Watercress Island Development ( The Colliers Wood tower site )

Criterion Capital, the company which owns Britannia Point, the former Brown & Root tower on Colliers Wood High Street, has announced plans to redevelop the remainder of the site which it is calling Watercress Island. The consultation document described two further bocks of flats, one of 26 storeys and one of 16 storeys. It also promised enhanced landscaping and a ‘public realm’. In October 2020, the developer’s representatives, Built Environment Communications Group (BECG), asked residents to complete a survey, held a virtual exhibition and ran an online chat with individual residents. The consultation document can be found by clicking here.

Members of the Colliers Wood Residents Association (CWRA) committee had an initial meeting with Criterion representatives November. Criterion confirmed that they had met with planners and councillors to discuss their proposals in principle. They had already reduced the number of storeys proposed as a result. They were not yet in a position to say how many affordable homes would be included. They were confident that they could reduce the wind effect around the current tower with the addition of the new towers. They confirmed that Transport for London and Thames Water had no issues with the proposals. The view from CWRA attendees was that the survey sent out was biased in the developer’s favour. The communications manager, from BECG, apologised and said that, despite this, a significant number of people had responded to the survey. The proposed submission date for a planning application was November but CWRA understand that the plans did not pass the Design Review Panel criteria on 25 November 2020.

Colliers Wood Resident, Matthew Marks, has set up a petition linked here on the Merton Council website. The petition asks that the text in Merton’s ‘Local Plan’1 reverts to setting a limit on tall buildings in Colliers Wood. The previous Local Plan stated building height was to be no higher than Britannia Point whereas the latest, current Local Plan, now states a mixed-use redevelopment could include taller buildings that could form a coherent cluster [of buildings].

CWRA has set up a Watercress Island sub group to ensure that residents are aware of the development plans as they unfold and can respond, as individuals and as a group, if that is appropriate. In order to be as effective as possible the sub group is looking for additional local residents to join this team. If you are passionate about the tower development and would like to pro-actively contribute please get in touch via collierswoodra@gmail.com  

1 A Note on the Merton ‘Local Plan’

Merton’s ‘Local Plan’ is a document which sets out a vision and a plan for the future development of local areas across Merton. There is a Local Plan for Colliers Wood which guides decisions on whether planning applications are granted. For more information on the Local Plan and the CWRA’s activity in this area click here. The consultation period and deadline to comment on the Local Plan is 1st February 2021.

December 2020 – Colliers Wood Residents Association 

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