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The Capability Brown Society (TCBS) Letter to Historic England Dated 28 January 2022 re AELTC Planning Application in Wimbledon Park

TCBS Letter to Historic England re AELTC Wimbledon Park Planning Application

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Please see this TCBS letter to Historic England regarding the AELTC Planning Application in Wimbledon Park. (Please note that this is NOT a FOWP letter, but is being published on the FOWP website as a useful piece of 3rd party information and not easily available elsewhere).

See also The Capability Brown Society website.

Extract: “

[TCBS Letter to Historic England] Wimbledon Park and the AELTC submission

I feel obliged to respond to your email of January 14th (attached at the end of this letter), as we all find the sympathetic position taken by Historic England with regard to AELTC’s planning application increasingly bizarre given the vast numbers of individuals and organisations (now at least 1200) who are on record in opposition. Historic England should now have had ample time to read some of these submissions and reconsider or more fully explain their position.

Two submissions have been made by The Capability Brown Society, and there are important submissions from The Wimbledon Society, The Wimbledon Resident’s Association and from Dr David Dawson on critical biodiversity issues. If you have not read these perhaps I might forward them to you?

It seems very obvious to us that the scale of AELTC’s ambitions will fundamentally change the character of the landscape that Capability Brown designed and put at significantly greater risk the current Grade II* registration that is already stated to be at risk on Historic England’s register. We place great value in protecting the current state of registration for this important urban valley landscape. NPPF 200 states that substantial harm to a Grade II registration should be “exceptional”, but for a II* registration it should be “wholly exceptional”.

This is an important differential when assessing impacts on this sensitive landscape. In our reasoning, listed below, we maintain that the AELTC application contains elements that are substantially harmful and
present an irretrievable loss of significance to the Brownian landscape that is not compliant with any aspect of NPPF 201. Historic England’s assessment, in their public submission of September 24th 2021, that this “harm would be situated in the lower half of the range of less than substantial harm” is very strongly contested.

It is our belief that any harm that we list below is not less than substantial and would not be counterbalanced by any acceptable public benefit as set out in NPPF202 and that it further risks the registration status of this parkland.

AELTC’s proposals encompass the core remnant of Brown’s designed landscape and we all believe this will fundamentally alter its pastoral and lake character. I feel obliged to try again to spell out the key issues of concern where we believe substantial harm would and could arise.

  1. The introduction into this open parkland of a very insensitively sited enormous new roofed stadium looming 28m high and 104m long will be clearly viewed from the dam promenade in the public park above and through mature trees. It will further compromise the pastoral valley setting of the park with yet another even more prominent building. Its dominance will also obscure critical views designed by Brown from Church Road (the historic Estate driveway) to the lake and to Vineyard Hill.
  • The application site is in a Conservation Area and this building is vast, yet is submitted only in outline which is contrary to policy. Were it to be approved AELTC will have secured, on the basis of the only formal plans submitted, permission just for the siting and vast scale of the building with defined heights; they would be at liberty to consider a completely different design and use for the facility and cannot be relied on, or obliged, to follow the concept plans set out prettily in the Design and Access statement.
  • See plan of Maximum Building heights-51365-AAM-XX-XX-DR-A-00013. This should be of considerable concern to everyone given AELTC’s lack of openness to dialogue. In addition to its unacceptable vast mass it is our view that an outline planning submission without any enforceable detail presents an unacceptable risk as to the eventual outcome….continued
TCBS Letter to Historic England re AELTC Wimbledon Park Planning Application
The Capability Brown Society

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