The 1920s entrance to Wimbledon Chase station in south London could be replaced with a block of flats if plans by the developer are approved.

The station is on the Wimbledon to Sutton railway served by Thameslink, and the station, which is built up on an embankment, opened in July 1929, with an appealing, if now rather shabby modernist curving frontage leading to a corridor that takes passengers up to the platforms. The original station entrance featured a large booking hall, a large luggage and a parcels office. The station is now unmanned and these facilities are long gone.

Wimbledon Chase station – Google Street View

The proposal is for a building which steps from 4 storeys to 9 storeys, providing 83 dwellings on upper floors and a new station entrance and retail space and residents communal facilities on the ground floor.

To fit this in, the developer, Newbridge Group wants to demolish the existing station entrance, and also owns two houses behind the station to form a larger block of land. The new building would occupy the entire site, also removing the small forecourt in front of the current station entrance, and moving the station entrance around the side slightly to a corridor next to the railway bridge.

Proposed development – from the planning application

The proposed building is pretty generic, and anywhere else would probably go through on the nod, but railway station redevelopments are usually carried out with an eye to improving the railway station as well, and here, the station appears to be relegated to a corridor, and no improvements to the rest of the station are offered.

More problematic is that all this work will be carried out, and at the end of it, the station will still lack any form of step-free access.

The local John Innes Society objects in part because they call the design a “hotchpotch of protuberances”, but also because it doesn’t include the provision of step-free access up to the platforms. The Wimbledon Society also objects, and also cites the lack of step-free provision in the proposals, and also the lack of space for taxis and disabled access.

There is an option to add step-free access by digging a new tunnel underneath the platforms next to the station entrance and adding a lift there. However, the developer says that it cannot afford to add that, but it could be added later by Network Rail if they wanted to. Earlier this year, an application for step-free access funding under the government’s Access for All scheme was made, but that is unlikely to be decided before the block of flats are built — assuming they get planning permission.

There’s also an issue of affordable housing, and the developer says that the new build cannot afford to provide any, which is far below the 40% normally required. If the development goes ahead, it seems to lack any meaningful benefit for the station passengers, who lose an appealing, if in need of restoration 1920s station frontage.

This article was published on ianVisits


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