Thursday, 14 July 2011

Spring Mews: The Exhibition - new development for Vauxhall

Board 1: General introduction to CLS

Board 2:  The buildings on the current site on Tinworth Street are mostly unattractive and of no particular merit.  That's probably right.  This is generally an uncontentious planning proposal.  (See yesterday's post for a better map showing location of Spring Mews).

Board 3: Shows some of the other buildings in the area, and Vauxhall Spring Gardens/Pleasure Gardens.  I also took a close up of the map shot, as it shows Vauxhall Conservation area quite clearly.

Board 4:  The main "plus" point re. this scheme is the fact that the developers will rebuild and redevelop Vauxhall Gardens Community Centre.  It will get smaller (currently 16k square feet, reduced to 6k square feet), but nothing comes from nothing, so it's good news for the centre, which is rather tired. 

The comment about releasing family housing in the area with purpose-built student accommodation is not brilliant.  Building student accommodation might just increase numbers of local students.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.  Lambeth doesn't have a great deal of student accommodation (at least, compared with Southwark), and this is quite a good site for it, given that student accommodation won't be too close to the other residential buildings and the area is known for clubs, pubs and night life.

It will be good to have better links through to the river, as the underpasses are particularly bleak at present.  And this development would encourage more footfall in the area behind Spring Gardens / Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens which can only be a good thing as it has recently been something of a crime-spot (most recently an horrific attack on folk partying after Pride), and before that, a stabbing fatality on Goding Street). 

The architectural shots on offer weren't thrilling, but the building isn't too tall for the area, will fit in with local surrounds and bring a little life and business to an area that's rather run down.

Board 5: 80 new jobs is a good thing for the area, and I iamgine it will be popular for new social ventures.  It might add more diversity in terms of shops, although no doubt the thing will end up hosting another Tesco metro too!  The plan on this one is useful, showing the temporary community centre (which will be turned into commercial space once it has been placed back in the main development).  It looks  as though the new hotel has a relatively small footprint, with most of the site being taken up with student accommodation and retail.  Apparently, there is plenty of demand for hotel rooms in London, so we needn't fear them sitting empty.  Whether they're a good thing for local residents remains to be seen, but I hope people will be in favour of developing this patch because it's pretty dreary as it stands.

Board 6: Shows the floorplan for 400 student studios.  There wouldn't be any parking (except disabled), but would be space for 200 bikes.  Let's hope they sort out the gyratory first!  Might be nice to have some extra Boris bike docks here too!

Board 7: It might have been useful to suggest the possible identity of retail/leisure tenants.  Would residents get another gym?  Small shops?  A bar?  Artist studios?  I suppose the information is unkown until businesses are ready to sign the leases.  There's certainly a lack of convenience stores in this patch; it's a bit of a trek to Kennington Lane Teso and the offering further south on Kennington Lane isn't inspiring unless you're seeking crisps and alcohol!

Board eight: Some ideas for the architectural style of the Mews (looks like brick and glass).  This is not the Shard (thank goodness), but neither is it particularly creative!  Still, I suppose Vauxhall doesn't need any more trendy up-turned cigarette butt monuments, so there's reason to be thanful.

Board 9: Reiteration of the above, also noting that the scheme would be sustainable.  Good, good.  Doesn't entirely address added stress to Vauxhall Tube, but if the students don't need to travel in the rush hour, and just use their 200 bikes (that's 1 bike for every two students, right?), there won't be too much problem.  I guess there are also buses too.  The hotel residents might be in for a shock if they try and board at Vauxhall at 8am though...  But, in the grand scheme of things, this is a tiny development, so nobody will need to ask the "won't we all be squashed in a nasty rush-hour crush" question...

Board 10: Submission of designs to Lambeth Council is planned for October 2011, with completion in 2.5 years if all goes to schedule.

Finally, I understand that anybody invited to the preview was invited to contribute ideas re. Section 106 monies.  I asked a local resident to take the above photos for me, so now you can see the early ideas from the sensible (new fencing and improved play area) to the downright mad (new Lido!!)

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