Another milestone has been reached in the latest Wandsworth town centre investment scheme.
A key development site in the heart of the town centre has been purchased by the London and Quadrant Housing Trust (L&Q) and will now be redeveloped as 200 homes, a public library, and retail units, as well as helping fund improved teaching facilities at South Thames College.
The land was owned jointly by the college and Wandsworth Council and includes the former housing department offices in Garratt Lane, plus two other buildings fronting the high street.
A central part of the scheme is to make better public use of the Old Burial Ground in Garratt Lane, which the council thinks is an important but underused green open space.
New pedestrian links will be opened up providing a direct route from there into the High Street.
The new library will be on this route. It will open up onto a newly created public square, directly adjacent to the burial ground. The Old Burial Ground will also get a facelift.
Council Leader Ravi Govindia said; “This exciting development scheme will breathe new life into this important town centre green space.
“For many years it has been rather underused and has been seen by local people as little more than a convenient short cut for those making the journey from Garratt Lane to St Ann’s Hill.
“We want to turn it into something more, something that is better used by local people. This is why we have designed these proposals so that the new public library opens out onto this small park and why it will offer new pedestrian links through to the new shops and homes on Wandsworth High Street.”
The development will see the three ageing office blocks replaced with four new buildings. A new building facing the high street will replace the formerly council-owned Welbeck House. This will be four-storeys at the street frontage, rising to seven-storeys further back. A new building on Garratt Lane, replacing the old housing department offices, will be between four and seven-storeys high.
Two larger buildings will be located within the site but will be set back from the street frontage and house the new library, with homes above it.
A quarter of the new homes will be offered to eligible local residents to rent or buy at a discounted rate.
The scheme was awarded planning consent last summer and now that the sale to L&Q has been concluded, construction work could start later this year.
Jerome Geoghegan, Group Director of Development and Sales at L&Q said: “We are delighted to be playing our part in driving forward one of the largest urban renewal projects in London. Once completed, this landmark development site in Wandsworth will provide an exciting mixed used development offering high quality homes for people across a range of incomes. This development supports L&Q’s ambitious plans to develop a pipeline of a further 50,000 new homes within a decade, and supporting councils’ local plans is a core part of this approach – working together to deliver communities that make the capital an even better place to live.”