SLB went on an exclusive preview tour of the biggest urban re-generation project in London – so big that we’ve split our report into two halves.
The strip of land along the Thames from Lambeth Bridge to Chelsea Bridge on the south bank is the last stretch of riverside to be re-developed in London. It’s a huge project involving new homes, linear parks, new art galleries, shopping and restaurants and two new embassies. The project is managed by the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership called ‘Nine Elms on the South Bank’, comprising among others Lambeth and Wandsworth Councils, New Covent Garden Market Authority, development companies such as Barratt Homes, the Mayor of London and Transport for London. We went to the project planning office at the Flower Market where Councillor Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, gave us a presentation on the project, followed by a Q & A session.
The Wandsworth section runs from Vauxhall Bridge to Chelsea Bridge and is the focus of most of the housing development, in total 18,000 homes of which 2,500 are social housing. In particular there will be a ‘mini-forest’ of towers around the current circular tower near Vauxhall Bridge, which has become a South London landmark. A linear park will weave its way parallel to the river from here to join up with Battersea Park at the other end. Various housing developments will line the riverside and further inland, and along with the new American and Dutch embassies, there’ll be shops, cafes and restaurants on what was once land devoted to industry and warehousing, and an estimated 25,000 jobs will be created. Improved transport links will be crucial and the Northern Line is being extended with the West End branch continuing on a spur from Kennington to two new stations, one at Nine Elms near the current Sainsburys on Wandsworth Road and the other close to Battersea Park station near the gasholders. Also there will be a new Battersea Pier for the riverboat service (the cranes will be preserved as part of the industrial heritage).
At the southern end there is of course the re-development of Battersea Power Station, now derelict for 30 years. If you’ve got a few grand (actually lots!) to spare, you can now register your interest in one of the new apartments being built in this iconic building. The gasholders next door are being demolished for new housing and there’s going to be a pop-up photographic exhibition, featuring the holders, on the site at 1, The Field, 103, Prince of Wales Drive SW8. We were given a preview of the exhibition – there are some stunning photos. We’ll keep you updated on its opening.
The riverside along this stretch is now being opened up for the first time, so you can get a close up of everything that’s going on. Have a wander down there with your camera for a few ‘before’ pics of this huge and ambitious project.