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KPF's Bondway skyscraper clears new planning hurdle

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Communities secretary Eric Pickles has decided not to ‘call in’ a 51-storey KPF-designed skyscraper, it has emerged

The practice’s design for the site in Bondway, Vauxuall, was granted approval in principle by Lambeth Council’s planning applications committee back in August.

Dubbed the ‘Jenga Tower’ because of its cantilevered features, the building’s main structure is set to house 360 private apartments, while a lower 24-storey block will provide 90 affordable homes.

The scheme was referred to Pickles following objections from English Heritage over the Bondway structure’s impact on views of Westminster. The scale of the scheme and its 179m-tall tower also required it to be approved by the Greater London Authority (GLA).

Pickles decision - in tadnem with the GLA’s approval - means KPF’s design for McGrove Properties and Bondway Vauxhall trumps Make Architects’ earlier proposals for a tower at the site, which were were rejected at appeal in 2011.

However, by a quirk of planning rules, both Pickles and the GLA will have a second chance to scrutinise the proposals.

Lambeth Council introduced a Community Infrastructure Levy on new development in the borough after its resolution to approve the Bondway scheme, but before Pickles effectively rubber-stamped the decision.

Hence the authority will have to agree to a new planning-obligation package with the scheme’s developers, triggering the new referrals.

McGrove and Bondway Vauxhall will be hoping neither the secretary of state nor London Mayor Boris Johnson deviate from their earlier decisons.

Previous story (AJ 06.08.14)

Approved: KPF succeeds where Make failed with Bondway skyscraper

KPF has won approval for a 169m-tall tower on the south London site previously earmarked for Make’s rejected 42-storey Bondway skyscraperOn Tuesday night (5 August) Lambeth Council’s planning committee waved through the 60,400m2 scheme for site McLaren Property and Citygrove which will house 450 flats, 3,700m2 of offices and 1,000m² of shops.

The proposal had attracted a number of objections, most notably from English Heritage and Westminster Council. Both parties feared the development could have a ‘the negative visual impact on designated views and the outstanding universal value of the Westminster World Heritage Site’.

Local residents had also raised concerns about the development with its main 50-storey tower – housing 360 private flats – and a linked 25-storey block on the southern part of the site housing 90 affordable homes.

According to the Evening Standard, one local resident complained that the skyscraper would leave around 70 people in darkness ‘during winter afternoons’. He said: ‘The lack of direct sunlight will affect us quite badly. This will stop 40 per cent of daylight we would get during afternoons in winter and autumn.’

Make’s earlier proposal for the plot – a 149 metre-tall ‘zig-zag-shaped’ tower – was rejected by Eric Pickles in early 2011 following an appeal. The secretary of state said the scheme, dubbed the Octave, lacked open space and had an ‘overbearing’ impact on the area.

Responding to the KPF planning application, another local resident added: ‘One of the reasons the Octave was turned down [by Pickles] was because it was overbearing in relation to the local surroundings. As this is bigger and uglier one would assume the same logic must apply.’

However the planning committee agreed with the council officers’ recommendation to approve the project and with their conclusions that the KPF scheme had responded ‘positively and appropriately to the appeal inspector’s decision and to the planning context’.

Previous story (AJ 25.11.13)

KPF reveals replacement for Make’s Bondway tower

The original proposal for a 149m-high ‘zig-zag-shaped’ tower next to Vauxhall transport interchange was thrown out at public inquiry in early 2011 (AJ 14.02.11).

The 60,400m2 scheme for new owners McLaren Property and Citygrove will house 450 flats, 3,700m2 of offices and 1,000m² of shops.

The New Bondway tower features ‘three distinct elements’: a 50-storey private residential tower; a 23-storey residential block on the southern part of the site; and a four storey horizontal office element linking the two buildings and intersecting the main tower.

According to the developers ‘this balanced composition creates impressive views from every aspect of the development, delivering light and public realm at ground level and offers exciting opportunities for incorporating significant areas of amenity space for users of the building’.

KPF landed the £350million project following a competition this summer, beating the likes of SOM. The designs were revealed at a public exhibition in Vauxhall last Thursday (21 November).

John Gatley, managing director of construction company McLaren Property said: ‘The Bondway site is the last key development site in the Vauxhall tall buildings cluster and offers us an opportunity to deliver a world class building combining high quality residential and office space.’

A planning application is expected to be submitted early next year (2014). Subject to planning work is expected to start on site in early 2015 and complete during 2018.

The architect’s view - John Bushell of KPF

‘Our design is a fresh approach and distinctive building for the emerging urban village at Vauxhall.  Each part of the brief finds its natural place in the composition of articulated elements.  An expansive roof garden for residents lies over large office floor plates; which are themselves lifted high above the ground by one of the building’s various residential components.  The mixed-use building has a significant affordable housing provision on site.

‘The composition creates a route through the middle of the site, while retail units grant access at every frontage.  We hope the project will be the catalyst for development in its immediate context, helping to integrate new and existing communities and reflect the client and team’s passion and energy to create a successful mixed-use place.’  

Previous story (AJ 14.02.11)

Make’s Bondway tower vetoed at inquiry

Make’s 42-storey Bondway skyscraper in Vauxhall, south London, has been rejected following a public inquiry

Communities secretary Eric Pickles followed the planning inspectorate’s advice that the proposed tower’s site was inappropriate for a tall building.

The project went to inquiry after Lambeth Council’s planning committee rejected the 149m-tall scheme next to Vauxhall transport interchange on the grounds of ‘height, bulk and mass’ and the lack of green space provided.

The 149 metre-tall ‘zig-zag-shaped’ tower had been recommended for approval by planning officers.

In justifying the veto, the secretary of state said the scheme lacked open space and had an ‘overbearing’ impact on the area.

Retired town planner and local resident David Boardman thought it was unlikely the developer Vauxhall Bondway would ask Make to rework its designs for the tower.

He said: ‘[Unless the developer] can fill it with offices, or find a decent chunk of new open space at Vauxhall to mitigate the deficiency and improve the public realm [there is not a chance it could be approved] - and this would apply to a redesigned tower on the same site as well.’

A spokesperson for Make said: ‘We are naturally disappointed, but cannot comment further to add at this stage.’

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