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Archive for March 30th, 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.

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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.

Ends

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Background

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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