Consultation begins on future of the ‘Zurich building’ and gasworks site

A major consultation will begin shortly on the future of a six-acre site that includes the gasworks, the Magnet showroom and the empty Zurich office block. The proposal will be to completely redevelop the area with a supermarket, hotel, shops, restaurants and communal green public square for relaxation.

The site backs onto Vale Road, in the Sutton North ward, but mostly covers neighbouring Sutton Central. However it will have an impact on the surrounding areas, not least because the gasworks currently tower over Vale Road, especially when the cylinders are full!

The developers will no doubt say that it will herald a major improvement to the north end of Sutton High Street, which has often been accused of being run-down in comparison to the pedestrianised section.

Local councillors were initially consulted in early February, but plans for the consultation were only announced last week by the new mayor of Sutton, Sean Brennan, at the Full Council meeting.

The landowner, LXB, has now prepared a draft planning brief. This sets out principles that will guide any future planning applications for the site, so understanding the views of residents at this early stage is vital. The plan includes details about the amount of development and the range of uses which will be allowed on the site. It also sets out the height of building permitted, the quality of architecture and the public open spaces and how people can get to the new facilities either by public transport, on foot or by car.

The consultation will formally open on 29 May and will run until 31 July. An exhibition will be held at Sutton Central Library and in the old Zurich building. The draft plans will also be presented to residents at the Sutton Local Committee on 29 May and Sutton South, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee on 3 July. Leaflets will also be delivered to residents and businesses in the area around the proposed development.

I will be listening to residents and assessing the redevelopment on its’ merits. Residents are welcome to contact me: lester.holloway@sutton.gov.uk

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