Dozens of residents have expressed their outrage at plans to build flats on a south London “pocket park” used by children and mothers with babies.
Developers want to construct a four-storey block with a total of five homes on a plot of land owned by Wandsworth council in a residential Battersea neighbourhood.
Locals have said the loss of the space, dominated by a mature sycamore tree, would be the “thin end of the wedge” for London’s valued mini-parks.
About 60 objections to the proposal from Languard Developments have been lodged with Wandsworth’s planning department, the vast majority in the last weekend, when news of the plans spread around the community.
One resident, Karlar Hrabar, said in her letter of objection: “I am appalled the council would consider losing this lovely park for a block of flats.”
A second, Fiona Lings, wrote: “People meet and use the pocket park frequently throughout the year.”
Another, Andrew Mullins, told the Standard: “There seems to be a growing trend for councils to offload public land for developers. It’s not a very big green space, but it’s important for an area that’s not very green at all. The big thing is we don’t feel properly consulted.”
The land is part of a wartime bombsite on the corner of Gowrie Road and Taybridge Road which has largely been filled in by Sixties bungalows, leaving only the park as surviving open space.
A planning statement from the council, ahead of the park being put up for sale, says: “There are no site constraints relating to this parcel of land, which is not within a conservation area.”
The plans show Languard propose three two-bedroom maisonettes and two one-bedroom flats with three storeys above ground and a basement.
Total living space of about 3,500 sq ft suggests the homes could be worth a combined £3 million at the local rate of about £800 per sq ft for Victorian family houses. New builds usually command higher prices than existing properties.
The documents reveal three trees will be planted “in lieu of the sycamore that needs to be felled” and there will be a “living wall” on the block’s south side. The aim is “a new-build development in line with council policy producing a strong and clean contemporary building that will sit well within its immediate surroundings and provide very desirable residential accommodation.”
Languard was unavailable for comment. The council said: “This is a very small, vacant and unused former Second World War bombsite, which has in the past had temporary homes built on it and more recently has been a haven for anti-social behaviour like street drinking and also a magnet for litter and flytips. It’s a small dead-end space covered in concrete, not grass, and no one could ever reasonably describe it as a green oasis.