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 1915 [sic] 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