I nearly fell off my chair in shock last night as I received a forward from Cllr Steven Morgan about 8 Albert Embankment. The shock was caused by the fact that the Princes ward councillors have said that they plan to oppose the planning permission request already, even prior to hearing community feedback! Why might this be?
"As your local councillors we shall be objecting to the plans as they currently stand. We find that we cannot support an application that will provide less than 10% affordable housing when our target in Lambeth is between 40-50%. Whether you agree with us or not, please do make your own comments to the planning department so that they know what the views of the local people are before making a decision on whether they think the scheme should go ahead or not."It seems likely that the community would support the council on the matter. Less than 10% community housing is unacceptable, but shows that in the current economic climate, the developers are really going to bid low. What would normally happen would be that this application would be turned down, and the developers would resubmit, suggesting 20% community housing. The council will fall at their feet, very grateful, and when the building is halfway through development, there will be some kind of setback that will eventually mean that 12% is agreed. Call me a cynic. I say that we should demand a 50% quota, and let the bidding war commence. At least we'd get 30% that way :)
Take a look at the actual planning permission request from the Developers on Lambeth Council's Planning database here.
The proposal in outline is as follows:
Now, don't be too shocked, but actually (subject to seeing the drawings), I think that this is quite a good preliminary proposal summary. I'm impressed that they've limited the tallest building to 16 storeys (bearing in mind that 81 Black Prince Road will have 23). I like the idea of mixed height buildings and particularly mixed use development. I think it will be great to have some offices, shops, restaurants etc. along that stretch of the river (that portion of the South Bank is quite impoverished in terms of facilities, and so people tend not to visit). I think that good eating/drinking establishments could rejuvenate and complement the existing pubs and options currently on Black Prince Road and Albert Embankment. Also, it seems to me that 360 residential units is ambitious, but not foolish. So, if they get knocked back on this attempt for low provision of community housing, I don't see any reason not to permit the development once the council have obtained their allocation. This is, of course, subject to viewing the building drawings... If it is going to look hideous or they've neglected to provide sufficient green space, I might change my mind...
"Refurbishment, reconstruction and extension to the grade II fire station to provide a new fire station and associated functions for the London Fire Brigade (sui generis) on part basement and ground floors, with residential (class C3) above, including demolition of the communication mobilising centre. Demolition of the brigade workshop/office buildings to the rear and construction of 7 new buildings ranging in height from 5 to 16 storeys for mixed use purposes, comprising residential (class C3); business (class B1) to include offices and studio workshops; shops, financial and professional services, restaurants and cafes, and drinking establishments (class A1, A2, A3, A4) and ancillary facilities. Refurbishment and internal alterations to the grade II listed drill tower associated with the new fire station. Construction of basements to provide servicing, parking, energy centre, plant and storage. creation of areas of open space, and alterations to existing vehicular and pedestrian access and highway arrangements within and around the site. To provide a total of 360 residential units, 7,214sqm of commercial floorspace and 181 parking spaces including a 6 storey building on the corner of Black Prince Road and Newport Street.
This application is a departure from the adopted Lambeth Unitary Development Plan (August 2007)."
I'm struggling, at the moment, to view all six pages of plans on the Lambeth planning database. Quite frankly, the database technology that Lambeth are using is not really sufficient to view significant numbers of documents. During the day, it's so slow as to be useless. As soon as I can get some pictures, I'll paste them here, so that we can an idea of how the thing might look.
My only query, and I wonder if one of the developers or readers of the blog might be able to answer is the line on the proposal which states, "This application is a departure from the adopted Lambeth Unitary Development Plan (August 2007)." Does anybody know why? I know Cllr Harrison reads the blog, so perhaps he might be able to fill us in with how the application is a departure from the UDP and in what way? It might be a minor matter, but it seems an interesting statement.
One point that I will continue to keep making, until people are really sick of it, is that this is yet another building that is likely to raise the number of commuters using Vauxhall Station, and, as yet, we have no guarantee that anybody will fund the enlargement of the tube station or additional tube provision. That is all.
(I ought to say in passing that Cllr Steve Morgan is quite good at sending timely emails to the community on planning matters...)