The Battersea Society: Planning Committee submission The Battersea Society website 

Planning Committee Submission

Added on: 13 February 2018 at 20:00:54

Vauxhall Island Planning Application: 17/05807/EIAFUL

(Submission to Lambeth Council)

The Battersea Society strongly objects to this proposal, and believes that it should be rejected.

The scheme for this site which was accepted in 2012 involved two towers of 115 and 140 metres respectively, with 219 residential units. But the proposed reconfiguration of the Vauxhall Cross one-way system and the bus station cannot be delivered if that scheme were to go ahead. Hence we understand that a land swap has been agreed between TfL and the developers, and the scheme now proposed covers the southbound carriageway in the bus station, and the canopy, to the south of the bus access from Wandsworth Road.

The two towers in the proposed scheme are 53 and 42 storeys (185 metres and 150), with the larger tower to the south. Even the smaller one is significantly higher than the consented scheme.  They would make the group of towers now being built and proposed for Vauxhall unduly oppressive. The two towers in the proposed scheme are joined by an 11 storey podium on the Wandsworth Road side, thus making an impenetrable wall between Wandsworth Road and Bondway, and therefore between the two sides of the southern part of the reconfigured bus station.  This is wholly unacceptable.

The proposed small 'public square' facing on to the bus stops on Bondway seems to be a response to the concern about lack of public realm to be provided in the consented scheme. But it is wholly inadequate: indeed the notion of a public square formed on two sides by such tall towers, with a busy bus station on a third side, and with extremely limited daylight, is more than a little ridiculous.  

It is a matter of grave concern that so little thought has as yet been given to the articulation between the proposal and the bus station that is the major current use of the site. While the proposed colonnade on the Bondway side may be of some use, nothing is said about the requirement for bus station facilities on the Wandsworth Road side, nor about the movement of thousands of passengers between the two sides of the bus station, with no visual connection between them at all.

The proposals for servicing of the building at basement level are astonishing. Access is proposed via 4 lorry lifts that face on to Wandsworth Road with no consideration as to how that will affect traffic flow on that busy road, or indeed the bus stops that are required.

In sum, this proposal represents over-development of the site, with negligible thought as to the relationships with other buildings in the area, or to the impact on the bus station and its users, and on traffic flows. It should be rejected.