional trees along Harbridge Avenue, a total of 160 trees are now proposed for removal, which is a decrease from the 189 trees originally proposed for removal. These reduced tree removal numbers are coupled with new tree planting, which includes 169 trees in shared courtyards and 564 trees on streets and in public spaces, amounting to a total of 733 new trees (a net gain of 573 trees).
A comprehensive new tree planting strategy, which will significantly increase tree numbers on site, will compensate for the loss of existing trees. In turn, the new planting will increase local biodiversity, improve stormwater run-off, remove CO², and enhance the amenity value of the area. The planting of adaptive and native specimens, at a large size, will create a comprehensive greening strategy for the new development. A mix of native and non-native tree species will define the key character areas, whilst providing biodiversity and seasonal interest across the scheme. The tree planting strategy aims to provide and connect wildlife corridors across the site linking the ‘Parkland’ Quarter (Downshire Field) with the ‘Urban' Quarter as well as providing wider green connections between Richmond Park, Putney Heath, Barnes Common, and The River Thames. More information about the proposed new trees can be found in the submitted Design and Access Statement.
The greenness and openness of the Alton Estate contributes to its character. Will the loss of green spaces change its character?
Since the beginning of the project, the approach has been to create a greater variety of open spaces with individual characters, which will complement each other. The proposals provide higher quality spaces with greater use, function and appeal compared to the existing spaces.
Within the application site boundary, combined public and communal open spaces across the site extend to 83,460 square metres. The regeneration proposes 88,413 square metres of open space – an increase of 4,953 square metres or 5.9%.
With all the development proposed, can you really make the area greener?
The Draft London Plan (2019) seeks new developments to contribute to the greening of London by including urban greening (Policy G5 Urban greening) as a fundamental element of site and building design, and by incorporating measures such as high-quality landscaping (including trees), green roofs, green walls and nature-based sustainable drainage.
Urban greening measures proposed at Alton Green include the new trees and native planting, changing areas of grassland into wildflower meadow and the creation of new wildlife habitats on rooftops.
The Draft London Plan recommends that Boroughs develop an Urban Greening Factor (UGF) to identify the appropriate amount of urban greening required in new developments. In the interim, the Mayor recommends a target score of 0.4 for developments that are predominately residential, and a target score of 0.3 for predominately commercial development.
The Alton Green masterplan has a score of 0.88. This exceeds the benchmark by 0.48, which represents a high level of performance.
What efforts have been made to ensure the development is accessible?
Improvements to the permeability and accessibility of the site have been a fundamental principle of the masterplanning process from the outset. Access experts have undertaken a comprehensive review of the proposals, to provide further evidence that the scheme follows an inclusive design approach and made improvements where necessary.
How have the streets, squares and spaces been made more accessible?
Changes in levels across the estate currently limit route options for people with mobility impairments. Existing steeply sloped paths, which wheelchair users are unable to access independently, will be replaced with much shallower gradients. Many new and improved level crossings will be provided and the use of smooth, slip-resistant materials will create level and even paths.
Movement north/south through the estate will be improved using gently sloping ramps alongside stepped short-cuts. There will also be plenty of new places, along these routes, to stop, sit and rest. Car parking, cycle stands and street furniture will be incorporated carefully within the streetscape, so that pavements are decluttered and easier to negotiate. Kerb treatments will help ensure routes are safe and usable for people who are blind or visually impaired.
The proposed Village Square provides generous space for circulation and access. Stepped and curved terraces are provided on one side of the square, with step-free access to the upper level for wheelchair or scooter users. A central handrail (allowing for left or right-hand use) will enable access to the terraces from either side.
Will disabled children be able to use play spaces?
Elements of sensory, balancing, climbing, sliding and spinning play will be integrated throughout the Activity Centre play space. The Downshire Meadow play space includes various play elements to test movement range and balance, and to practice climbing and social play. There will also be areas to dig and build. Wheelchair accessible zones allow for inclusive play and a range of sensory activities including touch, smell, sound and visual, to enable all children to play together, no matter what their ability.
Will parking be provided for disabled residents and visitors?
Parking for disabled residents will be provided within the residential blocks, allowing for direct, step-free access to dwellings. Designated blue-badge bays are proposed in the Urban Quarter, to serve the commercial uses. At least 5% of the total number of cycle spaces provided will be for non-standard cycle parking.
Mobility scooter stores/charging areas and ease of access to building cores for scooter users have also been considered.
Will it be easy to access the commercial and community facilities?
Block A contains the new library, GP surgery, youth club and community hall, and the accessibility of this building has been planned particularly carefully, with step-free and lift access provided for each facility. Access options are offered from the Village Square and from Hersham Close and Holybourne Avenue, with a new ramped and stepped route between them. Level access will also be provided to the commercial units on Danebury Avenue, and to facilities at Portswood Place.
In order to deliver an inclusive environment, the design team has gone beyond the minimum standards of the building regulations in the consideration of many factors. These include access to buildings, with consideration given to door widths, clearances, handles, ease of operation and glazing. To ease circulation within buildings, attention has been paid to the choice of handrails, stair treatments, corridor widths and lift specifications. Building interiors are designed to be safe, well-lit and easy to navigate, with slip-resistant surfaces, contrasting materials, and fittings that are visible and usable by people with limited dexterity. Toilets and other sanitary facilities are designed to be inclusive and to the same specification.
Will residential areas be accessible?
Further adjustments have been made to the internal layouts of Blocks A, K, M, O and N to improve accessibility and waste collection arrangements. Step-free access will be provided into all the residential block entrance lobbies. Step-free access will also be provided from the residential accommodation to communal courtyards. These courtyards will be inclusive for people of all ages and abilities, with seating space and doorstep/local play spaces for young children.
Why has the energy strategy changed?
Regulations and policies relating to the use of energy are currently undergoing significant change. The New London Plan, the Future Homes Standard and new versions of the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) for energy performance all challenge more conventional energy strategies. The project team has therefore prepared a revised energy strategy, to respond to the latest information and address the London Plan energy hierarchy: Be Lean, Be Clean and Be Green. The new energy strategy supersedes that previously submitted in June 2019.
What is different about the energy strategy?
The previous energy statement proposed a gas-fuelled Combined Heat and Power (CHP)-led strategy. The new strategy removes CHP from the scheme and proposes to develop a low carbon, electrically-led heat network for the site. Air source heat pumps will provide the majority of the annual total heat generation. Ultra-low NOx gas boilers (with reduced nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions) will assist in providing heat during periods of high demand. A new plant and equipment enclosure will be provided on the roof of Block N.
How is the energy strategy lean?
Energy demands will be reduced substantially through ‘Be Lean’ measures to achieve the New London Plan energy efficiency targets for both residential and non-residential uses. New homes will meet high insulation and air tightness standards to retain heat, whilst also delivering efficient ventilation. Energy efficient lighting will be installed and efforts will be made to help residents minimise their electricity consumption. Overheating prevention measures include solar control glazing, openable windows and shading due to the presence of balconies. All these measures will achieve CO2 savings irrespective of the source of the delivered energy.
How is the energy strategy clean?
A balanced strategy has been prepared for the generation and delivery of decentralised heating. To deliver heat that is both low in CO2 and reasonably priced, heat pumps will be utilised as the primary generation source, with gas boilers meeting peak and backup heat demands. Electricity production is becoming much less carbon intensive and this trend is expected to continue. Renewable and low-carbon energy generation methods, such as wind, solar and hydro power, are making an increasing contribution to the grid, while the use of fossil fuels is decreasing. Electrically-led heating solutions, such as the proposed air source heat pump system, will be low carbon from the outset, with plans for further decarbonisation in the future.
How is the energy strategy green?
Solar (PV) panels will be provided across all blocks in the development area, to generate additional electricity on site.
How has the non-residential accommodation changed?
The updated configuration of several of the blocks has altered the maximum amount of non-residential floorspace from 9,572 square metres to 9,377 square metres. This comprises up to 3,305 square metres of flexible commercial uses (Classes A1-A3, A5, B1 & D1), 704 square metres of office (Class B1) floorspace and 5,368 square metres of community (Class D1) floorspace. The changes in the amount of non-residential floorspace have been driven by accessibility improvements, alterations to back of house areas and the desire to ensure the best possible quality of accommodation is delivered. The quality and range of services and facilities compared to those already on the estate will continue to be enhanced as a result of the proposals. Detailed layouts are being developed in close consultation with service providers.
Have any changes been made to the Village Square?
Minor adjustments have been made to the road alignments and design of the proposed Village Square in response to new utility survey and highway safety information. The landscape design at the junction between Danebury Avenue and Roehampton Lane has been revised, with the removal of proposed new trees from the traffic island, to provide clear sight lines. These changes do not impact any retained trees.
Have there been any changes to the bus turnaround area?
In response to feedback from local residents and TfL, a bus driver toilet facility will be provided adjacent to the proposed bus turnaround next to the junction of Danebury Avenue and Tunworth Crescent. The design of this facility has been specified by TfL and it will be positioned carefully in the landscape to minimise visibility.
The bus stop adjacent to Minstead Gardens will be kept. A new bus stop for eastbound services will be provided adjacent to the bus turnaround. This is to prevent an increase in walking distances for older residents living in sheltered housing at Minstead Gardens.