Builder rewarded for bad behaviour

A developer that built an extra 50 flats without the required planning permission on a new waterside site in Fulham has got away with it
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Riverside development: Imperial Wharf
Riverside development: Imperial Wharf
Homes & Property discovered in May that St George had created the flats in two blocks at Imperial Wharf, its flagship scheme on the Fulham riverside. The company will make many millions of pounds on the sales.

Hammersmith & Fulham council vowed to take tough action on St George, but at a planning committee meeting last week, it was not penalised. In fact, the company was offered more concessions by the council. It was allowed to slash the social-rented and shared-ownership homes at Imperial Wharf by nearly 250, out of the total 815 promised.

The project was built on a promise from St George of a new transport system for the residents but it now appears that the firm has been allowed to build the entire 1,800-home scheme without a railway station. When permission was first granted in 2000, the council decreed that no more than 1,065 homes could be built without a station, as there are no rail or Tube links in the area, and the extra cars would be too much for the area.

Opposition leader Michael Cartwright told Homes & Property: “I was shocked.” The developer will now replace rented and shared ownership homes with “discount market” flats, for the benefit of people earning up to £60,000 a year.

These range from £122,000 for a studio to £200,000 for one-bedroom units. However, their prices can only rise in line with the average earnings index, they can never be sold on the open market and their owners may be unable to move up the property ladder.

Hammersmith & Fulham has almost four households waiting for every social-rented unit that becomes available.

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