Archive for the ‘Planning and development’ Category

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 winning design has been announced in the architectural competition for the new US embassy to be built at Nine Elms.  It’s a dramatic and eye catching design which should be a vast improvement on the current scattering of anonymous warehouses. There is a long and well illustrated description on the site of the winning architects, KieranTimberlake.

The design places the embassy building at the center of the Nine Elms site and develops the surrounding area into an urban park. The new embassy meets all the required security standards while honoring the English tradition of urban parks and gardens as the context for many civic buildings. The new embassy, with its gardens, will establish a strong framework for the urbanization of the Nine Elms redevelopment zone.

There are two major east-west pedestrian and vehicular paths, one existing and one to be improved, and the other proposed as part of the enabling infrastructure for the Nine Elms development. The existing infrastructure is along the south Thames embankment and is composed of a river walk paralleled by Nine Elms Lane. The proposed new infrastructure to the south of the embassy site is a pedestrian greenway that will connect the embassy site to Vauxhall Station, the nearest tube stop to the east, and on to the proposed new Battersea developments to the west. Poised strategically midway between these parallel paths, the embassy becomes part of an urban park that connects the Thames embankment to the new pedestrian way to the south.

The paving about and within the embassy site utilizes the familiar limestone used in many London walks and parks. London Plane trees provide shade and form at the perimeter and along Nine Elms Lane as well as the proposed new walk to the south that connects the site to Vauxhall Station.

Seen from the north along the Thames embankment and Nine Elms Lane, the new Embassy Park contains a pond with walks, places to sit and landscape along its edges, all open to the citizens of London.

Trees near the pond are to be North American species, such as the Weeping Willow and the Bald Cypress. Others, while native to North America, were long ago brought to England and are now common to the English landscape.

There is a lot more about the building itself, but it is the exterior and the landscape in which it is set which are much more important for most of us who are unlikely to have much occasion to go – or be allowed – inside.

The original outline plan included proposals for opening more routes through the Nine Elms site to the river, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists.  It’s not clear from this description whether all that has survived – but it’s one to keep an eye on, as it is potentially a significant benefit to our area.  The other direct effect is likely to be increased pressure on transport.  The proposed Northern Line extension to Battersea is still in the Mayor’s Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area Planning Framework, but the US Embassy is probably not big enough by itself to provide any assurance that it will ever materialise.  Increased pressure on Vauxhall, further exacerbated by the policy of encouraging new tall buildings there, risks crowding out existing transport users.

According to the Washington Post, construction is due to start in 2013 and be completed by 2017.

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Another public meeting has been arranged about the Vauxhall area planning framework (earlier coverage here and here).  The additional meeting has been arranged by the Kennington Oval and Vauxhall Forum and will take place on at 7pm Wednesday 10 February at St Peter’s Church, Kennington Lane, Vauxhall.

The deadline for comments on the draft planning framework has now been extended to 28 February – details are on the Mayor’s website.

From now on, updates on the Kennington Oval and Vauxhall Forum website news page will be picked up in the News From Other Stockwell Sites area of this site.

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If you didn’t make it to the meeting about the future of Vauxhall which Chris wrote about last week, it’s well worth reading the lively account of what happened on Lurking About SE11.  And if you want to know the background you might also like to read the snappily titled Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area Planning Framework Consultation Draft.  You can download it here – but be warned that it’s a 16Mb document which is 170 pages long. [Update: If you have tried to download it but got an error message, that’s because the Mayor’s website has been reorganised.  The link has now been updated to point to the new location.]

The future of Vauxhall and the wider ‘opportunity area’ has been a long-running topic, and doubtless will continue for a long time yet.  We featured the Vauxhall Supplementary Planning Document here just over a year ago and the proposed Northern Line extension last summer.

Part of the problem for residents (and their associations) trying to keep track of all this is that the decision making is very fragmented.  In a separate post, Lurking Around SE11 makes the perceptive point that:

It seems that there is an ongoing issue pertaining to the requests for permission lining up with the Mayor’s Plan for Nine Elms and the Vauxhall Supplementary Planning Document. Each time a developer submits a request for planning permission for a new building, the transport and infrastructure questions are only considered for the building in question by the local council (in this case, Lambeth). Does this mean that the developers will keep having planning permission granted because “just one more building” won’t affect the underground tube congestion? As long as Lambeth Council are seen to be proceeding on a building by building basis, there is less need for anybody to consider the overall area, and the effects that new buildings will have on older buildings and the surrounding townscape. Indeed, it’s rather impossible for residents to object, approve or comment on each new building because it’s so time consuming to work in this manner. Please could we consider multiple buildings and their effects on one another, before we have to comment on the next in the series?

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Back in October, we had to turn off the list of local planning applications which appeared in the right hand column.  The service is based on postcodes and Royal Mail decided to get heavy handed with the rights they claim over the postcode data, resulting in the service being withdrawn altogether – full details are in the original post.

The service has now been restored although with a slightly cryptic warning that is functioning with reduced postcode accuracy.  But it should mean that we don’t have to rely on spotting notices on lamp posts to find out what is going on.

The return of Planning Alerts may be linked to today’s launch by Sir Tim Berner-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, of a new government website giving access to a huge range of government data for creating just these kinds of useful applications. Planning Alerts is one of the first batch of applications featured on the site.

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Planning gains

News in from Neil Sanders:

I’m delighted to say that both the latest application for the former Di Lieto site (173-175 South Lambeth Road) and the application to convert the Royal Albert to residential use have been refused.

The South Lambeth Road application has been comprehensively turned down on the basic of architectural quality, the quality of the accommodation that would be provided, overlooking of neighbours, and concerns about parking and traffic.  (The loss of employment is not actually mentioned.)

I’m awaiting a copy of the decision letter on the Royal Albert, but the website says that it has been refused.

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Eagle-eyed readers will note that the list of local planning applications which used to be in the right-hand column has disappeared.  Our local planning alerts came from a service called PlanningAlerts.com, a small and simple site, run by volunteers, which simply took planning applications from the cumbersome systems run by local authorities and made them available in a much more usable form.  Critically, they did this by using postcode data mapped in rather a clever way to location information.  The postcode data needed to make it all work came from another small volunteer site called ernestmarples.comErnest Marples being the Postmaster General at the time postcodes were first introduced.

Royal Mail is now threatening legal action against ernestmarples.com, on the grounds that they are using Royal Mail intellectual property without paying for it.  Nobody involved has the legal resources to take on Royal Mail, so the postcode service has been closed down, with the result that a number of sites, including PlanningAlerts.com have stopped working.  There’s not  a lot we can do about that, beyond signing a petition on the No10 website if anybody feels so moved, so it’s even more important than usual to keep an eye out for planning applications affecting our area.

There are two current applications under consideration.  The more important of the two is yet another attempt  to redevelop the DiLieto bakery site on the corner of South Lambeth Road – details of the application are here.  This is the fifth attempt in eighteen months on my count, with permission now sought for seven flats and a one- to two-storey extension.  That’s an improvement on the original application for nine flats and a four-storey extension, but is still a lot to crowd into a small space.  The deadline for comments is 5 November.

On a much smaller scale, there is also a current application to replace windows and french doors at 37 Albert Square. The deadline for that one is 6 November.

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