A plan to demolish a building a university building and build a five storey block of flats has been approved by councillors.

Councillors met on September 6 to discuss an application from the Wimbledon College of Art to tear down their Palmerstone Road facility in order to fund a plan to centralise services at their Merton Hall campus.

The five storey block of apartments will replace the current building on Palmerstone Road which was built in the 1940s and is no longer fit for purpose.  

Concerns were raised by residents and councillors about the size and bulk of the building and the proximity of its balconies and terraces to nearby homes and businesses.

Angela Yates, who owns the Gooseberry Bush cafe opposite the proposed development in Palmerstone Road, regularly runs ante natal and yoga classes and said the development would destroy the privacy currently enjoyed by her customers. 

Councillor David Dean, who voted against the plans, said: "We are talking about a complete change of usage from education to residential and we have forgotten clearly the principals of this council that there should be 50 per cent affordable housing.

"It’s too big considering we have buildings opposite."

The development will include 24 residential apartments - four classed as affordable - an underground car parking and landscaping.

A spokesperson for the Wimbledon College of Art insisted the plans would help secure investment and revitalise a currently vacant site with much needed housing.
The plans were approved six votes to four.