Monday, 4 October 2010

Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea (VNEB) Exhibition - Part 1 of 5 - Ballymore

This is Part 1 of a series of posts detailing the photos taken of all display boards at the Vauxhall Nine Elms and Battersea (VNEB) consultation held on 2nd and 3rd October 2010.  This post details the plans on display by Ballymore.  (Yes, this is well outside SE11 territory, but as far as I know, there's nobody else blogging about this part of the world).

Ballymore appear to be developing approx. 15 acres around Ponton Road. The road lies in the heart of the proposed VNEB area.  It falls under the remit of Wandsworth Council, so we've not mentioned it before, but whatever is done with this land is likely to be viewable from parts of Lambeth.  I believe Ponton Road is going to be moved (just shifted along slightly) when the new US Embassy is built:

This plan shows (see the red dotted line) the size of the huge area owned by Ballymore, even once the Embassy Quarter (now sold to the US government) is taken into account.  Note that Ballymore also own Kirtling Street (further down Nine Elms Lane):

I shall reiterate (as I'm tired of doing) that whilst Vauxhall is a fine transport interchange, the tube station is at capacity during peak times.  Note that the Ballymore plans do not mention the proposed new Northern Line underground station:

I commend the idea of improving the railway viaducts and wouldn't contradict the notion that Nine Elms suffers from being "placeless", on account of its industrial use.  I've certainly never met anybody that claims to live in Nine Elms!  I would query where the current industry on this (and the surrounding sites) will move to, since the industrial capacity of the entire new VNEB site will be significantly reduced, despite significant demand for light industrial land:

This double spread plan illustrates part of the difficulty I had in considering the site as a whole.  The area is so large (and there are so many different developers) that it's very difficult to imagine how it will look on one plan.  Without more labels, one has to guess at what the buildings are.  The 3D models (which were present on the day), are more useful for imagining how the eventual new town will look:

I've not commented much on the new US embassy, but I think it's interesting that the embassy is being used as a catalyst for the revival of Nine Elms.  In Mayfair, the US Embassy is hated by the neighbours and is known for being particularly inhospitable (guns pointed through car windows and giant ugly tank traps all over the place), but the new location is being used to transform the way the US government build embassies, which shows some promise.

You can see that item "2" on this plan (you'll have to zoom in) is already ear marked for a supermarket.  I expect now to hear cries of "is is going to be a Waitrose?"!  More exciting is number "8", the proposed new pedestrian bridge over to Pimlico.  Not sure anybody has spoken about funding yet though! I'm intrigued about "17" and how Nine Elms Lane might be a tamed cycling route.  It would be very useful to see a proper cycle plan developed for the entire area.  

I never managed to wade through the last VNEB document (it was about 200 pages long), but I remember that one of the criticisms made at the time was a lack of green space.  I'm not sure that's yet been addressed, but I like the idea of a green park in front of the embassy (the green banks are the well hidden and environmentally friendly tank traps).  When I spoke to the US representative at the Vauxhall Civic Society AGM 2010, he seemed to think that the park would be open to the public.  Some kind of provision has been made for organised sports (see the next board).  I have visions of the moat being used as a boating lake, but I suspect that's going one step too far:

I like the look of this.  My favourite part of the US Embassy discussion (which took place at the Vauxhall Society AGM) is when somebody asked where the protests would take place.  The US embassy had thought about this carefully and pointed out that whilst it would be up to the police, there was plenty of room for protests on the new plaza:

It was difficult to photograph this 3D model, in which somebody must have had to lovingly and laboriously place drawing pins, but I wanted to show absolutely everything present at the exhibition, so here it is:  

This one's even more exciting.  I believe the embassy is due to be about 10 floors high, with one basement level, (that they're admitting to).  If this model is accurate, it looks as though the rest of the development, with the exception of one or two towers will be medium and high rise, but I didn't see any mention of heights on the preceding boards:

VNEB Exhibition - Part 2 of 5 - Lambeth Council
VNEB Exhibition - Part 3 of 5 - Tideway Wharf
VNEB Exhibition - Part 4 of 5 - Sainsbury's Towers


Andrew Orange said...

Nothing, but nothing, would be more exciting than getting a Waitrose.

Mark said...

Isn't part of the reason that the Grosvenor Square embassy is hated due to the fact that a) It's ugly and totally out of keeping with the area, and b) The security situation was different when it was originally built, so they've had to 'bolt on' a lot of the security measures (such as dropping concrete blocks outside, to stop truck bombs).

By building the embassy afresh, in theory both of these points can be addressed and integrated into the building design, in a more subtle way... although there is undeniably a risk that in 30 years time there might be a new 'threat' that also requires the embassy to 'bolt on' additional security measures.

Interesting to see that this development *also* contains a hotel. That would mean that we have planned...

- Travelodge
- Vauxhall Cross Hotel
- Ballymore Hotel
- Tideway Wharf Hotel

I'm convinced that for at least one or two of these plans, the developer will do the same as St. George Wharf did - get the planning permission, then say "Oh, actually, it's not economical to build a hotel, we'd like to build flats instead." I can see the business case for having two hotels at Vauxhall Cross, and one hotel near the embassy - but not two, especially as the area is not all that close to transport links.

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