Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 3


  English Heritage raises no objections to this proposal or the accompanying listed building application subject to conditions and a schedule of details to be conditioned for approval.

  The Twentieth Century Society raises a number of objections to this proposal stating: "We agree to some of the principles . . . such as the clearance of retail areas from the main first floor foyer level . . . the restoration of the original three banks of entrance doors at ground level facing the Hayward together with the internal spaces beyond, the re-opening of certain terraces at higher levels . . . It is also our view that the building does need sprucing up—partly due to its persistent 24-hour over-use—and we welcome in principle the prospect of money being spent on such an important building "in our period". The applicant has clarified that the RFH is not open 24 hours a day but from 10am-11pm.

  The Society goes on to identify aspects of the proposal that it is deeply opposed to, including:

    (i)  The airport departure lounge philosophy of squeezing in more retail space wherever possible and that this should not be the way to finance important cultural and civic buildings;

    (ii)  If it is so important to have administrative space within the building, then the proposed "supermarket" space on the ground floor should be used thus avoiding the need to build the damaging liner building;

    (iii)  Opposed to the loss of the 1960s staircase linking level one and two and the proposed flooring over the well;

    (iv)  Against the proposed in-filling and relocation of the central bar on level two;

    (v)  The proposed set of stairs linking the riverside to level two of the building are not adequate and lack sculptural qualities. They would compare rather poorly with the many inspired examples found in the building;

    (vi)  The light fittings between level two and three are an integral part of the design and therefore should be retained and maintained regularly to ensure their longevity;

    (vii)  The proposed RFH frontage would not offer a suitable replacement as it would essentially be composed of two uninspired staircases and a row of shops;

    (viii)  The Society had always presumed that the refurbishment would be mainly conservation work, and is appalled to see such a large amount of new interventions, at the detriment of conservation.

  Railtrack identifies a number of comments/conditions to be observed to safeguard the adjacent railway.

  The Theatres' Trust has stated that since the building is not designated as a theatre it falls outside its remit.

  The Waterloo Community Development Group (WCDG) have made the following objections:

    —  Application forms part of a wider proposal including the development of a liner building and service road on MOL;

    —  Should be referred to the Mayor;

    —  The two applications are inextricably linked and both are shown on the plans;

    —  The proposal can not be implemented without the liner building consent;

    —  Premature to an agreed strategic plan for the area;

    —  Should be considered in the context of an agreed Masterplan;

    —  Would prejudice the development of the land between the RFH and the river;

    —  This will inevitably lead to the liner building proposal and to development on MOL;

    —  Would preclude the introduction of underground servicing;

    —  An alternative Masterplan exists promoted by the WCDG that shows that all the arts uses included in the SBC Masterplan can be accommodated on the SBC site without development on MOL;

    —  This application would prevent implementation of this alternative Masterplan;

    —  Oppose further extension to the RFH under the terrace; and

    —  Large extent of glazing on river frontage only appropriate for a High Street retail.

  Thirteen letters of objection have been received from local people quoting the reference numbers for both the Foyers Project application and the Liner Building application. These comments do not raise any issues in addition to those summarised above.

  Liner Building application (ref: 01/00717/FUL)

  CABE welcome the amendments made to this scheme.

  CITY OF WESTMINSTER does not wish to comment on the proposal.

  CORPORATION OF LONDON initially raised objections to the proposal on the grounds that it clipped the Westminster Pier to St Paul's viewing corridor. Following the removal of an originally proposed fifth floor these objections were withdrawn.

  LONDON AND MIDDLESEX ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY, acting on behalf of the CBA raised no objection subject to seeing the proposals for the Hall itself "as these are the raison d'etre for the new building". Having now studied the Hall proposals, they are enthusiastically supportive of the overall scheme subject to details.

  ENGLISH HERITAGE has been closely involved with the emerging proposals for the regeneration of the South Bank in general and the refurbishment of RFH in particular. English Heritage consider that an extension building, such as that now proposed, has always been regarded as an integral part of those proposals. English Heritage accepts that a building in this location may have some impact upon the setting of the RFH and upon views of it from Jubilee Gardens and Westminster Bridge. However, it does not consider that the proposed development would damage these important views. It is considered that the proposed building is architecturally reticent and subservient in bulk and massing terms, and that the RFH will continue to be the dominant building. In terms of the issue of servicing the RFH building from Hungerford car park, servicing of RFH has always been from the south of the building and it is difficult to see how else it could be achieved without causing serious damage either to important internal spaces or to the setting of the listed building. For these reasons, English Heritage does not wish to raise any objection to the granting of planning permission.

  EH ARCHAEOLOGY requests that a building assessment of the water tower building be submitted prior to determination of the application in order to form a decision on appropriate mitigation measures.

  GREATER LONDON ASSEMBLY supports the approval of planning permission stating:

  " . . . the type and form of the development and its incremental nature are not ideal as they potentially frustrate certain elements of emerging strategic aspirations for the wider area. However, there are a number of factors and benefits, which to some extent outweigh the wider concerns. The Mayor therefore supports the approval of planning permission, but requests that Lambeth Council takes account of the wider aspirations for the South Bank area and the detailed issues raised in their report relating to servicing and design matters."

  On the issue of servicing, the report acknowledges that the continued servicing use and widening of the existing service road on MOL/proposed public open space would impact on aspirations for extending Jubilee Gardens over the car park and up to the viaduct. It goes on to state that there are a number of other factors that need to be considered, including the practicalities of retaining service access over the Hungerford car park and the benefits to the public realm on the north side of the viaduct resulting from the scheme. There is serious concern however, regarding the size of the service and waiting area. TfL does not feel that the service access and waiting area is adequate to cope with the volume of traffic proposed. If the service and waiting area is full, vehicles will have to wait on Belvedere Road causing potential obstruction and delays to the riverside bus service due to start 2002. The report concludes that it is therefore possible that a larger area is required to accommodate waiting vehicles requiring a larger take of MOL. The applicant is therefore requested to explore this matter further and ensure that there will be no overspill of servicing vehicles onto Belvedere Road. One suggested possibility is the development of a servicing strategy, which avoids peak hour rushes, perhaps through the provision of night servicing.

  The GLA has some concern regarding the architectural treatment of the southern elevation of the building (facing Hungerford car park) where the building extends approximately seven metres above the parapet of the viaduct. The report states: "the appearance of the liner building from this side is shed like and potentially could be mistaken for a building associated with the operation of the railway." The report goes on to say highlight the visibility of the rooftop from the upper gallery areas within the RFH and from wider views of the site and suggests "design opportunities could include providing an extensive green roof and a vegetated elevation to the railway". Concern is also expressed about the use of glass and steel panel facades and whether these contemporary finishes will assist the liner building assuming the identity of an annex to the RFH.

  P&O DEVELOPMENTS support the proposals as a much-needed enhancement and improvement to the facilities available in the area.

  QUEEN'S WALK PARK SOCIETY are completely opposed to the planning application, stating:

  "The very idea of developing just part of the total area that awaits redevelopment seems to us completely bizarre. The arches in question should play an appropriate role when Jubilee Gardens are finally planned."

  "This approach to piecemeal redevelopment of parts of the South Bank applies to the construction of all individual buildings. It makes no sense to deal with the total area by redeveloping isolated bits without it being a part of the overall (agreed) plan."

  ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL/SOUTH BANK ACCESS GROUP (representing a broad range of different disabilities: physical, sensory and cognitive) supports these proposals, stating:

  "It is the opinion of our group members that a back-up non-mechanised means of access is essential for, particularly, wheelchair users in the case of lift breakdown."

  "In order to provide ramped access from the Terrace down to Queen's Walk level, the removal of the present slip road and access for get-ins to the RFH is essential. If the slip road remains, the provision of a ramp is impossible. The repositioning of the servicing route from the present slip road to Hungerford Bridge car park would have the added advantage of providing a new public space and ground level pedestrian access to the west side of RFH. It also removes what is now, potentially a hazardous approach to the river, with the conflict of pedestrians and traffic in a dark narrow road and provides instead, a route that is out of sight and is exclusively for the use of traffic."

  Support is also expressed for:

    —  The use of the building primarily as office space for RFH/SBC staff thereby allowing the RFH offices to return to their original public use;

    —  The buffer effect of the Extension Building in terms of reducing noise pollution from trains;

    —  The proposed glass frontage retail and restaurant units, overlooking the River, which will provide additional safety for people using the ramp, providing light and the security of activity within the commercial units.

  RAILTRACK states that this scheme depends on agreement with Railtrack for the long term lease of Railtrack land adjacent to and under part of the railway viaduct between Charing Cross and Waterloo East. Railtrack is currently undertaking discussions with various parties in connection with the proposed lease, including the applicant's agent. A number of Conditions are suggested.

  THE TWENTIETH CENTURY SOCIETY commented as follows on the proposals as originally submitted:

  "The Committee had reservations about the height of the building and its proximity to Festival Hall. They considered that it was unacceptable that a large part of the building would be visible above the bridge (notably the pavilion), and that the proposed building would be far too visible at night, if lit from within. Further to this, the committee felt that the proposed building was too close to the Hall and would partly block its eastern elevation. As the hall had been designed as a building of light, it should receive light from all sides."

  "The Committee also had concerns that the proposals failed to deal satisfactorily with the issue of access to the footbridge planned for Hungerford Bridge. It was felt that further careful thought should be given to the way in which the bridge's spiral access ramps might intersect with the proposed building." On the amended plans, the Society holds its earlier views and objects to the proposal.

  ASSOCIATION OF WATERLOO GROUPS have stated that they are concerned about this application being considered "ahead of strategic planning in the area".

  MANOR OF KENT RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION objects to the proposal on the same grounds given by the WCDG.

  THE PEARMAN STREET RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION object strongly to this proposal on the grounds that it would impact upon designated MOL land. Also, the new building itself would be built on an existing adequate access road thereby necessitating the need for a new access road. Objects to the provision of a turning head on the Queens Walk Riverside Walkway as it would result in an unacceptable loss of public amenity. Lambeth should not concede the principle of development on the Hungerford Car Park.

  WATERLOO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT GROUP has put forward its own alternative proposal for the site (as Friends of Jubilee Gardens). It has raised the following objections:

    —  It would be premature for the LPA to approve this application until such time as the South Bank Masterplan has been completed.

    —  It is considered that this proposal is a departure from Policies W18, RL21, RL20, AT4, W33, W32, T40 and W29 of the adopted UDP and should have been advertised on that basis.

    —  The use of the site by large servicing lorries would amount to intensification of the current use as a car park and therefore a material change of use, requiring planning permission. Such a change of use would clearly undermine Lambeth's objective to extend Jubilee Gardens across Hungerford car park, contrary to Policy W18 and Proposal P1 of the UDP. It is an entirely insufficient argument for an applicant to seek to build upon their service road and thereby insist that they should be allowed to develop a new service road on proposed new public open space.

    —  The applicant's proposal to place 742m2 of retail development at the western end of the railway viaduct would entirely block the current coach and disabled access route to the western entrance of RFH. As a result the applicant proposes that an area which is part of Jubilee Gardens as identified in the UDP and outside the boundary identified on the site plan for this application is used for the parking and turning of six coaches. The applicant is therefore seeking a change of use of part of Jubilee Gardens from public open space to coach parking contrary to Policies RL21 and RL20.

    —  The proposal to create a turning head on the Queen's Walk by extending vehicular access from the service road running between RFH and QEH/HG is contrary to UDP Policy W33. The proposal to maintain and enlarge that service road for taxis is contrary to proposals in the Masterplan and elsewhere to create a major public open space here. The proposal to allow a "dropping off" point running from Belvedere Road towards RFH will encroach upon and compromise the objective identified in the Masterplan of providing a major public open space at Festival Square.

    —  The argument that the arts centre requires ground level servicing routes and parking is entirely unconvincing. Both the previous Farrell and Rogers' schemes for the SBC demonstrated that there is ample room under the areas around the RFH in which servicing roads and parking areas could be accommodated.

    —  The use of the arches on the south side as plant, refuge, storage etc would deter pedestrians from approaching the arts centre from the public open space. The proposal would result in a lost opportunity to provide uses for the arches that complement the use of Jubilee Gardens and HCP as public open space. The impact of the proposed service road, parking and use of the viaduct arches upon the amenity of future public open space would be severe.

    —  When viewed from the public open space, the proposed extension building would appear as a second wall of development above the viaduct and would exacerbate the sense of impenetrability between the arts centre and the public open space, and the sense of enclosure within the space. It would impede views of RFH from Jubilee Gardens and from St Thomas' through Belvedere Road, and from the Embankment around Westminster Pier, contrary to Policy W29.

    —  Whilst the removal of administrative offices from RFH is admirable since it allows for more arts uses within the building, it cannot justify the provision of a strip of office and retail development along the viaduct. The administrative needs could be catered for elsewhere, either within the SBC's estate or in the under-occupied Shell Centre, or in other long-vacant offices in the area. No evidence has been provided that alternative sites are unavailable or inappropriate. This proposal would provide 38 per cent (526m2) more office space than that currently enjoyed. No explanation or justification of this expansion is provided.

    —  The need for ground level routes and access across the South Bank has been a consistent theme of the local community for many years. Despite this widely supported principle, the applicant proposes to exacerbate the fundamental problem by further restricting ground level access, blocking off ground level movement between Belvedere Road and the River. As a result, the disability access provided by the proposal is unconvincing, in particular the absence of a ramping or methods of vertical movement from the Belvedere Road to the terrace, other than steps down to Festival Square.

    —  The microclimate will worsen as a result of the corridor created between the new build and RFH, contrary to Policy AT4.

  The COUNTY HALL OWNERS' AND RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION (CHORA) endorses the objections to this proposal made by the WCDG. They also consider that the application is a departure to UDP policies W18; RL21; RL20; AT4; W33; W32; T40 and W29.

  STAMFORD, AQUINAS AND CLIMSLAND HOUSE RESIDENT'S ASSOCIATION objects to the proposal on the grounds that it would compromise the ability of the council to create a comprehensive plan to redevelop the South Bank and also because of its impact on MOL land. The proposal would create a dead area beneath Hungerford Bridge and the height of the extension building would be intrusive from the River Thames.

  WHITEHOUSE RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION has indicated that it objects to the proposal on the same grounds given by the WCDG.

  The executors of the late FELIKS TOPOLSKI'S ESTATE are concerned that the proposals pose a threat to the artist's studio, housed in arch 158, which has an historic relationship with, and has been a major cultural feature of the South Bank Arts Centre since 1953.

  GUY'S AND ST THOMAS' HOSPITAL is generally supportive of this application. It requests that:

  the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 is met in all relevant areas;

    —  Any impact on York Road and the route from Waterloo Station to St Thomas' Hospital, particularly during the construction stage is not made worse during or after the development process.

    —  In a second letter the Trust has expressed concern about this proposal on the grounds that a number of their patients have indicated that it involved development on Jubilee Gardens.

  LOCAL RESIDENTS—A total of 37 letters have been received from 34 local residents. Residents have objected principally on the grounds of prematurity and impact on MOL land, identifying the MOL status of Hungerford car park and the desire to extend Jubilee Gardens over the car park. Other objections have been raised in terms of the height and design of the extension building, loss of views, compromising the integrity of the listed building, access restrictions to the RFH at ground level and restriction of the movement and flow of pedestrians, and increases in traffic along Belvedere Road resulting from the development.

  Kate Hoey MP has objected to these proposals on the grounds that the applications are being put forward in advance of consideration of the whole scheme. She is concerned that the granting of planning permission would seriously jeopardise alternative proposals, particularly the alternative proposal put forward by the Friends of Jubilee Gardens.

1 February 2002

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 26 March 2002