An expensive blueprint for how Streatham should be developed has been labelled “a waste of money” after town hall planners ignored one of its recommendations.
Lambeth Council spent £120,000 on consultants to draw up its masterplan - a document suggesting the best way to develop major parts of the area.
Critics attacked the exercise as “unnecessary” when it was launched by the council in 2008, arguing similar studies on developing the area already existed and the exercise could be done in-house to avoid high consultants’ fees.
The row over its worth has broken out again, after Lambeth Council planning officers admitted in a meeting they were ignoring a major masterplan suggestion on how Streatham Hill should be redeveloped.
The masterplan suggested the Megabowl and Caesars site should be redeveloped with an open square, and a major “anchor” store.
Instead Lambeth planners were willing to accept a recent residential and commercial application for the scheme which had just an internal courtyard, smaller commercial units, and few of the other features recommended during the Future Streatham consultation.
It was eventually rejected by a planning committee in a meeting on December 2 because of its size and scale. When planning officers were quizzed on why the application did not reflect the masterplan recommendations they said they were not following them.
Further recommendations for the development of Streatham Hill Station as part of an open square also look set to be ignored.
Streatham Society chair Brian Bloice said: “It is a waste of money to spend so much on a consultation and the ignore the document."
Streatham Hill ward councillor Ashley Lumsden said: “We have spent £120,000 on a few paper documents which don't seem to mean much.”
A Lambeth Council spokeswoman said: “The Future Streatham Masterplan is an aspirational development blueprint for the area and is a useful guidance document for council officers when considering planning applications.”
She said it was compiled following extensive consultation and has already influenced various projects including the next stage of road improvements along Streatham High Road.