Plans to expand Tooting 'village' from 839 homes to 1,288 to fund new hospital facilities rejected

An artist's impression of Springfield Village in Tooting ( Barratt London/STEP/Farrells)
An artist's impression of Springfield Village in Tooting ( Barratt London/STEP/Farrells)

Plans to build 449 more homes in a new ‘village’ in South London to help fund new hospital facilities have been refused.

A total of 839 homes have already been approved at Springfield Village in Tooting as part of Springfield Hospital’s major revamp, along with new mental health facilities, a 32-acre public park and care home.

Developers Barratt London and STEP submitted plans to Wandsworth Council to build 449 extra homes, including 220 affordable homes, as the final phase of the ongoing development.

Buildings on remaining plots of land on the southern part of the site would have been demolished to bring the total number of homes to 1,288, an increase on the 839 homes that are already being built.

Springfield Hospital’s revamp forms part of South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust’s plans to revamp and build new mental health facilities in the area.

The two new mental health units at the centre of the scheme are already open, along with the first and largest part of Springfield Park. The second part of the park is set to open later this year.

A statement submitted with the application for 449 extra homes said selling the land would help to fund new facilities at Tolworth Hospital in Kingston.

The plans included 440 extra flats in blocks up to five storeys tall, nine three-bed townhouses, 48 car parking spaces and 817 cycle parking spaces.

The statement said the development would benefit the overall scheme by providing more affordable homes on brownfield land, creating a ‘truly mixed and balanced community’ and introducing panoramic views through the site.

Although part of the site is in Metropolitan Open Land (MOL), the statement argued the development would not encroach on its openness, while there would only be a ‘minor increase’ in vehicle journeys.

A further statement with the application added: “The proposed residential neighbourhood will retain and enhance historic settings, optimise site permeability, connect to the wider area of Tooting and provide new homes.”

Council planning officers recommended approval of the scheme in a report after ruling it to be of a ‘suitable high quality and design’. They said the land had already been developed and the scheme would not cause substantial harm to the MOL, while helping to meet housing need in the borough. Officers added the proposed five-storey blocks did not comply with council policy but would have a ‘limited impact’ on the skyline, while concluding the impact on surrounding roads would be ‘acceptable’.

But the council’s planning committee rejected the scheme on March 20 after raising concerns about the impact on MOL and surrounding roads. Labour councillor Tony Belton had urged the committee to approve the plans after praising the ‘very substantial amount of affordable housing’ put forward. Out of the 220 affordable homes proposed, 95 would have been offered at social rent.

But other councillors argued the proposed scheme was inappropriate. Conservative councillor Ravi Govindia raised concerns about the impact on MOL and the ‘additional quantum of development on the site putting additional pressure on constrained roads in the neighbourhood’.

Conservative councillor Peter Graham said: “95 units [at social rent] are not enough to justify a five-storey wall of housing that destroys what was agreed while permanently disfiguring the surroundings.” The committee rejected the plans, with four councillors voting in favour and six against.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan could call in the application to make a final decision, and the developers could also appeal to the planning inspector.