March 2018 update
No decision has yet been made as yet on these applications
Edith Summerskill House ( 2017/01849) – demolition of existing building and rebuilding as affordable housing.
Watermeadow Court (201701841)- demolition of the existing buildings and rebuilding as private accommodation.
Fulham Society pondered the possible reasons for the strangely bricked up buildings at Watermeadow Court back in 2012.
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 ( 12 years left )
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.