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Don't accuse Lambeth of ignoring Waterloo area

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Alan Kennedy (aj 24.2.00) makes some perceptive points in his critique of Rick Mather's South Bank Centre masterplan proposals. Mather's scheme envisages a new pedestrian square between the Royal Festival Hall and the Hayward/ Queen Elizabeth Hall/ Purcell complex and a fine, new staircase to the terrace on the south side of the rfh, linking to the new Hungerford Bridge pedestrian route.

Kennedy is right in recognising that the route for pedestrians from Waterloo Station is one of the keys to making the Waterloo/South Bank area work well; he is wrong, however, in his gratuitous criticism that this is a job for the mayor, as 'Lambeth seems unwilling or unable to tackle it.'

For more than 12 months, Lambeth politicians and officers have been working in a variety of forums to enable the development of the Waterloo area in a way which balances its undeniable, but unfulfilled, role as part of central London, with the needs and aspirations of the local community, business, visitors and workers. The context will be set in the North Lambeth Regeneration Framework, which is soon to be the subject of public consultation, and the delivery will be achieved by the creation of a partnership of all Waterloo's stakeholders. Critical to the success of the area will be the creation of a high-quality public realm that facilitates easy, safe and enjoyable pedestrian movement. Much of this will take time; however, in the next few months Lambeth Council and its partners will:

implement a coach management strategy designed to reduce air pollution and facilitate movement in and out of the area in an efficient manner;

re-open the walkway through the Shell Building, with access (designed by Rick Mather), to Belvedere Road;

construct an at-grade pedestrian crossing from Victory Arch to Sutton Walk, giving direct ground-level access from the station to the South Bank.

As the principal local, statutory agency for highways, planning and regeneration, we are committed to playing our part, in both the short and long term, in working with all our partners, to create a world-class quarter, for a world-class city, in Waterloo.

Mike Hayes, director of regeneration, London Borough of Lambeth, London SW2

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