Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Work on multi-million pound Nine Elms underway (From This Is Local London)

Work on multi-million pound Nine Elms underway (From This Is Local London)

Monday, 1 October 2012

VNEB: Development and Transport Action Group Newsletter Number 3

VNEB: Development and Transport Action Group

Newsletter Number Three: 12 September 2012
Report on public meeting with Lambeth Council: 10 September

DATA, along with a number of residents associations, has been pressing Lambeth Council for several months to undertake due diligence for its support of the TfL driven project to extend the Northern Line to underpin transport needs of the VNEB development area.  We were pleased to learn at a meeting chaired by Val Shawcross on 10 September and supported by Lambeth Council, that they have now appointed the Consultants Ramboll to provide the technical due diligence that is necessary.  We were also pleased to learn that Councillor Lib Peck, the Cabinet Lead for Regeneration is taking a close interest in the NLE project.

Val Shawcross said that the meeting marked a new phase in the way in which Lambeth was approaching the NLE proposal.  Lambeth Council invites residents to comment on the NLE and has asked Ramboll to assess technical options to meet concerns raised. The Council will use this process to challenge TfL so as to protect and promote the interests of residents.

The agenda gave residents chance to discuss their views on siting of shafts, noise, pollution, and other environmental impact issues. Serious concerns were widespread. Val Shawcross, in the Chair, committed to a desire for highest standards of noise minimisation and conservation. The consultants confirmed that they would press for this. The meeting agenda did not include the question of alternatives to the NLE, but it arose.

Reports from some residents associations and Lambeth Council suggested that TfL are now adjusting original NLE specifications to strengthen their public interests brief rather than the maximised profit brief that had been adopted initially by the now defunct Treasury Holdings. This included widening the tunnels significantly to try to avoid one of the most controversial shafts and to be able to install floating rail systems that would reduce noise. There were a number of other areas where it was identified that additional costs would arise to meet the higher standards desired. There was also confirmation that TfL would need to fund the compulsory purchase orders needed to compensate for land taken beneath freehold property.

DATA made the point that this higher cost requirement would exacerbate an already very serious shortfall in both funding and financing. Either a lot more money/additional long term financing would need to be found, or compromises accepted in the standards discussed. 

The Chair allowed a short discussion initiated by DATA which called into question whether the NLE was indeed the right transport solution or a white elephant. There was widespread popular vocal support for this question among residents, many agreeing that insufficient consideration had been  given to alternative options, and making reference (as did DATA) to the TfL’s own consultants’ reports that show that the Northern Line was already heavily
overcrowded and would not easily be able to accommodate the increased traffic if extended to Battersea. Val Shawcross added that significant alterations may be needed at Kennington station for the large number of commuters to interchange safely, as the NLE scheme required.

Some residents groups said that they supported an extension of the Northern Line but it emerged that a number were under the impression that there was no alternative, or that the project was now unstoppable so they were focussing on minimising its impact. This is an example of where TfL’s selective marketing/use of statistics has created a misperception. There are other options but TfL have dismissed many of them without real consideration. This includes options that use existing infrastructure and new forms of transport to address road transport congestion, parking, pedestrian access and cycling and which also could integrate with wider transport initiatives such as CrossRail and provide transport connections within the development area. A NLE would do none of this.

Councillor Peck has confirmed that Lambeth Council would press TfL for removal of the gyratory and for improved cycling facilities, better bus services, and less traffic congestion in the Vauxhall Supplementary Planning Document. But the very high cost and stand-alone nature of the NLE makes it is difficult to see how this can be achieved.

One residents group from the Wandsworth Road area was concerned that any NLE service would be full on departure from Battersea, making it unusable by Nine Elms residents. They were also worried about traffic and pedestrian concentrations to and from Nine Elms station in the very narrow approach roads. Concerns were also raised that TfL might not build a station at Nine Elms, just a box for future development, due to shortage of funds. Lambeth Councillors and residents reacted to this strongly because this station is acknowledged to be the only real benefit for Lambeth from the NLE scheme, with most benefit going to neighbouring Wandsworth. The fairness of Lambeth making such a large financial contribution to the NLE scheme, when most benefits fall to Wandsworth, was questioned.

DATA asked for a further public meeting to discuss whether the NLE was indeed the right transport strategy for the VNEB development. DATA was directed to discuss with Ward Councillors.  DATA agreed with Councillor Lib Peck and a senior representative of the Consultants, Ramboll, to remain in touch and exchange information. DATA has, separately, also had confirmation that TfL is ready to resume discussions and is waiting for dates.

There was common ground at the meeting that the original Treasury Holdings proposals for a NLE were based on profit over people and money over mobility, something TfL have also acknowledged. Is it not reasonable, in the light of this admission, to ask for a review of whether the decision to ignore all other options and opt for a NLE was based on the same profit rather than transport benefit motive?

A development the size of the VNEB, and the complexity of Lambeth’s transport challenges, requires an independent strategic transport needs analysis.  So much depends on getting this right. The transport strategy should give priority to the needs of residents and integrate with wider transport initiatives, such as CrossRail, making a reality the Mayor’s vision of an integrated transport and fare network across London.

If you think the real facts on the NLE should be aired and an independent transport needs analysis undertaken please tell Lambeth Council now at: transportplanning@lambeth.gov.uk and make your voice heard with TfL at: nle@tfl.gov.uk and SMBNLE@tfl.gov.uk

Thursday, 19 July 2012

VNEB: Development and Transport Action Group Newsletter Number Two: 12 July 2012

VNEB: Development and Transport Action Group

Newsletter Number Two: 12 July 2012

The recent advertising campaign by TfL in support of their Northern Line Extension project is, to say the least, wholly misleading. The selective use of information is manipulated to look as if there is a vast majority of residents in favour (untrue); that the Northern Line is the best transport option for the development along the development zone (unproven, but unlikely); that the Northern Line can cope with the added pressure of commuters (even though it is even more overcrowded at the moment than the Victoria Line); and that it is both affordable and funded (both untrue and unlikely).

Let’s spell this out a bit.  The DATA Group, an umbrella organisation covering many residents associations in the area that focuses on development transport issues, has been in touch with TfL since January so we are in a position to speak with some clarity.

TfL claims 90% of the local population support the NLE. But let’s see how many people this covers and what they were agreeing to. The figures are in TfL’s NLE 2011 Consultation document (page 5).  A total of 1661 responses is the basis of the survey. Compared to the tens of thousands of residents in the Borough this is a meaningless survey both statistically and morally: it certainly is not enough of a positive response to make a claim that there is majority support for the project.  Indeed, the question that is asked is not whether a Northern Line Extension is the best transport option for the VNEB development, but:

‘When asked if they thought the proposed scheme would bring transport benefits to the area of Nine Elms and Battersea, 90% (1,597) either agreed or strongly agreed, compared with only 4% (64) who strongly disagreed’

This is hardly a decision based on an informed choice.  We wonder what the response rate would have been had the options and consequences been spelled out: which we shall do here.

TfL is arguing that the NLE is the best transport option for the VNEB development and that the Northern Line can accommodate the predicted increased traffic.  DATA has discussed with TfL alternative transport options that have not been considered at all, or only in a cursory way, including a mixed transport, staged approach that would develop ahead of the building development curve, and be flexible enough to cope with changes over time. A core longer term aim could be to link in with CrossRail 2 in line with the Mayor’s vision of integrating tube and overground services.  We discussed these ideas with TfL in January and have been in email contact with them regularly since then but, despite several reminders, we still have not been provided with information that would take forward discussions on these points, or the follow-up meetings we were promised on both NLE and the Vauxhall gyratory.  None of what we have discussed has been taken into account: so the claim in the recent advertising that TfL is responding to local views is worthless.  Meanwhile, our own preliminary studies of travel density (more details soon) on the Northern Line indicate highly crowded conditions at peak times, and the need to look at platform and surface level capacity at Kennington, and signalling and track layout issues along the Northern Line, before adding an extra branch line serving the VNEB development. We challenge TfL’s curious assumption

that passengers will only use the less crowded parts of the Northern Line. In a nutshell, we doubt that the Northern Line is suitable for taking large numbers of additional passengers, without evaluating the full cost of other works to the Northern Line network as a whole.

Even TfL are cagey when they speak about funding of the NLE scheme.  In discussion with DATA (and with resident groups with whom we share information) TfL appears to have no clear plan at all of how they can meet the growing funding and financing gap.  Vague discussions of additional forms of what amounts to business levy and borrowing money from the market on the basis of fares income over the future years is hardly reassuring given the current economic conditions.  TfL told DATA in February that they were re-evaluating the figures and would advise when they had some clearer estimates, but nothing further has emerged.  At about the same time DATA’s investigations had revealed a funding gap of at least £570 million, about half the projected cost. Put bluntly, there is a huge hole in the sums. TfL does not have the money to pay for this scheme even with virtually all of the Lambeth Council allocation of regeneration funding (which would otherwise be spent on libraries, recreation facilities and the like). Not only don’t they have the money for the project, but they also have no clear plan, or realistic expectation, of how to get it. 

TfL – Our message to you is to listen to local residents and look for alternatives. Do not commit to a huge project that will not provide the much needed transport infrastructure for the VNEB development and that will almost certainly need a government bale out to build and very risky, speculative financing to run. Consider also that the huge amount of funding that Lambeth Council is scheduled to provide will take virtually all the budget for community improvements and will leave very little indeed for ancillary regeneration. A NLE is not, as you claim, ‘essential to support the transformation of Vauxhall and Nine Elms’. Indeed it is likely to do the opposite, and prevent any transformation by sucking out regeneration funds from Lambeth’s budget. What is needed for VNEB development is an effective and affordable transport strategy: not a tube tunnel from Battersea to Kennington.

People of Lambeth – Our message to you is to make Lambeth Council and TfL listen to sense.  For some reason the Council is willing to give your money to this cockeyed scheme without due diligence. Get the planning department to open up and be transparent for all development issues, including the NLE.  We need the development fund money to keep open our libraries, provide other community amenities, improve our living environment, and address wider transport issues such as the Vauxhall gyratory. If we do nothing, the Council plans to pour virtually all of the money available for these purposes down a NLE black hole, never to be seen again.  Moreover, it plans to finance the running of this transport project through increased business levies in the future.

DATA is in touch with TfL direct who know how to contact us if they want to discuss further.  We are also in touch with a number of Lambeth Councillors, and want to engage more with Lambeth Council, who, so far, will not take our points seriously.

Comments and feedback to the DATA group via your residents associations please – or make representations direct to TfL and Lambeth Council.  TfL have advertised their project team contact email in a recent misleading pamphlet as: nle@tfl.gov.uk and the new Consultation and Engagement staff member, Brigid Burnham, at TfL recently emailed ‘stakeholders’ from:  SMBNLE@tfl.gov.uk . If you want TfL to stop and think again before they spend all your money on a transport scheme that is not fit for purpose, email them to say so.

Thursday, 12 July 2012



At the March 2012 Vauxhall Triangle Public Inquiry we opposed Kylun Ltd’s “Twin Towers” development as contrary to good strategic planning in London, given that Lambeth was still trying to get its game together on a coherent Vauxhall vision. We also found the affordable housing offer deficient, and the open space compensation offer inadequate. But we were able to support the St Anselm’s development at Kennington Cross in March, and the Beefeater Gin Visitor Centre proposal in April. In May we had a joint presentation on the Beaufoy redevelopment from Bellway Homes (for the housing development) and Diamond Way Buddhists (for the refurbishment of the Beaufoy itself as a residential study centre). This would refurbish a neglected Grade II listed building, yield neighbourly-styled flats in scale with adjacent buildings, and provide 40% affordable housing, and we judged that in planning terms this would be a satisfactory outcome. Finally, in June, we also supported the Sainsbury’s supermarket redevelopment, which provided interesting private open space in a roof garden over the new store, and, in the circumstances, a reasonable affordable housing offer. But we criticised Lambeth for downplaying the legal limitations on use of Sainsbury’s S106 monies, when handing the bulk of them over to the VNEB Strategy Board.

Friday, 27 April 2012

KAPF Objection to Mansion House Licensing Application at 48 Kennington Park Road SE11 4RS

Premises and Entertainment Licence Application, The Mansion House, 48 Kennington Park Rd, SE11 4RS

Objection on behalf of the Kennington Association as to proposed permitted hours

Who we are

1 The Kennington Association is a voluntary membership association of upwards of 400 members drawn from the wider Kennington area, whose aim is to promote and maintain  Kennington as a good place to live and work. The Kennington Association Planning Forum (KAPF) is a group of Association members with interest in and experience of planning, development and licensing issues, which develops planning policies and makes planning and licensing representations on behalf of the wider Association.

Procedural Failings
2 The notice of application was initially posted inaccessibly, and, contrary to the express requirements of the notice, the proposed operating hours were not stated. Consequently, this application, for the re-opening of a public house, next to another, the Old Red Lion, did not attract much attention initially. Now that these deficiencies have been rectified, (proposed operating hours now added to the notice in another hand – see photograph), we and others have a proper basis for objection, and the Committee should be slow to disregard ostensibly late representations, when the 28 day notice period for display of all salient particulars was not properly observed.

Objection on grounds of Public Nuisance

3 The proposed opening hours for this reopened public house would be 7am till 4 am in the morning, every day. These vastly exceed those of the adjacent public house, the Old Red Lion ( 4pm till 11pm, Mon to Thursday, 4pm till midnight Fridays, noon till midnight Saturdays, and noon till 11pm Sundays), and are totally unacceptable for a residential area out of the local Kennington centre, with no local precedent for  such a late night economy.

4 As shown in the attached plan, the application site is on the Lambeth/Southwark boundary in a short parade of shops surrounded by dwellings, with a small park to its rear, a churchyard opposite it across Kennington Park Road, and the green curtilage of blocks of flats nearby. Given the efforts of Vauxhall interests to limit sales of alcohol in small quantities, to discourage street drinkers, such activity is being displaced in part to Kennington, and the combination of late night off sales and open space is likely to encourage nuisance drinking and other anti-social behaviour.

5 The aspiration for live and recorded music, on and off sales, pavement seating (whether the frontage on which they would be placed is private or the public pavement is not clear) and vastly extended hours add up to a serious nuisance to nearby residents unless the hours are significantly curbed, and stringent conditions are imposed. Having regard to Sections 5 and 9 of the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy, we urge
  • That the late night hours permitted be no later than those for the adjacent Old Red Lion, and the earliest hours permitted should be 9 am
  • That no external music be permitted, and conditions be imposed as to full sound proofing (no music to be audible outside the premises) to prevent disturbance to neighbouring residential properties
  • That no drinking should be permitted outside the premises after 9 pm at night
  • That the operating statement should address the issue of outside smoking, as required by Para 5.7 of the Statement

D J Boardman                                                              27April 2012
Kennington Association Planning Forum
Flat 1
39 Chester Way
London SE11 4UR

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Development and Transport Action Group

Dear All
As many of you may already know, VNEB Development and Transport Action Group (DATA for short) was formed at the end of last year to provide an umbrella group for all residents who may be affected by the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea developments. Members of DATA are all from local organisations including Kennington Association, Vauxhall Society, Viva Vauxhall and Lansdowne Gardens Residents Association, and DATA is keen to ensure that all residents organisations in SE11 and SW8 are aware of our existence.
Accordingly, I enclose our first Newsletter, and I would be grateful if you could circulate it around your organisation, so that as many people as possible become aware of the issues we are covering.
Four of us from DATA (Ross Davies and Malcolm Russell from Vauxhall Society and David Boardman and myself from Kennington Association Planning Forum) have already met with Transport for London to discuss transport issues relating to VNEB, including funding and financing of the proposed Northern Line Extension, timescales and alternative transport strategies. These discussions are ongoing, and we are also scheduled to meet with them concerning the Vauxhall gyratory.  
It is also timely to remind everyone about Lambeth Council's Open Days about the Vauxhall Area Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) on Wednesday and Thursday of this week from 3pm to 8pm at Unit 13A, St Georges Wharf, Vauxhall, SW8 2LL. Please try to encourage people to go to this.
As our Newsletter says, DATA welcomes ideas and feedback on the proposed NLE and related issues via residents' groups or community associations, and we look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to contact any one of us (Andrea Hofling, Brian Vos, Colin McCall, David Boardman, Malcolm Green, Malcolm Russell, Ross Davies and me).

Rodney Ovenden
Inline images 2

Friday, 2 March 2012

Excerpt from the KA Newsletter Winter 2012


  • Mayor’s Community Infrastructure Levy Charging Schedule
  • Lambeth’s Core Strategy
  • The Development Infrastructure Funding Study for the Vauxhall/Nine Elms/Battersea Opportunity Area

Have your eyes glazed over yet?

Do you wonder who on earth understands planning documents?

Our KA Planning Forum chaired by David Boardman does, and they keep a close eye on the Council’s proposals for development schemes that affect Kennington.

Right now they are busy monitoring and commenting on plans by Lambeth Council and the Mayor of London’s office for a number of huge residential high-rises along the river. These blocks will increase our population density astronomically. But, unfortunately, the plans are being developed with inadequate infrastructure for transport, schools, green space, and other amenities that are so essential!

What’s also important is that local developers are actively seeking KA’s input on new building schemes. These include Sainsbury’s for the redevelopment of their Nine Elms store site at Wandsworth Road, CLS Holdings for its Bondway and Spring Mews developments, Native Land for its Old Fire Station development on Albert Embankment, and Beefeater Gin for its visitor centre development.

And the KAPF has had some success in overriding the blighting effects of the Kennington gasholders, with our support for the redevelopment on the derelict Elephant and Hippo pub site which was upheld at a public enquiry.

If you would like to help the Planning Forum by doing bits of reading or research, please contact them directly at KAPlanningForum@gmail.com.