Monday, 28 February 2011

Child stabbed outside Manley House in Kennington

I've received reports that at approximately 8:20pm this evening, a male child was stabbed outside Manley House, Black Prince Road in Kennington.  Police were called and and the child was taken to hospital by ambulance.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Reminder: KOV meeting tonight with accompanying agenda

I'm just issuing a quick reminder that there's a Kennington Oval Vauxhall (KOV) forum meeting at 7pm (or 6.30pm for 7pm) at St Anne's Settlement Centre, Harleyford Road, (entrance in Vauxhall
Grove) SW8 1TD.  

The Sainsbury's Towers and Vauxhall Square 'twin towers' development are both on the agenda so feel free to read the history so far.  The rest of the agenda appears below:

1. Welcome, introductions and apologies

2. Minutes of previous Meeting (1 November 2010)

3. Vauxhall Square - Richard Trice of CLS Holdings - For more info, visit

4. Proposals for Sainsbury's store, Nine Elms

5. Vauxhall Opportunity Area and community involvement - Cllr Sally Prentice

6. Vauxhall Opportunity Area Planning Framework – Amendments to Section 106 Funding Chapter

7. Chair’s Report

8. Board and Forum members’ updates

9. AOB

10. Date of next scheduled meeting: 7 April 2011

Monday, 21 February 2011

New Covent Garden Market exhibition on The Garden (3rd March - 5th March)

(Sketch taken from New Covent Garden website)

Covent Garden Market Authority (CGMA) has announced the dates for the third public exhibition of their plans for "The Garden" (the UK's largest fresh produce market) at New Covent Garden Market in Vauxhall / Nine Elms as 3rd March - 5th March (see below).

There have been two previous exhibitions on New Covent Garden Market (one in 2009 and the other in February 2010).  For some reason, I don't seem to have a record of these, but it's only recently I've begun to track the buildings so closely.  However, the redevelopment section on the New Covent Garden website is truly comprehensive, so I suggest you begin there if you're interested in the progress of their ideas.   Also, there are some sketches available from one of the previous exhibitions which give the general idea of New Covent Garden's aim, even if these will be amended at the next exhibition.

Anyhow, most local people I've spoken to have been generally supportive of plans to sensitively redevelop the market (currently it's a bit of a concrete wilderness, and is not accessible to the public except on Sundays when it hosts a giant boot fair). So, now New Covent Garden Market claim to have incorporated comments received a wide range of stakeholders and tenants on the Market.  The third (and final) exhibition will display new information and images about all the elements of the site prior to the application submission to Wandsworth Borough Council.

The exhibition will be based in the Yvonne Carr Community Centre on Thessaly Road (in Battersea) so it's a bit of a trek for Vauxhall residents although the site plans will affect people in SW8 and SE11 just as much as in Battersea.
Thursday 3 March (4.00pm – 8.00pm)
Friday 4 March (4.00pm – 8.00pm)
Saturday 5 March (10.00am – 5.00pm)

Please note that this falls on the same weekend as the next Nine Elms Sainsbury's consultation.

Need support for new playground for Vauxhall Gardens Estate Residents and Tenants Association

Vauxhall Gardens Estate Residents and Tenants Association (VGERTA) need support in their attempt to win a £15,000 bursary for new playground equipment. They're currently trying to upgrade and revive a playground that lies on the heart of the estate.

The bursary campaign, Ready for Ten, is being run by Patsy Kensit and VGERTA have nominated their own playground to receive the funds.  You may remember that they progressed quite a long way, but were ultimately unsuccessful with a similar campaign that Bovril ran last year.  I know how much time and energy it takes for residents to win small amounts of money to upkeep playgrounds and I really want to wave the flag for whoever it is at VGERTA that remains so persistent.

Please do consider supporting them by registering and leaving a comment on the Ready for Ten VGERTA playground page here and there's also a link to their playground video on that site.  I registered and you can see my comment on the site:

It's very easy to register and make a comment, and winning the bursary would be such a boost for local children on the VGERTA estate.  I've noted:
"The Vauxhall Gardens Estate playground would strongly benefit from receiving a bursary for their playground.. This playground is in quite a run down area of inner London in a location that contains a smaller amount of green space per head than allowed for by government recommendations. In the surrounding area, at least three staffed Adventure playgrounds are at threat of closure so ensuring that there is somewhere for local children to play that will remain open is vital for keeping fit and teaching play skills. The current playground is rather run down and residents have been exploring a whole variety of routes to improve it, but in an age of government cuts, this is looking less and less viable..."

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Sainsbury's Towers Consultation

I popped along to the Waterloo Community Development Group meeting about the proposed Sainsbury's Towers this evening.  I'm not sure I learned very much other than what was already made public at the previous exhibition last November.

My only new piece of information is that unfortunately, the main bit of green space in the development will not be public, and will only be accessible to residents.  So, we're looking at more concrete, and space for a market.  It probably needs more thought in light of the Bondway decision, but this is just a quick post to alert you to the next consultation to be held on the 4th and 5th of March.  I don't have time or place yet, but will update when I do.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Oval Farmers' Market Celebration in April: Planning Permission Granted

So, the good news for the excellent Oval Farmers' Market is that they were granted planning permission to, umm, continue!  I'm not sure how they managed to get the market started /without/ planning permission, but they did, and now it has been offically confirmed that they can stay.  Hurray!

In celebration of their successful application, Oval Farmers' Market are holding a special market on Saturday 2nd April, where there will be a "feast of local produce, plants, shrubs and locally baked and prepared foods of all kinds".  Nom, nom, nom.

I'm afraid there's no word on whether they'll be able to go ahead with their future plans, which were exhibited last year, but I'll update you all with news once it is sent to me.

Oval market is held every Saturday between 10am and 3pm, and is popular with locals.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Vauxhall Square and Vauxhall Linear Walkway exhibition board photos

I'm slowly adding commentary and photos to this post on Vauxhall Square and the associated Linear Walkway, but in the meantime, feel free to browse the boards from the exhibition.

One of the advantages that I think CLS have over other developers is the fact that their headquarters are based in Vauxhall on part of the site intended for the Vauxhall Square development, so they're well aware of the site's strengths and weaknesses.  I came away from the exhibition thinking more positively of the developers and development, but that doesn't mean that the plan will be considered perfect by local residents, and I'll elaborate on a few responses I've had below.

Display board #1 attempts to show the exact location  of Vauxhall Square, but it's not clear to those who aren't hugely familiar with Vauxhall's sprawl of warehouses.  The development is bounded by Parry Street, Wandsworth Road, Bondway and Miles Street.  See my sketchy google map for a more approximate location (the shading does not delineate the exact boundary of the site).

Also, take a look at the following photo for a better idea.  The yellow building with blue windows at the top right hand side of the photo is where one of the towers will be situated.  The white-rooved warehouse area will be cleared and that area will mostly be taken up by the new Vauxhall Square.

The photo below shows (far left) a yellow building currently occupied by a homeless shelter.  The second tower will be placed on top of that building slightly further back from the road.  The homeless shelter (whose building is not apparently brilliant) is to be entirely replaced and moved to another section of the site.  (I take back my sarcastic comments that CLS had not considered the needs of homeless residents in the locale and have removed them from my previous post.):

The new homeless shelter will be cited roughly where this car park appears (centre):

The inclusion of the number of injuries and fatalities at Vauxhall Cross on board #2 is a clever device.  Quite frankly, I'm surprised that there haven't been more accidents.  Also, I'm impressed that CLS are at least /saying/ that they're thinking about cyclists (as well as pedestrians) on their boards.  What's interesting  is that CLS have assumed that the Vauxhall gyratory will remain in place (Lambeth Council are known to desire its removal, but this is opposed by TFL).  Consequently, the Linear Walkway (see further down) may prove Lambeth Council's most viable option.  One positive about the Vauxhall Square development is that it shows some thought as to the inhospitable nature of Vauxhall and at least proposes a solution (even if it proves unviable) to residents:

I believe that the "terrace of townhouses" referred to on Board #3 are houses that would be demolished.  Take a look at Tradescant blog post on the subject for a close up photo of the terrace.

Board #4 gives an introduction to the possibility of Vauxhall Linear Walk.  The Linear Walk would be a giant pedestrian (and supposedly cycle friendly) overpass through Vauxhall that wouldn't involve crossing the huge 6 lane road to go the gym or visit a supermarket or go to the cinema.  Considering that there is currently no humane mode in which a pedestrian might navigate through Vauxhall, the Linear Walk suggestion surely cannot make matters worse than they are at present.  The initial comments on the Linear Walk at the London-SE1 forum aren't particularly positive and Kennington People On Bikes considers the Linear Walk is "sticking a plaster on a running sore".  He thinks that vehicular traffic dominates the area in an unacceptable manner, and looking down over the 6 lane road, it's difficult not to disagree.  On the other hand, nobody else has come up with a better suggestion.

I asked a lot of questions about accessibility re. buggies/wheelchairs/bikes, and was told that the walkway would be accessible by lifts at certain points (which doesn't give me a great deal of hope because of the never-ending propensity of Londoners to urinate in enclosed spaces).  Also, I'm concerned about the frequency of lift breakdowns, and how that might hamper some of society's more vulnerable (I'm not thinking cyclists) in moving around Vauxhall.  I also asked about security since one of the issues of an unpatrolled walkway would be crime.  Apparently the walkway would be the responsibility of Vauxhall Square site personnel, but it's not clear that they would "police" it per se.  (And indeed, do local residents really want private security firms doing "policing"?  Not really.)  I think that the viability of the walkway is dependent upon the questions of security and accessibility being answered well.  I'd like to know whether the architects have considered non-male wheelchair users as something other than a second thought.  How many women currently feel safe when walking alone in Vauxhall at night?  And how many women would be happy to use the proposed elevated linear walk alone in Vauxhall at night?  Those should not be secondary architectural questions.  Rant over.

Board #5 is general blurb about CLS and their base in Vauxhall:

The "square" in Vauxhall Square is to be the centrepiece of the new development, shown in Board #6.  The aim is for a public space akin to Paternoster Square (which is relatively empty at weekends and full of city types during the week) (see Board #10).  This being Vauxhall, chances are it probably won't work in the same way.  The development's security personnel would have responsibility for the square, so I suppose there's a question of quite how "public" it will be, but open space is a positive.... or is it?

One person that I spoke to at the exhibition felt that Vauxhall Square should not be paved, but should ideally include some green space which would link up with Vauxhall Park (the green area below on the left of the photo) forming a green corridor that would link through to the new Linear Park (you can see the linear park on the model below as it lies directly between and beyond the two towers).  It sounds like a good idea in theory, and apparently the developers are receptive to such ideas, but I don't know how it would work because of the railway that runs through the area forming a huge barrier between Vauxhall Park and Vauxhall Square:

Board #7 is the reason that the Evening Standard dramatically proclaimed, "Skyscraper threat to ski jump bus station".  The issue is that the Linear Walk would rise up over the top of the bus station, and retaining the canopy is not really part of the CLS plan.  I've received quite a few emails now from readers interested in the development, but not one person has made any noise about saving the canopy, so I'm not sure that it's too important.  A competition has been launched to replace the canopy and design the Linear Walk:

Board #8 is just more blurb on the Linear Walk:

This photo shows some of the nine or so potential exits from the Linear Walk.  There are also stairwells inside the structure too:

The Linear Walk is bipartite.  Here's the smaller walkway which crosses the busy Wandsworth Road (and which would entail the destruction of the terraced housing), linking Vauxhall Square with the Linear Park, and forming the "entrance" to the rest of the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea developments:

On Board #9, we see the introduction of retail, restaurants, another hotel and also a cinema.  I wondered whether the cinema might not compete with the Kylun Towers cinema, but was informed that the Kylun cinema was likely only to have one screen and be for residents only.  I don't seem to recollect that being the case during the Kylun exhibition, so I do wonder about being fobbed off with the "cinema" line.  Not, of course, that a local cinema wouldn't be a fantastic asset.  I remain concerned that the market in the area will be flooded with hotels (there are many being building in Waterloo too).  How many have we reached now.  Five? Six?:

My favourite line on Board #10 is the mention of the Post Office, clearly something that would be vital for businesses and residents.  We've only had to fight off two post office closures in the past few years, one on Kennington Road, and another in Vauxhall Street so I'm presuming it would be a private Post Office, immune from the imminent massive public sector cuts.

However, I don't think anybody can object to improvements in the railway arches and surrounding streets, and the advantage of the Vauxhall/Nine Elms plan (over against, say, the Elephant) is that it doesn't generally involve the displacement of current residents in the area.  The plan on Board #10 (you'll have to zoom in) shows 8 retail/restaurant units in addition to the cinema and 2 office units, but I imagine that's just a broad brush stroke, and the units will be quite large and probably divided up to create additional businesses.  Scroll to the bottom of the plan and you'll see, separated by an attractive line of trees, both the hostel for the homeless and adjoining student accommodation.  That will be interesting!:

Board #11 lists all of the important people that have been consulted about the plan so far:

More blurb, with board #12 featuring a view of the twin towers from the Battersea end. (Notice how the sketch's perspective indicates that the St George Vauxhall Tower appears to be much much taller than the Vauxhall Square twin towers.  In reality, there's not much difference in height between them.) Also, a nice view of the US Embassy and moat:

Here's the same view from the model.  I really liked the models at the CLS exhibition, and they photograph well when they're not placed in plastic boxes:

Board #13 mentions the two aerial walkways that are successful in Paris and New York.  Obviously, it doesn't mention the seventies walkways liberally littered across the UK and avoided by the general public.  See the comments on this post for a few points from locals so far. Of course, in the interests of fairness, we should allow that they may not be representative.  But even still, I can't figure out what separates the successful aerial walkways from those that are avoided by the general public and I'm not sure Vauxhall is the best place for a new "test case":

Boards #14-#16 are only of interest to architects or others involved in the design competition:

Finally, here's a quick view of one of the models which gives, from Vauxhall Park, a better perspective on the height of the Vauxhall Square towers and all of the surrounding buildings:

Florian Place / 8 Albert Embankment exhibition photos 2011 - (Plans amended to reduce tower heights)

I'm going to add my own comments to these later this weekend, but for now, I'm uploading for anybody that hasn't had a chance to go to the exhibition.

In the meantime, I've received an email from a few people asking how to comment on these proposals.  You need to access 10/04473/FUL on the Lambeth Planning portal and click "submit comments".  The developers submitted their new plans to Lambeth  well before the 11th/12th Feb planning exhibition.  On the Lambeth planning portal, the final date for comments  is technically 11th February which makes the developers appear underhand.  Apparently though, the development wasn't publicly advertised until recently so the official end date for comments is 21st February (in my view, Lambeth Council should amend the portal), but in reality submissions will be accepted until the development goes to the planning committee around April or maybe June.

Board #1 helpfully shows the totality of the site.  It's a large piece of land and includes more than the 8 Albert Embankment frontage.  Note that there's a small block that will be developed just the other side of the railway bridge:

Friday, 11 February 2011

Accident on Clapham Road outside Oval tube station - injuries sustained not critical

Last night, there was an accident on Clapham Road (almost opposite Oval tube station) involving two motorists and a motorcycle at about 6pm.  Buses were placed on diversion and the road was closed.  Police mentioned to a bystanders that injuries were sustained by all involved, but none of the people involved in the accident are in a critical condition.  There were no fatalities.
There's a brief report (and photo) of the incident over on Wanderlee's blog.

Northern Line extension vs. Affordable Housing for Nine Elms - £58 million funding gap

Last summer, a Development Infrastructure Funding Study (DIFS) was conducted concerning the new Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea regeneration area.   It contains information about a vasty array of transport, health, education etc. requirements for the set up of the new "Nine Elms" town.  As soon as I can, I will disseminate the contents of that document, but in the meantime, chapter 12 (the section about 106 agreements) has been published by the Mayor of London and is now being consulted upon.  Although this chapter is rather dull and concerns Section 106 monies etc. the comments on it are likely to be very important to groups that are concerned with social housing and how the demographic of the new VNEB is to be constituted.

The matter of affordable housing considerably affects the levels of funding available for infrastructure.  It's recognised by the Funding Study that asking developers to provide a high percentage of affordable housing will affect the levels of contributions they can make towards the Northern Line Extension.  The government has not announced whether or how much they will make available in grants for the implementation of affordable housing, which adds confusion to the proceedings.  Chapter 12 of the Development Infrastucture Study makes it clear that Infrastucture is to be given the priority over affordable housing.  Whilst Lambeth Council would normally seek 40% or 50% affordable housing, in this instance, the study makes clear that 15% is more likely to be an adequate target:
"the 15% affordable housing option is considered the most appropriate for the majority of the opportunity area. However, the affordable housing level required by Lambeth will normally be 40%, although for sites within close proximity to the proposed station at Nine Elms and those which may not be suitable for family housing, the affordable housing level will normally be 15%."
It seems to me that this places the community in a double bind.  If anything greater than 15% affordable housing is requested, the developers may turn around and say that they cannot provide enough funding for the Northern Line Extension.  Since the Northern Line Extension is required for the whole project to go ahead (particularly the Battersea part), there appears to be no grounds for argument.  What do readers think?  Your views on the document should be sent to: with the email subject heading, "VNEB S106" no later than March 21st.

Despite contributions to be made by the developers to the intrastructure, there is still a funding gap of £58 million (assuming economic recovery), and consequently it's recognised that some infrastructure projects will have to be prioritised over others.  The document notes:
It is not yet possible to determine which projects will be prioritised. However whilst it is recognised that Northern Line Extension is vital to the success of the Opportunity Area, a number of other transport and non-transport infrastructure projects are also required to make the development successful.
This raises questions in my mind about the level of commitment to the Northern Line Extension.  What will happen if the £58 million hole cannot be plugged?

Developments within the VNEB have been excluded from having to make contributions to the Crossrail project on account of needing to contribute to other infrastructure eg. the Northern Line Extension.  Indeed, many of the developers at Elephant are objecting that they're so far away from Crossrail, they shouldn't be forced to make payments, so it seems sensible to ensure that the VNEB funding goes to the Northern Line Extension.  Developments that lie on the river itself in what is being called "Zone A" (orange area on the above diagram) will be obliged to make larger contributions than developments in "Zone B" (purple area on the above diagram.  It looks as though most of the Vauxhall developments lie in Zone B.  A contribution tariff is displayed in the full version of the Section 106/CIL study

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Bondway Tower in Vauxhall refused by Secretary of State - inadequate provision of open space

In March last year, Lambeth Council refused to grant planning permission for a proposed 42-storey tower in Vauxhall, known as Bondway.  The Bondway's developers (London and Regional) appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, and a public enquiry was held in July/August last year.  On account of a conflict over the size of the proposal (over 150 units) which fits with government plans to create more housing and the perceived risk to a World Heritage site, the appeal was passed to the Secretary of State (Eric Pickles) for a decision to be made.  The Planning Inspector recommended that London and Regional's appeal be dismissed and the Secretary of State agreed.  Consequently, the ruling is that the Bondway Tower should not be built.

The Secretary of State considered that the proposed Bondway's greatest shortcoming was the relationship of the building to its surroundings.  Whilst the building was considered sustainable and with certain design merits, it lacked "well planned public open spaces" and the proposals apparently also failed to provide adequate pedestrian links to the wider public realm.  In addition, the "visual mass" of the building was felt to be "overbearing in relation to its surroundings".  Also, the Secretary of State agreed with the Planning Inspector that the lack of amenity space (particularly children's play area) could not be solved by the developer acquiring more land.

Such a conclusion should alarm developers who are based anywhere within the Vauxhall Nine Elms Opportunity Area, since much of the open space available to the surrounding buildings is likely to be provided (or so we've been told) in the form of a linear park.  If Vauxhall Park (and surrounds) are judged not to be enough public open space for the Bondway, then it may well be that additional public space will have to be found (which means "given up" by developers) in order to progress any of the new developments within Vauxhall/Nine Elms, where the amount of open space is said to be very low.  Of course, it also means that the Vauxhall Square developers (CLS) have been quite clever with their proposals, which include the incorporation of a large public square...

Concerning the Westminster World Heritage site, the Inspector felt that whilst no assets would be directly affected, the proposals might affect the settings of certain (but not all) listed buildings, conservation areas, registered parks and Westminster itself.  (That turn of phrase seems very unclear to me, especially when the former government controversially allowed the construction of the Vauxhall Tower by St George.  However, I think it does appear to represent a change in government policy which all developers will have to consider).

One point of concern for many local people has been the issue of overshadowing by tall towers.  Neither the Secretary of State nor the Planning Inspector concede ground on this point.  On the contrary, they argue that "Vauxhall Park... would not be significantly harmed by overshadowing" and that "privacy cannot be expected in a public park".  The point that is accepted is one of over-use.  The sheer number of people that would end up using Vauxhall Park would "erode its recreational function and the character of its open spaces".  It looks as though the argument against the Bondway was won almost entirely on arguments about open space.

There were some positives.  20% of housing supply as affordable was praised, as was the likely increase in employment numbers and indeed the "design of the tower".  Note that the site is still considered an "appropriate location" for tall buildings, so don't expect the end of this matter.  I imagine Residential Land will simply have to overhaul their plans to better provide for improved open space and pedestrian access.  However, it was felt by the Secretary of State (despite the good design) that the tower would be "overbearing" in relation to local surroundings.  The benefits are not said to outweigh the conflict with Lambeth's development plan, so this tower will not be going ahead in proposed form.  (Of course, there's room to appeal again through the High Court, but I imagine it would likely be cheaper just to re-work the plans).

The matter of transport is more interesting, and whilst the Inspector and the Secretary of State seem to think that the development promotes a reduction in the need to travel and use of sustainable transport choices, neither of them enter into discussion about transport capacity, which is a point continually raised by users of Vauxhall tube station....  One of my Twitter followers posted this scene at Vauxhall tube the other day with the caption "Vauxhall station this morning. Not an unusual occurrence":

Vauxhall station this morning. Not an unusual occurrence. on Twitpic

I'd argue that this decision represents a significant victory for the local people who intervened and made representations against the building at the enquiry during the summer. Yes, most residents (myself included) support sensible redevelopment and regeneration in the heart of Vauxhall. There's room for improvement. However, such improvement should not be undertaken at the cost of current residents or in a manner that seeks to exploit public amenities. I'm delighted that the Secretary of State has dismissed the appeal.

Thanks to Tradescant blog, the full report of the Bondway appeal can be found here.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

2 Saturday planning consultations and 8 Albert Embankment / Florian Place (second attempt application)

A consultation will take place concerning the proposed new development (to be known as Florian Place) which will be situated on and around 8 Albert Embankment:

You can attend on Friday 11th Feb (14:00 - 18:00) or Saturday 12th Feb (10:30 - 13:30), and it will be held on 8 Albert Embankment, SE1 7SP.

Be careful though because the consultation on Vauxhall Square (the "twin tower" development from CLS) will also take place on Friday 11th Feb (10:30 - 20:00) or Saturday 12th Feb (10:00 - 14:00), and that will be held at 1, Nine Elms Lane on the 19th floor of the Market Towers building, SW8 5NQ.  

I know... two planning consultations over the same two days seems like a really bad plan, especially considering that some residents will be interested in both proposals...  Looks like Saturday morning is a write off!

Tradescant has already written on the new plans for 8 Albert Embankment, but I fear there's nothing new to add, since all of the news relates to last year's proposals.  You might remember I posted briefly on the old plans for the site, which were submitted in March last year.  Before the public had much chance to comment on last year's plans, local Princes Ward councillors made it clear that, in their view, the development did not contain a high enough percentage of social housing.  Consequently, Native Land (the developers) possibly assumed that they were on a hiding to nothing, and withdrew the plans for 7 new buildings ranging from 5 to 16 storeys (see old planning application for reference).

Now though, a new year presents a fresh opportunity to submit money-making schemes to Lambeth Council, and if the Council can sense extra income, they're likely to approve sensible submissions.  The delay might even have benefited the developers on account of local residents suffering from planning proposal burn-out.  Certainly, whatever Native Land are preparing to submit will not be as contentious as the Bondway proposal, Kylun's Vauxhall Island site or CLS's Vauxhall Square...  So, what are the plans?  You can probably sense that I'm waiting with baited breath....

But... No... It's still a secret....  The proposals look as though they won't be released until tomorrow and I think the press release on the CLS website is the old one from 2010.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Vauxhall Square - CLS propose a new twin tower development in Vauxhall

(Image taken from the excellent article about Vauxhall Square, which you can read over here)

CLS have this morning revealed their intention to advance an 850,000 square foot development on a 2.9 acre site in Vauxhall.  They have an informative website which enables you to comment on the current Vauxhall pedestrian experience and you can see additional images of the proposed site.  The scheme would comprise two "twin towers" (both exceeding 40 storeys) and a huge public square.  Included within the proposal is some form of giant walkway, which would allow pedestrians to cross the Vauxhall gyratory. The grand plan includes 240 units of student accommodation, a 300 bed hotel, 400 apartments, 80,000 square feet of retail space/restaurants and a 6 screen cinema.  This development has been named Vauxhall Square and is intended as a gateway into the new Nine Elms and Battersea area.

A public exhibition for the Vauxhall Square development will take place next weekend(!) on Friday 11th February (10:30 - 20:00) and 12th February (10:00 - 14:00) in the neighbouring Market Towers building (1 Nine Elms Lane), and a planning application is expected to be submitted in late 2011.  The building is hoped to be completed by 2017 (all very ambitious, considering the planning application has yet to be submitted).  VoHo (ha!) residents will be delighted to note that CLS's MD, Richard Tice, is expecting the development to "establish the area as the next major London growth zone".  (Clearly nobody has thought to mention the massive over-crowding at Vauxhall tube station, so we'll stay really quiet, ok).  On a more positive note, a Property Week article about Vauxhall Square states that CLS have "launched an international design competition" to "link the different streets and sites across Vauxhall Cross".  That's clearly a highly desirable goal to prevent Vauxhall descending into a set of major wind tunnels.

The development appears to involve the demolition of a building currently on the site and I've marked its approximate position on the map below.  Vauxhall Square is marked in blue and I've added Vauxhall Island site (in green) to show context:

This proposal should not be confused with the other four Vauxhall schemes; Vauxhall Island site (submitted, awaiting approval), Bondway Vauxhall (pending enquiry result), Vauxhall Sky Gardens (approved) and Vauxhall Tower (approved),

CLS are the firm responsible for purchasing 100 Tyers St from Vauxhall Gardens Community Centre and relocating it, a positive development for the Community Centre.

And finally, a quick "hello" to all of the traders who will likely drop in this morning to check whether CLS stocks have increased in value.  [Edit 13th February... they did!  By a considerable amount and probably will some more tomorrow.]  I'm sure those shares will now be uber valuable, and so would encourage you to continue to invest in the UK property market, which is likely to be close to the bottom at present.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Fentiman Road incident - male in his thirties died in suspicious circumstances

A 36 year old male died at a property in Fentiman Road, Vauxhall at approx. 5:30am on Monday 31st January.  Police have named him as Anthony John Bates.  The death, reportedly due to head injuries, is being treated as suspicious and another man, Gary Speight (aged 30), has been charged with his murder. Police have been guarding the property on Fentiman Road in Vauxhall since the morning of February 1st, and were still at the scene a day later.  At least 6 forensic officers investigated the flat wearing face masks and full protective clothing.

The property is still covered in police tape and the northern end of Fentiman Road (opposite Vauxhall Park) was initally closed off. The incident was first linked to a gas leak, but this has not been confirmed. The information above has been released through the Police Press Bureau. However, police on the scene have been advised to tell residents that a "serious incident" has taken place, but are not giving out further information.

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