I am glad my letter (aj 24.2.00) on the subject of the South Bank has brought Mike Hayes (aj 9.3.00) out on the walls waving Lambeth's flag. For far too long, the South Bankhas been treated as a beleaguered colony of the North Bank, hence the obsession with Hungerford Bridge and tunnels under the Thames rather than with the links to its hinterland and to Waterloo station.
It is the station which is in many ways the key; while it works well enough as an interchange between high level surface and underground rail lines, its connections with the surrounding ground level are poor; to walk into or out of it in any direction is not a life-enhancing experience. It is rather like trying to walk out of an airport. At the same time its vast footprint blocks ground level access over a large area; a space syntax map would show very poor connectivity.
The Eurostar terminal has made things worse by blocking the pedestrian route from the foot of the steps from the Victory Arch and forcing pedestrians underground unless they are prepared to cross the road in the face of the flood of taxis tearing down the exit ramp. The recent revamp of the Tube station exit on the river side of York Road could possibly have been an opportunity to provide a passage under the road but it remains accessible to tube passengers only, yet there is a complete undercroft under the station which could and should be developed as part of thepublic realm.
Alan Kennedy, London SW12