Abbey Mills plans on hold

Government Office for London rejects development plans

Merton Council has this week reacted with dismay to the decision by the Government Office for London to call a public inquiry into the Abbey Mills development, on the same day Ken Livingston gave the plans the green light.

Under planning policy new developments of this sort should contain a quota of affordable housing. The government has called for a public inquiry to consider what is the appropriate provision of affordable housing on the Abbey Mills site.

Ken Livingston, Mayor of London, had originally opposed the plans because of the failure to provide sufficient affordable housing. He had pushed for affordable housing to be incorporated on-site within the new development but site restrictions, verified by independent assessors, prevented provision of on-site affordable housing of a type which would adequately meet the Borough’s housing needs.

It was agreed that the most appropriate way of addressing the affordable housing issue was for the developer to provide a financial contribution toward funding affordable housing of a type needed by the Borough on alternative sites.

Steve Clark, Head of Planning and Public Protection, said: ” We have been seeking to develop the site since 1986. Both Merton and the GLA approved this application as part of the wider scheme because of the affordable housing provisions and the substantial benefits offered to the community; new health and fitness facilities, a hotel and restaurants would provide jobs and a boost to the local economy in one of the most deprived wards in Merton.

“To call this application in now results in further delay in the redevelopment of this important site. “