It’s not every day a new street appears in Battersea, but Avery Walk (connecting Stormont Road and Sugden Road) is now complete, and open to the public. Actually calling it a new street is maybe overplaying it a bit – but it is a road that runs along nine new houses, with public pedestrian access. It’s also a drivable road, but access to vehicles is only for residents (who have individual parking spaces) and rubbish trucks.
The development was somewhat controversial when it was going through the planning process (the site is only just able to accommodate nine houses, and they are close to their neighbours on Lavender Hill) – however now that work is complete the street looks decent, and the houses look to be well built to a good standard. A bit of greenery would help the feel of the place, and (as it was part of the original plans) may yet be added.
The 3- and 4-bed houses took some time to build (with a lot of excavation at first to create the large basements, and a notable pause of a couple of months when they were nearly complete). The houses all have four stories – with one of them underground and stretching underneath the road surface. They have no gardens but they do all include balconies and roof terraces. A few remain for sale (going for £1.5-1.8 million) and some are for rent, however a good number are now occupied – we hope our new neighbours are enjoying these rather smartly fitted out properties.
As you walk along the street you will notice glazed sections at the Sugden Road end – these provide light to the kitchen / living rooms in the basements of the bigger houses. The original plans had these in all nine of the houses, but we understand that rather late in the day (after work had started) it was spotted that part of the land actually belonged to the Council rather than the developers, which was a bit awkward! It was the service yard for the old factory and everyone had presumably assumed it belonged to Rotoplas, but it didn’t. The design was therefore changed to make the basements of some of the houses at the Stormont Road end shorter, avoiding the ‘non owned’ land – but this meant that there was no longer room for the skylights.
Avery Walk runs along the site of what used to be the Rotoplas factory, one of the last manufacturing businesses in Battersea, who specialised in making specialist metal components very precisely using electroforming processes. Rotoplas are a successful local business and those who were familiar with them will be pleased to know they haven’t disappeared – they’ve just moved to more modern and spacious premises in Lower Sydenham. Watching the demolition of their old building was interesting – it was really a small complex of buildings, some of them very old, including a section that had many moons ago been a bakery and had a whole load of built-in ovens.
In an intriguing twist, Avery Walk was due to be called Medford Row, but there was a late change of mind (after the formal notifications had gone up) and the name of the as-yet unbuilt street was changed. There’s usually some local relevance to new street names, and we’d be interested if any of our readers knows where the name Avery originated from…