Revised proposals for 56 flats and commercial units on landmark site
Latest plans for the White Hart pub site
Plans for a five-storey homes and shops development on a landmark Wimbledon site have been updated again.
Proposals for 56 flats and commercial units on the site of the White Hart pub in Kingston Road have been re-designed, with residents given two weeks to make their comments.
The site, which is owned by the Rutlish Foundation, also covers Rutlish Auto Care Centre. The pub itself has been empty for at least six years.
Previous proposals have received mixed reactions from local residents. Those plans were only four storeys high and had fewer flats, with a children's play area.
The new developers are Hibernian Development Wimbledon Ltd. It's a company set up in November 2019, with a registered office address based in Hemel Hempstead.
In their consultation website they state: "The White Hart' plan will "deliver 56 much needed new homes for Merton and bring back life to this side of Kingston Road by widening the footpath to four metres and adding new commercial space to include a mix of potential uses from gym or office, café or convenience store.
"Alongside the regeneration of the long derelict pub and improved footpath provision along Kingston Road are proposed improvements to widen the tram path providing a safer and more pleasant route for residents, along with new street trees for the area to increase biodiversity and air quality."
The development, which is close to the Merton Park tram stop, will be car free apart from six proposed blue badge parking bays (five residential and one commercial). It will offer 15 one-bedroom apartments, 35 two-bedroom apartments and six three-bed apartments. There will be 19 affordable homes and 127 cycle spaces.
The latest plans have also met with a mixed response from local residents and community groups. Residents of Rutlish Road were particularly concerned about traffic issues, as well as the design and height of the proposed building.
Many said the five storeys were out of keeping with the area, and several called for a pub to be included as part of the plans.
One Rutlish Road resident told the developers' consultation: "I am opposing the new design on the basis that it is truly unsuitable for the location. The brickwork is terrible, the height is too far extreme. The entire development looks an absolute eye-sore.
"I am imploring you to review this disasterous design. I have lived in Rutlish Road for 20 years and in the local area since 1989. Please be considerate to those of us who are left to look at this building and will have to endure months of traffic constraints, building noise and dust".
Another Rutlish Road resident called for the development to include a bar, cafe or restaurant. "We have lost three or four cafe/bars, including the White Hart, over recent years", they pointed out.
The owner of the nearby London Design Studio, on the corner of Kingston Road and Kirkley Road, said the block design "sits as a bland piece of Accountancy Architecture where human scale has no consideration only the balance sheet.
"Visitors to the apartment will park cars in the surrounding streets, which are already over-congested. Finally this design has no place next door to the conservation area of Merton Park."
But one person commented: " I am pleased the ugly, depressing, colour of ex-pub and vehicle emissions will be going, and new fresh life to the street, with keeping nature in mind. Who wouldn't want a nicer place to live in?"
And another, named as Graeme, said: "I think the development looks great, and I'm keen to be kept in the loop to buy once final plans are known".
Rex Ward, from the Campaign for Real Ale, told the council: " If agreement is given to demolish the White Hart pub condition should be included in the Decision Notice requiring that a suitable public house is included in the new development. I note that a cafe is currently planned to be included in the development, and an innovative idea is that the space can be shared - a cafe in the morning, a pub cum cafe during the day, and a pub in the evenings.
"There are many other viable pubs in SW19; the White Hart has been one in the past even if the previous tenants weren't able to make it one, and there is no reason to suppose that a pub on this site would not again be a viable business."
The John Innes Society has written to oppose the scheme on grounds including traffic, the height of the building and the density of the scheme.
The Wimbledon Society has also formally objected, stating issues including the narrowness of the public footways and the height of the proposed buildings.
Merton Council is accepting comments on the revised proposal until December 29. The application number is 21/P2565.
White Hart history factfile:
The closed White Hart pub
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December 20, 2021