Archive for March, 2010

That’s Vauxhall, Nine Elms, Battersea Opportunity Area Planning Framework to you. A huge development plan that affects the area between Vauxhall, Battersea Power Station and the Wandsworth Road. The consultation response from ASSA is given below plus some background on the development.


ASSA is responding to the VNEB OAPF because we believe that the development of the area will

  • increase the burden on local services and infrastructure
  • impact the appearance of and views from our neighbourhood
  • has the potential to positively impact on the services and amenities available to our residents

In summary of the ASSA feedback on the VNEB OAPF

  • The overall density of the development area and the plans for a cluster of tall buildings around Vauxhall would place an excessive burden on the transport, leisure and social infrastructure in our area and the OAPF does not include sufficient mitigants to alleviate these impacts
  • The expected visual impact of the cluster of tall buildings is deeply regrettable both the direct impact on views from our conservation area and also views from the very pretty walks around our area, particularly in Vauxhall Park and surrounds.
  • The density of the development area also allows little room for green areas (the linear strip of land surrounded by high buildings cannot be considered a ‘park’), community gardens and allotments, sports facilities and other areas of public amenity.
  • The VNEB OAPF recognizes that existing business will be forced to relocate out of the area, many of which are SME local employers. They will be replaced by “20-25,000” retail and office jobs. There is no indication that these jobs will match the skills of local residents or whether there will be any training for local residents to work in this new employment zone.
  • Our concern is that the development plan creates little incentive for residents of the surrounding areas to enter the VNEB Opportunity Area. This will lead to a ‘ghetto’ of flats with little linkage to the surrounding area.
  • There is no clarity in the development plans on what the requirement for affordable housing will be in the area.
  • We are supportive of the plans for the New Covent Garden Market and the plans to open up the market to encourage local tourism, training and hospitality facilities to celebrate this unique London asset in our neighbourhood.
  • Apart from the district heating plans there is no vision to create an area that is more self-sufficient in its energy use and waste management.
  • ASSA would like to see
    • A clear commitment to invest in schools, healthcare and other social infrastructure facilities.
    • An investment in sports facilities, green spaces, allotments and other facilities that contribute to the social value of the opportunity area and the well being of all those living in it and near it.
    • A great reduction in the height and number of tall buildings around Vauxhall with great sensitivity in design and scale being given to any buildings built around our parks.
    • Lower density housing with a greater focus on the quality of design and surrounding environment and amenities. This has the potential to make the Opportunity Area and attractive asset for our community rather than ghettoized dormitory for commuters.
    • Greater emphasis on a diversified mix of businesses. There is a reason New Covent Garden must, by law, be situated at Nine Elms – because of its proximity to central London. The plan should include areas for business that can service the homes, shops and offices of central London. This would also create a greater diversity of jobs and skills for local residents.
    • Measures to encourage the maximum level of energy efficiency and decentralized, low carbon energy generation (ideally carbon neutral as will be required by 2016) for residential and commercial buildings.
    • Measures to minimize the amounts of waste being exported to landfill, maximizing the amount of waste recycled.




The Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea (VNEB) Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF!) covers the triangular area from Vauxhall station to Battersea Power Station bounded at the bottom by Wandsworth Road. See map below.

All documents can be found here http://www.london.gov.uk/who-runs-london/mayor/publications/planning/vauxhall-nine-elms-battersea-opportunity-area-planning-framework

  • The VNEB area has been designated an opportunity area in the GLA’s London Plan. This means it will be treated as a single area and a planning framework will be developed for it. This is positive as it means considerations like social infrastructure (parks, schools, surgeries) will be included as part of the plan rather than the alternative which is putting strain on the existing infrastructure.
  • The aim of the OAPF is to increase land values in the area thereby increasing investment.
  • There are a small number of landlords: Treasury Holdings (Battersea Power Station), Covent Garden Market Authority, US Embassy and some others.
  • There will be two focal ‘growth poles’ Battersea Power Station and Vauxhall station which will be residential and office space plus retail.
  • A cluster of tall buildings at Vauxhall of 150m in height or less (the St Georges Tower already consented is 180m list of tall towers for comparison here: http://www.skyscrapernews.com/britains1.htm) Views from Albert Square and South Lamb eth Road are given below

  • 16,000 new homes mostly in 8-10 storey blocks or the towers. 40,000 people including up to 10,000 kids. No family houses to speak of – mostly 1-2 bed flats. Limited social housing.
  • 15-20 year development period
  • New Northern Line extension from Kennington to Nine Elms and Battersea at a cost of £600m privately funded (the reality of this number is questionable as is the likelihood of it being build in a timeframe consistent with the development or being built at all. There is very limited transport development planned apart from the tube extension.
  • Public space will consist of a Thames walkway, a ‘linear park’ (a 50m wide strip of land with 8-10 story blocks either side) and three walkways from Wandsworth Road to the river.
  • District Heating Network planned for the area.
  • Up to £405m of S106 funds.
  • New Covent Garden Market to be completely redeveloped. Funded by selling the flower market plot plus another plot near cringle street Work commencing 2013. This actually looks pretty good. Redevelopment will modernise the existing market area. It will also increase public access and have cafes and restaurants showing off the great food of our land Downside is flower market will be sold as a high rise hotel to fund it all

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At a Planning meeting at Brixton Town Hall on Wednesday 24th March  the Council agreed that they would not recommend that planning permission should be granted for the tower in its present form.
Permission had been sought for a 149 Metre tower.  Many locals  effected by this development do not have seem to have been aware of the nature of the development.
About 20+ locals attended the meeting to protest and  about 10 of those whom had  applied to speak were given the opportunity to do so. Some who spoke were passionately opposed. Vauxhall Park representatives were extremely concerned about the shadow that would be cast over the park after 4 pm when  summer peak time use  happens. Children after school and residents relaxing would have their light obstructed.
Michael Ball, Director  of Waterloo Community Development Group and David Boardman of the Kennington Association  had considerable knowledge and had  put in immense research and thought to their representations which concentrated on the areas where the proposed development deviated from planning policy.
This  all was no doubt highly influential on the final decision  and the Councillors’ decided NOT to follow the  recommendation  that  the Council should  grant permission (subject to conditions and Section 106 Agreement.).

Some of the reasons for refusing  were:

  • That the building was too wide and too tall and detrimental to the Public Realm
  • That there is insufficent floor space for employment. The intention is that  1/3 of floor space within the Major Development Opportunity area should  be given over whereas Octave Tower is  probably less than 10%
  • That the Development is too dense-  ( By probably around X3) This density breaches good quality building policies
  • That there is insufficient amenity space and a lack of public space.

Additionally the adverse effect on local conservation areas was noted. In particular St Marks, Landsdowne Gardens, Vauxhall Conservation Area and our own in  Albert  Square.

The developers of the Octave Tower had actually have actually appealed against Lambeth for non determination prior to the planning meeting in any event. This matter will therefore be decided upon at appeal and there is still much to play for.

ASSA will make representations and if you would like to discuss the issues over this then please contact Rosemary Ellis ( 0207 793 9538)

The pictures above is from a collection available on our Flickr page – all photos are accessible by clicking on the ‘Neighbourhood Photos’ box on the right hand menu (you might need to scroll down a bit to find it).

The photos show the Bondway development from different angles and perspectives. It should be noted that they are the developers computer generated images and that the trees are generally in full leaf and therefore do cover up considerable amounts of the Building that will be visible through the Winter. In some cases the outlines of Bondway and other skyscrapers are all shown.  Ssme of the images seem to be slightly “overexposed” so that the upper outlines are  perhaps not as dominant as the Building  would be in reality.

The images  should be viewed and assessed for information or illustrative purposes only and not to form part of any future formal application submitted by a third party without the consent of consultant who was commissioned by the applicant for this Bondway application.

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The Canton Arms was reviewed in today’s Observer.  The short version is that Jay Rayner seemed to like it rather a lot – partly for what has stayed the same as well as for what has changed:

One achievement is that the team has managed not to chase the old clientele out. This isn’t some gussied-up, ersatz version of a pub, new scrubbed for the emerging middle classes. It remains what it always was, with a bar at the front full of regulars deep into their pints and the dining room out back. They’ve given the place a lick of paint but done little else. The menu is admirably short, with four starters and mains supplemented by a couple of specials…

[The wine list] is, like the entire operation, without pretension; they are absolutely not trying to be all things to all people. They are only trying to be themselves. Unlike with many places I review, I will definitely be returning, probably often.

It’s good to see the hard work getting some recognition – and great to have both food this good so enticingly close to home and one of our two pubs back in full swing.

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Saturday 20th March 10am-1pm

Our Local Street Sale : Residents of Albert Square, St Stephens Terrace, Wilkinson Street and Aldebert Terrace will be licenced to sell or give away furniture, toys, books, clothes, half finished pots of paints and remnants- pretty much anything outside of the front of our homes.

Sell or give away anything that you have no further need of,   encourage your kids to be entrepreneurial, make money for yourself or a charity and at the same time meet local friends and residents.

The idea is also to consider the environmental/ ecological – and this event really supports the idea of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. We hope to have other stalls such as

  • Dr Bike -( bring your bike and get it fixed for free);
  • buy energy saving/ weather proofing devices;
  • learn how to cut down waste plus water saving freebies given away etc.
  • Bring out your old phones for reuse as potential lifesaving devices by an abused women charity.

What Do Residents need to do? Simply set out a table outside your home before 10 am and sell or give away your unwanted items from there. Tell friends about the event. After 1p.m you can either take in your items or mark them up as to whether you want them to go to charity, recycle or to landfill. (Organisers will come around with stickers for you). A local charity will be collecting items from 1 pm and also Lambeth Council have agreed to send a cage to pick up unresuable household items (so a total opportunity to declutter and Spring Clean).

Check out the report of the last time we did this. The event was a good community event, easy to do and most people had a lot of fun.

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One of London’s first two ‘cycle superhighways’ is due to run along Clapham Road and should be operational along its full length from Merton to the City by the summer.  The scheme promises ‘a safe, fast, direct, continuous and comfortable way of getting from outer to central London by bike along recognised commuter routes’ according to Transport for London.

The routes promise clear blue markings for the cycle lanes themselves, together with smoother road surfaces and better safety measures.  It’s not yet clear how much practical difference this will make – the document listing the implementation works is decidedly vague for something which is already underway:  the statement that existing cycle lanes will be widened ‘where possible’ does not inspire immediate confidence, and continuous blue cycle lanes through juntions are only being trialled.  There is though some willingness, at least in principle, to think slightly more strategically about some of the bigger junctions:

A survey will be conducted to assess the impact of reducing the two lanes heading northbound towards the A3 at the Stockwell Gyratory to one lane, allowing the installation of a new segregated cycle lane at this location.

Meanwhile, of course, the existing London Cycle Network route 3 winds its way from Clapham Common to Waterloo along Aldebert Terrace and Stephen’s Terrace, dealing with busy main roads largely by avoiding them.  That’s the paler blue route on the map below – an extract from a larger map showing the whole route of the new cycle superhighway – which casually allows Meadow Road to cross South Lambeth Road to join up with Larkhall Lane, so let’s hope nobody tries to use it to find their way.

But how super will the cycle superhighway really be?  Andreas Kambanis, who blogs as the London Cyclist is not optimistic, comparing what, on past form, we are likely to get in London with the rather more ambitious plans for cycle superhighways in Copenhagen.  No prospect for us of copying the ‘green wave’ which means that cyclists travelling at a steady 20 kph will get green lights at each succeeding junction – but at least a recognition that cycling is increasingly one of London’s core modes of transport.

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