Last night the CLS proposal for the redevelopment of Vauxhall Square was given planning permission. Andrea from Viva Vauxhall and three others spoke as objectors. All four speakers, as well as those having sent written submissions questioned the proposal and made the planning committee aware of concerns regarding the excessive height and density, lack of public open space and children’s play ground space, under-provision and ghettoisation of the affordable/social housing element and the fact that the development is not going to improve the gyratory.
Councillor Edbrooke also addressed the planning committee, echoing many of local residents’ concerns.
After planning permission had been given to other VNEB developments in Vauxhall such as the Kylun Towers, One Nine Elms, Sainsbury’s, the 30-60 South Lambeth Road Student Tower, there was precious little chance of the Planning Committee turning down this one, as for example planning guidance regarding height had already been rendered a blunt tool due to Wandsworth consenting One Nine Elms at 206 m.
Because of the input by us, the meeting acknowledged some of the concerns expressed and in a remarkably long session (over two hours), a number of requirements were written into the planning permission, including:
1) Vauxhall Park which is to suffer most from the development in terms of overuse (as Councillor Palmer of the Planning Committee put it: ‘soon there will be standing room only’) is to receive a direct donation from the developers. Any s. 106 money paid to Lambeth for the up-keep of Vauxhall Park is to be ring-fenced and a commitment was made to include Vauxhall Park in the DIF area, making it eligible for DIF funding at last.
2) A commitment by the developers to do their utmost to help Lambeth achieve a ‘taming’ of the gyratory.
3) Once the true viability of the scheme will be known in a few years’ time, the percentage of affordable/social housing will be reviewed, and extra money for affordable/social housing may be paid by the developers to be used across the borough.
4) A review of parking spaces for the luxury residences only and not for the affordable/social housing.
5) The night-time closure of the ‘Lane’ linking the development to the so-called Linear ‘Park’ (one councillor remarked: ‘I believe they wish they’d never coined the term’) is to be reviewed.
6) Restriction on clubs and drinking establishments within the ‘Square’ and licensing hours are to be imposed.