Sainsbury’s Nine Elms launches search for new local charity partner for 2018

Sainsbury’s Local Charity of the Year scheme is back for the tenth year and the Sainsbury’s Nine Elm store is calling for local charities to nominate themselves to be its next flagship local charity partner.

At the end of May, the store will shortlist three charities to go to customers to vote. The winning charity will then receive a year of support from the store, which includes fundraising and awareness raising. Customers can vote between 11 – 24 June in stores and online.

Last year, Sainsbury’s Local Charity of the Year scheme raised over £1.2 million, providing support to charities across the UK.

Rav Singh, Store Manager at Sainsbury’s Nine Elms, said: “There are so many fantastic charities in the local area which do brilliant work in our community. We’ve had a great year working in partnerships with Tooting and Balham Sea Cadets and we’re excited to be offering a new charity the chance to receive support from our customers and colleagues.

The scheme is open to any UK registered charity, so anyone who works for a charity, or would like to encourage a local charity to apply can collect a form from the store. Nominations close on 29 May and the shortlisted charities will be announced in June.

For more information about Sainsbury’s Local Charity of the Year scheme, visit

BBC expose Wandsworth Council allowing a developer to drop all office space from development

Author: Cyril Richert

BBC expose Wandsworth Council allowing a developer to drop all office space from developmentYesterday night, BBC News (10pm) showed a report from Political Editor Tim Donovan (3’08”) about the permission given to a Chinese developer to double the size of a new luxury hotel in Nine Elms at the expense of office space and the associated jobs.

Developer Dalian Wanda has dropped all 10,000 sqm of office space from its planned riverside development at One Nine Elms in Vauxhall, along with his promise of nearly a thousand new jobs. The space has been replaced by more luxury hotel rooms and private apartments.

The report says that Wandsworth planning documents reveal it will mean at least 400 fewer jobs – nearly half those originally intended – being brought to an economic “opportunity area”.

Initially the planning permission fro the 60 floors tower block (200m) was for 267 apartments, a hotel and office space. Now both Wandsworth Council (last month) and the Mayor of London have approved the key change.

The BBC article says:

Earlier this year, the company applied to drop all the office space, covering seven floors of one of the towers, but maintain the level of housing, which will provide a far more profitable return.

The local planning authority, Wandsworth Council, approved the changes last month subject to support from Mr Johnson [Mayor of London]. […]

According to the company’s own estimate, the hotel plan will lead to a maximum of 500 new jobs being created on the site, compared to more than 900 if offices had been retained. […]

Of the 490 flats in the development, 52 are defined as affordable. None of the affordable homes are family-sized, nor for subsidised rent.

As usual, local authorities said “it will help regenerate a neglected area” and it is part of a much wider opportunity area.

It echoes our concerns as expressed in a letter we sent to the government last month about the way Wandsworth Council was circumventing the planning policies to suit the needs of major developers. As all previous attempts to engage with the Council were ignored or dismissed at last, local amenity societies and community groups in the borough decided to write directly to the Prime Minister in a joint statement.

In our report, we list many examples of breach of policy, and some illustrate perfectly the case on office space (page 5 of the section “Our Concerns”):

1.10. Breach of Policy DMTS13 (Offices)
· The Council applies “flexibility” when approving change of use, often meaning the total loss of nearly all local office space in specific developments. The Council considered that hypothetical development benefits should justify this breach of policy.[1],[2]
· While planning policy requires for 100% re-provision of office space in Putney, the Council has been prepared to override policy by accepting that offices are less viable than conversion to residential space.[3]
· The Council accepted site owners allowing a property to fall into a derelict state to justify accepting a reduction in commercial space, which reduced employment opportunities.[4]

[1] P.A. 2010/5483: 84-88 Upper Richmond Road
[2] P.A. 2012/4046: 113 Upper Richmond Road
[3] P.A. 2011/0054: 77- 83 Upper Richmond Road, Putney
[4] P.A. 2010/4520: Tileman House 131 Upper Richmond Road

Our full analysis of recent planning decisions makes damning reading. Planning decisions frequently circumvent local and national policies and guidelines and, in recent years, there have been too many examples of this practice for this to be ignored.

In a recent meeting with societies, the leader of Wandsworth Council went as far as admitting that for him statutory planning policies were not more than simple guidelines that can be ignored for bigger interests.


Filed under: In the press, Nine Elms & Battersea Power Station BBC expose Wandsworth Council allowing a developer to drop all office space from development

Consultation: Has Wandsworth any protected views?

Author: Cyril Richert

The Council is asking now people to comment on the draft document for local views within the borough. This document aims at defining the different types of view that have some local significance and deserve protection within the borough.

We have doubts on the values of the document as most of it is focused on Nine Elms and the Battersea Power Station, and those views are going to change (as acknowledged in the document). There is no mention at all of Clapham Junction and the views within the Conservation Area (no need to be protected anymore?).During the Planning Forum meeting in April 2013, Martin Howell, Group Planner, said that there will be a shorter list of views. This is indeed short, as according to the document we have now 7 views instead of nearly 40. However this seems inaccurate as the following pages of the document show only 6 views instead of 7. In addition, with the exception of view 1 (Putney Bridge) and view 2 (Battersea Bridge), all the rest focus on the Battersea Power Station…. which is going to change probably sooner rather than later. And that is even acknowledged on page 14:

This view will change as the redevelopment of Nine Elms takes place. One Nine Elms, when constructed, will be prominent at the centre of the view next to the existing Vauxhall Tower. Next to this will be the towers proposed as part of the redevelopment of the New Covent Garden Market site. The emerging tall buildings cluster at Vauxhall will eventually form a dramatic focal point in the distance.

On view 4 (p16) it says “It is important that the distinctive silhouette of the four iconic chimneys of the Power Station should remain as a dominant feature on the skyline.

Consultation: Has Wandsworth any protected views?

The “protected view” has already been damaged by planning applications; the photo montage (above) shows clearly that with the new developments surrounding the power stations, the view of more than half of the two chimneys on the south side of the building will disappear.

Therefore in our views, there is only 3 different focal points to protect. With the views on the Battersea Power Station already partly gone, there is only two remaining. What is the point of the Local View document?

The Council is making a U-turn on its policy for visual representation

We noticed that there is here a U-turn from the previous policy as expressed in the Development Management Policies Document.

In the Appendix (para 59) it says

The guidance suggests the equivalent of a 50 mm lens on a 35 mm format camera may be appropriate but that different tasks require different approaches.

This contradicts the DMPD, para 2.49 page 23:

The use of wide-angle lenses, for example, can distort perspective and distance, and thus the relationship between the foreground and background, and this will not be acceptable”.

The DMPD guidance seemed to have been set following the government inspector’s report on the Ram Brewery inquiry, who wrote (p7):

Guidance on how to prepare AVRs consistently indicates that images should ideally be made within a 40° field of view (FOV); beyond that, the perceived shapes of surrounding buildings may be distorted […]  the use of a wide angle lens has the effect of distorting perspective and distance, and thus the spatial relationship between foreground and background. Existing buildings, and therefore the new ones, appear further away or smaller than they are or would be in reality, This was particularly apparent to me when I compared the AVRs to the actual views from the same viewpoints and is also demonstrated in the Wandsworth Society’s comparable 40º AVRs.

[…] the applicant’s AVRs cannot be taken as accurately representing what would be seen by the human eye.

And in case we have not understood enough that wide angle images are perfectly fine, the proposed document on local view concludes in para. 65:

Overall the LVMF guidance and industry experts suggest that wider angle lenses can be used particularly for townscape analysis as they can portray peripheral information about a view that a closer image would not.

There is absolutely no doubt at all that this aim to validate the view of most developers with tall building schemes where the usage of wide-angle lenses minimises the impact of the development on the surrounding.

In explaining their methodology, the domain expert company Miller Hare explains:

In the simple case the lens selection will be that which provides a comfortable Viewing Distance. This would normally entail the use of what most photographers would refer to as a “standard” or “normal” lens, which in practice means the use of a lens […] between about 40 and 58 mm.

Miller Hare explains that the use of a wide angle lens is meant to provide additional information such as context, number of buildings, etc. It does not say that this is what the naked eye would see when the development is complete.

It is important that it is recognised that this is not a substitute for viewing the images in the field. In any event, a reasonable representation should be sufficient in printed form never mind in screen form it is after all not going to be realistic.

Therefore the policy and guidance should clearly state that the aim should be for understandable and unbiased representation. When used for the purpose of illustration, especially for the public, it must be clearly specified that this is provided by the developer and may not represent what will be seen by a naked eye.

Filed under: Nine Elms & Battersea Power Station, Planning strategy Consultation: Has Wandsworth any protected views?

60 storey residential skyscraper planned for Nine Elms

Author: Cyril Richert

60 storey residential skyscraper planned for Nine ElmsA residential tower block of 60 floors is to be built next to the Thames following a £700 million deal signed in China yesterday by Dalian Wanda Group.

The Evening Standard published an article yesterday explaining:

The 670ft City Tower in Vauxhall will surpass the nearby St George’s Wharf Tower as western Europe’s tallest entirely residential building when it is completed in about four years’ time.

The 60 storey skyscraper will have 267 private apartments ranging from studios to penthouses and 51 affordable homes at the base. Owners of the top penthouse will be able to look down on the London Eye and Gherkin. The only higher homes in London will be the multi-million pound flats at the top of The Shard

[…] Prices of the homes have not yet been set but they are likely to range from around £500,000 to more than £3 million.

As all recent high rise development, it will be mostly luxury flats with a small portion (51 flats at the lowest level) considered as affordable. Here you will notice that it does not say “social”, and affordable might just be 80% of market rent (as per the current definition of the government) which little few will consider as “affordable, when you can now find one bedroom flats sold for more than £350,000 in Wandsworth!

Anyway, it is likely to be again more investors from Asia and Middle East, who are currently buying most of the new “luxury” property developments in London. You can just cross the river and visit Imperial Wharf to see the consequence of this politics, with some people claiming that they are the only one living on their floor, the remaining flats being owned by foreigners as “second home”. Most of the to-be-built-yet flats in Battersea Power Station have already been sold through a Singaporean agent.

It makes a joke of Wandsworth Leader stating today: “The transformation is now well underway and has started to create thousands of badly needed new jobs and homes“. No homes for those trying to live and work in London actually!

In any case it won’t stay western Europe’s tallest entirely residential building for very long as Tower Hamlets council have been asked to approve a residential skyscraper with 75 storeys containing 822 flats. However, while many expected the plan to received a green light last week, Tower Hamlets’ planning committee decided to defer the proposal amid concerns over the height of the tower and the amount of public space included in the scheme. They decided it “was minded not to support” the officers’ recommendation [to approve the scheme].

According to City AM, a spokesperson for the council yesterday said: “The application was therefore deferred to allow officers to prepare a further report having regard to the committee’s position.

UNESCO urges to stop high rise in London

Billions of pounds worth of high rise developments in run down parts of south London must be halted because they will blight world famous “heritage” views of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the Government was warned today.

The Evening Standard reported today that:

Advisers to the UN’s heritage body UNESCO said proposed towers at Waterloo, Nine Elms, Vauxhall and Elephant & Castle needed to be drastically scaled down because of their “negative impact” on one of the world’s most photographed tourist attractions.

The report to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, which is meeting in Cambodia this week, recommends that without action the site, which includes Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret Church, should be placed on the “endangered” list next year.

This would put it alongside threatened sites in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The warning comes at a time when Westminster Council and English Heritage have launched a joint legal challenge against the £800 million redevelopment of the Elizabeth House office block near Waterloo station, and after the 60-storey residential block was revealed as the new investment in Nine Elms.

Filed under: Nine Elms & Battersea Power Station 60 storey residential skyscraper planned for Nine Elms

Power Station ‘pop-up’ Park

A family afternoon, including the chance to get fit with some zumba, will be held in the new Battersea Power Station ‘pop-up park’ on Sunday (June 9).

Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Station

The park is opening at weekends all through the summer

This Sunday’s event is organised by local community group STORM. As well as zumba from 2pm to 3.30pm, there will be free candy floss and games for the children. People are being encouraged to take picnics and enjoy a family day out.

Access to the temporary park is via a new pedestrian walkway underneath Grosvenor Railway Bridge. This means local people can walk along the river from Battersea Park into the power station site. There is no on-site parking.

The Pop-Up Park is open to the public at weekends until September, events and construction schedules allowing.


A roller coaster for Battersea Power station?

Author: Cyril Richert

Paris-based practice atelier Zundel Cristea (AZC) has won the competition (results announced mid-March 2013) to transform the Battersea power station into a museum. The proposal is based on the Parisian Cité de l’Architecture model, and will present a panorama of architecture and cultural heritage from the Middle Ages to today.

The most notable feature of the project is the integration of a giant roller coaster in the 40,000 sqm of the site, providing a new perspective to the area and the city of London.On their website they explain:

Our project puts the power station on centre stage, the structure itself enhancing the site through its impressive scale, its architecture, and its unique brick material. Our created pathway links together a number of spaces for discovery: the square in front of the museum, clearings, footpaths outside and above and inside, footpaths traversing courtyards and exhibition rooms. The angles and perspectives created by the rail’s pathway, through the movement within and outside of the structure, place visitors in a position where they can perceive simultaneously the container and its contents, the work and nature. They come to participate in several simultaneous experiences: enjoying the displayed works, being moved by the beauty of the structure and the city: river, park, buildings.

Will it ever be implemented? Or will it be another addition to the one presented in 2010 and the tower proposal in 2008 after previous owner Treasury Holdings UK, was been put under administration in 2011 and the site bought by aMalaysian consortium, comprising S P Setia, Sime Darby and the Employees Provident Fund?

Is it serious? Currently there is no word on the Battersea Power station’s website… the redevelopment, designed by Raphael Vinoly, is still expected to be completed by 2016 and some flats have already been sold.

More details HERE.

AZC project of Museum of architecture for Battersea Power Station - March 2013

AZC project of Museum of architecture for Battersea Power Station - March 2013

AZC project of Museum of architecture for Battersea Power Station - March 2013

AZC project of Museum of architecture for Battersea Power Station - March 2013

AZC project of Museum of architecture for Battersea Power Station - March 2013

AZC project of Museum of architecture for Battersea Power Station - March 2013

AZC project of Museum of architecture for Battersea Power Station - March 2013

Filed under: Nine Elms & Battersea Power Station