Opinions split over plans to demolish Vauxhall Bus Station
Plans to demolish Vauxhall Bus Station continue to divide local residents and politicians as Transport for London (TfL) and Lambeth Council seek to move ahead with the £50million project.
The proposed scheme would see the bus station, which opened in 2005, knocked down to allow Zaha Hadid Architects to build two tower blocks, which will include 250 flats, a 500 room hotel and shops.
A new bus station would then be constructed at the foot of the two buildings and a two-way system will be introduced to replace the Vauxhall gyratory in an effort to create safer roads and more efficient bus routes.
Pauline Gaunt of campaign group Our Vauxhall, however, believes the development will lead to travel chaos for up to 70,000 commuters, increase pollution levels and put the public’s safety at risk.
“The plan will not improve the efficiency of the transport interchange, make pedestrian and cycle journeys safe, improve public realm or combat pollution,” said Pauline. “The proposals are a waste of public money which do not go far enough to improve Vauxhall.” TfL disputes these claims.
“We are working closely with Lambeth Council to re-introduce the safer two-way road system – which was supported in public consultation,” said a spokesperson for TfL. “The current bus station was created for the one-way road system so needs to be completely redesigned to allow buses to operate.
Cllr Matthew Bennett, Lambeth Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration & Jobs said: “Removing the gyratory is a long-standing ambition of both local residents and ward councillors.”
One local resident who backs the plans, Susanne Douring, said, “I am delighted to see Vauxhall gyratory reconfigured and not in the least bit bothered about losing the existing bus station, which is an absolute nightmare at rush hour, besides being bleak and devoid of shops.”
However, in January, Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey branded the plans as ‘ridiculous’ in the House of Commons and believes the redevelopment is unnecessary.
“Less than 12 years ago, the bus station was completed at a cost of £4.5 million and was opened by Ken Livingstone. It was immediately hailed by architects and public transport users as inspired,” she said.
TfL hopes to begin construction of the new scheme in 2020. Opponents are calling for the Secretary of State for Communities and local Government Sajid Javid to prevent the redevelopment from going ahead.