Sunday, 28 June 2009

8 Albert Embankment - Initial exhibition / consultation

First up from today (well, yesterday now, but it's much too hot for bed!) was the 8 Albert Embankment exhibition for the proposed development to replace some of the London Fire Brigade buildings on and around the Albert Embankment (technically in SE1, but rather near the boundary). It's worth noting that there are three sites that the developers seek to build upon. New readers should check out this post for a list of all of the major building proposals that affect SE11 and the wider area.

I telephoned the developers before this initial consultation in order to find out what the plans might look like, but the developers (Native Land) technically need to offer an initial consultation/exhitibion in order to demonstrate that they have spoken to the local community, and responded to feedback, so there were no plans on display today (no doubt they've been drawn up somewhere!). There were lots of pretty pictures, which I've photographed in case you couldn't attend the consultation.

The London Fire brigade buildings are currently a mixed bag. It's fairly clear that at least one of them is such a grotty 1970s monstrosity that it could do with being replaced with something that would (hopefully) reveal the Royal Doulton Building in its fully glory. In case you forgot how beautiful it is, here's a quick glimpse: Royal Doulton, SE11

My general concern, as always, is that the potential buildings will be too tall (and I got the general inkling that the proposed buildings would be at least as tall as Salamanca, but that was only froma brief conversation). The developers have to build high in order to maximise profit. You might remember (if you attended the 81 Black Prince Road consultation) how the the proposed building was so tall when viewed from the south of Black Prince Road, that it dwarfed the low and medium rise residences in the rest of Black Prince and Kennington. It's worth noting that the recently released draft Core Policy for the Local Development Framework (for Vauxhall), p63 states that 'Along the river, Lambeth are anxious to avoid creating a wall effect, blocking out the Thames and want sufficient gaps between buildings.' Consequently, building too high risks a rejection on the basis that the building affects the World Heritage area and surrounding listed buildings (remember that Lambeth Council refused 81 Black Prince Road on such grounds, and we're still awaiting the outcome). However, we'll have to wait until the secondary consultation for architect's plans.

What was interesting about the exhbibition is that it was fairly well attended. Whilst I was there, there were about 10 or so other parties coming and going.

In the meantime, some photos from today (I've not included all of them, but the important images are here! Click any photo to enlarge):

This photo shows all three sites that would be developed:






I beleive that this diagram shows properly just how large the proposed development would be. It's going to be very large:


It's quite interesting that London Fire Brigade will retain part of the site:


It all looks rather unexceptional, but then, I doubt that they'll show us the 25 storey building until the secondary consultation/exhibition:




I think Native Land will have to make a greater contribution to local transport (how about a new bus route along Black Prince Road?) because it's not really enough just to state that the area is well connected. Some existing residents are likely to raise parking issues as a concern:


If you missed the exhbition today, you can still give feedback. Note the address on the following photo:


I will (as usual) keep you all updated as more information becomes available on this site.

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