This is a statement about the development from the ward councillors:
Planning App Ref 21/04955/FUL – Alford House
I am writing on behalf of the three ward Councillors for Prince’s ward. We wish to submit a letter of support for the above planning application for the redevelopment of the car park at Alford House.
Alford House is a vital community asset which has been on site since the 1950s. It provides essential youth services and engagement work with young people on the Vauxhall Gardens Estate, but also more widely across Lambeth. Vauxhall Gardens Estate has some of the highest levels of deprivation in the borough, and indeed London. The centre offers a huge range of activities for young people, designed by them and for them. These activities keep young people safe, active, engaged, and equip them with the skills to achieve their fullest potential, often amidst some very challenging personal circumstances and home lives.
The continuation of these youth services is under serious threat as like for all charities and voluntary organisations, grants and funding have dwindled during Central Government’s austerity programme. Some revenue is made by hiring out the centre for rehearsal space, but this is not sufficient to secure Alford House’s long-term sustainable future.
Since 2018, Alford House and its governors have actively engaged with Lambeth’s planning officers to develop proposals which would be acceptable in both planning terms, whilst also ensuring the development delivers the enabling element to secure the future of the centre. This has been quite a challenge, recognising the local heritage constraints of Alford House itself, the need to protect neighbouring amenities, and ensuring a development which is financially viable enough to ensure the financial future of the club.
It is my belief that the revised planning application for consideration addresses the planning concerns previously raised by officers, noting in particular the reduction in the overall massing of the new dwellings and their set back at first-floor level from properties on Courtney Street. I am also supportive of the loss of car parking, given that this is a site within Zone 1 central London where discouragement of car dependency is not only a planning aim but a key aspirational strategy of the Council as a whole in light of the Climate Emergency. I hope that the local knowledge that the applicant puts forward, namely that this is a local youth club whose volunteers also live locally, serving local young people whom both statistically and in reality are unlikely to be car owners, will be considered as part of the overall planning balance when assessing the transport impacts of the scheme. I request also that the planning officer ensures that the development provides sufficient cycle parking and that EVCPs are utilised.
Overall, we consider this to be a positive scheme which would deliver three significant key public benefits: 1) securing the long-term sustainable future of a vital youth and community service in one of the most deprived estates in Lambeth, 2) ensuring the continued viable use of a local heritage asset, Alford House, as well as funding essential internal and cosmetic works to protect and enhance its
architectural and historic significance, 3) delivering net housing which will contribute towards Lambeth’s housing targets, as conferred upon it by the London Plan.
For the above reasons we hope that planning officers will assess the application favourably and would like to thank the case officer for taking our letter of support into account.
Councillor Joanne Simpson
Councillor David Amos
Councillor Jon Davies
Labour Councillors for Prince’s Ward