Locals fear they could be “overshadowed by towers” after plans for the redevelopment of an old gasworks in Mitcham have been shared.

The former gas works site in Western Road closed in 1960 after 93 years in operation, and was demolished at the end of 2021.

Developer St William currently has plans for between 625 and 650 homes on the empty site with some buildings up to 10-storeys tall.

The developer has yet to submit final plans to Merton Council and is carrying out pre-application consultation.

Serafina Zammataro lives close the abandoned site and said she wants to see it revamped.

But she thinks the 10-storeys proposed aren’t right for the area. 

She has sent a petition of more than 220 signatures to St William opposing the current plans and said: “We want the area to be built on but we feel the plans would corrupt Mitcham.”

She added that she thinks the current consultation doesn’t give locals a clear idea of what the development would be like as they are sketches rather than CGIs.

Locals are also concerned about the parking that will be provided on the site, at the moment it looks like this will be 100 spaces.

The site was originally earmarked for between 200 and 400 homes in Merton’s Local Plan.

A new local plan is currently under independent examination.

Another neighbour of the development Rachel Erdos, said: “Initially when I heard about the development I was very pro and excited, but on closer inspection, I think the plans are massively uninspiring – over 20 dense blocks of concrete.

"It is completely at odds with Merton Council’s local plan.

“I am absolutely behind developing that area for housing but I have concerns about the lack of green space and parking is already major issue in the area.”

The local green party has also come out against the emerging plans. A letter from the Merton Greens reads: “According to St William, there will be 625-650 homes, in buildings ranging from four to 10 storeys, and residents are deeply unsettled by the prospect of being overshadowed by towers, which are, notably, not in keeping with the character of the local area.

"They ask St William and the Council to consider a more sensitive development of up to 400 homes, with the height not exceeding that of surrounding buildings.”

On August 30 the plans went before Merton Council’s design and review panel, which was held in private.

It gives each application a rating based on the traffic light system with red being bad and green being good.

It was the third time the application was considered by the panel, the first two times it was rated ‘amber’.

This means there are some aspects of the scheme the panel thought the developer could improve on to bring it up to a ‘green’ rating.

A public meeting will be held at St Mark’s Church in Mitcham from 7pm on September 29.

St William will also hold a public drop-in from 4.30-7.30pm on September 20 at the same location.

A spokesperson for St William said: “St William is currently working on proposals to redevelop the redundant Mitcham Gasworks site, which is a brownfield site allocated by the council for development.

“Through a design-led approach, the proposals will include a high-quality residential-led mixed-use scheme with much-needed new homes, including affordable housing, along with commercial uses and publicly accessible open space.

"Pre-application consultation is ongoing with the council, local residents and key stakeholders.”