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Lambeth Council moving to Vauxhall?

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Tuesday 11 January 2005 11.02pm
In a small piece on commercial property in yesterday's Evening Standard it was said that Lambeth Council had bought Sentinel House, the office building that is part of the mammoth St George development at Vauxhall. It sort of implied that Lambeth would be relocating there. Apparently they got the building cheap.

Does anyone know more? It would seem strange for Lambeth to abandon Brixton, especially as they are the major employer there and must contribute hugely to the local economy. Perhaps they simply want to get closer to Westminster.......

If I were cynical, and obviously I am not, I would wonder whether this property transaction would in any way influence the planning authority's position on the giant residential tower that St George are proposing.

Over to LR for full details and analysis.................
Tuesday 11 January 2005 11.07pm
A quick Google came up with this bit of background:

"Lambeth Council's plans to spend millions on a new office block for bureaucrats in the north of the borough has been officially opposed by Labour councillors."

not an unbiased view obviously, but at least a clue as to what is happening

Tuesday 11 January 2005 11.18pm
This was announced back in November. They are planning to base c.400 staff at Sentinel Point, though it is not clear from which departments.

From the St George press release:
St George PLC is delighted to announce two major commercial deals at St George Wharf, Vauxhall, with the London Borough of Lambeth and Tesco. This confirms the position of St George Wharf as one of London's leading and most successful mixed-use developments.

St George has signed an agreement with the London Borough of Lambeth to purchase a 999-year leasehold interest of Sentinel Point, a prestigious office building designed by architects Broadway Malyan. They are expected to take occupation of the 63,000 sq ft building in 2005.

Stephen Embrey, Managing Director of St George South London, said “Sentinel Point will provide the London Borough of Lambeth with a high quality modern office in a sustainable development with excellent links to public transport in the form of bus, rail and tube. We are also pleased to confirm the letting of a 5,000 sq ft retail space to Tesco who expect to open an express store late 2005. These deals continue the commercial success at St George Wharf that will make this a vibrant and enjoyable riverside destination for residents and the public alike”.

Full text

Some related links:

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Tuesday 11 January 2005 11.26pm
Nice one.

When I worked for a local authority (not Lambeth) I was told by the pest control people, who came in regularly to deal with the cockroaches, that we were not the worst off. Social service offices, especially those accessed by 'vulnerable' people, were regularly infected by fleas and lice. Which are apparently the devil to get rid of as they get into carpets and air-conditioning. This is apparently why social services are usually housed away from the main Town Hall in a stand alone building. I assume the residential and office buildings do not share common air conditioning and other services....

The St George development has big posters up selling a glossy lifestyle. Presumably potential residents would want to be some way away from Lambeth's poorest. And, dare I say it, some may even consider Lambeth officers as a bit down-market.

Wednesday 12 January 2005 10.47am
Think that the Sentinel Point building will eventually house about 600 staff. About 430 will be vacating Mary Seacole House, the dilapidated HQ of the Social Services Dept in Clapham, which will be sold off.

IIRC discussions are still ongoing on whether the ground floor of Sentinel Point will be the Lambeth Council/NHS "Joint Service Centre" for North Lambeth "town centre".
Wednesday 12 January 2005 6.54pm
No surprise that the Lib Dem Tory Lambeth Council wants to abandon Brixton. They have done hardly anything for the place since they took over. Not that previous labour councils were much better but at least they knew where their votes were coming from.

Next quaetion though - what will happen to the old town hall - how about a luxury hotel??
Wednesday 12 January 2005 11.06pm
No-one has suggested that Lambeth Council will leave the Town Hall.

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Thursday 13 January 2005 8.48am
The Evening Standard article half suggested this, but I would assume it had more to do with sloppy journalism. However if they shift workers from other Brixton offices - Blue Star House, International House and so on - this will impact on the Brixton economy unless there are alternative tenants for those buildings, which is something assume the Council would want to avoid. Whilst Vauxhall/Albert Embankment, though not the estates behing, now seems powered with an economic momentum of its own and so probably does not need a boost.

I understand that Town Halls were deliberately placed in more deprived parts of boroughs to provide employment and support for local businesses. Which is why it is so depressing working for local government. No Starbucks in sight. Or Pret a Manger sushi.

That said I am pleased to see the North Lambeth riverside open up. However wish some of the new wealth would reach and benefit local facilities like parks. That said the new bus station roof makes a great climbing frame, and the shiny surface picks up all sorts of hand and foot marks. They must have to polish it every day. Maybe the Lambeth Officers relocated to Vauxhall will be asked to police this.
Thursday 13 January 2005 11.33am
I think the main issue for Lambeth residents in SE1 (and SE11) is where will "one stop shop" services be located as part of Lambeth's ambitiouse accommodation strategy?

The various "Waterloo nationalists" will no doubt be vigilant to ensure that any JSC at Sentinel Point is not at the expense of services in Waterloo

My personal view is that, given that "North Lambeth" (as defined by Lambeth, stretching down to the Oval and Camberwell New Road), is not a single coherent community, and there is a case for more than one "Joint Service Centre". I remain to be convinced that Sentinel Point alone is the right answer for all such local services.

For aficionados of wider Lambeth matters only:
Martin Altman Wrote:
> No surprise that the Lib Dem Tory Lambeth Council
> wants to abandon Brixton.

AFAIK, there is going to be a new council office building in Brixton as well with new retail underneath - either as part of the redevelopment of Brixton Rec/International House or on the site next to the Fridge.

I think with the closure of Mary Seacole, the bigger hit will be on Clapham's economy - where the remaining shops on the once dingy High Street struggle to pay rents driven by the growth of the coffee shop/bar culture.

Martin Altman Wrote:
> Next question though - what will happen to the
> old town hall - how about a luxury hotel??

My Town Hall sources tell me that officers were seriously looking at this option when they found out about the dilapidations bill following years of neglect. (Clock tower required best part of half a million spending to stop bits falling off the top).

However several elected members in the administration blew their tops at the reputational damage from quite such an obvious "sale of the family silver". It is now going to be converted for more public access e.g bringing the Assembly Hall back into more regular use as a venue.

As a first stage, Lambeth Register Office has moved into the Town Hall.

Sunday 16 January 2005 12.52pm
Wandsworth do well out of having a good venue (Civic Suite), their catering services and their registry office all in the one Town Hall building. The grand marble entrance is also used for photographs. They also have a webcam in the registry office so that friends and relatives overseas can view the weddings, as could bored office workers. Presumably Lambeth is thinking on the same lines.

I agree with Rabbie on the location of North Lambeth Town Centre Services. Though like him would assume that Waterloo Nationalists (well Passport to Pimlico was filmed on the China Walk Estate) will want something closer to their neck of the woods. They have already adjusted their area south from Westminster to Lambeth Bridge in about 2000 and it will be interesting to see when 'Waterloo' start to adjust their focus to cover the whole of the Lambeth Riverside as far as Vauxhall. The transport interchange there has improved things (though I am not sure why buses have to do such a labourious dance around the bus station) and the new posh hotel on Albert Embankment is due to open soon. Plus there is heaps of development potential on or behind Albert Embankment. With the Battersea Power Station Development apparently started, I assume there will be calsl to link up the river.

Most of Albert Embankment seems to have an SE1 postcode so SBEG might be able to simply claim that their Lambeth remit which would allow tourist and business interests to link up without engaging with the ressies (residents) behind.

I don't know if Rabbie has noticed, but there is a pink planning notice up in front of the hotel requesting, I think, six further storeys. Still time to get objections in. I can't be bothered though it is a further example of how developers play planning systems. Wouldn't it be nice if local facilities were to see some planning gain.

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