Skyscraper stampede: what does ‘affordable housing’ mean?

One answer is ‘whatever the local authority and a developer agree what it means’.

The Vauxhall Society asked Vauxhall developer CLS what ‘affordable housing’ means to them. CLS seeks planning permission from Lambeth for the huge Vauxhall Square scheme at Vauxhall Cross, with ‘110 units of affordable housing’, as well as 410 other properties, which CLS terms not ‘unaffordable’ but ‘private’.

CLS say they arrived at their ‘affordable’ proposals in discussion with ‘registered providers’ (housing associations) and Lambeth’s Housing Department. 58% of the affordable housing units (64 units) will be for rent, 22 being three-bed family units let at ‘social rent levels’. The rest will rented in line with Lambeth policy of what is ‘affordable’ at 60% of ‘Market Rent’. The other ‘affordable’ units will be sold as shared ownership units in line with Lambeth and Greater London Authority’s ‘affordability restrictions’.

CLS’s advisers G L Hearn have an Affordable Housing Director, Barry Rea, who says: ‘The precise definitions of affordability will be negotiated with Lambeth and contained within a Section 106 Agreement which will bind the land. That document will also bind the Registered Provider (housing association) who acquires and manages the affordable housing.’

Mr Hearn points to the ‘affordability’ section of the London Plan, the regional planning guide, which defines the various types of ‘affordable housing’.

The Vauxhall Square scheme:

For the London Plan’s definitions of ‘affordable housing’ download the London Plan extract


Stockwell Park Residents Association: ‘Vauxhall to have a tenth of New York’s open space’


Fans and foes of the VNEB development area alike bandy about the word ‘ Manhattan’ to describe the glass canyons now going up in Vauxhall. But Manhattan, unlike VNEBland, has opera, theatre and museums as well as skyscrapers. In her report to Stockwell Park Residents Association on the Vauxhall Society AGM, Jacqueline Laughton-Scott notes VNEB’s Helen Fisher as admittingd that the (VNEB) development will be ‘very dense’. There’ll be an average of 2% open space, compared with 20% for New York. Ms Laughton-Scott also notes that there’ll be no new parks other than the ‘linear park’, a walkway linking the green spaces beneath the skycrapers, and adds: ‘There seems to be a lot of emphasis on the wonderful amenity of Battersea Park, but at weekends this is already quite crowded (particularly in the summer) and it will be interesting to know how the residents from a further 16,500 homes are going to be crammed into it. There is a football pitch planned for the top of one of the tall buildings, but apart from this there is no ‘games’ space and the area will rely on the surrounding parks – Battersea, Springfield Gardens, Vauxhall Gardens and Larkhall Park.’

That AGM report in full:

Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Development Plans
1. There are no new secondary schools planned at all. The belief is that the existing secondary schools will cope with the extra demand through expansion. However, one of the governors of the Archbishop Tenison’s School pointed out that they were already over-subscribed and had no room for further development.
2. Helen Fisher admitted that the development was ‘very dense’ with an average of 2% open space (compared with 20% for New York) and there are no new parks planned other than the linear park, which is a walkway linking all the green spaces under the tall buildings going from Vauxhall to Battersea Park. There seems to be a lot of emphasis on the wonderful amenity of Battersea Park, but at weekends this is already quite crowded (particularly in the summer) and it will be interesting to know how the residents from a further 16,500 homes are going to be crammed into it. There is a football pitch planned for the top of one of the tall buildings, but apart from this there is no ‘games’ space and the area will rely on the surrounding parks – Battersea, Springfield Gardens, Vauxhall Gardens and Larkhall Park. There is section 106 funding available for the ‘impact of local development’ on these parks but I gather that this funding has been reduced by 25k for Vauxhall Gardens recently. We have section 106 funding available for Slade Gardens and in view of the pressures on this ‘pot’ we need to develop the master plan for Slade Gardens without delay.
3. There will be a plan for the transport system at Vauxhall in January 2013 which will be put out for consultation. Several of us expressed surprise that planning permission for the buildings had been given before this had been finalised and I understand that there have been heated discussions surrounding the conflicting needs of a town centre and the needs of a major transport hub. The whole subject of where the town centres will be, appears vague but at the moment they are Battersea power station, Vauxhall Square + the bus station and the Lambeth embankment.
4. There was a huge emphasis on the amount of jobs that will be created which are all based on construction.
5. A study has been done showing how important the ‘night economy’ is to the area although there appears to be an awareness of the repercussions of this.

Vauxhall Gyratory: no change there, then?


DATAThe latest newsletter from DATA, the umbrella group of local transport activists, picks up on TfL’s assertion at The Vauxhall Society’s AGM (26 October, although DATA seems to think it was 10 October) that, whatever is to be done about the Vauxhall Gyratory, nothing will be done to reduce traffic. That, asserts TfL’s Richard Di Cani, would only be to shift the traffic elsewhere. But what’s wrong with reducing traffic here, given that TfL is claiming in its current Northern Line Extension consultation that TfL is helping to bring ‘16,000 homes and 25,000 jobs’ to the Vauxhall Cross area? The ‘consultation’ document TfL is now distributing door-to-door mentions neither compensatiing you for tunnelling beneath your home or business, nor why, if TfL is so keen on NLE, TfL isn’t going pay for it – you are. The TfL consultation closes on on 16 December. Details, or email

Download the DATA newsletter here:

DATA Newsletter Number 4

NLE: Vauxhall residents group IMPACT testing TfL’s claims to be leafletting 40,000 homes

Residents group IMPACT doubts Transport for London’s claims (see email below) to have distributed 40,000 of the latest TfL consultation leaflet on the Northern Line Extension. That’s partly because many Vauxhall householders say they have yet to receive this latest leaflet, and partly because it’s the anniversary of a previous TfL consultation claim that involved TFL’s publicists, a now-bust property company, in a humiliating climbdown, having claimed to have contacted many thousands of homes when they had done nothing of the sort. IMPACT, which serves the Meadow Road, Palfrey Place, Ashmole Street, Claylands Road/Place and Trigon Road district of Vauxhall, is campaigning to limit the noise which will come from NLE trains below ground, as well as overcrowding at Oval station and on the Bank branch of the Northern Line, both of which NLE is likely to make worse.

If you got the TFL leaflet, fill in the questionnaire, says IMPACT; if you haven’t, let IMPACT know at

TfL ‘consultation’- What The Vauxhall Society reported this time last year:

Dear stakeholder

I am writing to let you know that the consultation on more detailed plans for the Northern line extension is now underway.

The proposals include:

  • Extending the line from Kennington to Battersea via Nine Elms
  • New stations at Battersea and Nine Elms
  • Two permanent shafts at Kennington Green and Kennington Park to provide ventilation, cooling and emergency access if required
  • Two temporary shafts at Radcot Street and Harmsworth Street to enable works to stabilise the ground in preparation for the new tunnels to be built

The consultation gives residents, businesses and other stakeholders the opportunity to comment on the proposals before they are finalised ready to submit an application for a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) in spring 2013.

Leaflets have been distributed to over 40,000 households and businesses along the proposed route and the proposals can be viewed on line at or speak to us in person and view the plans at one of the public exhibitions being held along the proposed route.

The consultation period will close at 17:00 on Sunday 16 December 2012.


Brigid Burnham
Consultation and Engagement
Northern Line Extension

Public Meeting: ‘Northern Line Extension – what are the alternatives?’

Wednesday 14th November, 7pm-9pm

Montgomery Hall

58 Kennington Oval

London SE11 5SW

Vauxhall Liberals are giving a platform to the all-party DATA transport community group to question the Lambeth Council/Transport for London decree that Vauxhall needs a Northern Line extension so badly that Vauxhall should help pay for it. That’s the Labour position; can anybody tell us what the Tory one is? Maybe you can find out at the public meeting, which was organised by Cllr Ishbel Brown, Lib Dem (Oval) and will be chaired by Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Dem London Assembly Group.

Invitation below

Northern Line Extension – what are the alternatives?

Chair: Caroline Pidgeon

Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group

Organised by: Councillor Ishbel Brown

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Oval Ward

There have been a number of meetings and consultations about the Northern Line extension and the impact it may have on local residents. However, there has been little discussion about how the Northern Line Extension was chosen to be the main plank of the VNEB OA transport strategy and whether it really is the most suitable transport solution. The NLE project will cause huge disruption, cost vast amounts of money and do nothing in itself to address the complex transport problems faced across Lambeth. Are there no viable alternative transport options that can address the broad range of transport problems, such as the gyratory, in an integrated manner?

We would like to invite you to a public meeting to hear a presentation from local group VNEB Development and Transport Action Group (DATA) that asks whether extending the Northern Line is the best way to help solve the transport challenges we all face.

DATA will explain that the decision to opt for a Northern Line Extension was taken three years ago without full consideration of possible options by the very people who stood to gain from building this tube extension. Since then it has been shown that the assumptions made to support this tenuous decision are incorrect, and several more factors have come to light that need to be taken into account. DATA feels strongly that before a great deal of your money is spent on a Northern Line Extension, there should be a new, independent and comprehensive transport needs analysis to identify how to address the broad range of transport challenges in Lambeth and the VNEB OA in an integrated way.

Following the presentation there will be a Q&A session and an open discussion on what would be the best transport option(s) for current and future Oval residents. The meeting will also consider how these ideas can be taken forward with TfL and Lambeth Council.

This meeting is open to all so we look forward to seeing you there.

Cllr Ishbel Brown and Caroline Pidgeon AM

So we can get an idea of numbers, please RSVP to Rosie Loveland:

by email: or by phone 020 7926 2926

Time for you to have your say on the Fire Brigade HQ redevelopment- deadline 19 November


Developers, politicians and Vauxhall residents are moving towards the endgame in the row over the proposed redevelopment of the former GLC Fire Brigade HQ on the Albert Embankment – so it’s time for you to have your say, for or against.

Lambeth turned down the planning application for 8 Albert Embankment, as the redevelopment is known, so the developer, formerly Native Land, now Albert Embankment LLP, has exercised the right to appeal to a Public Inquiry chaired by an inspector appointed by the national Planning Inspectorate.

The final decision, however, rests with the Secretary of State for Communities, Eric Pickles. You are invited to comment on the developer’s appeal to the Inspectorate but you have to do so (in triplicate) by 19 November.

The appeal Reference is APP/N5660/A/2180815.

You can comment online through the Appeals section of

There’s also a free guide to taking part in planning appeals available from Lambeth Planning Department, and you can ask to see the 8 Albert Embankment appeal documents via Lambeth’s Iwan Richards 020 7926 12519.

The 8 Albert Embankment application got off to a bad start when he development’s spin doctors were caught trying to muzzle Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey; some people also question whether the London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority should be doing deals with tax haven companies – especially as many of the 265 ‘residential units’ might appeal to offshore investors not paying much tax in the UK. There’s local opposition from the Friends of Lambeth High Street Recreation Ground, and from residents of the Whitgift Estate, who argue that the development would shade the recreation ground and stifle existing small businesses.

Lambeth turns down original Fire Station application, and what the Fire Authority said:

What Lambeth said:

How the Fire Brigade, their developers and spin-doctors burnt their fingers trying to wrongfoot Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey:

Download the Fire Authority & Developer’s offshore dealings PDF

Fire Authority&Developer offshore dealings

NLE: you may not have to pay for it after all

Lambeth’s politicians seem to be waking up to the possibility that it could be electoral poison to make Lambeth people pay for the Northern Line Extension Wandsworth wants. Lambeth’s Councillor Lib Peck says in a reply to a recent note on the TVS website ‘The Northern Line Extension will help breathe 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.’ Cllr Peck is ‘Cabinet Member’ for Regeneration and Strategic Housing. Meanwhile, an article in The Times (20 October) argues that the housing benefits will be very ‘strategic’ indeed, since ‘The bulk of new properties in the (Nine Elms) area will be expensive and beyond the reach of many Londoners.’

Why Cllr Peck thinks NLE and Nine Elms development is good for you:

I recently read the Vauxhall Society Email News (8 October) and wanted to respond.

The US Embassy and Embassy Gardens schemes, when looked at in isolation, do not require a major transport upgrade like the Northern Line Extension (NLE) to support them. But there are 23 development sites across this opportunity area, not just two. Over the course of the next 20 years this part of London will grow dramatically and a major transport upgrade package is required to support increasing numbers of businesses, visitors and residents. Without this all existing transport services, including the Victoria Line, would be gradually overwhelmed.

The NLE is part of this upgrade package but is by no means the only component. A vast network of new cycling and walking routes will be created, new bus and river bus services introduced as well as car clubs, the Barclay’s cycle hire scheme and of course, a complete redesign of the Vauxhall Gyratory to create a more welcoming, pedestrian friendly town centre. Removing the Vauxhall gyratory is at the top of Lambeth’s list for the area as we know what a huge difference it will make to revitalising Vauxhall town centre. Transport improvements and the NLE will be needed for Battersea, Vauxhall and the Albert Embankment to support the thousands of new homes, businesses and jobs coming to the area.

While the NLE is essential we are sensitive to the route issues and concerns of local residents. We recently held a very constructive meeting with local residents on this and have commissioned engineering consultants Ramboll to carry out a review of TfL’s design work on the NLE. This is so we can make sure concerns are well known and answered by Transport for London. We will continue to advocate hard on behalf of our residents.

During the construction programme there will be around 22,000 jobs and 1,000 apprenticeship places created here and these opportunities will be targeted at local people. After construction the area will support an additional 25,000 jobs.

There will also be thousands of new affordable homes for local people in housing need, a new Thames riverside walk, a new fresh food market and acres of brand new public parks, gardens and squares for the community to enjoy. Both Vauxhall and Battersea will have new town centres which put people first, not traffic, and provide much better links to the riverside.

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.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need more information.

Best wishes,


Cllr Lib Peck

Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Strategic Housing


The Vauxhall Gyratory: questions you could and maybe should ask at The Vauxhall Society AGM, 25 October

One feature of Vauxhall’s redevelopment that needs watching is the ‘Gyratory’, the one-way traffic system at Vauxhall Cross that for many of the thousands who use it every day IS Vauxhall. Lambeth Councillor Stephen Morgan has stated that the Gyratory will be “dealt with” as part of the redevelopment plans for Vauxhall – but hasn’t said how and at what cost. There’s a rare chance to put questions on the Gyratory to the planners involved at The Vauxhall Society AGM. It’s on 25 October, and senior officials from Lambeth, Transport for London and the Vauxhall, Nine Elms & Battersea development programme will be on hand to reply. The Vauxhall Society’s Colin McCall lists below some Gyratory questions you might ask – you’ll be paying, whatever they do.

The AGM starts at 7.00 for 7.30pm at St Stephen’s Church, St Stephen’s Terrace, London SW8 1DH, all welcome (to ask questions rather than make speeches).

Those Gyratory questions in full:

1. Is the Gyratory going to be addressed as part of the VNEB redevelopment?

If so:

a) What plans are there for the Gyratory and do these plans include a return to two-way traffic?

b) Do Transport for London and Lambeth agree which plan should be implemented? If not, how will agreement be reached and by when?

c) When can Lambeth residents expect to be consulted on the plans?

d) What will the plans cost to implement?

e) Where will the money for the implementation of the plans come from?

f) How long will implementation take?

 2. How are the new high-rise residential, office and retail developments (Kylun, Market Towers, 30-60 South Lambeth Road, St Georges Tower and the rest of the Vauxhall, Nine Elms & Battersea developments) expected to interact with the Gyratory and the transport hub at the centre of the Vauxhall Gyratory traffic island?

3. How is the vast influx of pedestrians using the new developments in and around the Gyratory going to be any safer than people are now with the Gyratory?

4. How will the VNEB including the Gyratory become, to paraphrase the Mayor, “More cycle friendly than Amsterdam”?

Vauxhall Society AGM: Thu 25 Oct – 7pm

Helen Fisher

The Annual General Meeting of The Vauxhall Society will be held on Thursday 25 October. Our guest speaker will be Helen Fisher, the new Nine Elms Programme Director of the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Strategy Board, and therefore leader of one of Europe’s largest development programmes, including the new US Embassy, riverside apartment tower blocks for 26,000 people, and the controversial Northern Line Extension. Ms Fisher will outline what she sees as the benefits of VNEB and then invite questions.

Helen Fisher has led urban regeneration programmes that include the redevelopment of Canning Town and Custom House. A former director of two regeneration consultancies, she has also advised the Department of Communities and Local Government on neighbourhood renewal.A former director of two regeneration consultancies, she has also advised the Department of Communities and Local Government on neighbourhood renewal.

The AGM starts at 7 for 7.30pm at St Stephen’s Church, St Stephen’s Terrace, London SW8 1DH.

Also present will be:

  • Richard De Cani, who is Director of Strategy & Planning, Transport for London, and therefore the man behind the Northern Line Tube extension, will answer your questions at The Vauxhall Society AGM on Thursday 25 October.
  • Lambeth’s Sandra Roebuck (Programme Manager, Regeneration) can take questions relating to the newly-published Vauxhall Supplementary Planning Document

Non-members are welcome.