The Battersea Society: Planning Committee submission Welcome to the Battersea Society website 


Planning Committee Submission



Added on: 16 June 2020 at 14:47:13

Dominvs Hotel Consultation

                    


 


Introduction 


We are grateful for the time the team gave to presenting their plans to us and allowing us to provide feedback at this stage.  We have looked at these in the context of the considerable number of proposals we have reviewed in Nine Elms over the years, not least for the US Embassy, and earlier outline proposals for this site, 2011/1815. 


Regretfully we consider these proposals for two buildings are a considerable overdevelopment at 38,000 sq.m on a .38 ha site.  The two proposed buildings will overshadow both the US Embassy and other neighbours and will diminish rather than enhance the total streetscape of this area of Vauxhall and Nine Elms.  We consider that one building as previously given outline consent within the overall scheme for the site is more appropriate and an acceptable and attractive solution could be developed for the site. 


We give below more specific concerns on aspects of the proposals.  


Size of the development 


Outline planning permission was given for a single building of 10,400 sq.m with generous space onto Nine Elms Lane, with a height of 10 storeys dropping to 2 storeys at the rear.  Condition 10 of the decision notice for 2011/1815 dated 30 March 2012 notes that ‘Hotel (Class C1) use shall not exceed 6,050 sq.m. GEA’. 


Current proposals are for two buildings, the front at 10 storeys, the rear at 18 and a size more than three times that consented.  We cannot agree that these would be sympathetic to the local area. 


The perspective applied to the graphics in the presentation does not fully demonstrate the impact of the proposals on neighbouring buildings.  For instance on p.10 looking at preferred options both the new proposals and the Ambassador Building appear much shorter and smaller than the US Embassy Building and on p.25 the front building is wholly obscured by the more traditional Elm Quay Court.  It would have been helpful to have seen graphics better demonstrating the proposed height and bulk of the buildings.  


There do not appear to be any townscape views looking north and we suppose these to be mandatory – as was demonstrated by GLA requirements for the original application. 


Access to site 


Ponton Road is a major route into the whole of the Embassy Gardens development. It is a narrow road already carrying a significant amount of traffic even though many of the buildings are not yet occupied.  It is, as noted, a service route through to the US Embassy but also contains the entrance to the Waitrose car park.  This is increasingly used by shoppers coming from throughout Battersea as an alternative to driving to the Waitrose in South Side Quarter, Wandsworth Town.  There is a lot of turning traffic from both east and west which creates a hazardous crossing point for pedestrians at the junction of Nine Elms Lane and Ponton Road. 


It is essential that the footprint of the development allows for onsite drop off and some parking/waiting and that there are generous pavements for pedestrians both on Nine Elms Lane and in Ponton Road.  We consider the proposals for traffic management in a relatively narrow road with space shared between cyclists, pedestrians, cars and delivery vehicles to be unworkable and hazardous, even without the addition of trees to the centre of the road. 


In terms of access to the two hotels it is likely that this will be not just from NLE at Nine Elms but from Vauxhall on foot or by bus, from the Thames Clipper or from Clapham Junction by bus or taxi.  A high end hotel is likely to have at least initial arrivals by car or limousine service or by taxi from Clapham Junction or Victoria. It is inevitable that taxis and hire cars will wait for custom and this needs to be managed and with an onsite area to avoid clogging Ponton Road or Nine Elms Lane. 


Differing Hotel Offers 


We are not equipped to assess the longer term need for more hotels in the area given current uncertainty combined with some predictions that international travel will return to pre-Covid levels by 2023.  We are aware of consented proposals for hotel space on the R& F site and at Battersea Power Station; with further capacity to the east along Albert Embankment.  There may be other hotel provision planned on sites within the Vauxhall Nine Elms and Battersea area (VNEB). 


We trust that any future planning application will provide some detail to support the view that there is significant demand for more hotels in the area; and that Wandsworth Council will set this within the context of their own review of current and proposed provision for hotels within the VNEB area. 


Overshadowing 


We will comment separately on application 2020/1713 but are disturbed to read the somewhat cavalier statement that: ‘although significant effects are anticipated in respect to Daylight, Sunlight and Overshadowing when considering the Proposed Development as a whole, this does not warrant the need for a full EIA to accompany the planning application’. 


Community Work Space 


We are not sure how this would work nor, within the context of the Embassy Gardens site and the wider Nine Elms Battersea area, that there will be a need for added provision as proposed.  It might be that a generous hotel foyer and more open space around the hotel development would be of more benefit to neighbours and the wider community. 


Transport 


We await with interest a more detailed transport assessment.  At this stage we wish to flag up the fact that many buildings are yet to be occupied and that there are plans pending for significant changes to the Vauxhall gyratory.  Nine Elms Lane is narrow and already densely trafficked with buses and existing rail and underground services operating at or above capacity at peak hours. We would be interested to know why the new Nine Elms tube station is seen as the primary public transport access for the new hotels given the Vauxhall transport hub. 


Conclusion 


As is clear from the above, we very much hope that the owners of this site will think again and submit fresh proposals more akin to the volume already consented for this site.