Had Lambeth Planning Authority (Lambeth) still been able to determine the application it says it would have refused the application for a number of reasons set out in the their Statement of Case. Those reasons include:
Design, Townscape and heritage assets
The developer's main arguments can be found here and the supporting appendices are below.
Local context and Townscape
In evidence that Lambeth has submitted to the public inquiry there is a document which shows how the area would look with the proposed main tower from a number of surrounding streets and the proposal tracks across the historic silhouette of grade 1 Lambeth Palace and fails to meet the policies relating to local views. In Lambeth's main evidence on this matter it states with regards to Block B (the 29 storey tower) that:
Block B is oppressively tall and alien in its immediate context (Dugard Way, Brook Drive, Castlebrook Close, Dante Road, Gilbert Road, George Mathers Road, Hayles Street, Longfield Road, and Renfrew Road) , and distracting in key medium distance views (St Mary’s Gardens, Walcot Square, and West Square)
(Para 9.2 of Proof of Evidence of Doug Black/Lambeth Planning Authority)
LAMBETH PLANNING AUTHORITY AND STOP THE BLOCKS COMMUNITY ACTION GROUP
In information found through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request we know that there were concerns that the Greater London Authority had on how the proposed tall building could impact the Walcot Square Conservation Area.
You can find the FOI document here. On page 36, paragraph 5, there is a specific excerpt which we would draw your attention to and it should be put into the context of that whole paragraph:
“In my opinion, the proposals would result in a high degree of harm to the setting of Walcot Square Conservation Area, the listed buildings in Walcot Square and the listed water tower.”
We would urge the residents in the overall Walcot area to look at this information as it was clear to any person on foot in the area that anyone living in Sullivan Road, Polperro Mews, Monkton Street, St Mary’s Walk , St Mary’s Gardens, may also have concerns and should be fully informed. Those residential streets are closely situated between the proposed 29 storey tower and Walcot Square
Feedback from residents in this area means we would recommend that you look at three “Visual Impact Appraisal documents” on the planning application website.
Part 1 is the Built Heritage, Townscape and Visual Impact Appraisal (HTVIA) Statement.
Part 2, has the views from Walcot Square (spelt Walcott) from the north west corner and southern central pavement, West Square, West Square Garden, Imperial War Museum Entrance and Gardens and other perspectives from across the river.
Part 3: has views looking towards the tower from St Mary’s Gardens, Hayles Street, Kennington Lane, Kennington Park Road, St Mary's Churchyard, Renfrew Road and other points.
All documents can be downloaded from the Lambeth Planning website here or downloaded below.
Please note Stop the Blocks Community Action Group takes no responsibility for the contents or accuracy of these documents. We recommend that in the first instance you go to the planning application’s database to find the latest version submitted by the planning applicant.
“It is unusual for an area to be defined by a single structure, and this is even more unusual if that structure was in the middle of a busy part of a large city like London.
In this part of London - Newington, or Kennington, or Elephant and Castle (as you will have it) - there are many new buildings competing for attention but precious few showing the past history of this busy part of the city. When it comes to our heritage, our past and our roots, there are not many remaining to tell the stories of what we have come from.
Just off Newington Butts (which of course is the old Roman Stane Street) is a collection of the few remaining buildings of historical merit in this part of London. We have the mid-Victorian magistrates court (now a leading Buddhist Centre) the nineteenth century fire station (now housing) , and alongside that the c19th Benefits Office (also now housing). And then, behind these, is the grouping of buildings that are all that remain of the huge mid-Victorian Lambeth Workhouse, that then became in the c20th Lambeth General Hospital.
Lambeth Workhouse / Hospital is an essential part of south London's social history; the workhouse provided refuge for the very poor, provided some support to the unfortunate and eventually became a hospital for the benefit of all those living in this part of London. Of course, the most famous resident of the workhouse itself was Charlie Chaplin but many other ordinary residents of this part of London were born, made well, and died within these buildings.
Of the remaining structures we have the beautifully proportioned Venetian Gothic Master’s House which is now the internationally known Cinema Museum, as well as some adjacent buildings in the same style but are now private housing. Towering above all the other remains and survivor of change to this area is the one building that (as first mentioned) defines this area – the Water Tower. This was built to supply the workhouse with all the water it needed for washing, cooking and hygiene when there was no reliable local water network to be used. Designed as a very visible statement, broadcasting the public good behind the creation of the workhouse, the Water Tower is still the highest structure in this part of London. It visually defines the area for over a kilometre around it - and subsequent building has carefully been designed to preserve the Water Tower's importance to, and contribution to the character of, this part of London.
Designed and built in the same Venetian Gothic style as the surviving Master’s House this building in its scale and drama have been compared to significant Victorian church and cathedral structures, and in its survival it acts almost literally as a heritage beacon for this part of London. Its architectural massing and detailing make this one of the most elegant and significant heritage structures in this part of London and its visibility to the surrounding area continues to help define the neighbourhood, both new and old.
The Water Tower rises to over 100 feet in height and has recently been converted into a residential structure (in common with other parts of the workhouse site). Modern housing built around the water has been designed to emphasise the water towers position and statement as a heritage asset. The ambitious conversion to residential use from its latterly abandoned state was sufficiently noteworthy to be featured in an issue of the popular television series Grand Designs and now it continues to be a focus of discussion in heritage, town planning and architectural design applications and fora.
Continuation of the Water Tower's integrity, context and visibility and of its contribution to the heritage fabric of this part of London is essential and should be maintained. Its setting, its scale and its detailing are important not just to the people who live near and around it but also to those passing through and those who study heritage and architectural / social history . It remains an important heritage structure and heritage conservation exemplar and It is essential that this should be maintained. “
Written by Graham Voce, The Water Tower, Kennington
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