Minutes of General Meeting held at St Anne’s Settlement Hall on 23 February 2012.
Introduction: Jane Vuglar, Chair, opened the meeting and welcomed everyone. She reminded those present that the Residents Association area was Bonnington Square, Vauxhall Gove, Langley Lane, Lawn Lane, the south east part of South Lambeth Road, and the south west part of Hungerford Road. Although others were very welcome to take part in the meeting, voting had to be restricted to those in the area. Viva Vauxhall welcomed all, whether tenant or homeowner. Every household in the area was invited but of course it was a matter for individuals to decide whether or not to attend. She also said it was possible for people to come to a committee meeting, details of which were on the website. In response to a question from the floor about a petition sent to the committee about VV’s relationship with Fire nightclub she said that the item had subsequently been included on the agenda for this evening. The questioner said the petitioners had wanted a single issue meeting. It was agreed to discuss further when that item was reached on the agenda.
1 Crime/anti-social behaviour and local safety issues
Discussion with local Neighbourhood Watch Representative
Marie reported on action taken on local crime issues. When she heard of issues she added them to the website, and said that this increase in available information a might give people the wrong impression that crime in the area is increasing. She also said that she had about 120 names on an email list and that anyone who wanted to be added to the list for regular information should let her know. The Police had stepped up their activities in the area and Hannah Wadey (Lambeth Council Community Safety Co-ordinator) had been helpful. Marie had met with Fire nightclub who were sharing information, had offered Fire security staff or shelter to residents and were generally working together in a neighbourly way. She would check whether Fire had put noise complaint forms on their website yet. A person arrested recently had been sentenced for 12 months, but the Police always keep details confidential. Some-one from the Council had come recently to discuss lighting and had said that the lighting was what people had wanted at the time of installation. Marie reported to the meeting that the lighting was not considered bright enough. Bonnington Square Gardens now seemed to be much improved, with no muggings in the past nine months. In answer to a question, she explained that there was a ward Community Safety panel who recruited members from groups in Oval ward, and feeds information out through its members. The Police do the work and the community shares the information.
2 The Vauxhall Gyratory & the VNEB
Vote: “We in VV are prepared to support developments in Vauxhall once the gyratory is calmed and made into a safe and pleasant environment for pedestrians and cyclists.”
Malcolm Russell of the Development And Transport Action (DATA) group said that TfL did not want to change the gyratory, and DATA did not want tall towers without the gyratory, a dangerous race track, being significantly improved. Cllr Brown suggested that Lambeth could be lobbied about how the S106 is spent. An amended motion, proposed by Jane and seconded by Andrea, was carried with 21 in favour, no votes against and two abstentions: Local residents are concerned that the gyratory in its current manifestation is unfit for purpose for cyclist and pedestrian use. In view of proposed development of the area, the gyratory needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency before any future planning permissions are granted.
3 The Northern Line Extension (NLE)
Should VV oppose the NLE swallowing up the lion’s share of planning gain generated by developments in Vauxhall? Presentation by a representative of Development And Transport Action (DATA), a local transport initiative, followed by a discussion and vote.
Malcolm Russell of the Development And Transport Action (DATA) group spoke, explaining that DATA was an umbrella group set up to deal with local concerns about the way in which the Northern Line Extension (NLE) was being promulgated. A Lambeth Council senior manager had told the Vauxhall Society’s meeting in October 2011 that £600m of S106 money would be paid by Lambeth to TfL as a contribution towards the cost of NLE, and also that the proposal was going ahead without the usual ‘due diligence’. The level that would normally be contributed to a project the scale of NLE would be around £60m to £80m. Since then, the Victoria line had been recommended as an alternative to NLE because it had more capacity, in two sets of consultation reports by Treasury Holdings and TfL. DATA had reviewed TfL’s statement that the majority of people were in favour of NLE, and considered that it was probably c1% of those who were canvassed. The question that was asked in the survey was misleading: ‘do you support a tube extension to improve transport to Battersea?’ A representative of Treasury Holdings had offered at a KOV Forum meeting in the autumn to arrange a meeting between DATA and TfL. This had been accepted and those attending the subsequent meeting with TfL had included Lansdown Gardens Residents Association, Kennington Association Planning Forum and the Vauxhall Society. Viva Vauxhall had also been invited. TfL appeared to be listening, but had said that the NLE was a better option than extending the Victoria line because Victoria Station was already so congested. This seemed illogical as Kennington was already more congested than Vauxhall, and the line from Kennington led to Waterloo which was more congested than Victoria. It had been a productive meeting, TfL had agreed to another meeting which would soon be set up. DATA believes there will now be a more progressive approach which will include reviewing the gyratory. As for Lambeth Council, recent interventions by Cllrs Jack Hopkins and Jane Edbrook had won a commitment to more engagement with residents. Groups such as Viva Vauxhall could feed up concerns to DATA through their committee about concerns. A resident asked who in Viva Vauxhall had agreed for DATA to represent VV. Malcolm said the committee had agreed. The resident said such a decision should have been recorded in the minutes. Cllr Brown pointed out that other groups in the area were also active and it was important for DATA not to exclude them. Malcolm said that DATA was able to step back and look at the bigger picture, it stood for residents rather than for developers and was not a campaigning body. Cllr Brown said she had called in the decision about due diligence but her request for scrutiny had been turned down. It was pointed out that Cllr Steve Morgan had said that Lambeth Council had an obligation to pay TfL the money, but so far no-body had indicated where such an obligation was written down. The following motion was carried, with 18 votes in favour, 3 against and 3 abstentions: VV opposes the NLE swallowing up the lion’s share of planning gain generated by developments in Vauxhall.
4 Kylun Towers
We need representatives from local community groups to speak at the inquiry in March
Andrea said that the developers of Kylun Towers (two towers on the roundabout between the bus station and St George’s Wharf ) had appealed against planning permission having been refused. There would be an enquiry lasting two weeks, in the town hall, starting on 6 March. Anyone can go and listen; if anyone wanted to speak they would have to register on line or at the town hall on the first day.
5 30-60 South Lambeth Road
Controversial student tower opposite Vauxhall Park.
This 32 storey building opposite Park Mansions for 580 students, if approved, would bring the area a 25 metre swimming pool for the use of local people and enhance the street scene but there were concerns of over shadowing, particularly on Vauxhall Park. It was considered this would reduce the hours of sun in late afternoon in summer. The height would step down from the St George’s tower. It was pointed out that there was no guarantee that the pool would be heated, and that developers always present their proposals in the most favourable light but promises made do not always materialise. Concerns were raised about the minimal transport options for students, and that Parry St was the most dangerous corner because of the traffic speed and blind corner. Some pointed out that the increase of population in central London could be a positive thing, save on scarce resources and could lead to commercial viability for local businesses, while others felt there would continue to be lots of people passing through without spending money in Vauxhall, and that both Lambeth and Southwark were already overcrowded. In general, it was agreed that VV was not opposed to development per se, but opposed to the scale of development and its affect on micro climate and wind tunnel.
6 Club Fire
Club Fire and other clubs in the area.
Some of those who had signed the petition for a meeting with VV’s Committee about Club Fire said:
• The club had been in existence for five years and had caused a huge disruption. Good relations had been developed with Fire, which had come about through individuals negotiating with Fire. Fire would no longer engage with the original group and would only talk to VV committee
• Clarification on the current relationship between the committee and the nightclub was wanted, as they felt that the committee’s co-operation with the club was to the detriment of residents nearest to Fire
• A response from the committee that they were not going to have a separate meeting about the issue would have been appreciated
Andrea asked who were the original group, where were their progress updates and their invitations to others to join them?
A separate meeting was suggested between the petitioners and the committee so that these matters could be resolved.
7 Pedestrianisation of Grove/Square between the Cafe & Vine Lodge
Giving priority to pedestrians between the Cafe and Vine Lodge.
James said that an Inner City Partnership grant had been offered in 1984 for tree planting. This would have included pedestrianising some of Bonnington Square, like in Battersea Square. The Council had decided that the money was not sufficient, and in the end only road painting was carried out. The area still needed traffic calming, with tables and street furniture. It could be such a positive thing and bring people together. The pavements also need improving. An alternative – Vauxhall Grove – was suggested. Caution was urged because Exhibition Road’s scheme for pedestrians sharing space with traffic was considered by some to be dangerous. It was agreed that people could give their views, including on off street parking, on the VV website.
Some suggested that VV could consider adopting a membership scheme, as there seemed to be no way for residents in the VV area to opt out of having VV speak for them. It was agreed that Jane as Chair would speak to Danny about a separate meeting to follow through on the issues raised by the petitioners.