Still time to have your say on Vauxhall Bus Station: Is it ‘Stay’ or is it ‘Go’?

vauxhall_bus_badge_crop

i love vauxhall bus station badgeLambeth Council has agreed to extend to 2 January 2015 its public consultation on Lambeth and Transport for London’s plans to make the Vauxhall Gyratory (or roundabout) one- instead of two-way. Oh, and while Lambeth and TfL are at it, to demolish Vauxhall Bus Station to make away for the associated property development.

If you have not done so, do respond, whatever your point of view, and especially if your point of view is that you don’t know what Lambeth and TfL are on about. If that’s the case with you, the reason is likely to be that Lambeth and TfL have yet to provide any evidence for their assertion that a two-way gyratory works any better than the one-way they were all so hot about only a few short years ago.

Still less are you likely to have seen any Lambeth/TfL evidence that, however many ways the gyratory goes, a busy, popular bus station (and world-renowned piece of architecture) has to be junked, chopped up or otherwise messed about to make way for it. There can be only one reason. Money.

Could it be that one hapless functionary let the cat out of the bag when asked about an illustrated board at one exhibition of the Lambeth/TfL proposals? This board showed a 15-storey skyscraper plonked on the forecourt of the bus station where you go down the stairs to Vauxhall Tube. Asked what the building was, the functionary replied that it was a ‘new HQ for Transport for London’.

That skyscraper is not to be seen on later Lambeth/TfL picture-boards.

You may also want comment on the quality of the ‘consultation’ so far, described by Professor Sir Malcolm Green as ‘deceitful’. To have your say before 2 January, you can go to tfl.gov.uk/vauxhall-cross and fill in the online questionnaire, adding your own comments, or you can email consultations@tfl.gov.uk referencing Vauxhall in the title.

Here’s what community group, Supporters of Vauxhall Bus Station, are saying in reply to the ‘Transforming Vauxhall Cross ‘consultation:

We thank TfL for their willingness to meet users and discuss the plans, but feel that the questionnaire asks only questions leading to the desired [by TfL] answers. Nowhere is there an opportunity to vote for the retention of the bus station in its current form and location.

‘We understand why many are seeking the removal of the gyratory, and that some believe two-way traffic is preferable to one way. We support the objective of improving the interchange, and the goals of safer and better pedestrian access and cycle paths, less pollution and a visually more pleasant place.

‘Before plans are finalised TfL needs to publish evidence to show that they can reduce traffic speed and flow to create safer, less intimidating roads without returning to the pre-gyratory tailbacks on all surrounding roads.

‘All options for change should be measured against a ‘do nothing ‘option which includes improvements to the present lay-out. TfL must also publish its response to the alternative lay-out submitted by Michael Keane and the Kennington Oval & Vauxhall Forum.

‘TfL has not produced any convincing evidence that two-way working is only possible with the removal of the bus station. Much more work is needed on the re-positioning of the roadways within the transport hub. They must also publish all the proposed bus routes through the bus station, the position of stops, maintaining current choice of routes. It is essential that all the bus stops and entry to the tube and train stations remain under cover.

‘Bus passengers must be given the same priority as the tube and train passengers. The space for buses and passengers is not ‘overgenerous’, as Lambeth now claim. The proposal to reduce it by half at a time when bus passengers are set to increase in number is folly. Our contention is that the amount of commercial space in surrounding development easily exceeds the requirement for a District Centre, and there is therefore no need to sacrifice part of the bus station to create more.

‘Acknowledgement must be given to the particular importance of bus travel for the low paid, the disabled, night workers, the elderly and children, none of whom are mentioned in the consultation literature. We look forward to being consulted on the next iteration of the plans and are happy to attend meetings to explain our observations in more detail.’

The South London Press newspaper has taken up the question of TfL’s misleading ‘before and after’ photographs of Vauxhall Bus Station, and is now asking you to write in or email, explaining how the plans to do away with Vauxhall Bus Station will affect you.

Email letters@slp.co.uk

  • Supporters of Vauxhall Bus Station will be telling the South London Press how well the bus station works as it is
  • That TfL/Lambeth proposals threaten less space for people and buses at a time of rising passenger numbers
  • That the plans give no promise that all bus stops will remain under cover (as now), that no stops will at the roadside or that all routes to the same destination will halt at the same stop.

    Who needs a gyratory anyway? (South London Press story)

Vauxhall Square: A ‘town centre’ that won’t cost you a bus station?

vauxhall square drawing

vauxhall square drawingThe current ‘consultation’ by Transport for London and Lambeth Council on the ‘regeneration’ of the Vauxhall Cross gyratory harps on about the need to do away with Vauxhall Bus Station to make way variously for a ‘town centre’, ‘high street’, ‘centre for Vauxhall’ or some such other abstraction.

The thing is, TfL and Lambeth have left it a bit late. Their ‘town centre,’ ‘high street’ or ‘centre for Vauxhall’ has missed the bus. What is arguably any or all of these three, Vauxhall Square, is already being built next door. What’s more, Vauxhall Square will involve neither doing away with Vauxhall Bus Station nor, being privately-funded, will it cost taxpayers a penny, much less the present safe, spacious, well-roofed bus station. TfL/Lambeth know all this. Lambeth gave detailed planning permission for Vauxhall Square 16 months ago in July 2013.

Vauxhall Square, a project by locally-based developers CLS Holdings, will cover three acres. There will be a public square, and 3,000 sq metres of restaurant, cafes and shop space with dual frontages onto the square, Wandsworth Road, Parry Street and Miles Street, as well as a purpose-built homeless hostel, the inevitable hotels and offices plus ‘residential units’ (a fifth ‘affordable’). CLS says there’s room for ‘currently missing basic services’ such as a ‘High Street bank’ and Post Office, as well as for markets, winter ice skating and public sports events.

CLS start building Vauxhall Square early in the New Year, while Lambeth and TfL’s PR people are oiling away with a consultation that Sir Malcolm Green calls ‘seriously biased’.

USEFUL LINKS

Vauxhall Square

Save Vauxhall Bus Station petition at change.org

The TfL/Lambeth consultation
vauxhall square plans

Lambeth and TfL’s consultation on Vauxhall Bus Station demolition ‘seriously biased’ and ‘particularly deceitful’

vauxhall bus station tfl proposals

vauxhall bus station tfl proposalsHere’s one in the eye for Lambeth Council and Transport for London, who repeatedly claim that Vauxhall Bus Station will have to go if there is to be a two-way gyratory, and that people love the idea.

The eminent medical scientist Sir Malcolm Green, chairman of Vauxhall’s Lansdowne Residents Association, has written an open letter to Lambeth Deputy Leader, Cllr Imogen Walker, terming the current Lambeth/TfL consultation on the bus station ‘seriously biased’. Images in the current consultation brochure are ‘particularly deceitful’.

Imogen Walker, Lambeth’s policy chief, perhaps strains credibility when she describes Sir Malcolm’s letter as ‘a very helpful summary’.

Sir Malcolm wrote to Cllr Walker:

‘I enclose a summary of the Lansdowne Residents views on the bus station following the meeting last Sunday. I hope Lambeth will put pressure on TfL to come clean as to why the plans for two-way working mean that the bus station has to be demolished. There is no evidence from the plans, documents or discussions that demolition is necessary, although this is repeatedly asserted.

The picture on the front of the consultation brochure shows the “weather cover” to be no more than the cover over a single traditional bus stop. Nowhere are the features of the proposed new bus station shown, even in outline.

The consultation process is seriously biased towards answering the questions in favour of TfL’s plans. The picture in the brochure showing the present tube entrance on a grey day in the rain, compared with the future on a beautiful sunny day with no traffic, is particularly deceitful.’

How on earth Cllr Walker can term Sir Malcolm’s intervention as ‘helpful’, heaven alone knows. As for Lambeth’s ‘putting pressure on TfL to come clean’, well, that’ll be the day.

The Save Lambeth Bus Station online petition, now has with over 1,900 signatures and rising

The petition at change.org

 

Under threat – Vauxhall’s world-class bus station

vauxhall bus station by christian richter
vauxhall bus station by christian richter

Vauxhall Bus Station by Christian Richter

Vauxhall’s at-risk bus station is one of the world’s top ten best-designed bus stations, according to design and architecture magazine publishers Design Curial. Transport for London and Lambeth Council are threatening to tear off the roof and chop the bus station in half to make way for a row of estate agents’ offices, even though Vauxhall has the busiest bus station in London after Victoria, and more and more passengers and buses use it. Sign protest petition at change.org.

Completed in 2005 as part of the regeneration of this previously rundown area of south London, Vauxhall bus station still looks bold and ultra modern with its ski-slope curves rendered in stainless steel.

But this bold, modernist form also has function: the roof is studded with photovoltaic cells, which help power the lights in the bus station. The streamlined structure, whose shape was inspired by the lines on London Tube and bus maps, is also designed to be easy to keep clean.

 

KOVF calls in Kate Hoey MP amid suspicion that TfLl/Lambeth are rigging Vauxhall Gyratory/Vauxhall Bus Station ‘consultation’

kate hoey mp at vauxhall bus station

kate hoey mp at vauxhall bus stationIf you have strong views on the Vauxhall Gyratory or the impending demolition of Vauxhall Bus Station, or want to know more, get along to a public meeting on Tuesday 9 December.

The meeting is to discuss if or how Vauxhall people want the traffic gyratory changed at Vauxhall Bridge, and the Kennington Oval and Vauxhall Forum (of community associations) has called it in the face of widespread public disquiet that TfL and Lambeth Council are rigging the current ‘consultation’.

There’s also a lot going on behind the scenes at KOVF, whose board is wavering as vast public resources are poured into spinning the current ‘consultation’ Transport for London (TfL) and Lambeth Council’s way.

TfL/Lambeth want a two-way instead of a one-way gyratory and say that Vauxhall Bus Station must go to make way for the associated property development TfL/Lambeth seek. The TfL/Lambeth ‘consultation’ at every stage claims that Vauxhall people agree.

Until the recent KOVF elections, the KOVF board preferred a central covered bus station to remain. Now the new board’s wobbling. Some members are wavering, flattered by the attentions of TfL and Lambeth. Other, new, members represent local business and political interests and are out-and-out opponents of the bus station. One such is former Labour councillor and PR man Mark Harrison.

KOVF Chairwoman Helen Monger has invited Vauxhall Labour MP Kate Hoey to chair the meeting because the gyratory/bus station issue affects the whole constituency and beyond. Mark Harrison opposes the invitation, Lambeth Labour Party seeing their MP as straying from the party line on this issue.

The Vauxhall Society (TVS) is unconvinced on the one- or two-way gyratory question, local opinion being divided and TfL having yet to produce any evidence that two-way working will be any better than one. TVS supports the Save Vauxhall Bus Station community campaign, whose online petition is at change.org

Kate Hoey MP and Vauxhall Bus Station:
http://www.katehoey.com/kates-corner/articles/news.aspx?p=106120

The public meeting is on Tuesday 9 December at the Carmelita Centre, 41 Vauxhall Walk, London SE11 5JT. Registration is from 6.30 pm for a 7pm start. Between 10am and 6pm, same day, same place, there is an exhibition of TfL and Lambeth’s proposals.

The Friends of Vauxhall Park: the ‘neighbours’ who really do want you to visit on 6 December and swap ideas

vauxhall park by stevekeiretsu
vauxhall park by stevekeiretsu

Vauxhall Park ©
stevekeiretsu on flickr.com

“Maybe we could show the developers what a proper neighbourhood consultation is,” say the Friends of Vauxhall Park (FOVP) in reply to our story about a phoney ‘neighbourhood meeting’ convened by your ‘neighbours’, a PR group acting for a Chinese skyscraper developer, Dalian Wanda.

The Friends of Vauxhall Park, a Vauxhall Society associate member, assert “We really do want people to come along on Saturday 6 December and let us know what they want from the new Masterplan for Vauxhall Park. Fewer railings? A dog area or not? Larger/smaller playground? More facilities for different age groups. Would people like a outdoor table tennis… and so on.”

On Saturday 6 December the Friends of Vauxhall Park, Kinnear Associates (who FOVP and Lambeth Council have commissioned to update the Masterplan for the Park) and Lambeth Council officers will be at Parco Cafe from 11am-1pm to hear what you think about the initial ideas for the new Masterplan.

This document will direct the Park’s development over the next ten years. Kinnear have been evaluating what facilities the park currently offers, the state of the trees and plants and how the space is used.

FOVP add:

The Park will face many challenges as the population of Vauxhall expands with new residents starting to move into the area, and this new Masterplan will help us ensure Vauxhall Park continues to be a success.”

Display boards will be in the Tate South Lambeth Library for 10 December until 13 December and the consultation closes on 20 December. For further information (and when Kinnear will be at the library) please visit the Friends of Vauxhall Park website: www.vauxhallpark.org.uk

The Friends of Vauxhall Park’s new membership year has started and they’re hoping that existing members will continue to renew . New members are always very welcome, and a membership form can be found on www.vauxhallpark.org.uk

Vauxhall Bus Station/Gyratory sensation! TfL and Lambeth Council find on-off switch for sun and rain!

vauxhall bus station misleading idealised proposed design

vauxhall bus station tfl proposals

The developing farce of Transport for London and Lambeth Council’s ‘consultation’ on doing away with Vauxhall Bus Station against community opposition will top the bill at a public meeting on Tuesday 9 December. It’s organised by the Kennington, Oval and Vauxhall Forum (of community groups) and Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey, one of the few Vauxhall powers-that-be to oppose TfL/Lambeth’s demolition plans, will be there. It’s at the Carmelita Centre, 41 Vauxhall Walk SE11 5JT. Registration is from 6.30 pm for a 7pm start.

Between 10am and 6pm that same day, same place, Carmelita Centre, TfL and Lambeth’s yes-men and yes-women will be out in force and wearing their best smiles at exhibition of their bus station and Vauxhall gyratory plans. The exhibition is between 10am and 6pm. Yes, that’s right. Between 10am and 6pm, the hours that suit the suits from TfL and Lambeth, not ‘you’ if you’re at or on the way to or from work.

The current TfL/Lambeth ‘consultation’ booklet is ‘more like a PR/selling exercise than a genuine attempt to understand the public’s reaction to the proposals,’ says a Vauxhall community group watchdog, Martin Stanley. TfL/Lambeth ‘ask detailed questions that cannot be answered’ without access to information, such as traffic forecasts and crossing times, which TfL and Lambeth have yet to supply.

The ‘most delightful evidence’ that TfL/Lambeth’s ‘consultation’ is mere PR comes on page 6 of the current consultation leaflet, ‘where “the ‘current interchange” is represented by a rain-sodden pavement on a very grey day with only one person in the picture. The artist’s impression of the future, however, is shown with clear blue skies and some 30 happy passengers including the obligatory baby in pushchair, man in wheelchair and sexy young blonde woman nearest the pretend camera. Who do they think they are kidding?’

Other guff that Martin might have mentioned but did not, perhaps because he was too busy laughing, is the drivel on page 4 where ‘you’ (the reader) are told eight times what ‘you’ think and ‘you’ have told TfL and Lambeth who ‘have been listening to your views’.

‘You’ have evidently told TfL/Lambeth that ‘you’ want the bus station halved in size and its roof ripped off. That’s hard to square with the publicly available evidence, namely the Save Vauxhall Bus Station online petition hosted by The Vauxhall Society that will top 2,000 signatures any day now.

Meanwhile, the current TfL/Lambeth PR/selling exercise ends on Friday 19 December. ‘You’ can have your say by 19 December at tfl.gov.uk/vauxhall-cross.

If ‘you’ are not one of the ‘you’s’ that think and do as TfL/Lambeth tells you, then make sure you say so, online and/or the exhibition at the Carmelita Centre on Tuesday 9 December. Oh, and by the way, the ‘consultation’ leaflet does not give any address you write to (other than the online address), but since TFL/Lambeth already know what ‘you’ think, that’s alright then. Ever helpful, the Save Vauxhall Bus Station Campaign points out that you can write to FREEPOST TFL CONSULTATIONS. Provide your own envelope.

Kennington, Oval & Vauxhall Forum
Martin Stanley’s email on responding to TfL/Lambeth’s consultation
Pauline Gaunt’s email to supporters of the Vauxhall Bus Station campaign

Many, many happy returns, VGERTA

vgerta 7th birthday

Congratulations to The Vauxhall Gardens Estate Residents & Tenants Association on seven years of achievement in community work. It’s typical of VGERTA’s get-up-and-go attitude that they don’t just sit and wait for a birthday card, but are sending this profusely-illustrated video ‘card’ to the Vauxhall community at large.

Skyscraper scramble: meet the One Nine Elms ‘neighbours’

One Nine Elms

What do the words ‘neighbourhood meeting’ mean to you?

In Vauxhall these days, ‘neighbourhood meeting’ can mean a gathering organised by a smarmy public relations company in the pay of a Chinese property developer, Dalian Wanda, builder of Vauxhall/Nine Elms’ tallest skyscraper yet, One Nine Elms.
This ‘neighbourhood meeting’ is on Tuesday 9 December. Do go along and ask the smooth-talking PR people how thorough their client has been in establishing the risk of wind turbulence and of another aircraft crash on this very spot.

‘Dear neighbour’ the public invitation begins:

We would like to invite you to the next One Nine Elms Neighbourhood meeting which is taking place on Tuesday 9th December 2014 at 6:30pm at Brunswick House. The meeting will be a chance to discuss the works that will be taking place throughout December and in 2015 and get a summary of the works that have taken place over 2014. Members of the development team will be on hand to answer any questions you have.

If you would like to attend the meeting on Tuesday 9th December please register by emailing onenineelms@cascadepr.co.uk or calling 020 7871 3565.

Please find attached a copy of the minutes from the last One Nine Elms meeting which took place on 22nd September and the agenda for the next meeting in December.

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday 9th December.

Kind regards

Chris Rumsey
On behalf of Dalian Wanda

Download the minutes of the meeting

‘£1 billion’’ Northern Line Extension railroaded through, and new crop of homes for the rich to be sold at New Covent Garden Market

Northen-Line-extension

Two vast foregone conclusions have just been concluded. Wandsworth Council has given planning permission for the redevelopment of New Covent Garden Market on the Vauxhall-Wandsworth boundary, while to please the developers the Department of Transport has given London Underground permission to start digging up Vauxhall to drive a Northern Line Tube Extension (NLE) from Kennington into Wandsworth.

The uncosted, publicly-backed NLE project will, with the agreement and financial backing of Lambeth, bring two new Tube stations. One will be at the redevelopment of Sainsbury’s a few minutes’ walk from Vauxhall Tube Station and the other at Battersea Power Station, a few paces away from two existing overground stations.

The New Covent Garden redevelopment is a partnership between a public authority, New Covent Garden Market Authority, and two private developers, St Modwen Properties and Vinci PLC. Vinci St Modwen’s press release trumpets that the diggers go in during the first half of 2015 and ‘approximately 3,000 new homes’ will be built. Vinci St Modwen, it is clear, does not build old homes. Nor does Vinci St Modwen deign to say what percentage, if any, of these homes will be ‘affordable’. The fruit, flower and vegetable market remains at Nine Elms on one 37-acre site, 20 acres of other ‘surplus’ land being given over to redevelopment of one sort or another.

The NLE project is officially ‘costed’ at £1 billion, and if you believe that figure you will believe anything. Parliamentary approval was required and a Transport and Works Act Order was nodded through to give London Underground the powers it needs to build the 3.2km extension of the Tube. The full cost of the extension is ‘expected’ to be ‘up to £1 billion’, part-funded by developers held to benefit from the new Tube stations, although not all are keen. But relax, if things don’t turn out as ‘expected’, the Treasury – i.e. you – will be expected to make up the difference.

NEWS JUST IN
New Covent Garden Market tells The Vauxhall Society that the developers offered 15% affordable housing, the standard level for the Nine Elms Opportunity Area, but Wandsworth stuck out for and got 20%. Lambeth – please note.

New Covent Garden: www.newcoventgardenmarket.com

What ‘affordable homes’ does and does not mean
http://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2014/feb/03/affordable-housing-meaning-rent-social-housing