Vauxhall Society affiliate the Fentiman Road, Richborne Terrace and Dorset Road Residents’ Association attended the Society’s AGM, and reported back to members that VNEB planners ‘do not expect to attract many families’, adding ‘There will be no new secondary school and only one new primary school. Families will be expected to travel outside the immediate VNEB area for schooling and to access green spaces – mainly Vauxhall and Battersea Parks, both of which will receive funding’.
Also noted: ‘There was no mention of possible wind funneling which – if it does happen – could make the town centre very unpleasant from time to time. Presumably Lambeth Council will seek independent professional advice on this.’
The FRRTDR report in full:
In advance of your Residents Association AGM tomorrow (Monday), here is a report from the recent AGM of the Vauxhall Society. It contains
interesting information about Vauxhall Nine Ems Battersea (VNEB) project and Vauxhall Cross.
The meeting started with a report from TVS Cahriman Ross Davies who stressed the wide aims of the society, including significant community
involvement. The society is not anti-development. Indeed it receives copies of planning applications at the rate of around one a day, but has commented on only three in the last year – the Northern Line Extension, the Kylun Tower and the student accommodation building opposite Vauxhall Park – all for reasons which will be familiar to regular readers of this webpage. A copy of Ross’s full report can be found here: http://www.vauxhallcivicsociety.org.uk/2012/10/agm-chairmans-report/
There followed contributions from the VNEB project team and TfL. I summarise the main points below but I should say up front that both speakers came across as very sincere and indeed excited by what is proposed for the VNEB area.
The first key point is that VNEB will have a huge strategic impact. It will create 40,000 construction jobs (presumably not all at the same time) and 25,000 new permanent jobs. It is a 20 year project which has already begun (and is in practice unstoppable) and which will create 2 new town centres, one of them at Vauxhall Cross.
Part of the development will be a new entertainment district, and reference was made to Lambeth’s Night Time Economic Study which will be published later this month.
Both speakers stressed that the plans are very challenging and will exert ‘tremendous pressure’ on the area. The construction will be ‘dense’ and, although there will be green spaces, there will be no new parks. The proposed linear park is intended to be an attractive but quite narrow walkway. And much of the other open space will not be accessible to those who do not live or work in the new buildings. There will also be a new New Covent Garden Market, including new retail outlets.
There will accordingly need a lot of new infrastructure, including improvements to Vauxhall Railway Station. TfL and the VNEB team are also working closely together on the Vauxhall Gyratory – but it did not sound as though they are anywhere near agreement on its future. It is difficult to imagine an attractive new Vauxhall ‘town centre’ unless there is significantly less traffic than now. But VNEB will generate a lot of extra traffic – including construction traffic (remember those 40,000 workers), and neither speaker offered any idea how the existing or the additional traffic might be persuaded to avoid Vauxhall Cross.
[Incidentally, Councillor Peck, Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Strategic Housing, told the society, in an email received before the meeting, that “The Northern Line Extension will help breath new life into the Vauxhall and Nine Elms area, but it’s vital that this shouldn’t be at cost to local residents living along the route”.]
Returning to the meeting – and although they did not say so said explicitly – it is clear that the planners do not expect the area to attract many families. There will be no new secondary school and only one new primary school. Families will be expected to travel outside the immediate VNEB area for schooling and to access green spaces.
There was no mention of possible wind funneling which – if it does happen – could make the town centre very unpleasant from time to time. Presumably Lambeth Council will seek and publish independent professional advice on this.