March 2018 update

No decision has yet been made as yet on these two applications that are now being linked through the transfer of the affordable element of housing to the Edith Summerskill House

Edith Summerskill House ( 2017/01849) – demolition of existing building and rebuilding as affordable housing.

Watermeadow Court (2013/02623 CACHF)- demolition of the existing buildings and rebuilding as private accommodation . Permission to demolish has now lapsed

2017/01219/FR3 -permission for a temporary 2.4m height hoarding to be installed after demolition. Demolition has not taken place yet a hoarding is. The hoarding can only stay in place for 24 months – it has been up for around 12 months so far.

Fulham Society pondered the possible reasons for the strangely bricked up buildings at Watermeadow Court  back in 2012.

Perplexed by the loss of so much affordable housing , admittedly in poor condition, Fulham Society wrote to local councillors and the planning department.

Applications to demolish the site emerged in 2013  when it became apparent that Hammersmith and Fulham Council  had formed a joint venture company  with Stanhope called HFS Developments  to provide over 600  homes on Council owned land across the Borough over 15 years

As a result of  the administration change in 2014  it was decided to over turn the previous scheme and instead  tie it in with redevelopment of  one of the blocks on the Clem Atlee Estate  to achieve ‘a higher number of affordable homes’. The new proposals were revealed to local residents  and Fulham Society in November 2016.

The new proposal for Edith Summerskill House is to provide a 22 storey, tower  accommodating 133  ‘genuinely affordable new homes ‘  (as described on the Hammersmith and Fulham Council web site ), 27  of which will be ‘shared ownership’ tenure , the remainder will be affordable rent.

To subsidize the provision of ‘genuinely affordable new homes’ at Edith Summerskill  House,  the Watermeadow site will accommodate  190 new homes but for open market sale – ‘first refusal’ will be given of course to locals who live or work in the Borough  ( again as described in the Hammersmith and Fulham web site)

In 2014 Andy Slaughter ,MP for Hammersmith  described the joint venture as ‘the clearest example yet of social engineering’  a view not everyone will share but it is a fact that there will  be a net loss  to the Borough of 42  genuinely affordable rented homes once the schemes are complete.

A quirk of planning policy requires  social housing to have higher space standards than required for homes for open market sale. The two schemes seem to reflect this anomaly in the quality of  design so far with an architecturally striking tower at Edith Summerskill House, complementing  Fulham’s sky line and at Watermeadow  an unremarkable cluster of over sized blocks surrounded by unusable open space.

The Council’s joint venture partner , Stanhope  has a solid track record of large London developments .Their joint venture development at BBC TV Centre, started in 2012 has just launched the sale of new homes ; within a  similar time frame they must be wrestling with the lack of progress in Fulham.   At the time of writing demolition has still not started at the Watermeadow  site as planned although demolition in progress signs have been up for around 6 months . We aresome years off seeing finished homes on either site .  There is no doubt that redeveloping these two sites is complicated and the wish to provide better quality homes should be applauded but  Councils never did make very effective landlords , perhaps we should add developers to the list as well.