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Plans for Jubilee Gardens

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Wednesday 9 November 2005 11.54am
Having just read the news article on this on the site, my two immediate thoughts were:

1) Was changing the brief to remove the cafe and lavatories done in agreement with all the stakeholders involved?

2) What happened to the idea of the SBC or NFT creating a revamped centre underneath the park itself?

I'm sure others will want to discuss different aspects of the proposals, but that's just what popped into my head!

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 9 November 2005 11.56am by Andrew.
Wednesday 9 November 2005 12.18pm
What I probably should have included in the piece was that Ted Inman explained that the JG Steering Group had unanimously agreed to remove the cafe and toilets.

The cafe - on the grounds that there are plenty of cafes in the area and it wasn't worth taking up valuable green space with such a facility

The toilets - on the grounds that there isn't enough provision at present, so it wasn't desirable to make JG the main public convenience on the South Bank and saddle the new JG Trust with the burden of management.

SBEG and Lambeth are apparently carrying out a study (funded by London Eye S106) into the optimum location for new public loos in the area.

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Wednesday 9 November 2005 5.46pm
James, were you there? There is a certain amount of envy surrounding those who have met you, from those who have not.

As further background, I attended one of the early community consultations on the Jubilee Gardens design brief, where cafe and loos came up. I was on the side of not having toilets and conveyed the various issues that had come up in Lambeth Parks Forum and in Archbishops Park. Cafe and toilets are top of every park consultation. The interesting thing about the earlier Jubillee Gardens consultation was how much the user priorities, whether from tourists, residents or office workers, matched those found in consultations on local parks.

There are a host of problems with managing public toilets. On the South Bank these are magnified many times. I did not get the feeling that people, though each had their own view, were in anyway opposed to the decision ultimately taken by the steering group. Basically the view seemed to be, the more green the better.

And what else is McDonalds for?

I don't know much about park design and will be content with something that is basically nice, green and has some play. (JG is about the right distance from our house to act as a destination for a Sunday afternoon walk.) These designs were way better than anything we have seen before., but then there were some pretty odd sloping roofs etc. And the site, currently, is pretty awful. I don't know if it is the absolute best we could get, but for me it is good enough, and I hope finally, and after a very long time, some version of these designs are implemented.

I should say that Ted Inman was very impressive. If he does get this through to conclusion he should be nominated for a special freedom of SE1 website, along with the Friends of the former Queens Walk, who have hung in there tenaciously for about 25 years.
Wednesday 9 November 2005 5.58pm
Yes, I was there - I was standing at the back of the room for most of the time.

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Wednesday 9 November 2005 8.00pm
I didn't see you. A pity.

More generally you might consider a sign saying "I am James Hatts"..... or a red handbag.

Only nice things would be said to you!
Friday 21 April 2006 5.45pm
I've just read the papers going to Lambeth's planning committee next Thursday 27th (the same meeting as Founders Place).

Main Committee Report

separate report on Conservation area issues

(i) Why is this being pushed through a few days before the local elections???

(ii) Where are the thousands of people who want to walk between Waterloo Station and the Upstream Golden Jubilee Bridge meant to go?

(iii) How many people have actually been consulted on the (IMHO hideous) design proposal for a "white cliffs of Dover" boundary of sculpted concrete - it sounds like the disastrous "magazine architecture" adopted for so many Barcelona open spaces.

I am apparently not alone in thinking that these landscaping proposals sound completely bonkers:

Lambeth officers' report wrote:
6.4.4. The Conservation and Design Officer has raised concerns regarding raising the ground level of the gardens and building retaining walls. The Council's Landscape Architect has also raised concerns regarding the boundary treatment. Their comments are included below.

6.4.5. Policy 80 seeks the improvement of Jubilee Gardens with exemplary landscape design proposals, with visual and pedestrian links between Waterloo Station and the London Eye. The applicant argues that the proposed site forms only a part of the area (around 50%) to which Policy 80 applies and therefore cannot be expected to achieve all of the aspirations laid out in it.

6.4.6. The key concerns in relation to Policy 80 of the RDUDP are the relationship of the gardens with the surrounding townscape and
degree to which the gardens can accommodate people passing through. The design proposes to ‘welcome and engage' those who wish to visit the gardens and deter those who currently use it as a short cut. Therefore, the submitted design seeks to discourage pedestrian "commuters" and creates a strong physical separation between the gardens and the surrounding streets and public spaces.
It should however be noted that Policy 80 and its supporting text are not prescriptive. The scheme essentially creates a secluded and distinctive place (almost comparable to a walled garden) rather than one that opens up the routes and views from the hinterland to the river and so on. This cannot be said to be wrong, but it is important that this approach is clearly understood. It means that any criticism of the impact of the height of the boundary walls on the surrounding streetscape is at odds with the basic concept of the design.

6.4.7. It is considered the boundary treatment will create a very unsatisfactory relationship with the wider townscape, when it should be trying to integrate - physically and visually - the very different urban environments on each of the four sides of the park. Whilst the white cliff edge treatment could work along elevation C (London Eye), where there is space to visually absorb a hard barrier 2.7m in height. The boundary treatment is certainly less successful along elevation A (Hungerford Car Park), creating an uncomfortable walkway for commuters coming from Waterloo. The applicant argues that the proposed gardens have been designed to take into account the potential extension of the gardens across Hungerford Car Park in the future, and that the path to the north could be removed or incorporated in this eventuality. The elevation of the cliff along Belvedere Road is considered less forbidding but still creates a wall in places up to 3.0m in height, hard up against a pavement which is just a little wider - again, not comfortable. The Queens Walk elevation is more open, but still rises to heights of up to 3.1m.

6.4.8. In a number of places, especially the east-west route, adjoining the car park, and from Belvedere Road, the existing views will be lost due to the blank wall, over 2m high. It is recognised that the London Eye will still remain visible from many areas, given its significant height. However, views would be lost in some places, such as along Belvedere Road and to the north of the site. It is considered that it should be possible to see into, and across the gardens from all directions and that the boundary treatment and the extent to which the ground is to be raised
requires rethinking. The significant number of trees proposed would result in the loss of views across the park and could also have security implications.

6.4.9. The applicants contend that particular attention has been paid to views of the London Eye from within the gardens, and also that the proposal aims to hide the ‘less attractive' mechanism and boarding platform at the base of the London Eye. The applicant also contends that views and direct routes to the London Eye along the ‘Eye strip' to the south of the site will be maintained, however, it should be noted that this strip is already quite a crowded area.

6.4.10. In this context it might simply be noted that concerns have been raised that the pattern of paths may lead to the establishment of informal desire line paths, excessive wear in certain of the grassed areas, and that the design of the Gardens will have a significant impact on the character of the public realm outside the Gardens. The applicants argue that the scheme features top quality soil, and has appointed an agronomist to work on the proposal. Details of the soil have been submitted with the application.

6.4.11. Given the above, it is not considered that the proposal will enhance the South Bank Conservation Area, the setting of the River Thames and County Hall or the Waterloo area. It is considered that the proposal would unsatisfactorily relate to neighbouring thoroughfares and uses, and the context of the gardens in general. The raising of the walls would create some unappealing areas, particularly along Belvedere Road and the proposed walkway to the north of the site. Whilst the concept of the white cliffs boundary treatment is recognised, these would serve to close the gardens off from the area, to the detriment of the surrounding area and to local views and therefore fails to accord with the above policies.

Nevertheless, it is not considered that there are sufficient conservation or design grounds on which to refuse planning permission. Although there are a number of concerns outlined above, officers have taken an on Balance view of the proposal as a whole, which is outlined in the conclusion below.

Monday 24 April 2006 9.35am
The designers explanation for their concepts can be found on the Jubilee Gardens website at

(24 pages 5.5Mb - slow download for those on dial-up)

Does anyone seriously think people will keep to those undulating paths???

I reckon this has the potential to be almost as big a disaster as the Diana Memorial Fountain.
Monday 24 April 2006 10.34am

1. I understand that Friends of Jubilee Gardens also have some concerns. (About the northern boundary?)

2. The planning meeting this Thursday seems to be a moveable feast. It was going to be in Brixton, then in Waterloo, and now in Brixton again. I for one did not know of the latest move until someone emailed me askking for ssupport to have it moved back to Waterloo. I have spoken to Lambeth's Committee section who tell me that only North Lambeth items are on the agenda. They confirm lots of complaints about the sense that such major applications (Founders Place comes up as well) which will have a profound affect on the area are being rushed through.

Lets hope the Committee themselves know where they are goiing. It would be very funny if half of them went to the wrong place.

Monday 24 April 2006 11.39am
I sincerely hope that this will not be a 'keep off the grass' zone ?

The plans remind me NOT of Barcelona - like trophy architecture really - more gentle and peaceful grassed orchards reminiscent of Cambridge colleges - which would be lovely and tranquil - BUT not if you can't spread out on the grass.
Monday 24 April 2006 12.04pm
But Cambridge colleges have Porters restricting access to college members only!
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