MP Florence Eshalomi scraps South Bank redevelopment plans

Florence Eshalomi, MP for Vauxhall, has objected to South Bank redevelopment plans, after a planning application was submitted to redevelop the former ITV London Studios

Florence Eshalomi wrote to Ben Oakes, principal planning officer at Lambeth Council, about the South Bank redevelopment plans after the MP visited local residents in their own homes.

Social housing tenants contacted the MP with their concerns about the impact of daylight being robbed from their homes by the office block, which would be 225% bigger than the current tower.

The merits of the South Bank redevelopment scheme do not outweigh the negatives

Eshalomi stated: “I do not believe that the merits of this application outweigh the significant number of negative consequences.

“This is a view supported by the overwhelming majority of the large number of public representations made, a fact recognised in the (Lambeth Council) Officer’s report which calls the proposal “controversial and extremely unpopular”.

“I therefore hope that this application will be reconsidered in favour of one which utilises this key strategic site for local benefit without such a substantial degree of unnecessary harm”.

Eshalomi is not satisfied that the type of development proposed is aligned to the needs of the area and believes that benefits could be delivered whilst avoiding the bulk of the harms that this proposal would cause to local properties and landmark heritage assets.

The MP’s objections to the South Bank redevelopment scheme are as follows:

1. Lack of housing provision

There are significant pressures on housing supply across the Borough and an urgent need to provide quality affordable housing to meet the needs of the Lambeth’s population.

The proposal on this site was housing-based, but this element has been lost entirely with this application.

Additionally, there has been concern that due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic on working patterns in the long-term, office space on this scale would not be the best use of space when the growth in popularity of home working is considered.

2. Affordability and local benefit

Florence also stated: “I am also disappointed that the commitment to affordable workspace included in this proposal is only marginally above the minimum proportion of 10% as set out in Lambeth Council’s policy.

“This will mean the vast majority of offices will be vastly unaffordable for smaller local enterprises. Whilst any job creation is of course to be welcomed, it is therefore likely that the majority of new employment will benefit those living outside of the area and commuting in.

“This leaves the immediate community disproportionately impacted by the harms this development will cause, without being the primary beneficiaries of many of the opportunities created.”

3. Daylight reductions

Large numbers of residents contacted the MP concerning the severe impact that the proposal will have on the levels of daylight received in properties to the south of the site.

4. Heritage harms

Eshalomi also stated that she was concerned about the impact that the South Bank redevelopment would have on both the notable harm to a number of vital cultural assets in the immediate locale of the site, caused by the scale, bulk and massing of the proposal.

The buildings impacted are among some of the most important protected landmarks in the area, including: the IBM Building (Grade II Listed), the Royal National Theatre (II*), Pride Sculpture (II), Somerset House (I), the Royal Festival Hall (I) and St Paul’s Cathedral (I).

These entities draw in significant commerce for the businesses surrounding the site, and the development could impact this in the future.

Source: pbc today

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