Tuesday, 29 June 2010

KAPF - Proof of Evidence for Bondway Inquiry









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

1.1 I am a Master of Arts of the University of Cambridge (Natural Sciences) with a qualification in Applied Mathematics.
1.2 Having worked in London for most of my working life, I retired from the civil service in 2005, and since 2007 have lived in Kennington in the London Borough of Lambeth, in property which my wife and I have owned since 2001. While living in Billericay in Essex in the 1980s I was a co-opted member of the Billericay Local Area Committee, a Committee of Basildon District Council exercising local planning powers. I also represented the Billericay District Residents’ Association on planning issues, including appearing at the Examination in Public of the Essex Structure Plan and the Billericay Local Plan Inquiry.
1.3    In 2009 I was appointed Chair of the Kennington Association Planning Forum.
2.1 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. It was established in reaction to the Congestion Charge, whose boundary bisects the Kennington area, and now continues as a non-party-political pro-active lobby group for the quality of life in Kennington, our residential neighbourhood in the heart of London.
2.2 The general aim of the Association is to promote and maintain the Kennington area as a good place to live and work. This area comprises an interspersed mixture of Georgian and Victorian conservation areas and social housing estates, some with significant deprivation. The Association’s concerns in the planning context 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 residents and jobseekers from the wider Lambeth area, or detract from public amenity.
2.3   More specifically, the Association’s aims are laid down as
·         To foster a sense of community within the diverse population of the Kennington area
·         To campaign in order to maintain and improve public services
·         To act as an advocate in matters of public planning and architectural proposals
·         To work to protect Kennington’s historical heritage and improve its amenities and environment
·         To work to promote the general health and well-being of its people
·         To work with other groups and authorities, as appropriate, to these ends
2.4 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 objection to the proposed Bondway development at the Lambeth Planning Committee on 24 March, and I now set out this proof of evidence on behalf of the Association.
3.1  These are all conveniently described in the Statement of Common Ground. In particular we draw attention to the arc of conservation areas to the south, east and north of the Bondway site, one beginning less than 150m from the site. The location of the surrounding heritage assets and open spaces are conveniently summarised and mapped as Figures TA2.19, and TA2.20 of the draft Vauxhall Nine Elms and Battersea Opportunity Area Planning Framework (CD4/3, hereafter VNEB), and included here, as Exhibits K1.1, and K1.2, annotated to show distance contours from the Bondway site at units of 150m (a distance approximately equal to the height of the Bondway Tower, at 149m). The proximity to and density of heritage assets and open space near the Bondway site may be contrasted with the relatively sparse immediate neighbourhood of the Strata Tower at Elephant and Castle (also 149m high), another area favoured with the designation as an emerging tall building cluster.
3.2   The site also falls within an area designated as an Open Space Deficiency Area under the current Lambeth Plan (CD5/1 Map 2 p135). Under VNEB (CD4/3), the site falls in an area designated as “high density mixed use centre focal point for office and retail including housing” (our emphasis), a designation that covers about 50 hectares of the wider Opportunity Area, part in Lambeth, part in Wandsworth.

4.1 Of the responses to consultation, we single out for particular mention subsequently those of   
·         CABE , in relation to quality of design (CD2/17)
·         English Heritage, as authoritative opinion on impact on heritage assets and views (CD2/19)
·         Westminster City Council, as the recognised gatekeeper in relation to long distance views and protection of the Westminster World Heritage Site, and
·         The Friends of Vauxhall Park, Viva Vauxhall, the Fentiman Road, Richborne Terrace and Dorset Road Residents’ Association, and the Vine Housing Co-operative, as authentic voices of their communities.

No Presumption
5.1 The developer, at paragraph 1.3 of his statement of case (CD1/4), declares that “The policy presumption in emerging policy is for a tall building on the [Bondway] site.” We disagree. To be sure, the promotion of a cluster of tall buildings “at Vauxhall” must now be regarded as policy, most definitively in location terms through Policy S9(d) of the Lambeth Core Strategy Submission (CD5/11), and Figure 10.1 of the Draft Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area Planning Framework (CD4/3), which denotes a circle of diameter 600m in the Vauxhall area as the site of a “Proposed tall building cluster at Vauxhall”. The Draft SPD for Vauxhall (CD5/2), which would have given more definitive spatial advice about location, appears to have been put on ice, in favour of the Draft VNEB document.
5.2 So we lack, as part of planning guidance, the detailed urban design study enjoined on planning authorities by the CABE/EH Guidance (CD6/1) para 2.7
In identifying locations where tall buildings would and would not be appropriate, local planning  authorities should, as a matter of good practice, carry out a detailed urban design study. In addition to considering the wider objectives of sustainable urban design that apply to all new development, as set out in By design, this should:
– take into account the historic context of the wider area through the use of historic characterisation methods (the English Heritage publications Conservation bulletin issue
historic landscape characterisation and the forthcoming Using urban characterisation, provide useful guidance)
– carry out a character appraisal of the immediate context, identifying those elements that create local character and other important features and constraints, including:
n natural topography
n urban grain
n significant views of skylines
n scale and height
n streetscape
n landmark buildings and areas and their settings, including backdrops, and important local views, prospects and panoramas.
– identify opportunities where tall buildings might enhance the overall townscape
– identify sites where the removal of past mistakes might achieve a similar outcome.”

5.3   Nor therefore do we have the detailed 3D urban design framework contemplated by para 2.9 of the Guidance (CD6/1)
“In areas identified as appropriate, or sensitive, to tall buildings, local authorities should consider commissioning more detailed, three-dimensional urban design frameworks to be adopted as supplementary planning documents as support policies to core
strategies and/or as area action plans. The potential impact of buildings of various heights and forms can be modelled to assess their effect on context including on
other local authority areas, and on each other. This should help to inform the decision-making and place-making process.”

5.4   In this context we cannot regard the study at TA3 of VNEB (CD4/3) as more than the Views Study it declares itself to be, apt to providing conditional support to the “cluster” designation, but not to identifying apt sites. This leaves us with the following extract from VNEB as the material guidance (CD4/3 Chapter 10)

“At Vauxhall, the Vauxhall Tower c. 180 metres is considered to be the pinnacle of an emerging cluster of tall buildings, other buildings in the cluster should have a secondary relationship to it. Buildings in the region of 150 metres are likely to have such a  relationship and anything taller is unlikely to be acceptable. Cumulative impact on affected views would need to be demonstrated, as well as a consideration of other planning benefits particularly in relation to their contribution to other strategic objectives for the OA and particularly to the delivery of the public realm strategy.

Tall buildings within the emerging cluster at Vauxhall should appear as individual elements on the skyline and avoid appearing collectively as a solid wall of development within the setting of the Palace of Westminster from the river prospects or from views within or close to the World Heritage Site. The Palace of Westminster should be maintained as the main focus within the townscape composition when viewed from Waterloo, Hungerford and Westminster bridges.”

5.5   Together with this, we have the designation of the 600m diameter circle, which amounts to an area of about 28.3 hectares. Since the developer of the consented Vauxhall Sky Gardens is able to erect his tower on about 0.15 hectares (CD6/14), this suggests that in principle there could be upwards of 100 possible tower locations “at Vauxhall”, none of which, short of a detailed study can benefit by a “presumption”.

5.6   So we must judge this application, as any other, against the Mayor’s Plan (CD4/1) policies, in particular 4B.1, 4B.9 and 4B.10, and the Lambeth Plan (CD4/1) Policy 22 and the rubric to the designation of the site as MDO81, without any presumption of a tall building on the site. This position may be compared to that for the Bankside emerging tall building cluster, where there have been detailed design studies in the run up to the formulation of the Southwark LDF (See eg the conclusions of such a study at Appendix K1.4 attached), which materially facilitate the creation of a coherent assemblage.

Material Departure from the Local Plan

5.6    We can therefore say that the application departs materially from the development plan, in particular Lambeth Plan (CD5/1) Policy 22 and the rubric to MDO 81, in that the development occupies a site within Major Development Opportunity Area MDO 81, within the Vauxhall Key Industrial and Business Area (“KIBA”), which is a “Locally Significant Industrial Area” in Lambeth, in the sense of Plan Policy 3B.4 of the London Plan (CD4/1). Pursuant to that Policy, the Lambeth Plan has developed local plans and criteria to manage the area,
·         both at large -  extract from Lambeth Plan Policy 22 - Parts of KIBAs have MDOs (as shown on the Proposals Map) that are listed as Mixed Use Employment Areas and described under area headings in section B of the Plan. Here some residential and other non-employment uses are acceptable on appropriate parts of the site. The overall development, however, should be predominantly employment-based, incorporating the maximum feasible amount of employment development - either at least 50% of the site area or 50% of the replacement floorspace should be B1/B2/B8, including the work element of any work-live scheme, unless otherwise specified in the MDO. A lower proportion will be considered for schemes predominantly of affordable housing. The scheme should include improved access for the employment uses, separate, as far as possible, from the residential access.”
·         And specifically – the Plan rubric, applying to the four contiguous MDO sites MDO 80 to 83 runs “All four sites, or groups of sites, are mixed-use employment areas. At least 1/3rd of the floorspace on each site within each MDO should be for employment use, unless it can be demonstrated that, through comprehensive development, this amount of employment floorspace can be achieved across the entire MDO site. The retention of original mid-Victorian building at 71 Bondway will be addressed as part of the Vauxhall Area Action Plan, with potential for development on former filling station/smaller warehouse to front and small site to south. Redevelopment of unsightly Keybridge House encouraged. New Vauxhall Station tube entrance.”

5.7   But the development offers no more than 10% of employment uses floorspace, and provides no demonstration that comprehensive development of the remainder of the MDO 81 site will achieve the 1/3rd target overall. Indeed, there now appears to be doubt whether the proposed development even increases the likely employment it would engender over that potentially provided by the employment floorspace in existing buildings on the site

Material Departure from the Mayor’s Plan – Beyond “Superdensity”
5.8     In addition, the proposed development would be a material departure from the Mayor’s Plan (CD4/1), (the spatial development strategy for the area), because too dense a residential development. The site is said by the developer to be 0.29 hectares in area and the application is for   376 dwellings, giving rise to a density of 1297 units per hectare. This is upwards of three times greater than the upper limit of 405 units per hectare in Table 3A.2 of the London Plan  (CD4/1) (though we actually measure the site area as 0.268 hectares, yielding an even higher density of 1403!). It is sobering to note that when Design for London produced their 2007 report “Recommendations for Living at Superdensity” (CD6/8), they defined superdensity as the range from 150 residential units per hectare to 500 units per hectare. At densities of 1297 units per hectare, we are way beyond superdensity – monsterdensity would be more apt.
CABE excited, but reserved
5.9    We acknowledge that CABE (CD2/17), concentrating on design issues, was excited by the scheme, while expressing reservations where the building came down to earth
This is an exciting and interesting scheme. The elegant massing and good proportions have produced a successful form and we are satisfied, in principle, that the proposed height could be appropriate. We have reservations about the design of the canopy and feel that the building’s relationship with the ground plane requires further work to ensure that the development engages with the public realm, both existing and emerging. However, overall we are confident that the applicant demonstrates a commitment to high quality design, and we therefore support the planning application.”

5.10   While supporting the planning application and wishing the project well, CABE also expressed other concerns

“Although we acknowledge that this is only partly within the applicant’s control, we are not convinced that the layout of the base of the tower and the surrounding public realm are fully integrated yet. We support the 40m wide public space to the west of the site, which is proposed as part of Lambeth’s Vauxhall Area SPD, and feel that the success of the cluster is, in fact, dependant on the implementation of this. However, the ground floor of this building will need to work hard to animate the space, which will be of considerable scale. We urge the local authority to ensure that the public space is well designed, carefully integrated with adjacent new buildings and offers significant amenity to local residents.”

“More work is needed to enhance the pedestrian experience on Parry Street, with its tight pavement and harsh road environment. We welcome the undercutting of the ground floor at the corner with Bondway but feel that the aspiration for trees within the narrow pavement may be unrealistic and further measures should be sought that provide a more generous pedestrian environment along this section of Parry Street.”

5.11   It should be noted that the public space referred to above, to which CABE attaches such importance for the success of the cluster, does indeed feature in the Draft Vauxhall Area SPD (CD5/2), now on ice, but does not find a place in the illustrative master plan for this area in the draft VNEB Framework document (CD4/3 - see figures 9.15 and 9.16).

Other design features
5.12   Despite the applicant’s declared commitment to good design, the proposed tower manages to miss the Lambeth target for amenity space per dwelling by 1 sqm, which for the building as a whole adds up to 376 sqm, equivalent to 5 or more extra flats. The means to alleviate this is to propose a separate amenity floor, free at point of use to market tenants (because funded from service charge), but to be paid for by separate subscription by social tenants. This is discriminatory against social tenants, who already have segregated entrances to their dwellings. We regard “separate but equal” facilities as inherently unequal and discriminatory
5.13   Nor does the design for this "Fat Tower" enhance the public realm – leaving aside till later a discussion of its impact on heritage assets and open space in its neighbourhood, it fails to enhance the public realm at ground level by providing a narrow strip of hard  landscape mitigated only by suitably disciplined isolated trees. The provision of a canyon alley/tunnel next the railway embankment is more likely to degrade, rather than enhance the public realm, and does not encourage permeability. The views of CABE (CD2/17), noted above, are material here.
5.14   It follows that such design features contravene the policies for good quality buildings, including tall buildings, in London Plan (CD4/1) Policies 4B.1, 4B.9 and 4B.10 
Affordable Housing

5.15   This Rule 6 party has not had access to the applicant’s Three Dragon’s assessment of viability of the 30% affordable housing proposal incorporated in the application, and access to the Council’s assessor’s views only in the last few days, at second hand. From that it appears as follows
  • on the applicant's conservative assumptions about sales prices of market flats, and the amount of social housing grant available, only 23% affordable tenures would be viable, based upon an existing use value of £8m for the Bondway site with its existing commercial storage and office uses
  • on the appraiser's more central assumptions (better sales prices and more grant), 34% affordable would be viable
  • but the council accept 30%, with a reappraisal mechanism built in, to be triggered when work starts, with an underpinning 20% affordable tenures and no upper limit, with any affordable tenures in excess of 30% to be provided by a commuted sum to go towards construction at the Council’s instance off site.
  • on the basis that all this development is viable, with the developer making 17% on market sales of £151m - which is about £25.7m, and the revenue proceeds less costs modestly exceeding the existing use value of £8m
5.16   However, the applicant, according to the Land Register Title Entry (Appendix K1.5), acquired the Bondway site in 2007, not for the Existing Use Value of £8m, but for £36m plus VAT. In the circumstances, if the development is intended to proceed promptly if permission is granted, it must surely show, in the applicant’s mind, that revenue proceeds less costs will modestly exceed the purchase price of £36m plus VAT. In the circumstances, this suggests that the assumptions about purchase prices embodied in the appraisal before the Inquiry are seriously conservative, and we have not been told the full tale. We await enlightenment from the applicant’s witnesses.

Adverse impact on Nearby Open Space, Heritage Assets and Views
5.16   The major impact for many Vauxhall residents of the proposed Bondway Tower will be its visual impact over a wide area, and its more particular impact on the setting and shadowing of conservation areas and open spaces, especially when broadside on. Given that the applicant’s model so far exhibited has tended to concentrate on the building, rather than its context, we have sought to use other available models to give a sense of the impact of the building and its surroundings, and we are grateful to the London Building Centre and Kylun Ltd, the developer of the proposed Vauxhall Triangle Towers for allowing us to photograph their models and put the results in evidence at this Inquiry. The Building Centre model includes the consented Vauxhall Sky Tower, but not Vauxhall Sky Gardens, or Bondway Tower, while the Kylun model includes the Sky Tower, the Bondway Tower, and its own proposals for two towers on the Vauxhall triangle site (Vauxhall Sky Gardens lies just beyond its model edge). This helpfully meets the CABE/EH guidance (CD6/1) at para 3.4
“Where a tall building is justified by its relationship to a cluster, the proposals should be illustrated in the context of proposed and approved projects where this is known, as well as the existing situation.”

5.17    We set out a number of views of the area and of the emerging cluster at Appendix K1.6
5.18  In para 4.1 we noted the representation of English Heritage (CD2/19), as authoritative opinion on the impact of the development on heritage assets and views, and their attitude must be accorded major weight
“Our view is that we support good quality contextual modern architecture, which can enhance the historic environment given careful consideration of the relationship with its surroundings. By virtue of its scale and massing of the proposal, its significant harm on the setting and significance of the World Heritage Site, listed buildings and conservation areas, and loss of local heritage asset it is difficult to see how this could be achieved without a significant reduction in scale and height of the building”
5.19   And after setting out their concerns in the context of the planning considerations, including PPS5 and the Practice Guide (CD3/7 and CD3/8), they conclude
“We would therefore request that the issues raised above are taken into consideration in the determination of this appeal, and that unless information has been provided which seeks to address these concerns that the recommendation should be for the appeal to be refused”
5.20     Westminster City Council, with its particular concern for the integrity of the Westminster World heritage site is exercised by many of the same concerns as English Heritage, and doubts whether the Vauxhall Sky Tower, the so far phantom pinnacle of the Vauxhall cluster, will ever be built. It concludes (representation para 9.1) that a further tower in the Vauxhall area would result in demonstrable harm and further erosion to some of Westminster’s finest designated heritage assets, which are of both  national and international significance, and it urges that the appeal be dismissed.
5.21   In the face of these authoritative views, we note that Mr Coleman, of Citydesigner, has produced a 390 page encomium of the applicant’s tower, analysing 72 views showing a superposition of the proposed tower and other consented developments (CD2/4/E). To judge the force of his positive opinions we juxtapose his views in a number of areas with those of English Heritage and Westminster Council. So as regards the existing building on the site
English Heritage (representation of 23 Oct 2009 – CD2/19) – “We are disappointed that the redevelopment proposals have not considered adaptation of the existing building, which although heavily modified still makes a positive contribution to the streetscape and is one of the vestigial remains of the area’s past industrial landscape”
Coleman (para 4.4.3 CD2/4/E) – “The Site includes a late 19th Century warehouse building, which has been altered over the last 100 years. The building is not of architectural importance, its only significance in the townscape being its age and former use. It should, therefore, be considered expendable to enable the regeneration of the Vauxhall area today.” (our emphasis)
5.22   As regards the important views M10 from the Banqueting House, and M12 from the Cenotaph
Coleman – (M10) “The effect is to add a building of a visible high quality of design to a view which consists of elements from all ages. The dominant feature remains the Victoria Tower, with buildings of many different ages in the foreground, including the 2005 Women at War Memorial in Whitehall. The buildings in the backdrop mask specific areas such as Millbank and Vauxhall, which represent the modern city beyond the WHS. The Proposed Development creates a ‘moderate’ quantitative impact, which would be adverse in character were it not for the high quality of its design. It is, therefore, ‘adverse mitigated’.
Coleman - (M12) “The view is already one which addresses the modern city beyond the Westminster World Heritage Site. The Millbank Tower, whilst a fine piece of architecture in its own right, does not fully honour its position in this view, being only a simple rectilinear form. The Proposed Development gestures towards it and in doing so, makes the combined buildings a more interesting focus to the view. This is a ‘moderate’ quantitative impact because, though it is very small in the view, its position is prominent. It is qualitatively ‘beneficial’ because it improves the composition of the focus beyond the Westminster World Heritage Site.

English Heritage – “We have significant concerns about the impact of the proposed development on longer views toward Parliament Square from Whitehall. The Palace of Westminster is designated as a World Heritage Site and a grade 1 listed building. It also lies within the Westminster Conservation Area. The “glimpse view” of a more open landscape of Parliament Square’s south eastern corner is an essential element of this world-class historic environment. The built form of the proposed tower will be a significant visual entity in views from the Banqueting House (View M10) and the Cenotaph (View M12), changing the character of the view from an open aspect to one enclosed by development.
Westminster Council – (M10) “The appeal development would be most prominent at M10 which is a view from the junction of Horse Guards Avenue to the north of Banqueting House where it would fill the gap of sky between the equestrian statue of Field Marshall Earl Haig and Victoria Tower which is central to the Palace of Westminster World Heritage Site. Victoria Tower and Field Marshall Haig are currently legible and striking silhouettes which are intrinsic to the overall quality of this view along Whitehall. Investigations on site confirm that the impact would be more extensive than the appellant’s assessment of M10 suggests. Rather than being “momentarily seen” and despite the street trees the development would be visually evident north and south of M10 on this eastern side of Whitehall. The impact is therefore not confined to a single linear viewpoint but adversely impacts a dynamic sequence of views which are characteristic of Whitehall and intrinsic to its contribution as a designated heritage asset. The appellant’s assessment of the effect of the impact on M10 also concludes that the “visible high quality design” would mitigate any “moderate” adverse impact. However, the City Council considers that this is a misguided conclusion as the detailed design of the development cannot be fully appreciated from this distance and matters of consideration are related largely to silhouette, massing, height and appearance after dark.”
5.23   As regards more local conservation areas
English Heritage – “The proposed development will also impact significantly on the setting of several conservation areas local to the site. In particular Kennington Conservation Area (View M29) above the grade II* listed Woodstock Court and St Stephen’s Terrace, within the Albert Square Conservation Area (View M35)”
Coleman – (M29) “This is only a momentary incursion into the profile of the listed building. It is somewhat redeemed, however, by its high quality design. It does not dominate the lantern. This is a ‘slight’ quantitative impact given it is a single point effect. Its character is ‘adverse’, but this is lessened by the quality of the Proposed Development’s design.”
Coleman – (M35) “The Proposed Development appears as an elegant addition to the view and as a landmark for Vauxhall. Though a large building, it is broken into parts which are of a non-dominant scale in this context. The emphasis on its triangular form is well suited to the angular changes of direction caused by the straight terraces negotiating the curved street. The high quality of the design makes the Proposed Development a beneficial addition to the view. The impact is ‘moderate’ in quantum, owing to the fact that the terraces continue to dominate the view. It is ‘beneficial’ in character, because of the harmony of scale and geometry, the high quality of the design and its landmark attributes.
5.24   It is evident that Mr Coleman is somewhat more enthusiastic on the views of his building than the mainstream opinion of  English Heritage and Westminster Council, and that for him, his perception of the quality of the design of the Bondway Tower forgives nearly all intrusions into the skyline. In the meantime, we look forward to putting his comments on the views from such locations as Albert Square, Fentiman Rd, Lawn Lane, Vauxhall Park and Spring Gardens to the representatives of the community organisations who will be giving evidence to the Inquiry. 
5.25   For our part, irrespective of its design, we see the Bondway Tower as a sprawling construction, capable of dominating the skyline for up to 600m all around (a distance 4 times its height), overbearing, particularly when seen broadside on, and (late in the evening) overshadowing the Vauxhall Park, which lies between the 150m and 300m contour lines around the proposed Bondway Tower, within the Vauxhall Conservation Area. It adversely affects the setting of the Albert Square, Vauxhall, St Mark’s and Vauxhall Gardens Conservation Areas, and that of the grade II* listed Woodstock Court. We note in particular Policy HE7.5 of PPS5 (CD3/7)
HE7.5 “Local planning authorities should take into account the desirability of new development making a positive contribution to the character and local distinctiveness of the historic environment. The consideration of design should include scale, height, massing, alignment, materials and use.”

5.26   In this regard we agree with English Heritage CD2/19) that there needs to be a significant reduction in scale, height and massing of the proposed building, and on this ground also the application should be refused.

Prejudice to the VNEB Planning Framework and Good Strategic Planning in London
5.27   As noted at para 3.2 above, the site lies in an area designated under the Draft VNEB Planning Framework (CD4/3)  as for “high density mixed use centre focal point for office and retail including housing”.(our emphasis). Such designations cover about 50 hectares of the 195 hectare Opportunity Area (about 36 hectares in Wandsworth and 14 hectares in Lambeth – See Figure 5.1 of VNEB, annotated with areas, attached as Appendix K1.7) If a developer is allowed 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), it would run a coach and horses through the emerging VNEB Opportunity Area Planning Framework (CD4/3). Such a development would undoubtedly be cited as a precedent, for at least the 50 hectares of similar designation, to ignore the employment aspirations of the framework, and develop at far higher residential densities than the 255 per hectare planned on average under VNEB. In planning terms, we would argue that it was contrary to good strategic planning in London, a ground for the Mayor to refuse consent under Article 6(1)(b) of the Town and Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2008 (SI 2008 No 580), and /or premature as contemplated  in paragraphs 17-19 of The Planning System: General Principles (CD3/2).

Inadequate response to proposed MPA Condition/S106 contribution for Neighbourhood Policing Office
5.28   The representation from the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) of 4 May 2010 (CD2/20) records that they had been able to reach agreement with the developer for the provision of a 90sqm neighbourhood police office at a peppercorn rent on the first floor of the proposed development, but that the provision had been vetoed by Council officers as not constituting employment generating floor space. The MPA argue, convincingly in our view, that such an office falls within the B1 use class, would sustain 6-10 employees, and its provision is warranted eg under Lambeth Plan Policy 53 (CD5/1).
5.29   Furthermore, we think the operational argument is well made. While the Vauxhall area (Oval Ward) is average for crime overall, it is high for personal robbery and most serious violence. Developments such as Bondway bring with them a growing population and Vauxhall lies in a gap in the police station network (see extracts from the Metropolitan Police Crime Mapping Site, attached as Appendix K1.8, including the location of existing police stations).
5.30   We oppose the main Bondway application in general, but if the Inspector were minded to recommend it to the Secretary of State, we would urge him to include the presence of a neighbourhood police office on the agreed terms either as a condition or as a recommended S106 obligation.

Wholly Inadequate S106 contribution to mitigate Exacerbated Open Space Deficiency 
5.31  The development is located within an area of public open space deficiency identified in the Lambeth Plan (CD5/1 Map 2, p135). As the Lambeth SPD on S106 Obligations (July 2008) (CD5/7) notes, at para 3.10.6,

The majority of wards in the Borough are deficient in open space. The National Playing Field Association have a general standard of 2.4 hectares of open space per 1,000 population, Lambeth as a whole is deficient in relation to this standard, in that it has 1.54 hectares per 1,000 of population, projected to fall to 1.44 due to rising population. Lambeth’s Open Space Strategy recommends a target of 1.6 hectares per 1,000 population for 2016.

5.32   Lambeth Plan (CD5/1) Policy 50(c) provides as follows:                                                                                  
“(c) New Open Space, Greening, and Green Chains – The creation of new open spaces, urban “greening” initiatives, and the linking and improvement of open spaces will be supported, especially in areas deficient in these features. Developments which materially add to the demand for open space, which are proposed in an area of open space deficiency, or where existing open space needs improvement, will be required to contribute to appropriate improvements in open space provision in the immediate area. Where on-site provision or provision in the immediate area is impractical or insufficient, developers will be required to contribute to such initiatives elsewhere. Arrangements for the longterm maintenance of new and improved open spaces will be secured.”
5.33 Consistently with this, Lambeth in the SPD provided for formula based contributions per estimated head of increased population of £628, based on historic levels of Lambeth investment in parks and open space. Under these historic levels of investment, the then deficient level of 1.54 hectares per person in Lambeth   was projected to fall to 1.44 hectares per person. This reflected continued growth in Lambeth’s population, and very little growth in public open space – the Lambeth Annual Monitoring Report for 2008/9 recorded an increase of open space in Lambeth of just 252 sqm, largely from demolition of buildings on open space (see extract at Appendix K1.9). Under these formula arrangements, the Council seeks and the developer offers a S106 contribution of £489,000 (para 11.3, Statement of Common Ground CD1/2).

5.34   But Annex D1 to the SPD (CD5/7) also provides as follows  
   Enhanced contributions Waterloo and Vauxhall – Additional higher financial contributions will be sought on a park or open space project basis from commercial and residential developments in these two opportunity areas to support environmental and physical regeneration objectives” [our emphasis]

 5.35   But no such enhanced contributions have been sought in relation to this application, while areas of open space, seen by CABE  as essential  to the success of any cluster of tall buildings at Vauxhall, disappear from planning policy (see para 5.11 above).    
5.36     As a measure of the inadequacy of the proposed S106 contribution, we may take the proposed increase in population arising from the development, and Lambeth’s declared standard for public open space, of 1.6 hectares per thousand population. Reckoning 2.34 persons per dwelling, as suggested by the VNEB draft Framework (CD4/3), this equates to an open space deficiency of 2.34*376*1.6/1000, or 1.4 hectares. How much would such an area cost at Vauxhall? The Transport study underlying VNEB, at p 97 (see extract at Appendix K1.10), records GLA advice to TfL, in the context of costing the land necessary for station improvements,  that land in the Opportunity Area should be valued at £4 million per hectare. On this basis, the cost to acquire 1.4 hectares to remediate the open space deficiency would be £5.6 million, over eleven times the formula based contribution actually sought.

5.37   Alternatively, the land could be valued at the existing use value of the Bondway site, that is at £8m for the 0.29 hectares, or about £27m per hectare. On that basis, the cost of remediation rises to about £37.8m, seventy seven times the formula based contribution . And if valued at the price actually paid for the Bondway site in 2007, £36m plus VAT (equivalent to £124m per hectare), the cost of remediation hits £173m, about three hundred and fifty times the formula based contribution.

5.38  It is a measure of the excessive density of the development that the open space, necessary to remediate the open space deficiency caused by the increase in population from the development, is about five times larger than the plot size itself !

5.39  The development therefore fails to remediate the deficiency in public open space it creates, and thereby departs significantly from the development plan (Lambeth Plan (CD5/1) Policy 50 and London Plan (CD4/1) policies 6A.4 and 6A.5 refer)

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;
5.40   As set out at paras 5.6 to 5.8  the proposed development departs significantly from the development plan.
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;
5.41   As set out at paras 5.12 and 5.13   the proposed development is not consistent with PPS1 and its guidance in this regard
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;
5.42   As set out at paras 5.16 to 5.26, the design principles embodied in the proposed building are not appropriate to its sensitive site.
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;
5.43   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;
5.44   As set out at para  5.27  we do not regard the proposed application as compliant in this regard
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;
5.45   We consider, for the reasons set out at paras 5.15 and 5.16 that the proposals fail to meet national, regional or local planning policy or guidance with regard to affordable housing given doubts about the credibility of the viability test called for by Lambeth Plan (CD5/1) Policy 16(b).  Nor as set out at paras 5.8 and 5.12 are the requirements of policy as regards amenity space or density 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;
5.46   We offer no evidence on this point.
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;
5.47   VNEB p76 ( CD4/3) notes in the context of the London Plan, in its Overview of Transport Interventions that
“High density development with high trip generation characteristics is only considered acceptable in locations which have good access to public transport and where the existing levels of transport capacity are sufficient to absorb the impacts of that development.”

5.48  Vauxhall with its high transport accessibility, judged by PTAL level, is taken to be such a location, and the capacity of the rail and underground trains in themselves is high, and likely to be higher eg when the Victoria line improvements start to come through in 2012. But passengers at present suffer from congestion of the access arrangements, particularly the gateline access to and from the underground during peak periods. In discussing the impact of various scenarios for development in the OA, VNEB p80 (CD4/3) notes as follows

“The key stations within the OA such as Vauxhall Underground and Vauxhall National Rail station already experience problems in terms of capacity and congestion particularly during the AM and PM peak periods. When considered alongside the proposed OA development scenarios and assuming no transport interventions further to those already committed these problems are likely to intensify. Of all the stations within the OA Vauxhall Underground station is forecast to experience the greatest increase in passengers. Scenarios 3 and 4 result in similar overall passenger numbers at the Vauxhall interchange and would result in demand exceeding escalator capacity during the morning peak hour. Scenario 5 would further increase the number of passengers alighting at the LUL station which would push demand further beyond capacity during the morning peak hour. TfL has developed congestion relief plans for Vauxhall Underground station aimed at improving gate line and ticket hall capacity as well as step free access. This is currently a committed scheme in the TfL business plan to 2017/18, although it is as of September 2009 it remains unfunded.”

5.49   And the VNEB Transport Study at p 49 (extract at Appendix K1.11), shows that the current peak hour level of alighters at Vauxhall Underground, at 4,700, now exceeds the gateline capacity for exiting passengers of 4,500 an hour, giving rise to congestion from time to time, and delays to boarding passengers for a period through gateline closures of the barriers, to allow congestion to clear. These are not currently large (from commuter observation, perhaps twice a fortnight, for five minutes at a time), but are likely to increase with high density residential development at Vauxhall (more boarders), and increased employment (more alighters).

5.50   VNEB Transport Study at p191 (extract at Appendix K1.12) records that

“There are proposals to increase gate line capacity at Vauxhall Underground station. This would increase the number of ticket gates from seven to twelve and would also install step free access between the ticket halls and platforms. This would bring the gate line capacity in line with escalator capacity. It is estimated to cost in the region of £50 million and is currently unfunded.”

5.51  Such expenditure is eminently suitable for S106 treatment, and the need for it will increase as the effects of development are seen cumulatively at Vauxhall. In its absence, there will come a time when transport congestion will trump high levels of accessibility.

f) whether any permission granted for the proposed development should be subject to any conditions and, if so, the form these should take;
5.52  Yes - see paras 5.28 to 5.30 above. 
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;
5.53   For the reasons given at paras 5.31 to 5.39 above, a S106 contribution in relation to public open space is very necessary, and the sum proposed is wholly inadequate.
h) any other matters that the Inspector considers relevant.
5.54   KAPF will comment on other relevant material planning considerations at the Inquiry.
6.1   KAPF strongly objects to the grant of planning permission for this proposal for the reasons given. We urge the Inspector to advise the Secretary of State to reject this proposal and refuse permission.

Kennington Association Planning Forum
22 June 2010