Click for Part 1 of the VNEB discussion at April 2011's Kennington, Oval, Vauxhall (KOV) Forum meeting.
As you might have observed, the VNEB discussion at April's KOV meeting was extensive. The second section consisted in an update from Maureen Johnson about the part KOV will be playing in consultation, and questions from the floor to Cllr Mark Harrison.
Community Forum – April 2011 Update
Ms Johnson noted that since the January 2011 community meeting on the future of the VNEB Community Forum, she (on behalf of KOV) had met with the Stockwell Partnership. There then followed a meeting with Sandra Roebuck, Paul Ewing (Regeneration), Clive Fraser and the chair of a tenants' forum to map out the shape of a Community Forum. No decisions were made, but an exploration about informing residents took place and proposals were suggested in outline form. KOV and Stockwell Partnership have begun the process, although Ms Johnson was at pains to state that neither body will be the VNEB Community Forum. KOV/Stockwell Partnership will circulate the proposed Aims and Terms of Reference for the new Forum, which will be open to community groups, but won't contain Lambeth officers.
Structure and future of VNEB discussions
The VNEB project will be led by a Strategy Board. Underneath the board, various working groups will exist. The working groups won't be open to the Community Forum as they're technical bodies that must contain Council Officers. Cllr Harrison interjected that the Strategy Board has committed that all officers in working groups will have a duty to report to the Community Forum. Ms Johnson noted that the VNEB project/forum will be part of a twenty year process!!
I really dislike audience members making long observations that ramble ever onwards with no constructive end, especially when people are badly informed. Consequently, I've not detailed all of the observations and those that appear as follows are in outline...
Qn Audience member 1: 'The removal of the gyratory must happen first because otherwise the regeneration will be rubbish.... I also recommend the monitoring of pollution around Vauxhall. Accessing technical information is a priority. A rough comparison between infrastructure in place at Canary Wharf compared with that proposed for Vauxhall would be instructive.”
Answer from Cllr Mark Harrison: 'Removing the gyratory as soon as possible is the priority. The reason CLS proposed their raised walkway, which we're not keen on (and probably won't happen) is because they say they can't develop their site until pedestrian flow is resolved. Sorting out the gyratory is essential for that site... Vauxhall Cross has terrible air pollution which points towards the necessity of sorting out the gyratory...'
Anna Tapsell (Kennington Association) made a brief representation on the lack of consultation or inadequacy of consultation on health and community policing on the Lambeth side.
Cllr Jack Hopkins (Oval Ward) observed re. policing that an original study had proceeded down Wandsworth Road to Clapham, including many of Lambeth's poorest estates. Yet, apparently, when the study was returned, it had a much smaller geographical footprint, since the cost of policing infrastructure for the original footprint would have been too great. On health, Cllr Hopkins added that he'd recently spoken to a Stockwell GP, who had observed that only certain parts of Lambeth PCT had been consulted on VNEB, and that there is massive NHS strain existing at present on Wandsworth Road.
Qn Audience member 2: 'How will we stop the Northern Line Extension sucking Section 106 monies from Vauxhall developments? Residents are being harassed by endless planning applications which indicates that developers, and not Lambeth, are setting the agenda...'
Answer from Cllr Mark Harrison: 'Ultimately, Lambeth is still the Planning Authority, and will request the infrastructure Lambeth needs. Local infrastructure will be funded before money is used for anything else. Lambeth will have to make a contribution to the Northern Line Extension if it takes place, but money won't be pumped into it if Lambeth doesn't get school places or Vauxhall Cross isn't made liveable. Lambeth is still the Planning Authority and can still negotiate its own Section 106 agreements.
One reason that so many Lambeth planning applications have been submitted is because the VNEB levies haven't been set, so developers are rushing in early. With every planning application processed, Lambeth are negotiating a Section 106 agreement (some of several million pounds), with all monies going to Lambeth. In future, the VNEB levy might raise money that would also go to Wandsworth. So, for Lambeth, early planning decisions might be good or might be bad. It's debatable.'
Finally, ex-Wandsworth Councillor Jeffe Jeffers observed that VNEB was “a 1970s plan being built in the 21st century” that was based on developer needs without an in-depth strategic analysis of London needs. He noted particular concern about the lack of industrial space in the proposal because the proposed Thessally Rd industrial space is tiny. He added that VNEB will consist of a series of high rise buildings for which the nearest lift repair business is 23 miles away!