BY YANN TEAR
A firm specialising in urban design and development has been tasked with coming up with a master plan for the area around Victoria station.
The aim is to devise an all-embracing blueprint which will deliver more housing and jobs, and which will also transform the look of the station and surrounding area.
The implication is that a complete facelift could do for the area what the transformation of the King’s Cross hub achieved – an area that has changed out of all recognition in recent years.
Victoria is home to a vibrant residential and business community. However, the quality of the streets, public spaces and station environment “is in need of fresh thinking” to be equipped for the future, according to key stakeholders in the area.
In the last 10 years the Victoria area has seen a major increase in mixed-use development and investment in the transport network, but the belief is that there is still significant room for improvement.
Westminster city council is working with Network Rail, Transport for London, the Greater London Authority and the Victoria Business Improvement District.
Following a competitive tender process, Allies and Morrison has been appointed to lead a team to create and produce the Victoria Station Environs Strategy.
The strategy has a brief to come up with a world-class transformation of the station hub and its surroundings, while ensuring that any eventual plan provides direct benefits to the local residents in the area.
“The commissioning of this strategy is an important step towards realising the significant opportunities for the Victoria area and the station,” according to a statement from the local authority.
Work on the project will begin in the coming weeks but details about the budget and timetable have yet to be disclosed.
Councillor Richard Beddoe, deputy leader on strategy and cabinet member for place shaping and planning, said: “We are pioneering a new approach – exploring the development opportunities for Victoria, an innovative public-private partnership looking at the wider area, meaningful engagement with the community and new funding models for investment.
“By working together, we are committed to ensure that any change benefits the whole of Victoria. This Station Environs Strategy is an important first step, and we felt Allies and Morrison proposed the right team and approach to support us as we embark on this ambitious journey”.
The Allies and Morrison team comprises experts in the fields of planning, urban design and architecture, and engineering and includes Weston Williamson, Avison Young, Mott MacDonald and Snapdragon Consulting.
Jo Bacon from at Allies and Morrison, said: “We are delighted to be leading a strong team who are all looking forward to engaging with local residents, business owners and operators, landowners and visitors to Victoria to strengthen the public realm while exploring opportunities for development and improvement of this important part of Westminster and London.
“The qualities of the adjoining neighbourhoods are clear and strong. We hope to build on these strengths to deliver a compelling vision that will guide London Victoria’s future.”