Nine Elms in London is One of the Largest Regeneration Projects in Europe
By |Published On: 15th May 2015|

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Nine Elms in London is One of the Largest Regeneration Projects in Europe

By |Published On: 15th May 2015|

This article is an external press release originally published on the Landlord News website, which has now been migrated to the Just Landlords blog.

Nine Elms and Vauxhall in central London are being transformed into a new cultural quarter. Plans for one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe were revealed this week.

Developers are hoping to tackle beliefs that the riverside area lacks personality and community. 18,000 homes are to be built here within the next ten years.

Some worry that the area will become an investor’s paradise and house transient tenants. However, city planners have developed the project to be a new neighbourhood and urban designers are making plans for how the district could grow.

Cultural placemaking

This process is called cultural placemaking and includes the arts as an intrinsic part of the area. It is hoped that residents will be involved and feel part of the community.

Top quality architects are designing the area with luxury buildings, linking it to the recently developed Battersea Power Station. Public spaces will feature arts and community, with theatre, events, markets and exhibitions.

The Battersea developer has appointed a director of design and placemaking, David Twohig, to create a plan for cultural events. He says: “The spaces in between the buildings are as important as the buildings themselves.”1 

Circus West is the first residential section of the power station and includes a modern village hall. The original boiler house and control room will be cultural spots.

The Royal College of Art’s Battersea campus is a recent addition and will have an artistic influence on Lambeth and Wandsworth. The college is partnered with developer St James at StudioRCA, located at the Riverlight apartment complex at Nine Elms. Homes here start at £800,000.

Damien Hirst is also opening a space in this area, the Newport Street Gallery, which will include the artist’s personal collection of 2,000 pieces, including work by Banksy.

The gallery will open this summer and is a renovation of listed warehouses where Hirst works. It will occupy a whole street, which was once a rundown area. Now, these parts are changing quickly and attracting hipsters to cheaper loft apartments.

Nine Elms in London is One of the Largest Regeneration Projects in Europe

Nine Elms in London is One of the Largest Regeneration Projects in Europe

However, a nearby fine art storage warehouse owned by auction house Christie’s is being refurbished into The Residence, which will include 510 homes. 76 of these are available on a shared-ownership basis and are considered affordable.

Charles Asprey’s Cabinet Gallery is also due to open this year.

The new Barbican

Some believe Nine Elms will become the new Barbican, however, it would be more navigable with a linear park linking the individual elements; 29 sites over 482 acres. A comprehensive culture trail will mark out the district. A route will also connect Lambeth to Vauxhall Cross.

Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens is a restoration project of a Victorian venue, and will host outdoor cinema screenings in summer and open a temporary ice rink in wintertime. A new pedestrian bridge will connect residents to areas across the River Thames.

Within Lambeth, Fentiman Road has four-storey Victorian properties popular with professionals from the City. Lilian Baylis Old School is a listed 1960s teaching block, which has been turned into good-sized apartments.

Lambeth Walk’s Victorian streets were spoiled in the 1970s by redevelopment. Now, areas are being revived and small businesses are moving into shop fronts. Accommodation above the shops will soon be available.

Manmade creativity

It is wondered, however, if such a creative atmosphere can be manmade. The developers are building relationships with the arts, but can more than profit be created?

Lifelong local resident Bridget Wright, 58, says: “I suppose patrons are okay, but we don’t want to be patronised. A lot of snooty typed from across the river in Chelsea are turning up and we are already seeing prices moving beyond what many locals can afford.”1

Developers are required to make financial contributions and improvements to the local area when given planning permission. Within Nine Elms, two new schools will be built alongside health care centres. The Northern line extension was also part of the selling factor of this area.

Futurecity is a placemaking agency focusing on culture. Mark Davy, founder of the firm, is in the middle of the debate. The company has 30 developer clients and 100 projects in progress in London and the South East.

He says: “In the past, creative neighbourhoods were in so-called downtown areas with cheap industrial space and bad transport links, but the success of new developments built around the arts, such as King’s Cross, has persuaded the private sector to invest in culture.

“Often, it’s about making creative use of an existing budget. London is moving from a capital city traditionally defined by the financial sector, to one defined by the creative and knowledge sectors.”1

Davy believes culture brings all the elements that make a modern city.


About the Author: Em Morley (she/they)

Em is the Content Marketing Manager for Just Landlords, with over five years of experience writing for insurance and property websites. Together with the knowledge and expertise of the Just Landlords underwriting team, Em aims to provide those in the property industry with helpful resources. When she’s not at her computer researching and writing property and insurance guides, you’ll find her exploring the British countryside, searching for geocaches.

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