Wednesday, 8 October 2008

US Embassy and Regeneration of New Covent Garden Market

All of the local area blogs have recently been buzzing with the news of the relocation of the US embassy to a yet unknown site in the Nine Elms quarter of Vauxhall. Although I say, "yet unknown", a story on the "bd architect's website" refers to the embassy location as the "2ha site" that is "close to Terry Farrell’s high-security MI6 building and the proposed Battersea Power Station development".

However, a piece of news, just spotted in the Evening Standard, indicates that the New Covent Garden fruit and vegetable market is about to receive funding for redevelopment. So now we'll have lots of US embassy employees munching apples wandering about the area. I've never been to New Covent Garden Market but they have a snazzy looking website. In the redevelopment section, they suggest the redevelopment will provide:

an invitation to the private sector to innovate on how the site could be more than just a market - becoming a focus for food and indeed flowers for London
I /like/ the idea of having an entire "focus" for food and flowers in this part of South London. I just hope that Borough market, and East St market, and Oval Farmers market can all keep flourishing at the same time...

Now, regarding the US embassy, it's obviously quite exciting that a major "player" wants to move to the area, but I'm more convinced that the embassy is moving for security reasons, than that they're moving primarily to be a part of the development of the South Bank! I figure that they want to be on the Thames so that they can use motor boats to get away if there's a terrorist attack. I'm vaguely concerned about traffic/planning/nuisance implications of the new US embassy in the area because I know what Mayfair residents have had to put up with, due to the recent installation of tank traps around the current embassy site. Also, I wonder whether it's sensible to have so many "target" buildings eg. MI6 and US embassy and Parliament all so close to one another...

The developments are all just outside the SE11 area, but if it all comes to fruition, I imagine our area will see development (good or bad, I know not) as a result of general investment. I wonder if there's something that they know that we don't, ie. whether anybody is about to enhance the transport infrastructure or go ahead with proposed public transport ideas, such as the Cross River Tram (hint, hint) to cope with all of the new developments.

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