Vauxhall Cross Update

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Having visited one of the four consultation meetings, in this instance I went to the Battersea Arts Centre, any fears concerning access and entry to Lawn Lane have not been assuaged. It would appear that what on the proposed road layout plans looks like a shortening of the concrete central reservation at the junction of South Lambeth Road/Lawn Lane is actually  nothing of the sort. Bizarrely  the scope of Tfl’s review did not extend beyond that point at South Lambeth Road so they just didn’t complete the central reservation on the drawing.  They say that they will go away and extend the geographical area to be reviewed, (and hopefully present a complete drawing next time) although there are still no guarantees that a right turn into or out of Lawn Lane will be allowed. Which means that Academy  residents using the Academy Lawn Lane car park and approaching on South Lambeth Road from the west will still need to either complete a full circuit of the gyratory before turning back westbound into South Lambeth Road, or else continue onto the Kennington Lane/Durham Road/Harleyford Road triangle reroute, as will anyone looking to access Vauxhall Grove to get to Langley Lane. In fairness, Tfl are not keen to allow a right turn from South Lambeth Road eastbound into Vauxhall Grove because of the strong possibility of commuters/drivers using it as a rat-run to Harleyford Road.

It also appears that traffic doing a full clockwise circuit of the soon-to-be two way gyratory from Wandsworth Road or Nine Elms Lane will be able to turn right into South Lambeth Road heading west, but anyone approaching the right turn from Vauxhall Bridge/Bridgefoot will not.

There are also cycle traffic lights planned for the pedestrian crossing between South Lambeth Road and South Lambeth Place, which is great, although cyclists will not be subjected to a give-way at the entrance to Vauxhall Grove, which is not so great. Indeed, it’s an accident waiting to happen.

Take a look here for current and proposed drawing plans, and pay close attention to the traffic flow direction arrows:

Vauxhall existing

Vauxhall proposed sections

Plans for the bus garage are also unclear. Details of the dispersal of bus stops are available, and it is helpful that buses travelling past similar destinations will now be sited together at the same stops, but it’s not so good that the bus stops will be dispersed throughout the area. In addition, plans for the use of the green space (and the not-so-green space) in the middle of the gyratory are yet to be decided. The developer doesn’t yet know what to do with the land that they purchased, or if they do then they are not saying. On the plus side, they don’t seem overly keen on yet another skyscraper. That’s probably a commercial rather than aesthetic decision – the area is surely skyscrapered (I just made that word up) out.

It is all very complicated and not easy to précis, so please read the proposals thoroughly and attend the meetings if you can. Beyond that, write to Tfl if you have concerns,


Vauxhall Cross – As Are We

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The ongoing Gyratory abolition plans continue, although they are now at an advanced stage, with Tfl intending to start work on new road layouts in 2019 for completion in 2021. So far so good. However…….

To date anyone entering either the Lawn Lane or Langley Lane Academy car parks has had to put up with the nonsense situation that causes us to circumnavigate the world/Gyratory when travelling east on South Lambeth Road, rather than being able to turn right into either Lawn Lane, or Vauxhall Grove for access to Langley Lane. Similarly when leaving either of the two Academy car parks we have to turn left on South Lambeth Road and then find some way of doing a U turn back into the Gyratory if we are intending to travel east or north. Well, in their infinite wisdom, Tfl now want to compound the pain by blocking access to South Lambeth Road west from what was/is the Gyratory.  Instead they intend sending all westbound South Lambeth Road traffic via Kennington Lane and Durham Street and then back up Harleyford Road, onto South Lambeth Road. Which means that if you are travelling home from the west on South Lambeth Road you will be able to see your destination on the right as you pass it, but will then have to travel around the globe to get back to it, a journey that could take 15 minutes in rush hour traffic. You couldn’t make it up.

The full details are here on this link around P.27. Scroll down when you hit the page otherwise it looks like a blank link!

The key paragraph states, almost as if it is of no consequence, that for the provision of access for residents on Bonnington Square/Langley Lane (and equally Lawn Lane):

“Access to Bonnington Square will remain the same, via a left turn from South Lambeth Road to Vauxhall Grove then onto Bonnington Square. Egress arrangements will remain as per the existing highway arrangement.

There will be a change for traffic which will access Vauxhall Grove approaching from either South Lambeth Road south of Parry Street, Wandsworth Road south of Parry Street or Nine Elms Lane. Rather then travel round the gyratory to access Vauxhall Grove from South Lambeth Road they will need to travel around the Kennington Lane – Durham Street – Harleyford triangle to be able to travel south on South Lambeth Road to then turn left into Vauxhall Grove.

Seriously. None of that is made up. If you feel strongly about this, and you should unless you like sitting in traffic for no purpose other than the planners at Tfl don’t give a toss, then turn up at the consultations and say so, or at the very least make your objections known to Tfl.

There are public consultations on the following dates – please try to attend:
30 March 16.00 – 19.30 St Annes & All Saints Hall, Miles St, SW8 1RL;
1 April 12.00 – 16.00 Battersea Arts Centre SW11 5TN;
5 April 16.00 – 19.30 St Annes & All Saints Hall, Miles St, SW8 1RL;
8 April 12.00 – 16.00 Vauxhall City Farm SE11.


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Interesting article from the Times this week. Worth sharing.

Mark Loveday
March 17 2017, 12:01am,
The Times
I rent out a flat on a 12-month tenancy, but am thinking of using it for short-term rentals, such as Airbnb. However, the building’s management company has told everyone our leases do not allow this. They rely on a provision that requires each flat to be used as “a private residence only”. Can they stop me renting my flat through Airbnb?

This kind of restriction is commonly known as a “user” clause, which come in many shapes and sizes. They may prohibit something such as “business use”, or they may permit or require the premises to be used “by one family only”, or as “a dwelling-house”, a “single dwelling”, “a private dwelling-house”, or “a private residence”.

Each of these phrases can have a slightly different meaning — and the meaning of the same phrases may change from lease to lease. The courts use established principles of contractual interpretation when trying to work out exactly what these phrases mean.

The question whether a short-term letting infringes a user covenant has come to the legal forefront as a result of the 2016 case of Nemcova v Fairfield Rents (sometimes referred to as the “Airbnb case”). In Nemcova, the user clause stated that the leaseholder must not “use the Demised Premises . . . for any purpose whatsoever other than as a private residence”.

The Upper Tribunal decided this meant the flat could not be rented out for short-term lettings.
The judge decided the user clause required any letting to have “a degree of permanence going beyond being there for a weekend, or a few nights in the week”.

The crucial issue was the length the occupiers stayed in the flat and this meant that “very short-term lettings (days and weeks rather than months)” breached the user covenant in the lease.

It follows that although the context of your lease may differ, you would probably break the terms of your lease by renting out the flat for very short periods.

Texaco’s About To Go Go

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Apologies for the cynical additions to this recent article lifted from the London SE1 Community Website but it’s hard not to laugh. If you didn’t you would cry.

25-storey twin towers to replace Texaco on Albert Embankment – Plans to build 25-storey twin towers with dozens of new homes on the site of the Texaco garage on Albert Embankment have been approved unanimously by members of Lambeth’s planning applications committee.


Albert Embankment towers
The proposed towers viewed from Millbank, outside Tate Britain

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 09.55.32
The 166-home scheme includes nine ‘affordable rent’ homes and 39 shared ownership homes, with the balance of the developer’s affordable housing contribution to be provided by an in-lieu payment to Lambeth Council of nearly £10 million.

Developers Ocubis won backing for the scheme – designed by Make architects – at a Lambeth planning applications committee meeting at the end of last month.

“We’ve generated a building form which responds to the character and grain of the conservation area by breaking down the building mass into a series of vertical elements which cluster into two forms,” said Jason Parker of Make architects.

He added: “The Victorian engineering heritage of the 19th century which allowed the Albert Embankment to flourish has been reflected in the building design.”

(Oh how we all laughed when we read that- Ed)

Mr Parker said that the lower levels of the stone facade of the new buildings would be carved with a design inspired by the nearby Royal Doulton works.

In their report to councillors, Lambeth planning officers said that “the architecture adopts a contemporary appearance and pallet [sic] of materials in keeping with the evolving skyline along this section of the Albert Embankment…”.

Vintage House – which adjoins The Rose pub – will be retained and refurbished as part of the scheme.

Lambeth planners describe The Rose and Vintage House as “historical ‘incidents’ in an otherwise largely modern built (i.e crap – Ed) frontage”

“They add historic, architectural richness and delight in what is otherwise the realm of modern towers.”

The report adds that “the proposed cantilever element over Vintage House offers a moment of architectural drama to this unusual relation of old and new. (Who makes this stuff up? – Ed)

“In this respect the contrast between old and new is made more striking (As in, “the old stuff is beautiful, the new stuff is cheap tat, with the main focus on how low can we get the cost per square foot without the building falling down within a decade”. – Ed.)

“It is considered that this sort of approach will only be successful because it is a one-off (More chortling – Ed) and because of the unique characteristic of this site and this conservation area.”

Councillors were told that by accepting the £10 million in lieu contribution, the council would be able to provide more affordable housing than the developer would be able to if it was provided as part of the main development.

Officers also highlighted that the nine affordable rented homes in Vintage House would benefit from a “very nice address” on Albert Embankment.

The committee meeting was addressed by representatives of residents of Vauxhall Walk who pointed out that this proposal – unlike others on Albert Embankment – is for a site not previously occupied by a substantial building. (Whilst the Councillors sat there with their fingers in their ears singing la la’s – Ed)

Christian Kerrigan, chair of Vauxhall Gardens Community Centre, warned that the new building would affect light to nearby artists’ studios (I’m sure that would have swayed the Planning Committee, certainly more than the prospect of hard cash from Mammon the Developers – Ed.)

The Money Laundry

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I guess posts from this blog are like buses. Nothing for over a year, then two come along at once. Here is the second. I will try to get a grip and update with things happening locally that affect us, but with the rate of building work going on here in Cement Central it may prove to be a challenge.

Trawling through Twitter, the way you do when you’re bored, or even when you just don’t feel like doing anything constructive, I came across an article published in May last year from The Guardian, one of the few UK dailies that can actually see the inexorable rise of the London skyline for what it is, an abomination that is trashing our heritage, legacy and sense of community with some of the ugliest uncoordinated developments in London’s history, whilst handing over our city to overseas investors and often crooks. The greatest missed opportunity since the immediate post-war architectural train wreck. Anyway, enough of that, it’s bad enough living within the square mile of the permanent building site that is Vauxhall and Nine Elms, watching a handful of bandits get rich whilst the locals get nothing back in terms of amenities or even recognition that they exist. So here is the article, discussing and revealing a few of the sordid details of the St George’s Tower development, much of which we already knew, or at least suspected. I doubt you will see many of the usual suspects in Pret anytime soon.


The London skyscraper that is a stark symbol of the housing crisis

Tower underoccupied, astonishingly expensive, mostly foreign owned, and with dozens of apartments held through secretive offshore firms

Russian billionaire, Nigerian former bank chairman and Kyrgyz vodka tycoon among owners at St George Wharf tower
 Russian billionaire, Nigerian former bank chairman and Kyrgyz vodka tycoon among owners at St George Wharf tower 

A Russian billionaire whose business partner is a close ally of Vladimir Putin, the former chairman of a defunct Nigerian bank and a Kyrgyz vodka tycoon appear to be among more than 130 foreign buyers in Britain’s tallest residential skyscraper.

Almost two-thirds of homes in the Tower, a 50-storey apartment complex in London, are in foreign ownership, with a quarter held through secretive offshore companies based in tax havens, a Guardian investigation has revealed.

The first residents of the landmark development arrived in October 2013, but many of the homes are barely occupied, with some residents saying they only use them for a fraction of the year.

The revelations about the Tower are likely to be seized on by campaigners and politicians as the starkest example yet of the housing crisis gripping the capital, in which too many new homes are sold abroad as investments and left largely empty while fewer and fewer young people can afford to buy or even rent in the city.

The five-storey £51m penthouse with views across to the Thames to the Palace of Westminster is ultimately owned by the family of former Russian senator Andrei Guriev, a well-placed source has told the Guardian. His family already owns Witanhurst in Highgate, north London, the biggest mansion in London after Buckingham Palace.

St George Wharf in London
 St George Wharf in London. Photograph: Hemzah Ahmed

At 23,000sq ft, the Tower penthouse is 24 times larger than the average new three-bedroom home in the UK. It was bought in May 2014 but has yet to be lived in. As part of a lengthy refurbishment, Guriev is understood to be installing a Russian Orthodox chapel that has had to be carried piece by piece up the elevators.

Lower down is a £2.7m flat owned by Ebitimi Banigo, a former Nigerian government minister. In 2012, Banigo was crowned king of Okpoama, in the oil-rich Niger delta, at a ceremony attended by the then president, Goodluck Jonathan. In 2005, he was investigated by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission following the collapse of the All States Trust Bank he chaired. He was later named in the Nigerian senate for owing the bank 15bn naira (£50m). He was not charged with any offence.

Other owners named in Land Registry records include a Kurdish oil magnate, an Egyptian snack-food mogul, an Indonesian banker, a Uruguayan football manager and a former Formula 1 racing driver. About 131 of the 210 apartments for which title deeds were available are in foreign ownership, analysis suggests. Owners from Singapore told the Guardian they spend as little as two months a year in the flats, which are empty the rest of the time. Meanwhile, town hall records show that nobody is registered to vote at 184 of the homes.

The Tower does not have any affordable housing, which has been placed mainly at the rear of the larger St George Wharf housing development at Vauxhall facing a dual carriageway rather than the river.

The extent of the international selloff emerged after the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, pledged to crack down on foreign ownership of new homes, saying he would consider a rule that they must be sold to UK residents only for the first six months of marketing.

“There is no point in building homes if they are bought by investors in the Middle East and Asia,” he said earlier this month. “I don’t want homes being left empty.”

The prime minister, David cameron, has also complained about the sale of high value properties in London to people overseas through anonymous shell companies and announced that such companies will in future be obliged to declare their true beneficial owners.

At least 31 of the apartments have been sold to buyers in the far east markets of Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and China; 15 were sold to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates; and others were sold to buyers in Russia, India, Iraq, Qatar and Switzerland. About 15 more appear to have been sold to foreign buyers from China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Nigeria.

A spokesman for the developer St George said: “Although some homes in the Tower have overseas owners, it is wrong to suggest that foreign owners dominate the London market. Savills estimated that in 2013-14, non-resident overseas investors accounted for just 7% of the London residential market.”

The developer said 30% of the overall St George Wharf development is affordable housing, with 389 units built in neighbouring blocks. He added: “The range of facilities in the Tower, from a concierge to a spa and gym, appeal to all buyers – UK as well as international.”

Forbes magazine estimates Guriev is worth more than $4bn (£2.7bn) and he shares ownership of PhosAgro, Europe’s largest producer of phosphate fertiliser, with Vladimir Litvinenko, a campaign manager for Russia’s president. Guriev appears to have bought the property through a British Virgin Islands company, Arabella Properties. His ownership of the penthouse has been kept such a closely guarded secret that even the building’s managers did not know who owned it. The BVI company that formally owns Guriev’s penthouse gives as its address the Jersey office of Opus Private, a firm of advisers promising a service that “exploits every legitimate opportunity to protect and preserve family wealth”.

The Guardian approached Guriev’s London lawyer, his family spokesman and his company spokesman, but all declined to comment or to confirm or deny the family ownership.

Guriev was last year revealed as the owner of Witanhurst in Highgate, where he has built a 40,000sq ft basement with swimming pool, cinema, gym, staff quarters and parking for 25 cars.

The profile of the Tower’s owners is set to raise questions over how far UK residents, facing a housing crisis, will benefit from the neighbouring Nine Elms development where 20,000 mostly luxury high-rise apartments are being built in what has been dubbed “Dubai-on-Thames”.

Witanhurst House in Highgate, which has a swimming pool, cinema and underground car park
 Witanhurst House in Highgate, which has a swimming pool, cinema and underground car park. Photograph: Marcus Cooper Group

Title deeds for the Tower suggest that in 2014, Vitaly Orlov, a Russian fishing tycoon based in Hong Kong, bought the whole of the 39th floor for £13m. Orlov’s Ocean Trawlers company is the world’s largest supplier of cod and haddock but has this year been accused by Greenpeace of threatening pristine Arctic ecosystems by fishing further north in the Barents Sea as the ice retreats amid global warming.

Orlov declined to comment, saying through a spokesman that he was “not interested in sharing his private sphere with the general public”. The Barents Sea fishery “has been independently certified to the MSC standard … a well-established approach based on the best available science,” the spokesman said.

Another named owner is Sharshenbek Abdykerimov, a former MP and powerful businessman in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan. Abdykerimov owns the bestselling Ayu vodka brand as well as a conglomerate of other businesses, and he was recently elected as chairman of the country’s national Olympic committee. In 2013, he co-founded the pro-government Kyrgyzstan party.


Home Sweet Home

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It’s been a while since this blog was last updated – too long. Well, we’ll put that right by starting with some very cheery update news. We now own our freehold. Totally. Completely. Lock stock and barrel. No more ground rent. No more OTT insurance premiums. No more, well, other iffy stuff. The new freeholder is The Academy Vauxhall Limited, aka all 55 of us!

Here are the recent letters sent to the leaseholders from our solicitors, Bishop & Sewell, and our managing agents, Lewis & Tucker. And for good measure, our previous freeholder, Pier, confirming their departure.

Bishop & Sewell – Solicitors

Lewis & Tucker – Managing Agents

Pier – former Freeholder

No doubt there will still be work to do in future months, but in the meantime, sit back and relax, we did it!

Bridge Over (Not So Troubled) Waters

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Looks like the plans to build the bridge between Pimlico and Nine Elms have moved forward. Details here.


Oval – Another Land Grab

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Berkeley Homes have eyes on the Oval gasworks. No matter that they are listed. Plus the erection of yet more high rise monstrosities. All so that they can make as much money as possible, regardless of the visual impact or legacy. Sheer, naked greed. So what’s new?

Anyway, it’s all here. No issue with sensible development, the area around the Oval probably needs it. But twelve, fifteen, twenty five storey tower blocks? Haven’t we had enough already?

Anyway, their ‘Masterplan’, minus the bits that they don’t want us to see because even they realise it sucks, can be seen here, along with a well thought through critique by, is here.

Any chance that Lambeth will finally grow a pair and maybe JUST SAY NO? Better late than never.



All Change

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Finally, after what seems like an eternity, it looks like we might finally see the back of the Gyratory. The plans to revert to single lane traffic, beginning in 2018 and targeted for a 2020 completion, together with proposed improvements to the surrounding area, look like a huge step forward for Vauxhall residents.

The Tfl proposals are here. The consultation period closes 17th January 2016

A big thank you to Councillor Jack Hopkins (his blog entry is below), and possibly even Tfl, who appear to have listened. Fingers crossed.


Goodbye gyratory. Hello a better Vauxhall

December 2, 2015

Vauxhall proposed sectionsFor the last half a decade, Vauxhall Labour has been campaigning for a better Vauxhall: a place where it is nice to live, where people will come work and boost our local economy, and where people will choose to eat out with their families or meet with their friends. For too long Vauxhall has been missing out as people travel to Vauxhall only to catch another bus, tube or train to another area. In the meantime, families living in Vauxhall have had to look out onto an ugly, noisy one-way gyratory – an antiquated system where cyclists continue to die and where pedestrians are forced to make several crossings across dangerous lanes of traffic in order to reach the public transport stations. Vauxhall can be better. Vauxhall will be better.

When I was first elected in 2010 existing Labour Councillors in Prince’s ward (Cllrs Mark Harrison and Stephen Morgan) had already been hammering TfL’s door down to make Vauxhall safer. When Jane Edbrooke and I were elected we joined the fight and made it clear that removal of the dangerous gyratory was the only option we wanted, not one of the 30-odd half-measure options put to us by TfL. It took us three years to get TfL to agree. And now we have an option which enables Vauxhall to be the better place it can be: removal of the gyratory to create a two-way system making it safer for cyclists and motorists alike, retention of a centralised bus stop station, shorter bus journeys, a safer and more pleasant environment for pedestrians, and a thriving town centre with shops and cafes at the heart of Vauxhall.

Removal of the gyratory is obvious. It’s unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians, it’s noisy, dirty and smelly – no one wants a six lane motorway with 1000s of cars and lorries speeding around all day long in their town centre. My parents-in-law think Vauxhall is great because it’s a great place to explore London from. If it wasn’t for my wife Jo and I, they would spend their visits to London eating out in Westminster: they would never have considered Vauxhall a place to spend their leisure time (and money), and Bonnington Square caféthe Riverside or Coriander would not have had a look-in.

The proposed scheme is a huge improvement for pedestrians. Taking out the gyratory and putting two-way lanes means that cars travel at much slower speeds and in a more managed way. Six extra crossings tames the traffic and makes crossing Vauxhall whether you are from Wyvil and want to enjoy Vauxhall City Farm or Ashmole Estate to go to the River.

Thanks to suggestions from KOV we have been able to push TfL to close an extra lane of traffic on South Lambeth Road and reclaim it for wider pavements. There will be a new ‘interchange square’ without traffic linking bus stops, the tube and the overground station. Albert Embankment will be widened and planted for a much nicer public space.

The bus stops will remain together which was something that local Councillors and communities were concerned about in the early days. This has been achieved by TfL and most of the bus routes will have shorter journeys. TfL have helpfully put all the new proposed bus journeys online here so you can check what your regular route will look like.

The proposed scheme is better for cyclists, putting in segregated cycling lanes on South Lambeth road and Wandsworth Road, where at the moment there is huge conflict with pedestrians. It also adds cycling routes from and to CS5 from South Lambeth Road down Miles Street, and added to the slowed traffic and introduction of two-way working, Vauxhall will no longer be a death-trap for cyclists.

Of course there are many for whom it doesn’t go far enough or compromises on their specific issue or for their specific geography. I know some who would love to see cars removed entirely, or for their side of the gyratory to be closed at the expense of more lanes on the other sides.

But as a local Councillor representing the whole of Oval and Vauxhall, the need to balance out and accommodate as many needs as possible has to be my goal. And ultimately it is TfL’s scheme and they are the ones who are going to have to implement it and ensure that such significant changes to the inner ring road do not adversely impact on the wider London road network. No one wants gridlock.

I would urge all residents, employees and those who visit Vauxhall to go to the consultation and give their comments. There are further details here

I believe that the proposal which TfL is currently consulting on is a good scheme and has many benefits. Of course change is incremental: it happens over time and at different paces. My Labour colleagues and I will certainly be fighting for more improvements going forward as well as making sure that the implementation of this scheme is done in the right way and provides what is promised.

For now, getting this scheme approved and seeing some very positive things happening in Vauxhall is one I will be proud to fight for.

See the plans here. And make sure that you get involved in the consultation process, that closes 17th January 2016.

Damien, At Last

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Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery, SE11 (020 3141 9320) – 10 minutes walk from The Academy – opens on October 8th with John Hoyland: Power Stations, which will run for up to six months. And, it’s free!

Interesting background article here by Nancy Durrant of The Times:

“A few days ago, a work of art called Heaven went on display as part of a new, sea-themed exhibition, The Big Blue, at Ordovas gallery in Mayfair, London. The piece is a new version by Damien Hirst of the artist’s The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living — otherwise and popularly known as the pickled shark.
And why not? If nothing else, its notoriety alone will almost certainly ensure a spike in footfall for the gallery, which by virtue of its position competes for attention against some of the art world’s biggest fish — Hauser & Wirth, Pace, Gagosian, David Zwirner et al.
No such exotic specimen will lure punters to Hirst’s own establishment, Newport Street Gallery, which opens to the public next Thursday on a quiet back street in Lambeth, south London. Apart from visitors to the nearby Imperial War Museum, the area is so unaccustomed to passing trade that I had to check exactly what it was called, even though I live round there. The gallery will be free to visit and, come the new year, also home to Pharmacy 2, a “destination restaurant” modelled on Hirst’s original Pharmacy (1998-2003) in Notting Hill.
It has been established by Hirst to house exhibitions plucked from his extensive art collection of more than 3,000 works. That collection includes pieces by the likes of Jeff Koons, Francis Bacon and Bruce Nauman as well as Hirst’s YBA contemporaries Sarah Lucas, Gavin Turk, Tracey Emin and Mat Collishaw. There are also pieces by Banksy, whose recent Dismaland project is thought to have brought £20 million worth of business to Weston-super-Mare.
Yet you won’t see any of them next Thursday either. Instead, Hirst has elected to launch his new £25 million gallery — designed by Caruso St John Architects — with a show of work by the now rather underrated British abstract painter John Hoyland, a fellow Yorkshireman (from Sheffield — Hirst grew up in Leeds) who died in 2011 at the age of 76. His is not a name to conjure with, at least as far as the casual gallery-goer is concerned — but you know what? They should go. My goodness they should go.
The gallery is spread across three buildings and 37,000 square feet. There are six exhibition spaces split over two levels and linked at each end by two of the handsomest stairwells I’ve seen since Tate Britain unveiled its Busby Berkeley-style Caruso St John spiral staircase in 2013. Hirst has pulled off something special. You can see the hand of an artist in these spaces, someone who knows how art ought to be shown. They are stunning — and the show itself is something of a revelation.
Hirst first met Hoyland in 1992 — the year the first shark went on display and sold for a measly £50,000 — and started collecting his work in 2009. Hoyland, for his part, was extremely rude about the YBAs and about Hirst in particular, but later became friendly with the younger artist, whose opening gambit of calling him Britain’s greatest abstract painter to his face might have oiled those wheels somewhat.
This exhibition of 33 paintings, curated by Hirst and titled Power Stations, isn’t a full-scale retrospective. It instead focuses on the pivotal period between 1964 and 1982 when Hoyland was at the height of his powers. Hung chronologically, it traces neatly the painter’s development, starting soon after Hoyland saw the 1963 Anthony Caro exhibition at the Whitechapel (he would later describe Caro as the greatest living artist). There, Caro showed for the first time his radical large-scale sculptures in brightly painted welded steel.
At the time Hoyland was hanging out with the likes of William Tucker and the new generation of sculptors coming out of Saint Martin’s School of Art. At once, on entering the first of these huge, light-filled galleries (a wow moment, not just for the space but also for the impact of the colours in the paintings, which seem to vibrate off the walls), you can see the sculptural influence. On enormous canvases, he experiments with space and colour, mucking about with the picture plane so that your sense of perspective is completely thrown.
With their linear structure and floating blocks of colour, it’s easy to start comparing some of the early work here with the titans of American abstraction such as Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko. Hoyland visited the US on a bursary in 1964 and met both painters (he was rather in awe of Rothko) and in 1967 moved there for a time, seduced by the hype around the abstract expressionists. Yet eventually he found himself getting bored with what he saw as a repetition of format — too much cool, not enough emotion, not enough immediate impact. “Paintings are there to be experienced. They are events,” he later wrote in the statement for his Serpentine retrospective in 1979. Returning, he settled in London and Wiltshire (although he wasn’t entirely in love with England, calling it, in a talk first given in 1994, “a small, bland, mean little island”.)
If you have any love for abstraction, it’s impossible not to enjoy these paintings. The sheer vitality of their zinging colours is invigorating. Even a set of slightly surprising works that were painted soon after an American road trip with the jazz singer Eloise Laws and which have a dominant colour not dissimilar to that of Germolene are evocative of that buzzing desert light.
And even when he’s laying it on especially thick, building up the layers of paint in the later works here, Hoyland keeps his colours vivid and clear, never allowing them to descend into muddiness. When Hoyland is exhibited these days, it’s the paintings from the later 1980s onwards that we tend to see — and rarely in great number. This, then, is an opportunity to re-evaluate.
I’ve always liked Hoyland’s work but I hadn’t quite realised just how good he was. This is exactly, I imagine, what Hirst wants me to think. So be it. I find it rather touching that an artist who has, by his own admission, “always loved the idea of being a painter” but absolutely definitely isn’t, should use his considerable resources and influence to champion one who absolutely definitely is.
There will be those who question his motives, spending £25 million of his own money (yes, every penny) to open a gallery to show art that he has collected. Hirst is unquestionably Britain’s most famous living artist, worth (and estimates inevitably vary) at least £200 million. His 2012 Tate retrospective was the most visited solo exhibition in the museum’s history, proving that sharks and sheep, skulls and diamonds still draw the hordes.
Artistically, however, his star has waned. The old ideas feel old. Money isn’t everything (especially when you have so much of it already) and you could argue that this is an attempt by the artist, now 50, to take control of a legacy that is in danger of falling decidedly flat.
Fine. Less than a fortnight ago the US collector Eli Broad opened in Los Angeles his own museum, the Broad — also to house his collection and also free — to a general hurrah. And he’s a billionaire. In Britain’s economic climate, anyone putting his or her own money into a high-quality cultural institution and flinging open its doors to the public deserves applause and respect.
Granted, Hirst has a fight on his hands to get people in — I can’t stress enough how obscure this spot is, although it’s actually a 15-minute walk from Tate Britain and less than 1 minute from the well-established (but also rarely visited) Beaconsfield contemporary art centre — but the fact is, he’s done it. Who honestly cares why?
And remember, Hirst has previous when it comes to curating. It was at Freeze, the exhibition he curated in a London Docklands warehouse in 1988, that the world came to know of Sarah Lucas, Gary Hume, Michael Landy, Angus Fairhurst, Collishaw and others. Perhaps this new incarnation will prove Hirst’s lasting return to form.”

Neighbourhood Parking Restrictions Implemented (At Long Last)

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After much delay and faffing, as of last week there are now parking restrictions in place for Bonnington Square, Langley Lane, Lawn Lane and Vauxhall Grove between midnight and 6.30 pm on Mondays to Fridays and between midnight and 8.30 am on Saturdays and Sundays (the parking places and single yellow lines currently operate between 8.30 am and 6.30 pm on Mondays to Fridays). Its objective, in brief, is to help reduce the impact of the anti-social behaviour of the clubbers and allow residents living in those streets to get a good nights sleep. The parking restrictions will be in place for eighteen months before a further review. Any residents in the area wanting to purchase 24-hour parking ticket vouchers for visitors should contact Lambeth Parking.

Here is the relevant order in full:



(Note: This notice is about extending the operational hours of the Kennington “K” Controlled Parking Zone in the roads specified above. The changes will be introduced as an experiment in the first instance and objections may be made to it being continued permanently – see paragraph 7).

  1. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Council of the London Borough of Lambeth on 2nd September 2015 made the Lambeth (Kennington) (Parking Places) (No. 1) Experimental Traffic Order 2015, the Lambeth (Free Parking Places) (Limited Time) (No. 1) Experimental Traffic Order 2015 and the Lambeth (Waiting and Loading Restriction) (No. 1) Experimental Traffic Order 2015, under sections 9 and 10 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, as amended. The Orders will come into force on 14th September 2015 and will continue for up to 18 months.
  1. The general effect of the Orders will be to extend the operational hours of part of the Kennington “K” Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) so that in Bonnington Square, Langley Lane, Lawn Lane and Vauxhall Grove all the waiting restrictions that are indicated by single yellow lines and all the on-street parking places (with the exception of the car club parking place in Langley Lane) would apply between midnight and 6.30 pm on Mondays to Fridays and between midnight and 8.30 am on Saturdays and Sundays (the parking places and single yellow lines currently operate between 8.30 am and 6.30 pm on Mondays to Fridays).
  1. The Orders provide that where it is necessary in certain circumstances, an appointed officer of Lambeth Council or some person authorised by him or her may suspend the Orders or modify or suspend any provision contained in them, while the Orders are in force.
  1. The Orders are necessary to protect the available on-street parking space for residents, their visitors and local businesses in the controlled parking zone area and to reduce anti-social behaviour, so as to improve safety and the immediate environment.
  1. For further information, please telephone the Council’s Transportation Group on 0207 926 9318.
  1. A copy of each of the Orders and documents giving more detailed particulars about them (including a map) are available for inspection from 9.30 am until 4.30 pm on Mondays to Fridays inclusive (except bank/public Holidays) from 4th September 2015 until the Orders cease to have effect, at the offices of the Transportation Group, 5th Floor, Blue Star House, 234-244 Stockwell Road, London, SW9 9SP. Please telephone 020 7926 0209, to arrange an inspection.

7     The Council will be considering in due course whether the provisions of the experimental Orders should be continued in force indefinitely by means of permanent Orders made under sections 6 and 45 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. Any person may object to the making of the permanent Orders for the purpose of such indefinite continuation within a period of six months beginning with the day on which the experimental Orders come into force or, if the Orders are varied by other Orders or modified pursuant to section 10(2) of the 1984 Act, beginning with the day on which the variation or modification or the latest variation or modification came into force. Any such objection must be in writing and must state the grounds on which it is made and be sent to Barbara Poulter, Transportation Group, London Borough of Lambeth, 5th Floor, Blue Star House, 234-244 Stockwell Road, London SW9 9SP. Any objection may be communicated to, or be seen by, other persons who may be affected.

  1. If any person wishes to question the validity of the Orders or of any of their provisions on the grounds that it or they are not within the powers conferred by the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, or that any requirement of that Act or of any instrument made under that Act has not been complied with, that person may, within 6 weeks from the date on which the Orders are made, apply for the purpose to the High Court.

Dated 4th September 2015

Abu Barkatoolah

Head of Transportation

Tfl Road Closures 3rd – 17th August

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Eastbound closures of the A202 Harleyford Road/Kennington Oval – 3 August 2015

Here: Tfl Road Closures

Our Area – It’s On The Rise

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In case you’d missed the fact that there’s a building boom going on between The Academy and Battersea Park, primarily along Nine Elms, here’s:

a link to an interactive 3D map.

Damien Hirst – Newport Street Gallery – Opening 8th October 2015

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The Newport Street Gallery is opening with a John Hoyland solo exhibition (“Who’s he”? – Ed.)

I’m sure this will be worth it. Possibly. Maybe. If you can stand queuing. And modern art. Plus, it’s free.

newport street

Otherwise there’s a nice pub nearby, The Dog House, 293 Kennington Road (A23), 10 minutes walk. If anyone calls you can always say that you didn’t like the exhibition, as a result of which you’re in the Dog House.

All Aboard, The Night Tube (with apologies to James Brown)

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Once Transport For London have resolved their inevitable and predictable difficulties with the rail unions (drivers have voted to strike, date yet to be announced) we can expect a 24 hour Underground service on some lines, including the Victoria line, on Friday and Saturday nights from September 12. Whether or not this turns out to be a blessing or a curse (for those of you/us who would prefer Vauxhall’s ‘night-time  economy’ to go away) remains to be seen.

The following lines will be served:

  • Jubilee and Victoria lines: There will be trains every 10 minutes, covering the entire length of both lines.
  • Central line: Trains will run every 10 minutes or so between White City and Leytonstone. They will also run every 20 minutes between Ealing Broadway and White City, and Leytonstone to Loughton and Hainault. There will no service between North Acton and West Ruislip, Loughton and Epping and Woodford and Hainault.
  • Northern line: Trains will run between Morden and Camden Town every eight minutes, and from Camden Town to High Barnet and Edgware every 15 minutes. There will be no service on the Mill Hill East and Bank branches.
  • Piccadilly line: Trains will run approximately every 10 minutes between Cockfosters and Heathrow Terminal 5. There will be no service on the Terminal Four loop, or between Acton Town and Uxbridge.

Transport bosses also hope to expand the 24-hour services to parts of the Metropolitan, Circle, District and Hammersmith and City lines.

Standard off-peak fares will be charged, and Day Travelcards will be valid on the day they are issued, as well as for journeys starting before 4.30am the following day.


Summer BBQ – Sunday 2nd August 2015

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Summer BBQ Flyer 2015

Usual Place, Usual Time, Usual Agenda, Usual Boozy Consequences, (Slightly) Different Date.


Bonnington Square Pavement Resurfacing

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You might recall that Bonnington Square is to get new paving, which means tidying up some of the trees and replacing those that are causing damage. This notice has been issued by Lambeth Council, although unfortunately no-one at The Academy appears to have received it:

Bonnington Square has been selected for pavement resurfacing as part of the Highways Investment Programme 2015-2016. Lambeth Highways identified a number of trees that will be a problem once works to resurface the pavement starts. Highways initial proposal was to remove all trees causing pavement damage and replace them with new trees. Lambeth officers attended a site walkabout with lead residents and thirteen trees were identified that will cause problems with resurfacing. A local consultation was done by Bonnington Square Garden Association (BSGA) proposing that:

  • Six cherry trees and a large ash could be replaced as part of longer-term urban renewal programme.
  • Five gingkos that are heritage trees should be saved.

The consultation was distributed to households in Bonnington Square, Vauxhall Grove and Langley Lane. A majority of respondents were in favour but there were complaints that this was not representative of the views of the residents as a whole.

So if you can spare two minutes and have a view, you can respond here, by Friday latest please:

24/7 (Almost) Controlled Parking Zone – Probably Arriving In April

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For those of you wondering whatever happened to the planned eighteen-month experimental 24/7 CPZ for Vauxhall Grove, Bonnington Square, Lawn Lane and Langley Lane, it has been approved by Lambeth Council and it is on its way. It is likely to be implemented this month (April), with the times being 12 midnight to 8:30 am. This is on top of the current CPZ restrictions. It means that daytime parking on Saturday and Sunday after 8:30 am will remain free. Local residents wanting permits for visitors for restricted periods will be able to buy a book of them from Lambeth Parking at, I believe, £4.00 for each single permit.

Hopefully this will much reduce/eliminate the anti-social behaviour experienced by Langley Lane and Vauxhall Grove residents in particular as a result of clubbers parking their cars, and often subsequently partying in/next to them, and worse, Thursday through Monday.

Lambeth will be writing to all local residents to confirm the implementation date in the next few weeks.

Junk Mail

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If you’re getting tired of receiving Junk Mail (and I know I am), usually delivered by the Royal Mail Postie, then you might want to stop it by completing and sending off this Freepost Opt Out Application

The Postie will be happy – less rubbish to carry. And you’ll be happy – it will unclog your mail box. Although Royal Mail won’t be happy, they make more money from delivering unsolicited mail than they do from the official postal delivery. Oh well, can’t please everyone…………


Counter. Opens. Today.

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Counter opens today, next to Sainsbury’s in South Lambeth Place, serving ‘French and American inspired contemporary food’. Looks okay, if a little pricey for this part of town. 50% off all food until 10th February. Maybe they’re trying to match their prices to the latest house price reports. Or in anticipation of the arrival of the Americans in a couple of years. Anyway, I’m going on Monday with the toughest food critic I know – my thirteen year old daughter. Best review I’ve ever had from her after having slaved over a stove for two hours preparing a fancy dinner was “You can make that again”. I’ll be reporting back with her comments on Tuesday. Counter, you have been warned. She takes no prisoners. And you’d better have a few bottles of 7 Up or Lilt behind the bar, or she’ll be merciless with her comments.

Here’s the link to their web page:

And here’s their menu:


Attempted Child Abductions in Vauxhall

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This from Prince’s Ward Weekly Newsletter. Please forward on to anyone you know with school-age children:

1. Lambeth Police Warn Parents – Attempted Child Abductions in Vauxhall
Police in Lambeth have issued a warning to parents after three attempted child abductions took place in the past week. Detectives are investigating three separate reports of a man or men approaching school children and suggesting the children go with them. Police say they are linking the incidents based on the similarities of all three but at this stage do not have an accurate description of any suspects.

1. The first incident occurred on Thursday, 15 January at around 5pm on Sancroft Street, SE11, where a 10-year-old girl was approached by a man.

2. The second incident took place on Tuesday, 20 January at around 07.20am on Kennington Lane, SE11. An 11-year-old girl was approached by two men believed to be driving a white car.

3. The third incident happened today around 08.30am, also on Kennington Lane, where a 16-year-old girl was approached by a man.

Police have increased patrols in the area and say they have been talking to local schools. They are asking parents to be extra vigilant and to report any concerns immediately. Police said: ”whilst we do not wish to cause alarm I would ask the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to us. I understand that the community will be concerned about these recent incidents and I want to reassure parents and carers that we are treating this extremely seriously”. Please be vigilant and contact the police if you happen to notice anything suspicious. A man has since been arrested.

Advertise Stuff / Services For Sale Here

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If you are an Academy resident, and if you want to sell a service or items to other Academy residents, advertise it here (Stuff For Sale) under ‘Leave a Comment’. Unless it’s offensive, illegal, tacky, or just in plain bad taste, we’ll post it up for you. Which does NOT mean that we endorse it! As ever, Buyer Beware!!

And if you want to check out what’s on offer, just look to the right of our website under Pages – Useful Information / The Academy / Stuff For Sale

Our Tree – It’s Up

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After much huffing and puffing by Clare Howard, Robert Baker and Terry O’Neill with an erection that was much smaller than the one that we had to grapple with last year, Clare took control of the situation by pointing out which parts of our pole went where, so that we finally managed to get it up. As ever we were helped by mulled wine, and yes, in response to “who ate all the (mince) pies”, well, I did. Very nice they were to. A low key turning on of the lights by Ahmed on Monday morning, without the glare of the paparazzi and press, finished things off very nicely – a truly happy ending.

And for those of you wondering what all the fuss was about, well, here it is.

Our Tree

CPZ 24/7

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In order to deal with the disturbance and antisocial behaviour in our local streets from the nighttime economy, Lambeth Council are introducing an Experimental Traffic Order to make our controlled parking zone times (CPZ) 24/7 in Vauxhall Grove, Bonnington Square, Langley Lane and Lawn Lane. It will go live before 01 April for a period of 18 months and it is worth noting:

  • A resident can only lodge a formal objection to an experimental traffic regulation order once it is in force. Objections may be made to the order being made permanent within six months of the day that the experimental order comes into force. If the experimental order is changed, then objections may be made within six months of the day that this happens.
  • Enforcement will be in line with the existing on-street parking enforcement in other controlled areas. Lambeth Council will use their existing enforcement provider, NSL, to carry out the enforcement and all challenges will go through their existing statutory process to ensure that both enforcement and review of any challenges received is fair.
  • All resident car owners will still have to purchase a resident’s parking permit. Residents can purchase up to 50 visitor vouchers p.a. for guests and service companies. Visitor vouchers are £5 each or £22 for a book of 5.

Paying for visitor parking permits during the extended hours is a downside, but, by doing so, we are supporting and showing solidarity with our neighbours who suffer disturbance both overnight and during the day from clubbers and cabs.

This measure is community-safety driven and funded and Cllr Jane Edbrooke sums it up by saying:

“We will be using an Experimental Traffic Order and will then have 18 months to undertake a full resident consultation on permanently extending the CPZ – a ‘try before you buy’ approach shall we say! This will allow us to gauge the impact this change has had on ASB and residents.”

It’s Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas

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We’ll be putting our tree up in the Lobby on Sunday at 12:00 noon. Feel free to join us – or at least bring food and drink for Robert Baker and me who will be sweating and cursing for an hour to get it up (“excuse me?” – Ed)

Vauxhall Gyratory Consultation

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Another chance for you to give Tfl your views on what you want to see happen to the Vauxhall Gyratory. And another chance for Tfl to then ignore them. If they keep on asking often enough then presumably they’ll eventually get the answer they want. Anyway, here it is:

And here’s the proposed two-way traffic flow layout:


There Goes The Neighbourhood

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Mr and Mrs Sting  (he's on the right)

Mr and Mrs Sting (he’s on the right)

It has been billed as the way to transform and preserve one of London’s best-loved landmarks by creating housing for thousands of people and panoramic views across the capital.

And now Battersea Power Station has proved its new apartments are in fact fit for a rock star.

Sting and wife Trudie Styler have confirmed they will be among the future tenants living among the redeveloped towers.

The couple have bought an apartment at the iconic landmark as their new London base, adding to their extensive global property portfolio.

It has not been confirmed if the apartment will be in or next to the actual power station. But with Sting’s impressive fortune the couple are likely to have purchased one of the apartments at the higher end of the scale, where prices peak at £3million for a four bedroom house.

Their new home could even be a penthouse for which prices have not been released, but are are available on request. Experts have predicted they could cost as much as £30million.

Styler said: ‘The exciting development plans for the whole site are a great solution for the regeneration of an iconic London landmark which has been in decay for the last 30 years.

Trudie Styler commented, “The exciting development plans for the whole site are a great solution for the regeneration of an iconic London landmark which has been in decay for the last 30 years. We are both very pleased to be part of this new community and really look forward to making our London home at the Battersea Power Station.”

Oh, nearly forgot to mention, the development will also house 103 affordable homes. So that’s all right then.

Time To Get Your Skates On

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Ice Skating in Vauxhall from 21st November in the Pleasure gardens. Plus a Christmas Tree Maze, a Market, and Family Rides. It’s all here:

It’s Hyper

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Hyperoptic . Broadband. Superfast 1 Gig. It’s being installed in the Academy sometime very soon. When it is, the marketing bumf will be circulated by Hyperoptic and you can decide as to whether or not you want to take advantage of it. Quite a few residents requested it at the last AGM. Well, here it is.

When I’m Cleaning Windows

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Ours that is. Monday 8th and Tuesday 9th September the Academy windows will be cleaned. Better close them.

It’s Rubber, Duckie

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  • Florentijn Hofman Commission

    Tues 2 – 30 Sept / Free event

    River Thames at Riverside Gardens, Nine Elms Lane, London SW8 2DU

    Untitled1Rubber Duck (2013)

Something large, very large is coming to the Thames this September!

Renowned Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman will create an extraordinary new sculpture, his first UK commission, which will be situated in the River Thames at Nine Elms on the South Bank for the month of Totally Thames.

Inspired by the fascinating prehistory of the Thames, the installation will be semi-immersed in the river and will rise and fall with the tide. Hofman is known for scaled-up sculptures, such as Rubber Duck which travelled to several major cities in 2013, from Auckland and São Paulo to Hong Kong. Hofman’s sculptures often originate from everyday objects.

The design of Hofman’s Totally Thames commission is a closely guarded secret until Tuesday 2 September when it will be towed upriver from its build site to its end position at Nine Elms on the South Bank, an emerging new cultural destination with Vauxhall at its heart; the last piece of the South Bank jigsaw.

I am thrilled and excited to be using the Thames as the location of my first UK commission. The purpose of setting my sculptures in the public domain has always been to give members of the public a break from their daily routines, to inspire conversation and to cause astonishment. I hope the location of my sculpture on the Thames will inspire passers-by to engage with its surrounding area of Nine Elms on the South Bank, and to discover the various other events within the Totally Thames programme celebrating London’s river. Florentijn Hofman


About Florentijn Hofman

Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman (Delfzijl, 1977) likes his works large, very large. His monumental sculptures conjure up humour and sensation. His most well-known work Rubber Duck (2007), a 26-metre-high inflatable yellow rubber duck, signified his international breakthrough. The rubber duck has been travelling the world ever since. Everywhere it moors – from Auckland and São Paulo to Osaka – it is bound to cause a spectacle.

Everyday objects like a paper boat, a pictogram of an industrial zone or little plastic toy figures are at the root of Hofman’s images. These ready-mades are blown up to gigantic proportions, in a resemblance to the visual language of Pop Art. The Kobe Museum of Art, the Nantes Biennial, Z33 in Hasselt and SESC in São Paulo are among the institutions that have recently commissioned works by Hofman.

Florentijn Hofman was educated at the Art Academy Kampen and the Kunsthochschüle in Berlin. He lives and works in Rotterdam.

How to get there

Nearest tube: Vauxhall
Nearest pier: St Georges Pier

Stepped access to the foreshore is available for three hours a day at low tide.


Age group: All ages

This piece is commissioned by Thames Festival Trust with the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership, Wanda One (UK) and Vauxhall One; with support from Wandsworth Council, Lambeth Council, Bellway Homes, Ballymore Group, Battersea Power Station Development Company, Citygrove, CLS Holdings, St James Group, Berkeley Homes, Barratt London, Thames Tideway Tunnel and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.


River Thames at Riverside Gardens, Nine Elms Lane, London SW8 2DU

















































It Was Twenty Years Ago Today (hence, the Bonnington Square Pleasure Gardens anniversary party)

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An Invitation note from the Bonnington Square Association:

Bonnington Square garden supporters

A very short work day proposed to do an end of summer tidy up the week before the party.

Please save both dates:

Garden work day: Saturday 23rd August 10am – 12am
Party for 20 years of Bonnington Square Pleasure Gardens: Saturday 30th August 6-9.30PM



Another Day, Another Gyratory Survey

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Another survey regarding the Gyratory. This one is from KOV but I suspect that Lambeth/Tfl will keep asking the same questions until they get the answer they want.

KOV Forum – Vauxhall Gyratory Transformation – Opinion Survey


There’s also a link to Tfl’s ‘Joint Vision’ update (I know, who writes this rubbish?)

Click to access 16e5aa_87be244b282f464d8d4d126220eb1259.pdf

Although, cynicism apart, there seems to be a glimmer of light that maybe our ‘joint vision’ is a little more disjointed than Tfl would have liked when they write:

Progress Update : Stage 2: March to Autumn 2014

• Initial modelling research indicates that removing the gyratory is feasible

• We are now developing a 3rd and 4th option – both include two-way working with viaduct widening and both contain bus interchange located centrally

• Improvements for pedestrians and cyclists being developed further

• Bus interchange options being developed and impacts on passengers assessed

Damien Hirst – Don’t Hold Your Breath (and no, it’s not formaldehyde)

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He’s late. Twelve months late to be exact. Not coming until 2015.

And this:



Will become this:



The architect’s blurb says:


This private gallery (in Newport Street) in Vauxhall involves the conversion of an extraordinary terrace of listed buildings that are former theatre carpentry and scenery production workshops. The gallery forms the whole length of the street, with three listed buildings flanked by new buildings at either end. The ground and upper floors within the five buildings are continuous and internally connected to allow suites of galleries to be used in many combinations from small to very large exhibitions. The floor level within the listed buildings has been radically altered to a new level that has a logical relationship to the existing windows, creating a series of lofty rooms. The unusual proportions of the street elevations, with their groups of low level windows and high blank walls above, have been continued in the new buildings which have facades of black engineering brick. The plans also include offices and a restaurant.

We say:

It looks a bit rubbish. Sorry Damien but it has to be said. A restoration of the existing listed Victorian buildings would have looked a lot more in keeping with the surrounding area. And a lot nicer. Unless of course you want to come to Vauxhall Cross. In which case, let the concrete pouring begin. What’s another modern pile amongst dozens?


B-B-Q (Lazing On A Sunny Afternoon – thanks Ray)

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Well, the sun shone, the charcoal didn’t refuse to get involved and burnt bright and white, the food was plentiful and the alcohol flowed (allegedly). A good time was had by all, including those of us who fell asleep on the grass afterwards (but we’re blaming that on Tim’s vodka, which seemed to disappear remarkably quickly). Big thank you to the residents who brought along the delicious desserts (I can testify that they were all superb, having sampled every one personally, and some of them twice – well, it would have been rude not to) and an especially big thank-you to Pamela, whose day-before shopping judged the food down to the last two burgers exactly. Probably why she was charged with portion control.

See you all next year. Same place, same time.

And here’s a song.              



IMG_4061IMG_4058IMG_4062 IMG_4064 IMG_4067 IMG_4068

Graffiti? Or Nothing To Worry About?

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Sorry, time for a rant (I know, so what’s new?). Much of the paving along Nine Elms Lane running alongside the new developments has been relaid in the last two weeks. Some muppet has managed to lay a trail of white paint almost A MILE LONG from New Covent Garden to Brooks Court in Kirtling Street. It spans the south side pavement of Nine Elms Lane from New Covent Garden to 33 Nine Elms Road (Embassy Gardens) where it crosses the road at the lights and then runs along the north side pavement of Nine Elms Lane before turning right into Kirtling Street (the road running into Battersea Power Station) and then right into Brooks Court, a gated compound. The gate was closed and locked when I was there, else I would have pursued it further. It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to work out that the culprit is in there somewhere. On contacting Wandsworth Council I was told, to paraphrase “It’s not our problem, it’s on the pavement, we only do walls”. When pressed, the clearly irritated recipient of my call said that it was probably an accident, so no big deal, and anyway, it would disappear over the passage of time! Well, accidents happen, but I remember the graffiti proclaiming George Davis to be innocent (he was as it happens, but he got nicked for armed robbery eighteen months later) still on the walls next to Broadway Market in Hackney  twenty years after it went up. After an accident the guilty party normally has to cough up, often via insurance. So an unsightly long-term mess with a probable known culprit is okay to ignore, but you try overfilling your bin and you’ll be up in front of the Beak at the Old Bailey before you can say ‘Guilty as charged your honour, I deserve a sound thrashing”. (And no, this isn’t meant to be an advertising punt for The Hoist on South Lambeth Road.)

Maybe the Nine Elms Partnership, who seem to have an inexhaustible PR machine, would like to divert a small part of their budget to clean up the mess? After all, it can’t do their sales any good.



“Therein Lies The Mystery Watson”

The Barclays Bridge? Or The Coca Cola Crossing?

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Wandsworth Council has approved plans for a new £40m bridge across the River Thames in London and is to hold a design competition to take it forward.

From Batterseas Power Station to Vauxhall Bridge, there's a lot of development going on in Nine Elms
Above: From Batterseas Power Station to Vauxhall Bridge, there’s a lot of development going on in Nine Elms

The new pedestrian and cycle crossing would connect the rapidly developing Nine Elms district on the south side with the Pimlico embankment to the north.

Its exact location is yet to be confirmed but the preferred options are close to the site of the new US Embassy.

The plan for the design competition comes after a Transport for London feasibility study confirmed the bridge would cost around £40m and is forecast to carry approximately 9,000 pedestrians and 9,000 cyclists a day – proving a car free alternative to Vauxhall or Chelsea Bridge.

The competition could be launched before the end of the year.

The bridge is part of a £2bn infrastructure package transforming Nine Elms into a new Zone One transport hub complete with two new Northern Line tube stops.

Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia, co-chair of the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership, said: “This will be a new bridge at the centre of the world’s greatest city so the design standard has to be exceptional.  It will be a dream commission for the winning architect but to succeed they will have to meet some very unique challenges and expectations.

“The design will have to inspire and win the hearts of Londoners who are tremendously proud of their river and its heritage. It must work alongside the cutting edge modern architecture of Nine Elms as well as the elegant buildings on the north bank.  There will be engineering feats to overcome and the landing points on both sides must integrate sensitively and effectively with their surroundings.

“This bridge has the potential to become a powerful icon for the revival of Nine Elms which will help us bring new life, jobs and homes to this underused part of London. It would also help connect communities north of the river with these new opportunities and create a valuable transport link for our growing city.”

The bridge and other transport improvements will be funded from private Nine Elms developments and from growth in local business rates income. Once a design is in place Wandsworth Council will explore further funding options that could see the bridge built sooner. This could include sponsorship.


Auctioned Off

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Another development planned. I know, when you’ve seen one………….

Christies warehouse this time (I’m a bit late with this one, sorry). More blather about ‘affordable’ homes (i.e. 80% of the local market rate). With rents rising by 20% a year that effectively means tenants will be charged the ‘non-affordable’ rent in situ last year.


Wandsworth Council has approved plans to replace the Christies Fine Arts Warehouse in Nine Elms with a mixed use development including 510 homes and new cultural space.

Bellway Homes plan for the Christies site in Nine Elms
The site is located in the heart of Nine Elms on the South Bank, London’s biggest regeneration project, which includes the new US Embassy, Battersea Power Station and New Covent Garden Market.

Plans to redevelop the 2.7 acre site were approved last night (June 17) by the council’s planning applications committee.

The proposal, by developer Bellway Homes, would see the warehouse demolished and replaced with two new buildings which at the highest point would be 19 storeys. The new blocks would be predominantly brick but with each having a different architectural treatment.


They would provide a total of 510 homes including 76 affordable properties and 114 set aside as private rent units which would be offered to local people on extended tenancies of up to five years.

As part of the planning application the homebuilder has agreed to pay an additional £10m to Wandsworth Council for providing ‘off-site’ affordable housing in the local area.

The scheme would also create 1,352 square metres of new commercial floorspace and 1,122 square metres of community use floorspace – some of which will be offered to not-for-profit cultural organisations at 50 per cent of market rates.

A new outdoor public space would be created on the site, including part of the new Nine Elms Linear Park which will run all the way from Vauxhall Cross to Battersea Power Station.

The application also comes with a £9m contribution to extending the Northern Line into Nine Elms and other improvements to the area’s infrastructure.

Planning applications committee chairman Sarah McDermott said:

“This is great news for Nine Elms. We are seeing more and more warehousing and industrial land making way for new homes, jobs and cultural attractions that will bring the area to life.

“This development provides another portion of the new linear park which will run right through Nine Elms as well as £9m for improving local infrastructure. There will be hundreds of new homes built including affordable rent and shared ownership properties.

“The scheme also provides some of Wandsworth’s first homes built specifically for the private rent sector. They will be reserved for local residents and offered on tenancies of up to five years to give more security than can usually be found on the open market.”

About Nine Elms on the South Bank

Nine Elms on the South Bank is one of Europe’s biggest regeneration programmes.

More than 18,000 new homes will be built and enough business space to support up to 25,000 jobs.

A further 22,000 construction jobs will be created during the area-wide building programme. Wandsworth Council if helping unemployed local residents secure these valuable opportunities via a dedicated recruitment service.

The Northern Line Extension will provide the major transport artery which makes the new Nine Elms possible. An infrastructure project championed by Wandsworth Council, it has now won financial support from the Government and is working its way through the planning system.

A brand new public fresh produce market and centre for London’s foodies will be created at New Covent Garden Market.

An entire town centre is being formed within and around a rejuvenated Battersea Power Station.

Every new development will add to the area’s life and vitality with new cafes, bars, restaurants, cinemas, pubs, shops, boutiques, an auditorium, galleries, event venues and cultural attractions.

A new stretch of the Thames riverside walk will run the full length of the regeneration area, extending the cultural offer of the world famous South Bank through Vauxhall and all the way to Battersea Park.

An ambitious cycle strategy seeks to create a network of up to 23 interconnected routes including separate bike lanes on main roads like Nine Elms Lane and Battersea Park Road.

A new pedestrian and cycle bridge is proposed to cross the Thames from near the site of the new US Embassy and to link with the established communities of Pimlico on the north bank of the river.

Major developments now on site include Riverlight, Embassy Gardens, Battersea Power Station and the new US Embassy.

Up The Junction (Vauxhall’s, that is)

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Junction plans unveiled to make cycling safer

An artist's impression of the cycle lane that would stretch across Vauxhall bridge
TfL have announced plans to improve a notorious junction in Vauxhall, south London

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The first proposed changes to a south London road junction have been unveiled by Transport for London (TfL) in an attempt to make it safer for cyclists.

TfL plans a largely segregated cycle track to run from Oval across Vauxhall bridge to Pimlico on the north bank of the Thames.

The plans are the first stage in a larger overhaul planned for the Vauxhall gyratory system.

Westminster Council has presented three options for a revised route.


The consultation about the dreadful Vauxhall gyratory and cycle superhighway 5 could be just the start of long-awaited changes on London’s streets.

As this is the first junction to be redone under the mayor’s cycling revolution it will come under intense scrutiny, both from cycling campaigners and motorists who fear it will make congestion worse.

And remember, this should be just the first; other junctions will use similar segregated designs.

Campaigners remain frustrated it’s all taking so long, and policy makers in cities across the world who are also trying to increase cycling, will be watching developments here closely.

The junction at Vauxhall was branded“genuinely dangerous” and “the one I hate the most” by the London mayor’s cycling commissioner in June after a fatal cycling accident there.

Andrew Gilligan, the London mayor’s cycling commissioner, told BBC London 94.9 that the junction at Vauxhall is “unavoidable for thousands and thousands of cyclists”.

About 3,000 use Vauxhall Bridge in the rush hour, comprising nearly a quarter of traffic during that period.

Under the plans, a continuous two-way cycle track will be built from Kennington Oval to Pimlico, through the gyratory system and across Vauxhall Bridge.

A public consultation which is now under way, will last until 14 September.


We’re Rich. Apparently

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Odd, I don’t suddenly feel rich.

Lifted from Monday’s City AM free news sheet.


London property prices: Lambeth’s houses see fastest growth per square metre 

Lambeth sign

by Tim Wallace

June 30, 2014, 5:32am

In Lambeth, properties cost £5,108 per square metre 

Property in Kensington and Chelsea now costs more than £10,000 per square metre, the Halifax said today, making it the most expensive borough in the UK. Prices in the district have shot up 56 per cent in the last five years – just behind Lambeth, where the cost has risen by 61 per cent. The average property in the south London borough now costs £432,100, equivalent to £5,108 per square metre.

In third place is Lewisham where properties cost an average of £314,859, or £3,747 per square metre – up 53 per cent compared with 2009.

Measured by cost per square metre the most expensive 20 boroughs are all in London.

Across the capital as a whole, a square metre of property costs £3,952, up 32 per cent over five years.

Next most expensive is the south east at £2,434, up 13 per cent on the same period.

Hobson’s Choice

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Gyratory options 1&2.jpg-large

Tfl would appear to be offering four options in respect of the Vauxhall Cross road/gyratory redevelopment. None of them retains the Bus Station. So much for ‘consult with the people’. That never works. Unless the people agree with the original proposals. In which case, democracy seems to work.

Gyratory options 3&4.jpg-large


Academy Summer BBQ – It’s A Date

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Just a reminder. It’s happening. Again. This time 3rd August, 12:00 – 15:00 (or sometime later that day when the drink runs out). In the courtyard between the new and old buildings.

Check out the flier and let us know if you will be attending and whether you will be bringing a starter or dessert ( or

Summer BBQ Flyer 2014





Free Film Fun For Folks Feeling, err, Film Fanciful (phew!)

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Vauxhall Village Presents Summer Screen 2014

A bit late, again, with this (note to self, ‘get a grip’) but the first two viewings have been well attended. And it’s free, so what’s not to like? Arrive at 7:00 pm to secure your spot; films begin when the sun goes down (around 9:00 pm dependent on cloud coverage) SE11 5HY




Grab a blanket and head to the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens for some free film fun!
This summer Vauxhall Village are bringing 6 free pop-up cinema screenings to the historic Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.

Following on from our successful summer, winter and Valentines screenings – Vauxhall Village presents is back with a free outdoor cinema experience like no other. With films ranging from pop-culture classic Mean Girls to laugh out loud comedy Alan Partridge; Alpha Papa, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Vauxhall Pleasure Garden’s is right in the heart of Vauxhall, secluded enough to enjoy the film in peace but with great transport links to stumble home afterwards. Bring a blanket from home or hire one for just £2.50, and snuggle up with your loved ones under the stars on a summer night. You can also rent a Vauxhall Village deck chair for £5 to watch the film in true luxury; with every deck chair we’ll give you a free bag of Propercorn, because nothing goes better with a film than tasty popcorn.

Along with Propercorn, refreshments will be available to buy from our on-site Kopparberg bar and if you fancy something to eat, there will also be a smorgasbord of London top street food vendors.

Bring your friends, bring your boyfriend, bring your nan, or just bring yourself and enjoy a free film in peace on a warm Tuesday evening (we hope, we can’t make promises on the weather – this is England)!

Tuesday 3rd June – Best in show (12) ‘satirical cult classic about a dog show in America’

Tuesday 10th June – Mean Girls (12a) ‘The fetchest high school comedy’

Tuesday 17th June – Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (15) ‘Arguably Norwich’s best export gets his own film’

Tuesday 8th July – Slumdog Millionaire (15) ‘Vauxhall Village have teamed up with the Big Dance week to enjoy Bollywood dancing workshops before the film’

Tuesday 15th July -This Is Spinal Tap (15) ‘Classic mockumentary about legendary British rock band Spinal Tap’

Tuesday 22nd July- The Big Lebowski (18) ‘Cohen brothers cult classic and everyone’s favourite bowling movie’



A PR Punt For The People? Nine Elms Partnership Open Days, 26th and 27th June.

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I’m a bit late with this info, mainly because the cynic in me knows that the Nine Elms Partnership’s Open Days are just a big PR exercise so that the perpetrators can say that they consulted with the public. Twitter quotes from the recent Embassy Gardens presentations and attributed to @LFArchitecture such as “we looked at other city’s with memorable skylines to work out how to make the Vauxhall cluster work” (and then ignored it, obviously) and “London is an exemplar for co-ordinated site line planning and transport planning, no other city does it” made me unsure as whether to laugh or cry, but both were matched and I think bettered by @LFArchitecture’s “Getting all the developers to work together (hmm, I must have missed that when I went for a coffee) to deliver the linear park (no, I don’t know what one of those is either) is one of the defining features for the area”. That, and a complete disregard for anyone already living in the area. It’s already impossible to see the sun when driving or walking along Nine Elms Lane as a result of the aesthetically appalling high rise developments, including the American Embassy, designed no doubt to withstand a nuclear attack. But, hey ho, more to come and big dividends for all involved. As Private Eye would say, “trebles all round”.

Like I say, cynical old me. Just disregard my comments. Some of you might actually love this stuff. I just think that, much as we do now when reflecting on the barbaric architectural failures of the 1960’s, we’ll look back in years to come and weep at the lost opportunity for genuine regeneration that would have actually benefited London and Londoners, rather than the rich, the filthy rich and the absolutely rolling in it. None of whom will ever reside here for more than three weeks a year.

Anyway, here’s the link. Make up your own minds. It’s the top one. The bottom one is actually a cartoon, although it’s hard to tell the difference sometimes:


Throw Out The Old, Bring In The New

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Carpets that is. New carpets throughout for the corridors of the Old School block (35-55). Old carpet to be removed Tuesday 3rd June, new carpets to be fitted 4th-6th June. Joy!

New carpets scheduled for the New Block (1-34),  hopefully in July.

Let There Be Light

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Just been advised by the ever vigilant and on the case Danny Walsh that following representations to Lambeth Council and a subsequent site visit earlier this week, there will be an additional street light installed along the dark patch between Vine Lodge and the street plot.

Thank you Danny, and Lambeth Council for listening.

Bonnington Square Appears To Have A (Nice) Twin

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Just lifted this from IanVisits:

A hidden riot of greenery next to the Oval cricket ground

In 1984 residents living near to the Oval cricket ground started growing vegetables on a plot of derelict land. Today, 30 years later, while the vegetables have long since vanished, the plot of land is a riot of planting that delights the eyes if you ever wander in.


Access to the plot is as novel as the land itself, for you might, should care to, approach through Bonnington Square, and in the corner spy a small door that has been left open. A corridor through the house of dark blue decoration and into a wondrous lush feast of green awaits.


It’s an irregular plot of land that exists due to the actions of the GLA in the 1970s. They bought up the land for the Inner London Education Authority, which wanted to demolish a plot of houses to create playing fields.

The plan was never carried out, but following dereliction, decay and squatting a block of Georgian era houses was demolished.

Then in 1984, people started growing veggies there, and then a local association formed to turn it into a proper garden. The garden was designed and laid out between 1986 and 1988, and what was once an open plot with aspirations has now grown into a maze of nooks and alcoves to get lost in.

Thin winding paths that are sometimes almost too overgrown to pass along, and yet all the more fun to squeeze through are dotted with splashes of colour in mosaic form, which were added in 2009.


At one end a couple of ladies were chatting on the swing. At the other a chap engrossed in his laptop computer not even look as a photographer wandered around. Some musicians passed through, using the garden as a pleasant shortcut to the main road that runs along side.

For the past decade there has been an entrance on Harleyford Road itself [map link], but for the first 20 years of its existence it was a public space that was only open to those who knew it existed. The Harleyford Road entrance has made it more noticeable now, and it is apparently a lot more popular as a relaxing place to spend lunches.

It has an almost nature reserve feel to it, but without the obsessive attention to being a nature reserve so that it can be a pleasant place for humans to inhabit as well as the critters.


With all the winding paths, and very cleverly laid out groves and seating it is surprisingly easy to get a bit lost in such a small plot of land, and that is for me the charm of the whole place.

IMG_5339 IMG_5348




Development In Vauxhall – Private Eye’s View

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Interesting piece in Private Eye from Piloti in Nooks and Corners a few weeks ago (sorry, just got around to posting it, where does the time go?)


The Climbing Centre – A New Arrival We Actually Like

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The Climbing Centre, Arches 46-47A, South Lambeth Road,  next to the Hoist, is finally open. Should be interesting if visitors to the Hoist arrive after having had one too many to drink. Still, at least they’ll be dressed for it.



Yet Another One

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And yet another one. This time Goding Street, SE11 5AW, The Ashtar Lounge. They want a license to remain open until 7:30 am. Which is when most of us go to work. It’s like a land grab at the Klondike. If the area didn’t resemble Sodom and Gomorrah before then it soon will if the current crop of late night drinking applications is approved.

As ever, objections to :, remembering to put your name and address otherwise your objection won’t be valid. Closing date for this one is Wednesday 7th May. If you miss it, there’ll be another one along soon.

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