Thursday, 13 May 2010

Statement of Case - Bondway - APP/N5660/A/10/2123877/NWF





Presented by David Boardman



In connection with an application by

Vauxhall Bondway Ltd
(a company registered in Jersey)

for planning permission for the development of site at


Planning Application No & Planning Inspectorate Reference
KAPF will provide evidence to the forthcoming Planning Inquiry in relation to the application by Vauxhall Bondway Ltd for the
“The demolition of existing buildings on site and the erection of a 42 storey building
(149m) plus 2 basement levels below ground to provide a mixed use development
comprising commercial units (flexible use class A1, A2, A3 and A4) of 288m² GEA
at ground floor, commercial units (use class B1) of 5,564m² GEA at first, second
and third floor, 671m² residential amenity space at thirty-sixth floor and 376
residential units at fourth to fortieth floors, two levels of plant at forty-first to fortysecond floors, 25 car parking spaces and 22 motorbike parking spaces located in the basement, 568 cycle parking spaces (360 located in the basements, 156
located in storage units on floors four to sixteen and fifty-two at grade), refuse
storage, public realm improvements/ landscaping at street level and the formation
of new vehicular access from Bondway/ realigned vehicular access from Parry Street.”

KAPF objects to this application and opposes the granting of planning permission in this case having regard to national planning policy, the provisions of the development plan, and the interests of good strategic planning in London.
1.1       The Kennington Association is a voluntary membership association of upwards of 420 members drawn from the wider Kennington area in the north of the Borough of Lambeth, an area that abuts the east side of the Vauxhall area. Our aim is to promote and maintain the Kennington area as a good place to live and work, and the Kennington Association Planning Forum is a group of Association members with interest in and experience of planning and development issues, that develops planning policies and makes planning representations on behalf of the wider Association. As Chair of the Planning Forum I made objections to the proposed development at the Planning Committee on 24 March, and I now set out this statement of case on behalf of the Association.
1.2      The Kennington area comprises an interspersed mixture of Georgian and Victorian conservation areas and social housing estates, some with significant deprivation. The Association’s concerns therefore include conservation, open space, affordable housing and employment and skills issues in relation to its area, and the extent to which developments in the Vauxhall area, such as the present Bondway development, will benefit Lambeth residents and jobseekers, or detract from public amenity.

2.1      In evidence the appeal site and surrounding sites will be described. In particular, reference will be made to the surrounding heritage assets and open spaces, as conveniently summarised and mapped as Figures TA2.19, TA2.20 and TA2.27 of the draft Vauxhall Nine Elms and Battersea Opportunity Area Planning Framework

3.1       Reference will be made to the relevant planning history of the appeal site and surrounding area. This will include the site’s longstanding land uses and buildings.

4.1       The application proposals will be described.  Reference will be made to the background information submitted in relation to the application, the EIA submitted in support of the application, and any other relevant information related to the application.

5.1       Reference will be made  to the consultations carried out by the applicant, the local planning authority and other third parties, and to the volume and content of responses, including the responses of CABE and English Heritage.

 6.1   Government advice including that set out in PPS1, 3, 4, 5, and PPG13, and 17 will be considered, as well as various government circulars, including ODPM Circular 05/2005 and DCLG and ODPM Practice Guidance. The relationship of the application to such advice will be assessed. Reference will be made to the Lambeth UDP, the London Plan, the draft Vauxhall/ Nine Elms/ Battersea Opportunity Area Planning Framework, Lambeth’s Sustainable Community Strategy, Lambeth’s Core Strategy submission, various Conservation Area statements, and any other relevant policy documents.           

7.1       KAPF’s planning case against the development can be summarised as follows:
·         There is no presumption, emerging or otherwise, of a tall tower on this site
·         The development constitutes a significant departure from the express terms of the development plan
·         The density of the proposed residential development far exceeds the upper limits prescribed by the London Plan
·         The building has an unsatisfactory design and inadequate amenity space, particularly for social housing tenants
·         At first sight, the development provides an inadequate supply of affordable housing, and the failure to disclose the assumptions, on which the justifying viability study is based, materially prejudices objective appraisal of this issue, and prevents public justice being done in this regard
·         The mix of dwellings proposed, amounting to a “child lite” development, creates a demographically unsustainable community, unrepresentative of its residential hinterland, and unresponsive to the housing needs of the existing Lambeth population
·         The development has a materially adverse impact on its surroundings and views, particularly the setting of the Vauxhall Conservation  Area, including Vauxhall Gardens, and listed buildings in its vicinity
·         The S106 contribution proposed is wholly inadequate to mitigate the open space deficiency exacerbated by the residential element of the development
·         Agreeing this development with this mix of uses creates a precedent for the VNEB Opportunity Area prejudicial to the emerging Planning Framework, and to good strategic planning in London
7.2      More particularly, evidence will be presented that there can be no presumption in favour of a tall building on this site in the absence of a detailed impact study of the area, and that merely because the Vauxhall area has been designated as the location of a cluster of tall buildings does not warrant building a tall tower on every plot of the developer’s choosing, irrespective of the development plan. Notice will be taken of a detailed impact study made by Southwark Council to inform the location of any development of tall buildings in the Blackfriars area, and the corresponding absence of any such published study for Vauxhall.
7.3     Evidence will be presented that the mix of uses is inappropriate, given the express terms of the Lambeth Plan designation for the site, (no more than 10% of employment floorspace uses on site, despite the Lambeth plan saying expressly at least 30%) and the existence of pockets of significant deprivation in the borough, and high unemployment rates.
7.4     It will be demonstrated that the residential density of the development far exceeds the relevant upper limit of the London Plan, and that this overdevelopment contributes to design deficiencies, in particular deficiencies in amenity space and “separate but equal” facilities for social tenants that are in practice unequal and discriminatory.
7.5     Evidence will be sought from the applicant to justify the low level of affordable housing provided by the development, which otherwise fails to satisfy the provisions of the London and Lambeth Plans.
7.6     Evidence will be presented of the demographic mix in Lambeth and the locality, and its household realisation, and the extent to which the proposed development, in its mix of housing sizes and types, fails to provide a demographically sustainable community, or one responsive to housing need in the vicinity.
7.7     Evidence will be presented to demonstrate that the location is inappropriate for a very tall building and that the height and orientation of the proposal would be over-dominant and have a negative impact upon the character, quality, and amenity of the area and surrounding areas, particularly in terms of local access and permeability, local amenity, local and strategic views, the distinctive quality of the local townscape, and upon the general amenity of local residents in terms of the perceived oppressiveness of the proposed very tall “Fat Tower”. Evidence will be produced that the tower will cause irreversible damage to the character and appearance of various listed buildings and Conservation Areas in Lambeth and the City of Westminster, and to Vauxhall Gardens.
7.8     Evidence will be presented that the proposed development lies in an area of open space deficiency under the Lambeth Plan, that the reasonably foreseeable addition to the residential population occasioned by the development will exacerbate this deficiency, and that any remediation of this deficiency must involve the making available of additional public open space, either in kind, or by means of cash equivalent, reckoned at open market land prices. It will be demonstrated that the proposed S106 payments in this regard are wholly inadequate.
7.9      Evidence will be presented that allowing a developer to build an excessively dense residential tower with no more than 10% employment uses floorspace, on a KIBA to boot (a Key Industrial and Business Area being Lambeth’s equivalent of the London Plan’s Locally Significant Industrial Area) would run a coach and horses through the emerging VNEB Opportunity Area Planning Framework – the development would create a precedent for at least the 50 hectares designated as  “high density mixed use centre focal point for office and retail including housing” to ignore the employment aspirations of the framework, and develop at far higher residential densities than the 255 per hectare planned.
7.10      With regard to the matters about which the Secretary of State particularly wishes to be informed for the purposes of consideration of the appeal        
a) the extent to which the proposed development would be in accordance with the
development plan for the area;
·         Evidence will be presented that the proposals are a significant departure from  the development plan for the area.

b) The extent to which the proposed development is consistent with Government
policies in Planning Policy Statement 1: Delivering Sustainable Development, and accompanying guidance The Planning System: General Principles with particular regard to:

i) the achievement of sustainable development and sustainable communities through an integrated approach to social cohesion, protection and enhancement of the environment, prudent use of natural resources and economic development;
·         Evidence will be presented that the proposals are not consistent with PPS1 on this matter

ii) whether the design principles in relation to the site and its wider context, including the layout, scale, open space, visual appearance and landscaping, are appropriate in their context and take the opportunities available for improving the character and quality of the area and the way it functions, having regard to the advice in paragraphs 33 to 39 of PPS1;
·         Evidence will be presented that the proposals are not consistent with PPS1 on this matter

iii) the extent to which the application takes into account the access needs of all in society, including people with disabilities - including access to and into buildings, having regard to the advice in paragraphs 36 and 39 of PPS1;
·         We have no comments to make on this matter

iv) Advice on prematurity in paragraphs 17-19 of The Planning System: General Principles, having regard to progress towards adoption of any emerging development plan documents or saved policies under the transitional arrangements;
·         Evidence will be presented that the proposals are not consistent with PPS1 guidance on this matter, and would prejudice good strategic planning for London, and in particular the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea area.

c) the extent to which the proposed development is consistent with Government planning for housing policy objectives in Planning Policy Statement 3 (PPS3) Housing, with particular regard towards delivering:
i) high quality housing that is well-designed and built to a high standard;
ii) a mix of housing, both market and affordable, particularly in terms of tenure and price, to support a wide variety of households in all areas, both urban and rural;
iii) a sufficient quantity of housing taking into account need and demand and seeking to improve choice;
iv) housing developments in suitable locations, which offer a good range of community facilities and with good access to jobs, key services and infrastructure;
v) a flexible, responsive supply of land – managed in a way that makes efficient and effective use of land, including re-use of previously-developed land, where appropriate;
·         Evidence will show that the proposals fail to meet national, regional or local planning policy or guidance with regard to affordable housing. We will assess the current mix of housing, local needs, and the local supply of new affordable housing.  We will provide evidence that the requirements in policy for housing amenity space, for residential space standards, and for density would not be met by the proposal.

d) the extent to which the proposed development accords with Government planning policy advice in Planning Policy Statement 4: Planning for Sustainable Economic Growth;
·         Evidence will be presented that the proposals are not consistent with PPS4 on these matters

e) the extent to which the proposed development is consistent with the advice in Planning Policy Guidance Note 13: Transport, in particular on the need to locate development in a way which helps to promote more sustainable transport choices; promote accessibility to jobs, shopping, leisure facilities and services by public transport, walking and cycling; reduce the need to travel, especially by car and whether the proposal complies with local car parking standards and the advice in paragraphs 52 to 56 of PPG13;
·         We will present evidence that the high apparent accessibility of public transport in the Vauxhall area, which justifies higher density development and limitation on car keeping there, masks lower levels of practical accessibility arising from inadequate capacity and consequent congestion.

f) whether any permission granted for the proposed development should be subject to any conditions and, if so, the form these should take;
·         We may make comments on this matter at the Inquiry.

g) whether any permission granted should be accompanied by any planning obligations under section 106 of the 1990 Act and, if so, whether the proposed terms of such obligations are acceptable;
·         Evidence will be presented that the planning obligations and their proposed terms are wholly insufficient  to mitigate the impact of the application were it considered otherwise acceptable, particularly with regard to affordable housing and to open space, having regard to land values in the Vauxhall area.

h) any other matters that the Inspector considers relevant.
·         KAPF will comment on other relevant material planning considerations at the Inquiry.

8.         CONCLUSION
8.1       KAPF strongly objects to the grant of planning permission for this proposal for the reasons given. We strongly urge the Inspector to advise the Secretary of State to reject this proposal and refuse permission.

Appendix 1 – List of Documents to be Referred to at the Inquiry
KAPF will refer to some or all of the following documents at the inquiry:-

1.                  Relevant Central Government Circulars
2.                  Relevant Planning Policy Guidance Notes
3.                  Relevant Planning Policy Statements
4.                  Relevant decisions by the Courts and the Secretary of State.
5.                  The London Plan Consolidated with Alterations since 2004 (2008)
6.                  The draft Replacement London Plan (2009)
7.                  London View Management Framework, supplementary guidance, July 2007, and its review (Draft for Consultation, May 2009).
8.                  Relevant GLA Supplementary Planning Guidance
9.                  Lambeth Unitary Development Plan, Adopted August 2007
10.              Lambeth’s Sustainable Community Strategy
11.              Lambeth’s State of the Borough Report 2010
12.              Lambeth’s LDF Core Strategy Topic Paper 1 – Affordable Housing
13.              Lambeth’s LDF Core Strategy Topic Paper 2 – Key Industrial and Business Areas
14.              Lambeth’s LDF Core Strategy Topic Paper 3 – Tall buildings
15.              Lambeth’s LDF Core Strategy Topic Paper 5 – Delivery of public transport infrastructure in Vauxhall
16.              The growth of claimant unemployment to vacancy ratio by area, LGA 2009
17.              SPD: Guidance and Standards for Housing Development and House Conversions
18.              SPD: Sustainable Design and Construction (July 2008)
19.              SPD: Section 106 Planning Obligations (July 2008)
20.              SPD: Vauxhall area (November 2008) (Draft)
21.              Census material for Lambeth and Prince’s Ward
22.              Joint Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment & English Heritage Guidance on Tall Buildings.
23.              Lambeth Open Space strategy (September 2004)
24.              Lambeth Open Space Strategy, Quality Audit Update (February 2007)
25.              By Design – Urban design in the planning system: Towards better practice (supplement    to PPS1, DETR/CABE)
26.              Conservation Principles – Policies and Guidance (EH)
27.              Relevant Conservation Area Statements and drafts (Albert Square, St Marks, Vauxhall, Kennington)
28.              Relevant Lambeth Business and Employment Studies and Surveys
29.              English Partnerships ‘Employment Densities: a simple guide’
30.              Mayor of London’s Supplementary Planning Guidance on Housing 2005
31.              GLA: Housing Space Standards 2006
32.              Recommendations for living at Superdensity’, Design for London, July 2007
33.              ‘Capital Gains: making high density housing work in London’, London Housing Federation, July 2007
34.       Documents referred to in the Rule 6 statements of parties to the inquiry and other relevant sources of information or documents that arise as a result of the production of third parties’ or the appellant’s statements of case, proofs of evidence, Statement of Common Ground and rebuttal proofs.

KAPF reserves the right to add to or amend this list of documents to be referred to at the inquiry.