17-storey Development at Albert and Swedish Wharf Approved

276 flats to be built on riverside site with new jetty provided

Albert & Swedish Wharf Visualisaiton. Picture: Epr Architects

February 14, 2024

More than 250 flats have been approved as part of a new riverside development to be built right next to Wandsworth Bridge. The existing structures on the Albert Wharf/Swedish Wharf site in South Fulham, including several ‘shed-like buildings’, will be demolished, and replaced with a mixed-use development featuring blocks up to 17-storeys tall.

The applicant, Henley Investment Management, has also said it will safeguard the wharfs for ongoing use, and introduce a new jetty.

Following last Tuesday night’s (13 February) Hammersmith and Fulham Planning and Development Control Committee meeting, Ian Rickwood, Chief Executive at Henley Investment Management, described the scheme as “a prime example of how underused brownfield land can be repurposed to help meet housing need in London”.

Amounting to a total of 276 flats, 35% of which will be classed as ‘affordable’, the redevelopment is the latest granted approval along the South Fulham riverside. These include the former Hurlingham Retail Park, located the other side of Wandsworth Bridge, on which will be built 269 homes, and the Fulham Riverside development, to the east of the Albert Wharf/Swedish Wharf site, which has already been completed.

The new scheme has undergone numerous amendments since pre-application discussions in December 2020, at which stage buildings up to 23 storeys and 350 to 380 homes were envisaged. The re-working of the plans was noted by officers during last night’s meeting, at which a primary concern raised by multiple councillors was that of noise.

Cement supplier Cemex is one of the site’s current neighbours, a business Cllr Alex Karmel said he was worried may be forced to close unless effective mitigations are put in place protecting it from residents’ complaints. On the flip-side, he added there are also concerns about the impact on the quality of life of those moving into the development, due to the noise from next door.

Cllr Wesley Harcourt had also raised a similar concern, comparing it to people moving into housing around Fulham FC’s stadium Craven Cottage, or Queen’s Park Rangers’ ground in Shepherd’s Bush. “It’s the same sort of principle,” he said, “so I’m concerned about the residents obviously and I’m aware of the possibility of the noise, but I think there’s plenty [that’s] been said in terms of mitigation and such-like.”

Cllr Patrick Walsh added future technical advancements in the concrete industry, which may require work such as retrofitting, may also be liable to result in additional noise. “How could an easement agreement be created that takes into account the need for all of these possible other changes at the same time as ensuring that we don’t get to a completely unacceptable level for new residents as well?” he asked.

The council’s legal officer told the committee the noise limit would need to be set at a predetermined level, though that she believed a small percentage increase may be considered acceptable if circumstances change.

Aerial view of Albert & Swedish Wharf. Picture: Google Streetview

Cllr Karmel later aired his objection to the scheme’s design, saying it is not consistent with surrounding architecture and is ‘over dominant’, and asked whether consideration should be given to an extant planning application by Cemex for a new aggregate storage facility. This would result in a new hopper and conveyor belts, meaning the potential for even more noise from neighbouring premises.

Officers said as no decision has been made on the outstanding application, it would not be ‘prudent’ to consider it when voting on the proposed scheme.

Of the five-person committee sitting, two (Conservative councillors Karmel and Adrian Pascu-Tulbure) voted against the application, with all three Labour members backing it. The second officer recommendation, that the Planning Director be able to make minor amendments to the conditions or legal agreement, was however waved through unanimously.

Ian Rickwood, Chief Executive at Henley Investment Management, said following the meeting, “The redevelopment of Albert and Swedish Wharf is a truly unique opportunity to bring this site back into positive use. Not only does it provide much needed housing for London but also an operational wharf for last mile logistics, where demand remains high and having a site like this is incredibly rare. The River Thames has huge untapped potential for handling light freight and utilising the river more will help ease congestion and reduce pollution across London.

“This scheme is a prime example of how underused brownfield land can be repurposed to help meet housing need in London. The development will completely transform this part of the riverfront and the continuation of the Thames Path will create riverside access for new residents and the existing community.”

Ben Lynch - Local Democracy Reporter