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Some good news for London’s community campaigners

Last month’s decision by the Mayor of London to refuse the three applications supporting regeneration of the Stag Brewery in Mortlake , SW London, was a welcome outcome for local campaigners. This puts pause on a long-running and contentious planning process to redevelop one of London’s largest brownfield sites.

The Mayor defied the recommendations of the GLA planning officers to approve the scheme, citing a lack of affordable housing and excessive density as the reasons for his refusal. While his full report has yet to be made public, video of the mayor’s announcement of his decision is available here and the full hearing here.

What happens next, and how this decision could set a precedent for outstanding planning applications called in by the Mayor, as well as those going forward, is still uncertain. London Borough of Richmond upon Thames welcomed the decision, and the applicant, City Developments Limited, has yet to make a statement.

This scheme, like the Mortlake one with a long history, aimed to demolish the Seven Sisters Indoor Market – known locally as the Latin Village and listed as an asset of community value – to build 190 flats.

Grainger’s withdrawal follows 15 years of campaigning by market tenants and residents of the area. It blamed its decision to pull out on “the drawn-out nature of implementing the scheme owing to numerous legal challenges from a small but vocal minority, the complexity of the site and the changing economic environment”.

Haringey council said it now planned to work alongside traders, and with Transport for London, which owns the land, “to explore the vision of delivering a new community-led development, with Seven Sisters Market and the wider local community at its heart”.

What’s happening here – is the mayor, a major property developer, and two local authorities actually beginning to listen to locals? Do these two decisions set meaningful precedents for forthcoming developments in London? We watch with interest.

Lukewarm media coverage and the month of August mean that these events may be overlooked for the moment, but their significance are likely to inform and motivate the changes unfolding through the Planning Reform Bill to be considered by Parliament next month.

Clare Delmar

12 August 2021


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