Pickles approves Vauxhall towers

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has approved plans for two high-rise towers in the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area in west London, following a public inquiry.

Vauxhall Cross: plans include 291 homes
Vauxhall Cross: plans include 291 homes

Proposals for the mixed-use development on a site adjacent to the Vauxhall transport interchange include two towers, one with 40 storeys and the other 32, providing 291 apartments, including 58 affordable units. The plans also include shops, restaurants, a cinema and hotel.

A public inquiry was held in March after landowner Wendover Investments appealed against the London Borough of Lambeth's failure  decide on the planning application, which was submitted in June 2010.

Lambeth opposes the proposal on a number of grounds, saying that it would be prejudicial to the wider regeneration of the Vauxhall area and citing concerns about highway safety, poor accessibility and lack of amenity space.

However, today’s decision letter said Pickles agreed with his planning inspector’s decision to approve the scheme.

The letter said that "though there are material considerations weighing against the proposal, in particular a shortfall in amenity space, these are outweighed by the otherwise substantive compliance with the development plan".

Pickles said he agreed that development of the site "would not fetter the council’s ambitions for either Vauxhall Heart or regeneration of the wider opportunity area". He also decided that the proposals had the "capacity to deliver buildings and a layout of high architectural quality".

He concluded that the proposal would "beneficially add to the supply of housing in the area and that the amount of affordable housing offered is the maximum reasonable provision".

Michael Squire, a partner at architects Squire and Partners, who designed the scheme, said: "The scheme will transform and reinvigorate the area, opening up the confusing transport interchange and providing an important connection between the historic centre of Vauxhall, the river and the emerging opportunity area.

"New retail, offices and public spaces will improve the ground floor environment and bring life to this previously derelict site."

Raoul Veevers, a planning partner at Montagu Evans, who acted on behalf of Wendover Investments, said: "Bringing to fruition this scheme on this site has been challenging, but this consent will see the development of one of the key strategic sites in Vauxhall and help to establish this area as one of the most important residential and economic hubs in the capital."

The decision letter (DCS Number 100-078-989) can be purchased from DCS Ltd, call 01452 835820 or email dcs@haymarket.com

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