Monday, 27 April 2009

Local Development Framework - Draft Core Strategy [Section 8]

About two weeks ago, I started to summarise Lambeth council's draft "Core Strategy", sections 1 & 2, and then 5, 6 & 7. Today I'm posting the final installment (section 8) . (The other sections are either references or dull/repetitive).

The core document is the most important document contained in the "Local Development Framework". The entire document is 116 pages long. These three posts are a cut-down version, mostly just summarising what was written. I've not changed their wording much, but have shortened and simplified because it contains some interesting ideas for the Borough.

I've used the Lambeth Council document headings where possible, but have not summarised every section as it's a highly repetitive document. The terms in purple are the "key" definitions.

The insightful comments in red are my comments. Due to length of the document, I've split my summaries into separate blog posts.

SE11 readers might like to focus on the "Vauxhall" and "Oval" elements of Section 8 in this post because they are the most pertinent to the area. However, anybody seriously interested in the plans for Vauxhall should dig out the Vauxhall area Draft Supplementary Planning Document:

Section 8 – Policies for Places and Neighbourhoods

The document breaks the Borough into nine different parts, and whilst not intended to cover every part (p58), do attempt to reflect aspirations. [I think these are the most interesting parts… One gets a better picture of what might happen when the Borough is broken down into small sections.]

Waterloo (p59):

The London Plan identifies the potential for 15k new jobs in the area. There is an existing population of 5k people, with potential for additional 1500 dwellings by 2016. The heart of Waterloo is dominated by railway infrastructure and the IMAX roundabout/viaduct and Road constitute a confusing, traffic dominated environment, but there are opportunities for improvement, including Waterloo City Square project, which aims to retain provision for buses (and potentially any Cross-River tram proposal) [they are joking, I presume! It is interesting that the Lambeth LDF continues to mention the tram. I’m not sure if they forgot to take it out, or whether this is deliberate.] There are other initiatives – TFL’s “Legible London” related to pedestrians, and South Bank Centre’s plan re. pedestrian movement.

Waterloo Station (p60) may present a major development opportunity arising from need to remodel facilities to increase capacity.

There are two large hotels in the area, and permission has been granted for 3 more. There are significant health and education uses too. King’s College has plans to expand its presence at Waterloo.

Policy for Waterloo (p61):

Waterloo will be developed by supporting sustainable development for jobs and homes. Waterloo station and immediately adjoining areas has been identified as providing potential for loose cluster of tall buildings. Arts and cultural expansion will be supported. Transport capacity at Waterloo Station and better linkage to Lower Marsh could prove possible. Use of Hungerford car park as extension to Jubilee Gardens will be promoted.

Vauxhall (p63):

Vauxhall part of London Plan priority Areas for Regeneration, which includes Vauxhall/Nine Elms/Battersea. The vision is a place of growth with a heart that will be a good environment for pedestrians and cyclists. Vauxhall is known for its gay community, Portugese community and night life. Vauxhall City Farm is important. The bus station, MI6 and St George’s Wharf are now local landmarks. A series of sites, adjoining Nine Elms and Battersea present opportunities, but public transport capacity is limited and planned upgrades to Vauxhall underground will be absorbed by current demand.

Policy for Vauxhall (p64):

The Council will support mixed use development at Vauxhall (housing, retail, leisure, commercial etc.) and development can provide at least 3500 new homes and 8000 new jobs by 2026. The borough will support the development of an accessible pedestrian and cycling environment with public art and linkages to the River. There will be a seeking of improvements to public transport and highway, particularly seeking the removal of the one way traffic system. [Did I read that correctly? What on earth do they want to do to the main road? I thought the one way traffic system was comparatively new! This development needs to be carefully observed.] Along the river, Lambeth are anxious to avoid creating a wall effect, blocking out the Thames and want sufficient gaps between buildings. Spring Gardens and Pedler’s Park are to be improved to create high quality public green space.

Brixton (p67):

Brixton is a major town centre, famous for markets and significance to London’s African and Caribbean communities. Much of it is in a conservation area and its character is creative and diverse. It has a large leisure centre which is a community focus, but also has the highest levels of deprivation in the Borough. Brixton is part of the London Plan priority Areas for regeneration. Brixton has a high number of retail units, many of which cater for specialist African and Caribbean goods. Vacant units in 2008 was around 11%, comparable to the national average. Due to development at Battersea and Elephant, Brixton requires a strategy to survive. Commuters must be encouraged to spend when passing through.

Brixton underground is undergoing work to increase capacity by 14% and will benefit by the phase 2 extension of the East London line. A new public space will be created at Brixton Central Square by amalgamating Tate Gardens and Windrush Square. The new Evelyn Grace Academy will move to permanent place on Shakespeare Road in 2010, providing 1100 secondary school places, and a Play Park will be developed at Max Roach Park.

Brixton’s strengths are its independent shops, markets and creative businesses and key objectives for regeneration in Brixton are the reinvigoration of the town centre as a shopping destination, growth as a centre for creative/cultural industries and promotion of self-sustaining communities.

Policy for Brixton (p69):

Brixton market will be supported through physical and other improvements and arts, creative and cultural industries will be expanded. The town’s popularity for leisure and nightlife will be expanded, and provision for a theatre will be supported. A new Exchange Square will be supported, linked to a new station entrance, revitalised railway arches and retail/residential development on the Popes Road car park. High Street re-invigoration can be supported. Acre Lane will have employment opportunities protected. Train station could receive improved access and public realm should be improved.

Streatham (p71):

Streatham is one of Lambeth’s major town centres (as well as Brixton) and the High Road is a defining feature, being one of the longest high roads in Europe. Although it’s a conservation area, it has fallen from its hey-day as one of the busiest shopping areas in south London. There are 461 units on the street in 2008 and demand is high, with only 8% vacancy. Large retailers have been deterred due to small unit size, and there is no “anchor” store. There are many Somali owned businesses, reflecting the local population. Streatham has had fastest growing population of any part of Lambeth and has become more diverse with large Somali community and Polish community. The “Streatham Hub” comprising the Ice Rink and Swimming pool is the largest development opportunity in Streatham and new planning permission was granted in 2007 for a redeveloped complex, 250 homes, a Tesco and new bus interchange. This redevelopment has been complicated. The former Caesars nightclub and Streatham Megabowl also offer opportunities to revitalise the area. Streatham Library could be developed. TFL has invested in two stations and is improving the High Road itself. Secondary schools are oversubscribed. Streatham Common will receive improvements to help it gain Green Flag status.

Policy for Streatham (p73)

Streatham’s role as a major town centre will be supported and enhanced to re-establish its place as a destination for retail, leisure, hotels and commerce. Streatham Hill will have its “gateway” role improved so that it’s an attractive destination, with some taller landmarks around the station to provide a focal point and refurbishment to the station itself. There will be support for creation of additional retail, leisure and commercial space.

There will be focus on provision of retail, cultural and outdoor space (possibly for a market) in Streatham Central. Streatham Village will become the heart of Streatham and focus for the community by creating new public spaces and improving connectivity. Streatham Hub (the southern gateway) will provide attractions for the wider catchment area and development of a site for a large food superstore, as well as leisure facilities, town centre parking etc.

Clapham (p75)

The town centre is well served by food and convenience shops. The district had 232 retail/service units in 2008, with vacancy rate at 9%. There’s a low level of non food shopping, as needs are met elsewhere. There’s a desire for a weekly street market. Leisure and hospitality play an important role in supporting jobs and businesses and the night-time economy is on Clapham High Street. The level of anti social behaviour as a result impacts on residential areas and expansion should be limited. The popularity of the tube in Clapham massively strains its capacity, and the northern line between Clapham Common and Stockwell is seriously overcrowded. Clapham Common is a prime open space in south London and with the High Street, lies within a Conservation area. It’s extremely popular for leisure activities and hosts festivals for thousands of people.

Clapham High Street will received a new library, council Customer Service Centre, Health, café, performance space and residential units in Mary Seacole House. A replacement leisure centre will be developed on Clapham Manor Street, along with residential units. Old Clapham Library will be retained for housing, and artists’ space.

Policy for Clapham (p76)

Council seeks to reinforce distinctive character of the Old Town, its historic heritage, Clapham Common etc and provide leisure community uses through redevelopment of Mary Seacole House, redevelopment of Clapham Leisure site and retention of Clapham Library as well as enhancements to the town centre to improve environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

Stockwell (p78)

Stockwell is a small district centre and occupied by high proportion of convenience ships compared with restaurants, cafes etc. There was only 3% retail vacancy in Stockwell (11% nationally). There are many Portuguese businesses. Transport is good with tube station at heart and bus routes. The neighbourhood is residential with high proportion social housing and small number of conservation areas. Stockwell High School (secondary school with 1300 pupils) is being redeveloped. Over 65% of residents have lived in area for over 8 years (that must be very high for London!). Area has vast diversity of cultural backgrounds. Years ago, Stockwell had numerous civic institutions, but these have mostly gone. There are smaller community facilities, including Springfield Centre. Most residents travel out of area for employment.

Stockwell is part of London Plan priority Areas for Regeneration. A master plan was commissioned in 2008 to build on earlier plan in 2001. [Again, this might be problematic… If a town centre as large as Elephant can be stopped in its tracks, it doesn’t bode well for Stockwell redevelopment]. There are certain priorities, trying to change “inward looking” “island estates”, introducing more retail frontages, using open spaces, and addressing the issue of being segregated by busy roads which is a problem for pedestrians. Lambeth PCT want a resource centre in Stockwell and lack of local shops will be addressed.

Stockwell policy (p79)

The council will support Stockwell as a district centre by encouraging retail, commercial and civic uses and improving traffic for pedestrians as well as improving housing estates and connection between them.

Oval (p80)

Oval is a local centre at junction of major roads with tube station in the middle. It has a clear and distinctive sense of place due to the presence of St Mark’s Church. Kennington Park and the Oval cricket ground are nearby. [I actually disagree with this. I think “Oval” is very poorly defined locally. Vauxhall and Kennington have relatively clear boundaries, but Oval is in between Kennington, Camberwell, Brixton, Stockwell and Vauxhall, leaving a rather small residential area that might be termed “Oval”. Many locals would say they live in “Camberwell”, “Kennington” or “Stockwell”. Indeed, the correct name of the cricket ground is “the Kennington Oval.] Pavements are wide, but roads are busy. Diverse buildings, with Victorian terraces and public housing predominating.

Retail vacancy rate was 11% in 2008, matching the national average. Resident population is younger than borough and London averages. Car ownership is low. Accommodation in area is flats, and home ownership is considerably lower than overall borough.

The major issues for the area are: how to derive more benefit from Oval cricket ground, improve quality of environment for residents and visitors around the Oval cricket ground, realise the potential of St Mark’s church yard. [This has essentially been partly addressed through the introduction of Oval market]. Also, there is a need to support improvements to Kennington Park, including heritage aspects [Interesting phrase. I wonder which particular heritage aspects they want to look at. I wonder whether the Friends of Kennington Park know this.]. Also, examine opportunities, including Oval House Theatre’s relocation to Brixton [Eek!! I didn’t know that. Why do they want to move?] There are other sites for development eg. Offley Works, 43-55 Clapham Road, 137-143 Clapham Road and St Agnes Place [again, this is all likely to be delayed due to credit crunch, but I will be keeping a close eye on Offley Works and St Agnes Place, both being SE11].

Oval policy (p81)

The council will support development at Oval stadium to extend range of facilities for local community [this probably refers to the hotel that some local residents are worried will increase local traffic and provide little extra for the local community], improve the relationship of the stadium with adjoining area, particularly Harleyford Street. They’ll seek to improve quality of shopping space and seek appropriate re-use of Oval House Theatre. The council seek to improve traffic and environmental conditions for pedestrians, and linkages between Kennington park and shopping frontages on Clapham Road and Kennington Park Road. [It will be interesting to see what exactly is proposed. I suspect that the linkages for Kennington Park will all be at the back where they’ll work to join up the sports part of the park with the front section. Kennington Park Road is notoriously busy and will only be adversely affected by turning the southern Elephant roundabout into a T-Junction, so I’ll be interested to hear about how the shopping front linkages are going to work without delaying the traffic.]


ann.bodkin said...

Lambeth Planning Policy Group have offered to hold a public session to take people through the LDF Core Strategy . They held a session last week in Waterloo but have nothing arranged so far for Kennington, but are happy to over the next couple of weeks.

As they are trying to piggy-back with local organisation's meetings it seems Kennington Oval Vauxhall Forum would be the appropriate group to lead on this. I am happy to make contact with KOV if contact details are available.

An hour's session which brings together local people might be positively sustainable and help with understanding the 116 pages of the Core Strategy and 381 pages of the Sustainability Appraisal.

Three wheeled one said...

Ann, I think it would be much better if the Lambeth Planning Policy Group could conduct this session at a public meeting of the KOV, the Kennington Association and the RCDT, as well as before our ward councillors (it would seem that bishops, oval and prince's ward would be appropriate, if any of them could be in attendance). There are quite a number of friends groups that might be interested... Friends of Kennington Park, Friends of Spring Gardens, Friends of Kennington Cross etc. as well as residents associations and I think the KOV wouldn't necessarily be capable of providing the breadth of audience as a public meeting.

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