YMCA unveil plans for 24-storey redevelopment
The YMCA has formally unveiled proposals for a 24-storey tower block as part of plans to redevelop its Wimbledon site.
The organisation’s £15m vision was unveiled at a public exhibition today detailing plans for a collection of eight high rise buildings, the tallest rising to 24-storeys.
The split development on The Broadway will comprise 100 hostel units and 140 residential flats set alongside the main YMCA building which will help fund the project.
At the centre of the development will be an open public plaza with green space, restaurants and cafes and a 'village hall' which will be open to the public and could host exhibitions, leisure activities and concerts.
The final design has been based on a number of viability drawings which were displays at the exhibition and ranged from an 11 storey 'U' shaped development to a single 32-storey block.
Richard James, chief executive of the YMCA south west London said: "It is about creating an attractive place for families to come to.
"Mum might be in the gym, the kids could be in the soft play area and granny might be in the café.
"By doing these activities you are generating money to help those at risk.
"People who eat in the café will be helping to fund the training workshops we put on.
"We need a model that funds what we do and a place where people can afford to come and support those at risk in the community and that includes older people, the homeless and children and families at risk.
"The money we get is reinvested into the community - it’s a social enterprise. "We want to enhance what’s happening here and we are really proud that we have a YMCA here."
The current building, which stands at seven storeys, was built in the 70s and is considered to be "old and no longer fit for purpose", however the height of the new development has already caused concern.
Should the YMCA’s plans for the 24-storey building be approved it would dwarf any other building in Merton standing seven storeys taller than the Brown and Root tower in Colliers Wood and 10 storeys taller than the Morden Civic centre.
Councillor Andrew Judge, cabinet member for environment and regeneration has already gone on record to say he would be against any building taller than the current height, and that he doubts Merton’s core planning strategy would either.
While Merton’s Conservative councillors have already started a campaign ‘stop the tower’ against the proposals.
In response to concerns over the height Mr James said: "We want people to see the scheme as a whole and see what we are talking about in terms of public space.
"We are getting lots of positive feedback and others have concerns but this is a genuine consultation."
The building is being designed by renowned architect Lord Richard Roger’s architecture firm, Rogers, Stirk Harbour and Partners.
Lord Roger’s previous buildings include Heathrow’s terminal five, the Pompidou centre in Paris and the Millennium Dome.
The exhibition will be held at the YMCA building at 200 the Broadway today until 7pm and on Saturday, October 19, from 11am to 5pm.
Following the public consultation it is expected a formal planning application will be submitted to Merton Council.
Breakout – YMCA development
• 100 hostel units
• 140 residential flats
• Community plaza with cafes and restaurants
• Community ‘village hall’
• 80 parking spaces – 70 off street spaces for residents, 10 for the YMCA
• Basement parking for 80 residential cars
• Restaurants and shops at ground level of YMCA building
• Expanded health, fitness and wellbeing facilities.
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