Vauxhall Nine Elms & Battersea, Helicopters and Air Turbulence: the high price of high-rise living already includes two deaths – could there be more to come?

helicopter crash vauxhall 2013

helicopter crash vauxhall 2013Well, there you have it. The Vauxhall Society has all along warned Lambeth councillor and planners that they have been asleep at the wheel in allowing so many skyscrapers to cluster at Vauxhall Cross end of Vauxhall Nine Elms & Battersea ‘Opportunity Area’. Now comes the report of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch into the 16 January 2013 helicopter crash at Vauxhall Cross when a helicopter clipped a crane at St George Tower, killing the pilot and a pedestrian in the rush-hour streets below but, this time, missing crowded trains and buses.

Guess what? The accident, it appears from the AAIB report, was built in from the moment John Prescott pushed through the construction of the St George Tower.

One lot of planners didn’t tell another lot of planners that there were skyscrapers going up at Vauxhall Nine Elms. These structures, together with high buildings on the other side of the Thames, whittled down the H4 two-lane ‘helicopter highway’ along the course of the river. Came a foggy morning like that in January last year and…
“Two-way traffic along helicopter route H4 is no longer possible in certain circumstances using current procedures following construction of the building at St George Wharf,’ AAIB concludes, adding ‘The building at St George Wharf was not included in the helicopter’s obstacle databases. There is no effective system in place to anticipate the potential effects of new obstacles on existing airspace arrangements when the obstacles are outside ‘safeguarded’ areas.”

Now of course even more and higher skyscrapers are sprouting yards away from the fatal tower. Nobody’s going to widen the Thames or do away with fog. But there is another accident hazard being built into Vauxhall Nine Elms and just waiting to happen: air turbulence. You get fog on rivers, as well in planners’ minds; on rivers, also you get wind, sudden gusts of. Air turbulence around a single building much lower than St George Tower has already killed in Leeds, as The Vauxhall Society has warned. That wind scooped up a lorry and then dropped it on the pavement, killing one pedestrian and gravely injuring another.

The helicopter crash report in full:.

BBC Reports:

Air turbulence; the case of the flying lorry:

Photo: ofnetsandthings used under a Creative Commons licence

Have your say on the new New Covent Garden Market

globe courgettes - photo by mermaid

globe courgettes - photo by mermaidWhether the proposals for the redevelopment of New Covent Garden Market make you want to hand bouquets to the developers or pelt them with rotten fruit, you have until 26 September to have your say. At least you’ll get a new retail market out of it.

2014/2810 – New Covent Garden Market, Nine Elms Lane, SW8

Planning application for part outline, part detailed planning permission for:

(a) Demolition of existing wholesale Fruit and Vegetable and Flower Market and ancillary buildings and structures, and residential building on Nine Elms Lane (apart from the existing multi storey car park);

(b) Construction of mixed-use redevelopment comprising: a new Fruit and Vegetable Market and Flower Market and ancillary uses, including temporary and permanent façade; refurbishment and extension of existing waste collection area (including rooftop sports pitches); residential dwellings; flexible commercial uses, including retail, financial and professional services, café/restaurant, bar uses and hot food takeaways and offices; non-residential institutions; assembly and leisure uses; temporary storage and distribution buildings and associated works; associated car, cycle and motorcycle parking and servicing and new vehicle accesses, energy centres; and landscaping public realm and open space including part of the Linear Park. All matters reserved apart from access, details of all new markets and supporting buildings, and details of Building N8 and associated landscaping);

(c) Site clearance and enabling works.

An Environmental Statement has been submitted with the application under The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011.

The application documents can be viewed and comments can be left on the Wandsworth Council website by clicking on the following link:

If you wish to comment on this application you can email

Download the New Covent Garden Market consultation newsletter

Photo (cropped): Mermaid used under a Creative Commons licence

Law and disorder in Vauxhall

vauxhall at night by greg mccormick

vauxhall at night by greg mccormickAmmonia-throwing, ‘whippets’ of nitrous oxide inhalant circulating in Vauxhall’s night clubs and littering the streets, ‘pop-up parties’, ‘anti-social behaviour’, Vauxhall City Farm having to hire security staff, stabbings, Sainsburys’ shoppers robbed and threatened in daylight, a burgeoning Somali street gang, for two years a pest, caught on camera threatening people at knife-point. Staff in local businesses as well as customers and passers-by now feel unsafe in Vauxhall when two years ago they didn’t. Talk about floodlighting Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.

All this and more is a documented part of the streetscape in and around Vauxhall Cross.

Business as Unusual
Vauxhall, or this part of it, has always been a rough old place. It’s easy to see how things might be made rougher still by the recently-arrived ‘night-time economy’ of night clubs and the huge crowds these businesses serve with alcohol until all hours, and the violent parasites the revellers and their money attract. Yet club- and publand does much, by its own actions and through its pressure group, Vauxhall One (VX1), identifying wrongdoers and pushing Lambeth Council and the Metropolitan Police to shape up and deal with this growing disorder.

Uninvolved, clueless
Both police and council officials seem uninvolved or clueless. They are charged with not turning up at meetings of the Licencing Partnership that can discipline clubs or pubs, for example, and with ignoring businesses when they identify persistent troublemakers. Another grouping, the Kennington, Oval and Vauxhall Forum (KOVF) as good as says Lambeth is lying in inferring yet refusing to confirm that the public can vote on an option to retain Vauxhall Bus Station. Without that confirmation, ‘consultation’ is a mockery.

Back to the bad old days
At the time of writing, Lambeth and Transport for London officials are declining to appear and explain themselves before a public meeting (on 25 September) of a KOVF, a community consultation body Lambeth itself set up. Lambeth and its partner, Transport for London, intend to tear down the bus station to make way for further property development. Demolition involves dispersing the bus station’s bus stops all around the Vauxhall Gyratory, making it that much easier passengers to be menaced by Vauxhall Cross’s riff-raff, which is what happened before Lambeth built the bus station only nine years ago. VX1 member-businesses individually can oppose demolition of the bus station, but VX1 itself can’t afford to. VX1 cannot function without the council’s say-so. KOV is also hobbled, because Lambeth set it up, and partly because its Board is terrified of being seen as ‘political’.

The Rotherham Effect
The trouble is that everything has become ‘political’ in Vauxhall. It grows more so every day. The May council elections confirmed Lambeth as an elective dictatorship. Winning 54.9% of the votes cast, Labour emerged with 59 of the 63 seats, the Tories with three and the Greens with one. The percentage of the electorate voting slumped from 58% to 34%. Labour now has a firmer grip on Vauxhall than it does on Rotherham, where both police and council have a lot of explaining, it wasn’t me-ing and pension-protecting to do. The point is not that the Labour Party is in charge of Lambeth or Rotherham, but that where any political party rules unchallenged for any length of time, the people suffer. Politicians wax even more overbearing and wasteful, officials sloppier and higher-handed. So too do the police. This is the disorder we’re now seeing in Vauxhall. Injustice flourishes.

One-party corporate statelet?
Lambeth is now a sort of one-party corporate statelet. Its policies with regard to Vauxhall are indistinguishable from that of Tory Wandsworth, or of the property companies bent on exploiting the Nine Elms–Vauxhall Cross development free-for all. Central Government now ‘encourages’ local authorities to rubber-stamp planning applications by paying Town Hall the proceeds of a tax on developers, the ‘Community Infrastructure Levy’. Nowhere is now more enthusiastic about pocketing CIL than Lambeth, even to the point of giving ground in subsequent secret negotiations in which developers claw back CIL by extracting reductions in the agreed level of ‘affordable housing’.

A cash-cow called Vauxhall
Vauxhall, epicentre of the property gold rush on the South Bank, is become a Lambeth cash-cow. Councillors spend the cash not in Vauxhall, but in their own wards or wherever else in Lambeth the party thinks fit. Vauxhall’s all-Labour councillors (in the Oval and Princes wards) meekly fall into line. Their rise through the party ranks is what it’s all about, not the electorate, much of which doesn’t vote anyway.

The London Borough of Lambeth, as it operates in Vauxhall, is now functionally corrupt, ‘corrupt’ in the sense that here the system of local government is breaking down, spoiled, debased. In Vauxhall there may be law but there is now disorder, and not all of it is on the street.

What Lambeth United Housing Co-op has to say:

Bang goes council scrutiny:

Kennington, Oval & Vauxhall Forum Public Meeting, 25 September:

Will yours be the 2000th signature on the Save Vauxhall Bus Station online petition? Sign here:

Join The Vauxhall Society on Facebook

Photo (cropped) by Greg McCormick used under a Creative Commons licence


Put Lambeth’s questionable Jenga Tower approval to a public inquiry, Vauxhall community groups tell Communities Minister

new bondway

new bondwayEric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, is being urged to turn down for a second time the unpopular ‘Jenga Tower’/New Bondway skyscraper scheme approved by Lambeth Council for Vauxhall Cross.

Lambeth allowed secret evidence on affordable housing and a discrepancy in the reporting of employment space to go unchecked, the Friends of Vauxhall Park charge in a letter to the Minister. This latest New Bondway scheme offers 20% affordable housing against the previous scheme’s 29% and Lambeth’s own requirement for 40%.

FOVP says that Lambeth Council’s Planning Committee approved a revised planning application for New Bondway on 5 August, with four members voting for, and three abstaining, presumably too feeble to speak their mind. Pressure is building locally for a departmental investigation into the quality of Lambeth planning consultation and decision-making in Vauxhall.

The Friends of Vauxhall Park (FOVP) urge Mr Pickles to put Lambeth’s odd vote to a public planning enquiry ‘to prevent out of control development in Lambeth’.

FOVP says that English Heritage objects to the New Bondway scheme as jeopardising the world heritage status of Westminster. UNESCO also says that London’s rage for tall buildings harms the World Heritage setting of Westminster.

The proposed height of New Bondway exceeds the Mayor of London’s guidance and two neighbouring boroughs, Westminster and Wandsworth, object to the scheme, FOVP says.

New Bondway will ‘overwhelm’ Vauxhall Park, one reason why Mr Pickles, on the advice of a Planning Inspector, rejected a previous application in 2008 on the same site.

The South London Press headlined the New Bondway scheme as a ‘monstrosity’, the word used by a Vauxhall Society spokesperson in response to the paper’s inquiry.

The TVS response in full read:
‘I’d leave my lights on at night if I had a flat in New Bondway/Jenga Tower – and if I had offices there I’d be looking at my insurance.
‘January is the second anniversary of central London’s first fatal air crash when a helicopter clipped The Tower St George Wharf skyscraper, narrowly missing the One Nine Elms double-skyscraper development site, to crash in flames on the Wandsworth Road in rush hour.
‘Despite local opposition, money-mad Lambeth Council means to cram yet another monstrosity into the skyscraper cluster at Vauxhall Cross, where air turbulence and air pollution are already at danger levels.
‘Views differ on the building’s design, but Lambeth Councillors should be ashamed to blot out the sun like this from ‘the poor people’s garden’, Vauxhall Park.’

The FOVP letter in full
Rt Hon Mr Eric Pickles MP
Secretary of State
Department for Communities and Local Government
Eland House
Bressenden Place
London SW1E 5DU

12 August 2014

Dear Mr Pickles

Re: Request for a planning inspector to review Lambeth Council’s decision to approve planning permission for 69-71 Bondway, London SW8 1SQ (14/00601/FUL)

We believe that it is essential you call this proposal in for a planning enquiry to prevent out of control development in Lambeth. On 5 August 2014 the above building was approved by Lambeth Council’s Planning Committee with 4 members supporting and 3 abstaining. Lambeth gave approval despite:

  • English Heritage’s objection that this scheme jeopardizes the world heritage status of Westminster. Only days before the decision, UNESCO raised concerns about London development of tall buildings affecting the World Heritage setting of Westminster.
  • The fact that the height of this building exceeds (by some 18m) the Mayor of London’s OAPF guidance requesting heights in Vauxhall of the order of 150m;
  • Two neighbouring London Boroughs, Westminster and Wandsworth, objecting to this scheme;
  • Our belief that this scheme will overwhelm Vauxhall Park (comments were submitted from the Friends of Vauxhall Park). This was one of the reasons you rejected, on the advice of the Planning Inspector, the previous application in 2008 on this same site. We believe the planning committee failed to consider the quality of public realm offered by this development and the lack of access to amenity space for the new residents in the affordable housing, therefore inadequately taking into account the impact on Vauxhall Park.
  • The fact that insufficient employment space and affordable housing is offered (comments received from local people and amenity groups including the Kennington, Oval and Vauxhall Forum and the Vauxhall Society). The current scheme provides for 20% affordable housing against a local plan which aims for 40%. In reaching its decision, Lambeth allowed secret evidence on affordable housing, and a discrepancy in the reporting of employment space to go unchecked. For comparison on affordable housing, the previous (rejected) scheme offered 29% affordable housing.

Yours sincerely

Helen Monger and Polly Freeman
Trustees, Friends of Vauxhall Park

cc. Kate Hoey MP and Timothy Jones, English Heritage

Block booking at Kennington hotel


The sun may be going in for people living on the Lambeth Council and City Corporation estates behind the Days Hotel at 54 Kennington Road. The hotel’s owners want to knock down the present building and replace it with three blocks of hotel and serviced apartments, 7, 9 and 22 storeys high.

There’s an exhibition on Friday 18 July from 2 to 8pm and Saturday 19 July from 10am to 2pm, in Teaching Room 1, 4th floor, Oasis College, 1 Kennington Road, SE1 7QP. There’ll be more details on from 18 July, or if you can’t wait that long, you can speak to Issam Ismail, the hotel’s general manager (on behalf of the developer, Cranborne Enterprises) or his colleague, Jack Organ, on 020 7323 3544, email You can also write to the ‘54 Kennington Road Consultation, c/o Camargue, 7 Bayley St, WC1B 3HB’. Camargue are the developer’s PR people. The addition of the word ‘Consultation’ signifies that in due course Camargue will recycle your comments or the fact of your visit to the exhibition to inform Lambeth Council that everybody loves the idea of three blocks of hotel and serviced apartments, 7, 9 and 22 storeys high. Lambeth is then likely to take the developer’s word for it, rubber-stamp the ensuing planning application and pocket the proceeds from a ‘Community Infrastructure Levy’.

Vauxhall Bus Station now in DOUBLE the danger?

i love vauxhall bus station badge

i love vauxhall bus station badgeUntil last weekend, there were two TfL/Lambeth proposals for rejigging the roundabout at Vauxhall Bridge, each involving the destruction of Vauxhall Bus Station roundabout. Now there are four, all saying the same thing: the Bus Station goes. Signatures on the Save Vauxhall Bus Station online petition are expected to surge. (If you haven’t signed please do so now.)

Such was the public outcry in Vauxhall when the first two proposals were made that TFL/Lambeth/Wandsworth Councils returned to the drawing board. The promise was to come back with alternative proposals, at least one of which would include the retention of Vauxhall Bus Station.

Well, TfL/Lambeth/Wandsworth came back with a public exhibition in Vauxhall on Thursday 26 June, at which the two old and two new plans were on show. Within hours, Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey and Save Vauxhall Bus Station Campaigners and members of the Kennington, Oval and Vauxhall Forum (KOVF) had steam coming out their ears and were exhibiting signs of road rage. The reason? Contrary to the assurances they thought they had been given, the Bus Station appears in none of TfL/Lambeth’s four ‘proposals’.

The only novelty, in Plan Three, is a proposed TfL Skyscraper plonked where the Bus Station will no longer be if Tfl/Lambeth get their way. Some gormless functionary, possibly from The Communications Agency PR firm, let slip that the skyscraper – unidentified on the architects’ impression – is ‘to generate the £40 million’ TfL needs to fund all the lovely improvements. All four plans, which go out to ‘consultation’ in the autumn involved bus passengers queuing at bus stops scattered around the roundabout.

The TfL/Lambeth/Wandsworth proposals for demolishing Vauxhall Bus Station will be posted on the Lambeth website shortly. KOVF’s website has had to be changed in light of what KOVF sees as a betrayal. KOVF, a consultative group of local community associations set up and funded by Lambeth, will discuss developments at a board meeting on Thursday 3 July Wednesday and at a public meeting at the Carmelita Centre on Thursday 10 July.

The Save Vauxhall Bus Station Campaign says:

How to demolish the bus station in four different ways
In spite of re-assurances from Lambeth and TfL that these new plans would contain an option to retain the bus station, we were presented with four options, all of which include demolition of the bus station and its replacement by bus stops scattered roadside around Vauxhall Cross in various combinations.

The ‘central integrated bus interchange facility’ which Lambeth and TfL are trying to pass off as a bus station is a collection of some, but probably not all, the bus stops crammed roadside along a narrowed Bondway at the southern end of what is now the bus platform, with no canopy and separated from the tube and trains.

And what is the desperate imperative that necessitates the loss of the bus station? It is that any plan must be made to fit around Lambeth’s determination to build a High Street in its place. This week Emerald Stores closes in Bondway, to be replaced by an estate agent. No doubt this will be the first of many to take up residence in Lambeth’s High Street, to service the luxury homes stretching from the bus station island site to Battersea.

Is this what we are to lose our bus station for?

Lambeth Council ‘consultation’ and Vauxhall Bus Station:

bus station drawing competition

Vauxhall Bus Stn Drawing Competition-18‘About as scientific as those adverts for face cream that tell you 87% of 124 women thought the cream made them look younger’

The majority party in Lambeth Council is at great pains to convince residents that its politicians and planners wish to deliver only what residents want. And so they do, provided the residents want what the politicians want. In spite of the politicos’ constantly-repeated mantra of ‘nothing has been decided yet,’ Lambeth decided before any consultation took place to demolish the bus station and get rid of the gyratory to make way for a ‘High Street.’

‘Consultation,’ Lambeth-style, has not been an attempt to establish what all the people who use Vauxhall Cross want but a marketing exercise designed to sell to the public the Council’s intentions as set out in the draft Vauxhall Special Planning Document (SPD). The ‘consultation’ reports in the SPD are dressed up to look like unbiased scientific research, with lots of numbers, graphs and percentages, but are about as scientific as those adverts for face cream that tell you 87% of 124 women thought the cream made them look younger.

Lambeth made commendable efforts to sell their vision within a very small geographical area, thus representing a tiny fraction of the people who use Vauxhall Cross. The council sent out questionnaires to 30,438 homes in Princes, Oval, Bishops, Larkhall and Stockwell wards. Roadshows and exhibitions were held and associations and community groups were visited, but only in the immediate Vauxhall area. The typical attendance was between 40 and 100 people. Another 2,000 questionnaires were distributed and 700 people were ‘engaged with’, whatever that means.

Of these 32,438 questionnaires, the Save Vauxhall Bus Station Campaign’s information is that 764 were returned and these were used as a basis for ‘confirmation’ of Lambeth’s previously-decided plans to demolish the bus station and get rid of the gyratory to make way for a ‘High Street.’

The response to Lambeth’s ‘consultation’ was 2.36% of those polled, a statistically insignificant number upon which to judge people’s views – had there been any intention to.

There is no guarantee that the group who replied were representative of the users as a whole. It’s likely that people with plenty of free time and/or strong views on a particular cause, such as removal of the gyratory, would be over-represented. Similarly, those under-represented are likely to be those who use the bus station most – for example, busy parents with three children and two jobs and no time to read leaflets stuffed through the front door. They’re the kind of people politicians are supposed to look out for.

As a proportion of all those to be affected by Lambeth’s plans, this 2.36% is even less representative. Nobody in Brixton, Clapham, Southwark, Wandsworth, Westminster, or any of the thousands of commuters to and from Vauxhall were even informed of the planned carve-up, let alone consulted.

And yet Lambeth are happy to justify their plans on the views of 764 people from one small section of those affected.


The questionnaire used as a basis for justifying the removal of the gyratory and the demolition of Vauxhall Bus Station is not unbiased. It is designed to get the required response.

There are no questions in the questionnaire. Nobody is asked:

‘Should we look at all available options to improve pedestrian experience of the traffic at Vauxhall?’


‘Do you think the bus station should be retained in its current form and location?’

Instead there are ten statements with which you are asked to agree or disagree, mostly couched in terms with which it would be difficult to disagree. Thus:

‘Making Vauxhall greener by connecting existing parks and planting new street trees is really important.’

This soft-soap is now being used to justify turning Bondway into a pedestrian precinct as part of a ‘Linear Park’ – with no mention of the resulting loss of Vauxhall Bus Station .


The fate of Vauxhall Bus Station and the redevelopment of Vauxhall Cross is not a little local question. It is a matter of importance to many thousands of people in London and the surrounding areas.

Lambeth Council and Transport for London have a responsibility to properly inform and consult all those concerned. So far, Lambeth and TfL’s performance is inadequate.

Dismayed by the Vauxhall community’s rejection of Lambeth’s ‘consultation’ and the TfL’s initial proposals based upon Lambeth’s assurances, TfL says it is about to present a wider set of options. And then consult properly.

We shall see.

Meanwhile, sign the online petition at

Vauxhall resident Michael Leapman’s letter to The Standard

Save Vauxhall Bus Station campaign: bags you a badge?

save vauxhall bus station badge

save vauxhall bus station badgeThe apolitical Save Vauxhall Bus Station campaign will be trialling a first campaign badge at the Friends of Vauxhall Park Summer Fair in Vauxhall Park (junction of Fentiman and Lambeth Road), this Sunday, 22 June, 2-5pm.

The Save Vauxhall Bus Station Campaign is a cross-party grassroots community movement sponsored by The Vauxhall Society (TVS) with the support of other community groups including the Kennington, Oval and Vauxhall Forum and The Vauxhall Gardens Estate Residents and Tenants Association. If your group would like a bespoke Save Vauxhall Bus Station campaign badge, why not give your details to someone on the TVS stand on Sunday? We may be able to help. You could help save Vauxhall Bus Station.

TVS campaign coverage

Print your own badge

Print your own poster

Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership Open Days 26/27 June: don’t just listen – speak up to Save Vauxhall Bus Station


Nine-Elms-Vauxhall-Partnership-Open-Days-1Roll up, roll up at a time that suits bureaucrats’ convenience, on two weekdays, for a vision of the Promised Land. Promised by Lambeth and Wandsworth Councils to Chinese, Gulf, Irish and Malaysian businessmen to build up their property portfolios, that is. On Thursday and Friday June 26 and 27 – musn’t eat into council officials’ weekends – there’s to be Open Days in Vauxhall for the Nine Elms Partnership. This is the Labour-run Lambeth and Tory-run Wandsworth quango you’re paying for to smooth the way for skyscrapers to hog the river from Lambeth Bridge to Battersea Bridge. Most of the skyscrapers are pricey flats, marketed to overseas investors as bank collateral rather for than living in. One June 26 and 27 at Bolney Meadow Community Centre you’re in for a lot of guff about ‘plans for new affordable homes’. Whatever you do, don’t lower the tone by asking the suits what an ‘affordable’ home is, or what percentage of such homes Lambeth and Wandsworth normally require in residential developments, skyscrapers included. Don’t, don’t ask how much lower is the ‘affordable’ percentage in the Vauxhall Nine Elms ‘Opportunity Area’ on show. Above all, don’t ask in how many cases Lambeth or Wandsworth councils have buckled and agreed to even fewer (or no) affordable homes than the VNE standard.

If you want to keep Vauxhall Bus Station, then do say so on June 26-27 for the ‘highlight’ of the exhibition is the plan for ‘new town centres’ at Vauxhall Battersea Power Station and a ‘Have Your Say’ on the Vauxhall Gyratory. The ‘plan’ was to raze Vauxhall Bus Station to make way for the Vauxhall ‘town centre’ and easier road access to Battersea’s skyscrapers. But that was before the community had its say through the Vauxhall Society-sponsored non-party Save Vauxhall Bus Station community campaign. This sent Transport for London back to the drawing board. Lambeth Council is now hoping TfL can come up soon with what could be dressed up as an alternative plan. Have Your Say all over again on June 26 and 27. The suits there are bad listeners.

Sign the Save Vauxhall Bus Station Campaign petition, now over 1500 signatures

Download the Save Vauxhall Bus Station leaflet: Side 1 and Side 2

Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership Open Day:

Thursday 26 June, 3-8pm and Friday 27 June, 8am – 6pm

Bolney Meadow Community Centre

31 Bolney Street

London SW8 1EZ

Does London need more tall buildings?

New London Architecture debate

New London Architecture debateThere’s an opportunity to have your say about the rash of skyscrapers being thrown up around Vauxhall and the rest of London at a debate on Monday night 2 June kicking off the 2014 London Festival of Architecture.‘The Towers Debate: Does London need more tall buildings? is between 6.30pm and 8pm (doors open 5.40pm) at the Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street WC2A 2HT, and the motion is ‘London needs many more tall buildings’.

There are now proposals for over 230 new tall buildings to be built in London over the next decade, 80 per cent of them residential. There’s bound to be a lively cut-and-thrust, with speakers such as Sir Simon Jenkins, chairman of the National Trust, Tony Travers, director of LSE London, and Nicky Gavron, Chairwoman of the London Assembly Planning Committee. Whether it’ll make any difference as local authorities, Labour or Tory, unite with business in the residential property feeding frenzy is another matter.

Visit for booking and other details