Controversial plans to demolish the striking Vauxhall bus station and replace it with tower blocks are likely to go ahead after the government declined to block the developer.
Lambeth council approved plans to develop an empty plot of land next to the bus station back in 2013, but also to demolish the bus station as well to revamp the pedestrian space in the area. However, the demolition of the striking and much loved landmark building sparked local protests, and an attempt to get the bus station given listed building protection failed in 2014.
Designed by Arup Associates in 2005, the 200m-long, stainless steel ribbon undulates alongside the railway arches. However, TfL argued that the bus station’s location also impeded plans to revamp the road layout in the area to reduce road accidents.
Last year, the final scheme was announced, for two towers of 53 and 42 floors each, with a linked block at the lower levels — and the demolished bus station to be replaced with a smaller site and more pedestrian landscaping.
Due to the controversial nature of the plans, a public inquiry was held last December. The Housing Minister, Robert Jenrick MP has now upheld the Planning Inspector report and directed that the bus station can be demolished. The matter is now passed back to the council, although there is an option for appeal if the campaigners can find grounds to do so within the next 6 weeks.
The towers will contain a hotel, offices, shops, and 257 homes, of which 23 would be affordable, and funding given to Lambeth council to build around 54 more affordable homes elsewhere.
A rather more functional bus shelter will run along the road instead, and what had become a landmark for the area will be lost under what will be just another extension of the cluster of towers that are sweeping up from Nine Elms.
(images from the planning application)