Vauxhall Bus Station threatened with demolition to make way for a ‘riverside town’

Vauxhall Bus Station threatened with demolition to make way for a 'riverside town'

The Vauxhall Society is up in arms over TfL and Lambeth Council plans to spend £25 million demolishing the shiny edifice that is Vauxhall Bus Station, just ten years after it opened.

Vauxhall Bus Station threatened with demolition to make way for a 'riverside town'

According to the proposals, the various bus stops currently using the station will be dispersed around the area as part of a plan to make the Vauxhall Gyratory a two-way system while creating a new ‘High Street.’

Today (3rd Feb 2014) is the last day for people to respond to Lambeth’s Local Plan and make their comments – for more info on how to submit your representations, take a look at the Vauxhall Society website.

Vauxhall Bus Station threatened with demolition to make way for a 'riverside town'

There’s been plans knocking around for this area almost since the ‘ski jump’ bus station was built – back in February 2011, the Architects’ Journal was reporting that the station may be flattened to make way for a £20m ‘linear walkway’ in the area:

Just six years after the £4 million stainless steel shelter opened, local developer CLS has launched an international competition for designs to replace the landmark structure.

Five practices – including local studio Marks Barfield and Irish company Heneghan Peng – have been shortlisted for the contest, with each set to reveal their designs early next month.

Costing up to £20 million, the raised walkway is part of package of community benefits linked to the developer’s proposal to build two 40-storey plus skyscrapers nearby.

Masterplanned by Allies & Morrison, the skywalk-style scheme will link CLS’ towers with Vauxhall’s rail, underground and bus station infrastructure, creating a pedestrian-friendly zone above the area’s high volume road system.

The proposed walkway would have at least nine street-level access points and may also host a cycle route. CLS’s towers feature 400 flats and 18,600m² of office space with a 300 bed hotel and a six

Vauxhall Bus Station threatened with demolition to make way for a 'riverside town'

Those plans were swiftly abandoned, only to be replaced by a new plan to turn the area into a ‘lively riverside’ town centre,’ as the same journal reported: 

The pedestrian friendly vision is at the centre of a Terry Farrell-designed supplementary planning document for the district adopted by Lambeth earlier this year.

Lambeth’s proposal would see Vauxhall’s bus stops relocated to a new ‘high street’ sheltered from the gyratory and the distinctive stainless steel canopy demolished to make way for an urban square.

The ambitious scheme sees the distinctive ‘ski jump’ stainless steel shelter facing an untimely end for the second time in two years.

Vauxhall Bus Station threatened with demolition to make way for a 'riverside town'

Despite opposition from the Vauxhall Society, Lambeth council leader Lib Peck seems to insist that it’s what local people want:

Lambeth’s ambitious plans to recreate Vauxhall as a lively riverside town centre that puts people before traffic have been shaped through wide consultation with local residents.

We welcome discussion about the bus station structure along with ideas about how to transform the area and radically improve it for pedestrians, cyclists and people who use public transport.

This is a once in a generation opportunity to transform an area that’s been dominated by the gyratory system and traffic and sadly overlooked. The development of Vauxhall which includes retaining excellent bus services and other transport connections will bring thousands of jobs and homes for local people and a more pleasant environment in which to live, work and play.

So what do you think about the proposals?

More: photo feature on urban75

6 Comments on “Vauxhall Bus Station threatened with demolition to make way for a ‘riverside town’”

  1. I reckon this is what the US Embassy want. The existing bus station and sculptural feature look like cast-offs from the St Louis Gateway Arch.
    No sooner do you get used to one architectural monstrosity than another one comes along – at vast public expense!

  2. It’s an area that needs a root and branch rethink. Unfortunately I suspect that in the current political climate nothing good is going to come of it, but when I lived round there I used to avoid that whole messy bit by the bridge as much as I possibly could. So there are improvements could be made.

  3. Depends what they mean by “the various bus stops currently using the station will be dispersed around the area”

    At the moment, the bus station provides a central hub where people can easily change from one bus route to another, wait in a central location where the presence of staff and the sheer volume of passengers provides an element of safety in numbers, where there are staff on hand (at least some of the time) to provide information, and where there’s a reasonably easy interchange with the railway and underground stations (at least coming from the station, you can just head for the bus station, then work out what stop you want, rather than some locations where you’ve little idea which way to go from the station if you don’t already know which bus you want and what stop it goes from.)

    It is possible that the planners have something like this in mind already.

    However, what happens all too often when developers start eyeing up a conveniently located bus station is that “dispersal” tends to mean “we don’t want unsightly buses and lower class bus passengers cluttering up our shiny new retail development – they can go at odd locations round the edges somewhere” with minimal thought to the practicalities, how you fit buses into space, or the needs of passengers.

    1. Exactly, I Never caught a bus in Vauxhall before the Bus Station opened. It is very easy to do so now. Dispersing means going back to the old system, takes 10 mins to get to the bus stop after crossing roads. Interchange with Tube/rail difficult.

      paintdry – I don’t think you tried catching a bus there before it was built?

      Part of the cycle Policy? The carrot to the cyclists who will be short changed in the long run and the bus passengers get stuffed

  4. I kind of like the bus station structure, but it’s not all great for bus passengers. Some routes seem to do a massive detour to get around the gyratory and into the bus station, roadside stops might improve journey times. And the bus station with all its access ways does seem to chew up an inordinate amount of space for a central London location.

    I’d suggest keeping the distinctive “ski jump” end structure with the Vauxhall Bridge-bound bus stop alongside but shortening the rest of the bus station, which is longer than it needs to be anyway.

  5. Vauxhall is a no-go area at the moment; in my opinion, the two main reasons are that it is not pedestrian/cycling friendly and the lack of a proper civic town centre.

    The traffic is Vauxhall Cross is absolutely awful, dominated by one of the worse and more dangerous gyratory systems in the capital; and to be honest, I don’t see how it can be improved without removing the bus station; which will also offer the opportunity to create a nice urban town centre.

    As a resident, I do use it and find the bus station very handy; however, I’m willing to sacrifice it for a pedestrian-friendly centre; and let’s be honest, the station is not the most attractive one I have seen; even the one in Crydon is nicer… enough said! get rid of it!!!

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