Plans for a “grotesquely disproportionate” 70-metre tower from Lambeth College are strongly opposed by nearby residents.
Lambeth College, together with developers Carillion and Arlington Real Estate, previously submitted a planning application for the site by Belmore Street in Nine Elms, which included plans for a 26-storey tower.
They withdrew the application in 2017 after spending more than £3 million.
But the college, by Clapham Common, has since been taken on by South Bank Colleges (SBC) and has submitted a new application, with plans for buildings that vary from seven to 20 storeys in height.
According to the masterplan, the proposals include “new build teaching and learning space to support skills development in construction, engineering, science and dental technology, IT, digital and creative” as well as English and maths space.
Up to 272 student accommodation units are also proposed.
But residents are still unhappy with the new plans, which they say will block out daylight for the entire winter months and is “entirely” not in keeping with the character of the area.
There are major concerns about the height of block C and objections at the time of writing on the application amounted to 116 – there was one supporting comment.
Consultant Stuart Snowden, 47, who lives in Goldsboro Road, said: “We’re a vibrant community, we have get togethers during the year – this tower will very much affect the quality of our lives when it doesn’t even meet the council’s own planning requirements.
“We have no issue with the redevelopment of the college, it’s just the 70-metre tower block that’s the problem.
“The tower will block our daylight for the entire of the winter months.”
He said he didn’t know whether councillors would approve the plans “but the last time it was going through Lambeth Council seemed to be very much in favour of it”.
According to the masterplan submitted, the height of the tower is in keeping with the surrounding area.
It states: “There is an extensive collection of tall buildings to the north of the site, (as well as a many more still under construction), as part of the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea Opportunity Area.
“The tall buildings within the opportunity area range from 12 to 20 storeys north west of the site, 20 to 30 storeys north of the site and 30+ storeys to the north east in the vicinity of Vauxhall station.”
But Mr Snowden said the nearest building of similar height is “half a mile away in Nine Elms”.
A petition has been launched opposing the plans, which had 153 signatures at the time of writing, stating the 70-metre building would “tower over the two storey Victorian streets, low-rise flats and local park of our neighbourhood”.
It states: “We know they want to regenerate the site to house a new college, but the developers are trying to make this massive tower part of the deal.
“This tower does not meet Lambeth Council’s own planning requirements or the London Plan’s tall buildings policy, and it is conspicuously out of character with the surrounding area.
“It will harm the quality of life of local residents and many more further afield, including visitors to our well-loved Larkhall Park.
“The developers’ own plans show that the skyscraper will tower over the surrounding streets cutting out sunlight for hundreds of residents and blighting the skyline for miles around.
“We fully support the regeneration of a college on this site but completely reject the argument that it justifies this grotesquely disproportionate tower being imposed in the face of overwhelming local opinion, which has been registered at multiple meetings and through official channels.”
A council spokesperson said: “A planning application in relation to this site was submitted in July and has been subject to consultation in line with all requirements.
“Representations that have been formally submitted to the council through its website, by email or in writing are being assessed by the council, which includes any objections in relation to height and design.
“The application is likely to be reported to Lambeth’s Planning Applications Committee for consideration before the end of the year. Everyone who has made a representation directly to the council will be notified of the committee date in advance of the meeting.”
Photo: site plans