Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs First Special Report


 Letter to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, from the Deputy Borough Planner, Wandsworth Council.

I understand that MAFF would find it helpful to receive a statement from this Council responding to the Select Committee's report on the Market, in particular on the planning position relevant to the Market. The following are officer-level views on the question raised by the Committee asking that the Council spell out its views on the future use of the site in more details such as via a planning brief.

The general policy position was set out in the Council's evidence to the Committee, and the Council's policy in its Unitary Development Plan (UDP) is in line with Government Guidance (PPG4 and Strategic Guidance for London Planning Authorities in particular). The UDP policy supports the Market and would support renewal/improvement of the Market's infrastructure, and diversification into other food-related activities. In the event that part or all of the Market were to be vacated, the Council would in principle support business, office, industrial or warehousing development. The Council's policy on uses on the site is clear, and alternative uses such as retail or residential development would be contrary to the UDP, and therefore by virtue of s.54A of the 1990 Planning Act (as amended) would be very likely to be refused planning permission unless there were to be some very significant material consideration which could overturn the development plan policy.

In this context, the value of the Council producing a development/planning brief for the site would appear very limited. In our view there are no substantive issues regarding use or access, and there would seem little point at this stage in attempting to 'second-guess' possible physical changes - which could be an issue - which may arise of the Market were able to proceed with its intentions. Therefore, any changes to the Market as a result of new investment/diversification are probably capable of being dealt with through normal planning negotiations. The Council has a close relationship with the Market and if substantial development proposals were likely, some form of supplementary planning guidance could be provided, as needed, in conjunction with the Market, when proposals were becoming clearer.

I hope this is useful; please let me know if you have any questions.

Wandsworth Council
26 April 2001

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