Leading planning lawyer backs planning framework for Last Large London Site (UK)

A leading planning lawyer has endorsed the much anticipated second draft of the Nine Elms Opportunity Area Planning Framework which is proposing up to 16,000 new homes, up to 25,000 new jobs and major transport links in South London.

Richard Ford head of planning at international law firm Pinsent Masons shared Mayor of London Boris Johnson's enthusiasm. "The Nine Elms Planning Framework is a landmark London opportunity given it is the last really large central London site to come forward," Ford said.

Johnson said: "This vision represents the final piece of the jigsaw that completes the central area of London.Although we are currently in a downturn, the area as it stands will, in the coming decades, deliver a substantial number of new homes and new jobs. The regeneration of Vauxhall and Nine Elms now is hugely significant in allowing us to support the economic growth of the whole of the capital, and, with the other major regeneration projects like the Olympic Park and King's Cross taking shape, the prosperity and the role of our great city in the world is assured.More than that, this neglected area which for years has failed to fulfil its potential, and is disconnected from surrounding neighbourhoods, will become a thriving new quarter for living, leisure and business and an easily accessible destination for Londoners and visitors."

The framework for the stretch of land between Vauxhall and Battersea Power Station has been put together by the Greater London Authority, in partnership with the London Development Agency, Transport for London, Lambeth and Wandsworth councils and English Heritage and supported by key stakeholders including the major landowners in the area.

Key elements of the framework include: tall buildings on the site "where they are appropriate and do not compromise the setting of the Palace of Westminster"; a new park for residents accommodating a range of uses, including allotments linking to the food economy at New Covent Garden; new pedestrian and cycle networks; better-designed homes and communities; and a decentralised energy network connecting to other existing and planned district heating networks at Pimlico, Whitehall and Westminster.

It acknowledged that proposals to relocate the US Embassy to Nine Elms, and the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station and New Covent Garden Market, are key to the successful regeneration of the area.

The framework also supports a private sector-led extension of the Northern Line from Kennington to Battersea via Nine Elms. To support this, the mayor has made clear in revised supplementary guidance to the London Plan on Crossrail contributions that office development in Vauxhall and Nine Elms will not be covered by these policies and exempt from the levy.

Ford added: "To be delivered, a Project Board would be useful, involving the key landowners to co-ordinate and crucially market the overall vision. Also more clarity on strategic phasing and, crucially, more work on infrastructure financing would be helpful, particularly the relationship between the proposed development tariff, the proposed private sector slice of revenue from the Northern Line extension, and income from the proposed tax increment financing. As ever, delivery is the issue."

Source: Brown Lloyd James Financial

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