Residents oppose 20 storey tower in Belmore Street, Lambeth which would provide student accommodation to Lambeth College

BY TOBY PORTER
toby@slpmedia.co.uk

Plans for a “grotesquely disproportionate” 70m tower are strongly opposed by nearby residents.

Lambeth College, together with developers Carillion and Arlington Real Estate, want a 20-storey tower with student accommodation at the site in Belmore Street, Lambeth.

The college has cut the proposed number of floors from 26 in a previous application.

The consortium withdrew the application in 2017 after spending more than £3 million.

But the college has since been taken on by South Bank Colleges (SBC) and has submitted a new application, with plans for buildings that vary from seven to 20 storeys in height.

According to the masterplan, the proposals include “new build teaching and learning space to support skills development in construction, engineering, science and dental technology, IT, digital and creative” as well as English and maths space.

Up to 272 student accommodation units are also proposed.

But residents are still unhappy with the new plans, which they say will block out daylight for the entire winter months and is “entirely” not in keeping with the character of the area.

There are major concerns about the height of block C and objections at the time of writing on the application amounted to 116 – there was one supporting comment.

Consultant Stuart Snowden, 47, who lives in Goldsboro Road, said: “We’re a vibrant community, we have get togethers during the year – this tower will very much affect the quality of our lives when it doesn’t even meet the council’s own planning requirements.

We have no issue with the redevelopment of the college, it’s just the 70m tower block that’s the problem.

“The tower will block our daylight for the entire winter months.”
He said he didn’t know whether councillors would approve the plans but added: “The last time it was going through, Lambeth council seemed to be very much in favour of it.”

The masterplan claims the height of the tower is in keeping with the surrounding area.

It states: “There is an extensive collection of tall buildings to the north of the site, (as well as a many more still under construction), as part of the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea Opportunity Area.

“The tall buildings within the opportunity area range from 12 to 20 storeys north-west of the site, 20 to 30 storeys north of the site and 30+ storeys to the north-east in the vicinity of Vauxhall station.”

A petition has been launched opposing the plans, which had 153 signatures at the time of writing, stating the 70m building would “tower over the two-storey Victorian streets, low-rise flats and local park of our neighbourhood”.

It states: “We know they want to regenerate the site to house a new college, but the developers are trying to make this massive tower part of the deal.

“This tower does not meet Lambeth Council’s own planning requirements or the London Plan’s tall buildings policy, and it is conspicuously out of character with the surrounding area.

“It will harm the quality of life of local residents and many more further afield, including visitors to our well-loved Larkhall Park.

“The developers’ own plans show that the skyscraper will tower over the surrounding streets, cutting out sunlight for hundreds of residents and blighting the skyline for miles around.

“We fully support the regeneration of a college on this site but completely reject the argument that it justifies this grotesquely disproportionate tower being imposed in the face of overwhelming local opinion, which has been registered at multiple meetings and through official channels.”

A council spokeswoman said: “A planning application in relation to this site was submitted in July and has been subject to consultation in line with all requirements.

“Representations that have been formally submitted to the council through its website, by email or in writing are being assessed by the council, which includes any objections in relation to height and design.

“The application is likely to be reported to Lambeth’s Planning Applications Committee for consideration before the end of the year.

Everyone who has made a representation directly to the council will be notified of the committee date in advance of the meeting.”

23 thoughts on “Residents oppose 20 storey tower in Belmore Street, Lambeth which would provide student accommodation to Lambeth College

  • 16th November 2019 at 12:04 pm
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    we don,t need a tower block on the old collage site,iv,e live in this area for 60 (sixty) years.the is london NOT NY.if you want to erect 20-30 story tower do it in your own back yard

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  • 17th November 2019 at 10:12 pm
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    Please listen to the strong objections of these local residents! Stop this totally inappropriate, one size fits all approach! Create a place for the people; taking into account the unique characteristics of the surrounding neighbourhood and community whilst you ensure excellence in the design and custodianship of this urban place. Create a urban place which unites the local community rather than imposes on it, at its will!!

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    • 19th November 2019 at 1:11 am
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      While we have no objection to “development” in general, it seems clear that the history, characteristics and quality of life of the residents in the area have not been taken into consideration. Some of the residents/owners have had generations living here. Please listen to our voices and do the right thing!

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  • 17th November 2019 at 11:02 pm
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    We urge the council to reject this project and preserve the character of our neighbourhood. Certainly there is room for responsible development.

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  • 18th November 2019 at 2:56 am
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    Do the right thing Lambeth, or how can you expect local residents to do so.

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  • 18th November 2019 at 3:38 am
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    It doesn’t meet Lambeth Council’s own criteria for the locations of tall buildings
    The building will block direct sunlight for nearly 500 residences which weren’t previously impacted
    Applications for tall towers in London are falling as they are more expensive, take longer to build and are not carbon sustainable

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  • 18th November 2019 at 8:06 am
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    This building would deprive hundreds of residents of direct sunlight as well as change the whole neighbourhood as it looks completely different to all other buildings in that area. Battersea nearby is already full of high rises that remain empty and this would destroy a thriving community, there is absolutely no need to build this high rise and destroy what is already there.

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  • 18th November 2019 at 8:22 am
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    When we got our planning approved in Enmore, NSW we had to do detailed shadow drawings at the winter solstace and summer solstace. I bet a building of this size would have failed this simple test?

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  • 18th November 2019 at 1:00 pm
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    It wasn’t a true consultation. Every time we turned up the major issue of the tower had not been address

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  • 19th November 2019 at 12:24 am
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    Lambeth council: please stay true to your own building regulations! This proposed tower is NOT part of VNEP, completely out of scale with the existing buildings of the neighbourhood and ecologically unsound.

    The enormous shadow would block the entire area into from natural light, ruin the privacy of gardens and roof terraces and the added footfall would put a lot of stress on the local infrastructure, too.

    A smaller, residential (not short term lets) apartment building could add to the neighbourhood instead of destroying it!

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  • 19th November 2019 at 7:38 am
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    I support the redevelopment of the college. But the proposed tower is completely out of proportion to the surrounding area and will block sunlight to much loved community gardens, roof terraces and parks. Consultation by the developers has been woefully inadequate. I hope the council will follow its own planning policies and reject the application in its current form.

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  • 19th November 2019 at 9:37 am
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    I agree with the negative sentiments expressed by the people interviewed for the article in that whilst the regeneration of the college itself is very welcome ( and as it has been a derelict building for many years now it has been a blight on our thriving neighbourhood ) the preposterous justification put forward by the college that it needs to build such a tall oppressive tower block on the side of the site to cover it’s costs is wholly the wrong approach. The sheer height of it is completely out of character with the area and will overshadow many houses that have restricted light anyway being Victorian houses. Also the lack of further investment in local infrastructure and amenities when introducing several hundred new residents and several thousand students overall will only put undue strain on our Victorian sewer system, the already weekly leaking water pipes and add further congestion to the already gridlocked roads. We already have a serious problem in the whole area with people parking illegally and private hire vehicles stopping illegally which will only get worse with so many more people in the area.
    If they can reduce the height down to the same level as the college building it will be much more reasonable and not so looming.

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  • 19th November 2019 at 10:03 am
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    I visit the area to see my sister. I think it would totally destroy the area to have a 70 storey building. The council needs to follow its own planning policies and reject this application.

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  • 19th November 2019 at 1:06 pm
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    This 20 storey block would be very detrimental to hundreds of local residents, cutting daylight and sunlight to many homes, businesses and local amenities such as parks for the entire winter. It does not even comply with the Council’s own stated policy on tall buildings and is outside their designated tall buildings zone. It’s therefore out of keeping with the local area – the other similarly tall buildings are a significant distance away – for the applicants and Council to say there are many other tall buildings nearby is simply disingenuous and wrong.
    The Council need to stick to their own guidelines and policies, otherwise they lose all credibility as a local authority.

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  • 20th November 2019 at 12:20 am
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    When you read the planning officer’s report much of the justification is that there is no policy against some things rather than there be a policy explicitly supporting it. On that basis anything that is proposed is acceptable. It also looks at light impact for buildings in Patmore Estate and effectively says (paraphrased) “they don’t have much light to start with so having less is not an issue”. Appalling

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  • 20th November 2019 at 8:21 am
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    I dont support this – how is this positive for our area and our community?

    Do the right thing Lambeth, or how can you expect local residents to do so.

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  • 20th November 2019 at 8:22 am
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    You should never allow a 20 storey building in that area, it will take out all sun light from 500 residences and conflict with all the other low-rise buildings

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  • 20th November 2019 at 9:21 am
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    Whilst I do applaud the demolition of the out of use college buildings and the proposed use of the site for an educational purpose, I shall specifically object to the proposed 20 storeys Block C for the following reasons:

    EXCESSIVE HEIGHT OF BLOCK C

    Unlike the cluster of much higher towers (Vauxhall Cross & Battersea Power Station) which are all north of any residential buildings and therefore do not have any immediate adverse effect or overshadow any existing housing, the proposed Block C will really stick out and does not respect the local context – in particular, the scale and proportions of surrounding buildings, and would be entirely out of the character of the immediate surrounding area, to the detriment of the local environment I believe.

    This tower will be a new, stand-alone, conspicuous addition to the south facing view along Crimsworth and Goldsboro Roads.This particularly tall building, Block C, is evidently not ‘in-keeping’, nor ‘characteristic’ of the surrounding streetscape and setting. In this instance, the previous college building impact should be the base comparison point or the context that the application should be judged against should be that of the low-rise housing (Patmore Estate) to the south. The proposal may suggest that the site is in a high density urban area. The area has typically 4 – 5 storey residential post war buildings. 20 storeys buildings are not typical of the area. You can see this from the heritage assessment. The proposal is out of keeping with the density of the area and does not follow Lambeth’s tall and large buildings policy:

    Lambeth policy Q26

    The proposed tall buildings are not being proposed within the Lambeth’s tall building zone around Vauxhall Cross. As stated in Lambeth’s Vauxhall SPD:
    “Iconic tall buildings of high quality with excellent sustainability credentials will form a cluster around Vauxhall Cross, with particular attention paid to design at ground level to ensure they contribute to creating a memorable and attractive place. The Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF), guiding the development of the area, allows buildings in the region of 150 metres. A map of current development sites can be found here.”

    Lack of assessment of Heritage assets

    The Heritage Assets did not take into account the four residential streets directly adjacent to the proposed building. These streets were built to house railway workers for the Nine Elms railyard (now New Covent Garden Market). Crimsworth Rd, Goldsboro Rd, Thorparch road and Cowthorpe Road are four streets of Victorian houses. Every property has a small yard and a purpose built roof garden/terrace which is unique in the surrounding area.

    SUNLIGHT & DAYLIGHT:

    Many people in the area will be personally affected in terms of sunlight and daylight and I am keen to support the overall area.

    The residential properties to the north of the site were constructed purposely so that each property was either a ground floor flat – with garden, or first floor flat – with roof terrace, residents of these properties have access only to their one amenity space. Any enjoyment of this amenity space during the winter months will be sacrificed if this tower is permitted.

    In conclusion, I oppose these plans based on the height of the building (Block C), contravention of the Lambeth tall building zone, the incomplete heritage assessment and the significant lack of sunlight of neighbouring properties.

    I would urge Lambeth to add green areas and parks, instead of 25 stories building in a borough that is already getting so many large buildings.

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  • 21st November 2019 at 6:04 am
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    The proposal has not been approved in accordance with Council requirements. It would be an eyesore and its dimensions exceed those allowed under Council’s rules

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  • 21st November 2019 at 4:17 pm
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    The building will block direct sunlight for nearly 500 residences which weren’t previously impacted

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  • 22nd November 2019 at 11:15 am
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    This is so obviously inappropriate for the location and cannot be justified even within Lambeth’s own planning guidance.

    The area is also well outside the VNEB tall buildings zone, so who is pulling the strings to sneak this past the planners?

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  • 22nd November 2019 at 11:39 am
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    This is so obviously inappropriate for the location and does not abide by Lambeth’s own planning guidance for tall buildings. Nor is it within the VNEB tall buildings zone, so how can this possibly be justified?
    Who benefits from this? Certainly not the local community who will be blighted in perpetuity by this monstrous tower.
    The college was financially mismanaged and this seems to be their way of recouping some of their losses. How dare Lambeth consider placing the college’s finances above the interests of the local tax-payers and residents?

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  • 25th November 2019 at 8:55 am
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    The college redevelopment consultation process has been dreadfully shabby.
    – Consultation events were held in venues very remote from the local communities that would be most impacted by the development.
    – Misleading information on the extent of the overshadowing was presented.
    – Residents adjacent to the site appear to have been totally ignored in the consultation process.
    – Public planning notices were located in areas of very low footfall.
    This is all incredibly underhand and really does not inspire confidence that the developers are behaving in an honest way.

    You have also got to ask the question why we need another tower block. Many of the towers that already exist in the Vauxhall-Nine Elms strip are in almost total darkness at night. Thus, occupancy rates for existing towers are already low.

    I am really disappointed that Lambeth Council has let it get this far. The tower is incongruous, overwhelming and unnecessary and the juxtaposition with the lovely low-rise communities surrounding it will remain long after the developer has pocketed the profits and departed.

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