Stop the Blocks in Kennington
As well as the Lifestory application on the Woodlands site, we have a second matter regarding the site of the Jewson builders' merchants (including the former Christ the Redeemer College building the builders’ merchant surrounds), and the site of the Wooden Spoon House NHS building.
Lambeth Council has identified the site suitable for redevelopment which fronts onto Kennington Lane and backs up to The Old Fire Station building on Renfrew Road, Goddard and Limelight House on The Water Tower Estate and The Dolphin Living Buildings. Please note this is not a planning application by a developer, however it is important as you may recall there was a large redevelopment proposed for the site a few years ago.
Lambeth Council are running a public consultation on site specific planning policies, allocations and frameworks for what a suitable redevelopment of these specific sites may look like. The Jewson and Wooden Spoon House site has been earmarked as one of the sites suitable for redevelopment and are seeking your views on its suitability at this current crucial stage. Whilst the site is, in general, suitable for redevelopment, what Lambeth Council is saying would be acceptable, will have significant impacts to the neighbours of the site. In its Draft Lambeth Site Allocations Development Plan Document (SADPD), which includes proposed site-specific planning policies for fourteen sites in across the borough, Lambeth Council says that the following is acceptable for the Jewson/ Wooden Spoon House site:
We would strongly recommend residents take an objective look at Lambeth Council's proposals for what they are proposing as suitable development of the site. Please note this is not a planning application. However, it is an important baseline for any proposed redevelopment of the site, and it may be used as baseline indicator other redevelopments in the local area.
We have concerns about this draft policy for Site Allocation 7 on Kennington Lane. The summary of key concerns is outlined below and we hope this is helpful. We would encourage all interested parties who share these concerns to email the Lambeth Planning Policy Team before the 22nd February 2022 11pm deadline to register your views. Please send your email to SADPD@lambeth.gov.uk
You can use the information below to assist you in your own personal response to Lambeth Council's consultations.
The proposed development of a tall tower on this site is not current policy and is not in an area identified in the Lambeth Local Plan 2021, or its supporting documents, as a site suitable for a tall tower. A tall tower will be out of character with the rest of the Kennington area. It would have significant effects on the amenity of existing homes, including daylight and sunlight and loss of privacy. It will also completely obscure the views of the Grade II listed Old Fire Station watchtower to the rear, which is one of the elements which marks the building out as having been a fire station.
Inappropriateness of the built form and overdevelopment of the site
The proposed 50m tower is substantially out of scale compared with its immediate context which is 2 to 5 storey buildings. As identified in the appeal for the Woodlands the site is also next to an area designated in the Elephant and Castle Opportunity Area Framework as being suitable for lower rise development. This should be given greater weight in considering proposed uses for this Kennington Lane (Site 7).
No tower developments currently built in the Elephant and Castle Opportunity Area have had existing homes on their north side so close to the development site. Homes, and the people in them, to the north, northeast and northwest of the development site will be most affected by loss of daylight and sunlight. There are more suitable development precedents in the vicinity, including Lambeth Council’s own Knight’s Walk, 130- 138 Newington Butts (now known as 2 Kennington Lane and 3 Holyoak Road) and Manor Place Depot (which is within the Elephant and Castle Opportunity Area).
Effects on amenity
The proposed development would have significant effects on existing surrounding homes in terms of loss of daylight and sunlight and loss of privacy. • Heritage: there is likely to be harm to heritage assets both immediately adjacent to the development site and more distant. These harms will be predominantly from the proposed tower and its adjacency to, and effect on, the setting of the Old Fire Station, the Old Courthouse and the associated Renfrew Road Conservation Area, and on the Water Tower and the Master’s House.
Evidence presented is misleading
The Evidence Report contains a visual at Figure 17. However it shows shadows from right at the end of the day, as the sun goes down in the west. This obscures the fact that for much of the day the tall tower would devastate the sunlight and daylight for existing homes to the north and west. The assessment of views also extends this same basic error, with sun shining brightly from the west. Some of the assessment of local views misrepresents the likely effects with the worst, but by no means the only, misrepresentation being the presentation of the likely effects on the view between the Old Courthouse and the Old Fire Station. This assessment shows the tall tower barely visible behind the Old Courthouse when In reality, a few paces along the road towards Kennington Lane would show the tower to most of its extent in the gap between the buildings, above the Old Courthouse yard.
Transport and servicing
Access to the proposed development is dismissed in couple of lines in the Evidence Report (para 4.3). However this is a site located at the junction of two TfL Red Routes, where traffic regularly backs up along Kennington Lane beyond the pedestrian crossing and, in peaks particularly, is often queuing northbound well back past Cottington Street. The text states that there is to be no new north south access between Kennington Lane and Dugard Way, but Figure 16 appears to show just that. There can be no substantive access to the development via Dugard Way. The infrastructure is not capable of accommodating it. Based on evidence from the “Uncle” development, the number of deliveries per day will be substantial and need to be accommodated. This does not appear possible along the “lane along the western side of the site” (para 4.3) which, in the absence of any detail is assumed to be the one currently providing the only access to the front door of number 34A Kennington Lane.
Lack of realistic development considerations
Many of the “asks” within the Evidence Report would affect the viability of the site and would push the development of a tall tower even higher to achieve developer returns:
- requiring the reprovision of an element of light industrial floorspace will affect the viability of the site and push developers to a taller building to make what they consider a realistic return
- the inclusion of a “public square” will reduce significantly the developable area and likewise push the tower higher
- the inclusion of basement parking and servicing would substantially increase build cost and push the tower even higher to cover the cost.
Lack of detailed study:
This proposal has been put forward in with no detailed consideration of the potential effects of a tall building on this site. There are likely to be significant effects on amenity, on daylight and sunlight and on heritage assets (listed building and conservation area). Whilst the latter is acknowledged in the consultation material no detailed study appears to have been undertaken. The potential for effects on amenity of neighbouring homes is barely mentioned at all. In a dense urban areas such as this, these effects could be significant.
Tall buildings have poor embodied carbon footprints compared with lower rise buildings. There are particular issues associated with embodied carbon in building materials and in the constriction methods. When combined with overshadowing of neighbours' homes, causing them to use more artificial light, and affecting existing sustainable heating systems, the sustainability of the proposed development is likely to be poor.
The conclusion of the Evidence Report claims that the indicate approach has been “tested at the level of general massing and height to ensure acceptable impacts in relation to daylight and sunlight…” but there is no evidence presented that this has been the case. Proposing a tall tower which, if this policy is approved will effectively be “baked in” to the plans for the site, is reckless without that more detailed study of the likely effects on people’s homes.
You can find the Draft Lambeth Site Allocations Development Plan Document (SADPD), which includes proposed site-specific planning policies for 14 sites across Lambeth to guide future development.
Write to: Lambeth Planning, PO Box 734, Winchester, SO23 5DG
Also, contact your local councillor and MP (see our contact list here)
Copies of the draft DPD and draft Sustainability Appraisal are also available to view at Lambeth libraries or at the Lambeth Civic Centre (by appointment, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org)
See our contact list here