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Farrell weighs into Vauxhall skyscrapers storm

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Terry Farrell has spoken out against Squire and Partners’ proposals for two towers rising to 41-storeys at Vauxhall Cross in south London

At a public inquiry this week surrounding Lambeth Council’s non-determination of the plans, Farrell said the Squire’s scheme would isolate the public on a traffic island.

Farrell – who was speaking on behalf of the local council – said the scheme for two elliptical mixed-use towers on a traffic island failed to improve diversity at street level or contribute to uses at Vauxhall town centre.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles is expected to make a final decision on the scheme by 25 May. Terry Farrell and Partners declined to comment.

In October last year, Lambeth appointed Farrells to work up a strategy for the area which is earmarked for a cluster of tall towers under the mayor’s Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area Framework but is currently plagued by high volumes of traffic due to a gyratory road system.

The council is now seeking public views on a revised Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for Vauxhall – devised by Farrells, SKM Buchanons and Lambert Smith Hampton – which could hamper Squire’s skyscraper scheme and impact on a neighbouring twin-towers project by Allies and Morrison for CLS Holdings submitted for planning in December.

Lambeth Council's revised Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for Vauxhall – devised by Farrells, SKM Buchanons and Lambert Smith Hampton

Lambeth Council’s revised Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for Vauxhall – devised by Farrells, SKM Buchanons and Lambert Smith Hampton

The proposed guidelines include creating a new square and high street, replacing Arup Associates’ 2005 bus station with bus stops and removing the area’s one-way road system.

Launching the consultation, council leader Steve Reed said Lambeth wanted to ‘create a proper Town Centre in Vauxhall and remove the physical barriers, like the gyratory, that make this difficult.’

‘The SPD will set out what improvements local people and the council want, making it clear to developers what will be acceptable and how they will be expected to contribute,’ he said.

Meanwhile DC CABE has issued a critical design review report on the neighbouring Allies and Morrison’s £400 million mixed-use towers scheme.

The independent design watchdog commended the architectural approach to the two tall buildings but said it was ‘not convinced the scale and density of the development is appropriate for the site.’

The ‘size, footprint and relationship’ of the 154,000m² buildings ‘appear detrimental to the character and environmental quality of the public realm’, it added.

The scheme features 510 homes, 15,231m² of office space, a 438 bedroom hotel, a four-screen cinema and a homeless hostel. Client CLS Holdings declined to comment.

DC CABE also revealed its comments on the nearby Foster and Partners’ and Neil Tomlinson Architects’ nearby 23 hectare New Covent Garden Market redevelopment scheme which was submitted for planning last October.

Praising the client’s ‘commitment and aspirations’ for the site, the design review report said buildings at the ‘entrance site’ – designed by Fosters – needed ‘further clarification’ to mark the beginning of the area’s proposed linear park while Neil Tomlinson’s ‘garden heart’ vision ‘does not yet live up to the potential of the scheme’.

Neil Tomlinson Associates' 'garden heart' vision, part of New Covent Garden Market's redevelopment in Nine Elms, south London

Neil Tomlinson Associates’ ‘garden heart’ vision, part of New Covent Garden Market’s redevelopment in Nine Elms, south London

It added: ‘We would wish to see buildings that reflect and celebrate the importance of the market.’

The 2,450 home scheme includes a wholesale fruit and vegetable market, commercial space and a food centre. St Modwen with Vinci, and Bouygues are vying for the scheme’s development partner role.

Client Covent Garden Market Authority’s chief executive Jan Lloyd said: ‘We welcome this response from CABE and their recognition of our commitment and aspirations for this important part of Nine Elms.

‘They have found ‘much to admire’ and support our key principles in regenerating this site to secure a modern new market for future generations.  We agree with the need for a clear development strategy and are grateful for their other comments as we are close to confirming the appointment of a development partner who will enable us to see this important project through to delivery.’



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