The Kanda team of Adam Mclaren, Britney Truong, Nilufa Jahan and Oliver Lewis were delighted to see Merton’s Planning Applications Committee vote 8-2 to grant planning permission for the redevelopment of the former White Hart public house on 144 Kingston Road, SW19 1LY. The permission will see the construction of a much-needed hall of residence for students at Wimbledon College of Arts, which is part of University of the Arts London.

The unique location of the site closely bordering two other wards meant that councillors of all three wards were consulted on the proposals. Kanda had to navigate cross-party engagement with these members of three different parties and with the local MP from a fourth.

The proposals were of interest to residents, local community groups and the various parties and we were happy with the level of engagement generated throughout the consultation. Through our drop in events and the project website, a large number of local people engaged, and their feedback told us that there was strong support for a new hall of residence for students at Wimbledon College of Arts, given students currently have to travel 45 minutes from their nearest hall of residence in Streatham.

We are glad to see that close engagement with residents will continue throughout the construction period and beyond. A resident liaison group will be formed which will comprise of residents, stakeholders and the project team to create an established forum to discuss the construction progression.

The importance of ongoing engagement was highlighted at the Planning Applications Committee meeting, where such a group was supported by members including Cllr Sheri-Ann Bhim (Labour) and Planning Chair Cllr Aidan Mundy (Labour and Co-operative).

At the committee Cllr Gill Manly (Labour) said “I am absolutely delighted that we re hopefully going to have a provision to enable…students of the arts. I hope it does [go ahead]. Thank you for being so careful in your design”.

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