Consultation on Springfield Hospital Development

 

 We had a huge turn-out of 230 residents at the Public Meeting I arranged last week. Below is the summary of the current consultation for the planning application from Springfield Hosiptal, as well as the additional information from that meeting.

 

The story so far…

For those of you new to this topic, below is a quick re-cap of the events of the past few years:

  • The Trust for Springfield Hospital proposed to build a large number of homes on its site as part of a redevelopment plan that would allow it to upgrade its mental health facilities
  • Wandsworth Council and many local residents fought a campaign against the plan, arguing that it was too large scale and didn’t provide enough supporting facilities, e.g. on transport
  • The Secretary of State ruled in June 2012 that a modified development would be allowed on the condition that several safeguards and improvements that residents had requested were met
  • The allowed development included replacement mental health facilities, over 800 residential units, a care home, a school (likely to be primary), a landscaped public park, a CHP energy centre, and > 3,500 sq ft of non-residential/retail space.

All then went quiet in the public domain until the Trust submitted new plans to the Council a month ago.

 

The latest plan from Springfield Hospital

The Trust has now proposed to develop a relatively small part of the site at the top of Hebdon Road, but with the conditions specified by the Secretary of State postponed til the development ‘masterplan’ for the full site is submitted. The Trust team told us at the Public Meeting that they estimate the full site planning application will be made at the end of 2016, when they have got a developer partner on board. 

The Hebdon Rd proposal is now part of a planning application to Wandsworth Council, and subject to the current public consultation.

 

The Hebdon Road development

The Trust is proposing to build 27 housing units on a small area of land on their site that is disused, near the old Hebdon Road entrance (which is currently bricked over). The brick wall would be removed such that the new residents can access their homes via Hebdon Rd.

At the Meeting we heard two main concerns from Hebdon Road residents:

Would the new development create a new ‘cut through’ route from Tooting High Street, up Hebdon Rd and through the Hospital onto Burntwood Road?

The Trust team informed us that the new houses will be structured as a cul-de-sac at the top of Hebdon Rd, with no ongoing access to the Hospital and no cut-through.

How would the roads around Hebdon and down to Tooting Bec tube be able to cope with so many extra residents once the full redevelopment is done? The presence of Fircroft School in the area makes this even more important.

The Trust confirmed that a significant amount of money – over £6 million – would be available  through a Section 106 agreement which is in place with Wandsworth Council to ensure there are enhancements to roads, pavements, signage and cycle routes so that the area can cope with increased usage. 

 

The current consultation

Tim Cronin, Head of Planning at Wandsworth Council, made two important clarifying points on the consultation:

  • The proposed new housing at Hebdon Rd cannot be challenged in the usual way, since that is allowed as per the 2012 ruling
  • However, the fact that the other conditions have not been submitted with the application, such as the creation of a parks  strategy, can be challenged.

The consultation has been extended recently, to Monday 26th January. Residents and businesses can view the application at the planning portal online at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/planning (reference 2014/6584; 2014/6585 or 2014/6586) and give their comments via planning@wandsworth.gov.uk. [Please note that although the portal says applications have already closed, as noted above they wil be accpeted up to and including the 25th January].

The consultation document is attached below for reference.

 

Mental health facilities

Inpatient mental health services across South West London, and especially Springfield, have not kept pace with other services. Most of the existing mental health inpatient facilities in south west London are not suitable for modernisation, not designed for today’s mental health care and very expensive to maintain. They do not provide a good, supportive environment for patients and carers and they make it harder for frontline staff to deliver high quality care.

The Trust has proposed that the redesign of the Springfield Hospital site will see patients and their carers supported in accommodation that meets modern standards for safe, effective care and in surroundings that meet people’s needs for privacy and dignity.

There will be separate accommodation for men and women, avoiding inappropriate use of mixed-sex accommodation and meeting modern guidelines for staff to be able to monitor and observe patients by ‘line of sight’. All patients will have single rooms with ensuite facilities as well as access to outside space and natural daylight

The Springfield Hospital site would house the following services:

  • Adult services (3 wards)

  • Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit

  • Eating Disorder service (1 ward)

  • Low and Medium secure services (four wards)

  • Stepdown services (2 wards)

  • One older adult acute ward (or may be located at Tolworth)

  • Base for community teams who will go out to local clinics and people’s homes.

 

The councillors for Wandsworth Common agreed with the Trust that the mental health facilities need updating, but highlighted concerns over the reduced number of inpatient beds, as well as the relocation of the specialist schools provided by the Trust to Tolworth. These points are subject to separate consultations/discussions with the Council and other authorities. 

 

Conditions and community benefits

A lot of time was spent at the Public Meeting discussing the conditions. After all, these contain many of the safeguards and benefits for the community which would be provided as part of the Trust being allowed to go ahead with the development. Residents were frustrated that plans for these conditions were not coming forward in parallel with the current planning application.

The conditions include:

A new park

Development of a Park Strategy, to provide new public open land and recreation facilities for the community. The strategy shall include details of active and passive sports and leisure on the park and children’s play space.

Look and feel of the site

Landscape and Tree strategies to be provided, in addition to a strategy for street furniture and lighting.

Energy statement

This statement to be developed to demonstrate that at least 20% of the reserved matters site’s total predicted carbon emissions will be reduced through the implementation of on-site renewable energy sources.

Environmental conditions

To include an air quality method statement, a Construction Management Plan, and an Ecological Conservation Management Plan (to include details of measures taken to preserve and protect wildlife and the ecological environment).

Transport

Provision of a Car Park Management Plan, as well as for cycle parking facilities and details of the bus / cycle / pedestrian routes at the site. The plan for the improvement of the junction at Trinity Road/Burntwood Lane to alleviate the current traffic congestion. 

The Trust promised that the plans to meet the conditions would be forthcoming and they have every intention of delivering them. However, they have not yet procured a main developer for the masterplan and as such are not yet able to finalise the plans meeting the conditions. Once the developer has been selected, the conditions will be progressed.

 

And finally…

The Springfield development is likely to be the largest project for new homes in our constituency for quite some time. So not only does it have big ramifications for mental health services, but it will also have a large impact on residents who don’t use the hospital. Please ensure that you make your voice heard by submitting your comments.

Please make me aware of your comments, so that I can reflect them in future discussions on this topic, by cc’ing your consultation submission email to me at dan@danwatkins.org.uk .