A new development of eight blocks of flats will be built on the site of a former B&Q after Sutton councillors grant planning permission.

The towers, ranging from six to 21 storeys, will house 970 flats, 337 of which will be affordable homes. 

The site will include 8,786sqm of new open space.

This will include space for new shops as well as a public park called Chalk Green, which pays homage to the area’s historic quarry.

Both residents and the public will also have access to cut through the site on a new cycle friendly pathway.

St George, the developers, claimed this new open space will transform the formerly "sterile" B&Q site and connect the green spaces of manor park to the north and the Warren recreation ground to the east. 

Your Local Guardian: The B&Q siteThe B&Q site

St George also claimed that the site’s location next to Sutton station means its residents would be well served by public transport and would have a lesser need for journeys by car.

However, a number of local residents objected to what they saw as an assumption that people "don't need to use cars."

Some residents even went as far as to dub the plans an "urban dystopia".

Despite this, last Thursday’s decision will make way for the demolition of the existing B&Q store and its underground car park.

Concerns about overspill parking took centre stage at the planning meeting. In particular, they took issue with the limited number of parking spaces proposed in the plan and what they saw as the inevitable overspill of parking onto nearby roads with no current parking control.

One resident claimed that the lack of parking will mean the new residents will have to rely on what they saw as "unreliable" public transport.

Following the approval, Sutton Council will conduct a new controlled parking zone consultation to decide whether parking restrictions in the nearby area should be amended.

Residents also complained that nearby Moorland, Reading and Alfred Road would be heavily affected by this area.

One resident claimed the site would be "architecturally disrespectful to the character of the Victorian neighbourhood".

A resident, who lived in this area also took issue with what he saw as the lack of compromise from St George.

In a spirited speech to the committee he said: “When my one-year-old daughter is old enough to ask me why these concrete towers were built in 2023 and why she had to breathe in concrete dust for ten years during the construction project, I will say all I could do is submit my remarks on paper and offer a plea to the committee on its decision day.” 

Lib Dem councillor and committee chair Richard Clifton highlighted the borough’s housing crisis as his key reason for supporting the development.

He said: “Currently 970 Sutton families are homeless and living in B&B accommodation and that number is rising and is forecasted to grow.

"There are 2,600 families on Sutton’s housing register, the solution to that is more housing. It will not be left vacant, here’s my £20 that says it will be used for housing and these new homes have to go somewhere.”

Before moving to the vote, he added: “It isn’t the price of the 337 homes that’s important, it is that the council will have the nomination rights to put in there the people from the housing register who are in difficult circumstances.”

The new site will mark the outer edges of the Sutton town centre area before the hill slopes down into Carshalton.

The site will take advantage of the natural slope from Chalk Pit way down to Langley Park road by building the towers in descending height order, from 21 storeys on the east side, down to six on the west.

The plans were first proposed in late 2020 and have been scaled back during the planning process.

The number of homes and parking spaces has been reduced since the original plans were submitted.

St George estimated construction of the new site will take up to 10 years to complete and create an average of 200 construction jobs, with up to 290 at “peak construction”.

The site will be the latest addition to the development boom that has hit Sutton station in recent years.

The B&Q site and its underground car park have become a familiar sight to many passing through Sutton.

However, the retailer decided on its intention to sell following the site’s poor performance, instead focusing on its branch on the high street. 

The plans received five votes in favour, with four against and one abstention. 

News of B&Q’s demolition date will follow soon.