For personal reasons Helen and I have been unable to get this out to you earlier and the closing date for comments is 31 November. However, Jeff Holt, The Planning Officer in charge, told Kate Hoey recently “ Whilst normally we state that the consultation period is only 21 days, in practice we accept all comments up to the day before the planning committee.” So let’s hold him to this generous offer. The application will go to committee on the 12th or 19th December – just in time for the result to get buried in the Christmas festivities.
Please put your comments in tonight if you can, or as soon as possible afterwards.
Below is Pauline’s submission, which covers much the same ground as Helen’s, to show you what we think.
Thank you all
Pauline and Helen
Objections re 17/04741 Demolition of Vauxhall Bus Station
This application should be rejected in its entirety for the following reasons:
1 Multiple applications. It is impossible for the planning committee to judge this application in isolation from planning proposals for the island site. All discussion and decisions should be delayed until the two applications can be considered together.
2 Influence of Commercial imperatives .The major commercial advantage of the demolition of Vauxhall Bus Station is to allow a more open prospect to the frontage of the planned 500 room 5star hotel and towers.
The bus station is the last publicly owned piece of land at Vauxhall. Now half of the platform and the adjacent road has been given, without any public discourse, to the developer in return for a thin strip of land along Wandsworth Rd, which, although it may equal it in square footage, most certainly does not equal it in land value.
Part of the land will become a “public square”, but in common with so many current public/private land deals (see Paternoster Square) it will no longer belong to us all and access to it, and a veto over who may access it, will pass to the developer.
3 Loss of amenities for bus passengers. Back in 2014 then Mayor Boris Johnson promised “an improved or comparable travel experience for all users.” This development will provide neither.
The space for bus passengers will be reduced, just at the time when all the new adjacent flats will be filling with residents and workers.
Continuous weather cover will no longer be provided.
The open sightlines between bus stops will vanish.
The safety and containment of the current platform will be lost, making travellers, especially the old, young and disabled, and particularly late at night, more vulnerable.
The bus stops relegated to the edge of Wandsworth Rd and Kenington Lane will be more polluted and dangerous. Traffic accidents are more likely (think all those school children who use the site daily). They are more vulnerable to terrorist attack. Those on Wandsworth Rd will be situated immediately adjacent to the main delivery truck entrance for the twin tower complex.
Crossing times for pedestrians en route to the bus station will increase.
4 Pollution. It is astonishing that no Environmental Impact Assessment is deemed necessary for the site.
There are no figures to show that there will be any significant improvement in pollution levels. At bus stops and pedestrian crossings pollution will inevitably be worse.
The potential wind tunnel effect of all the buildings should be tested. The areas around many of the adjacent new towers are already being affected.
5 Waste of public money. This project has been costed by TFL at £50 million. The last major project involving TFL’s estimating skills was the Garden Bridge. That was costed at £60million, but by the time it finally bit the dust it had gone up to £185million and rising. There is little reason to suppose that costs will not escalate similarly in this project.
The benefits of the scheme do not justify demolishing a fully functioning community asset.
6 Failure of Process. This is a scheme initiated by Lambeth Council and executed at their behest by TFL. It has been dogged throughout its long history by a failure to properly publicise or consult with local residents and especially with the wider travelling public.
There is a direct conflict of interest involved and Lambeth should not be allowed to be judge and jury on their own project.
They should ask the Minister to call it in for an independent judgement.