Hundreds of high-rise flats in south London have been approved, but locals are furious they will block their impressive views of Parliament.
Former Denby Court old people’s flats in Vauxhall will be bulldozed to make way for the five buildings – the tallest which will reach 11 storeys high.
The plans will create 141 homes, 45 of which will be available at council rents. The flat’s residents will have access to their own on-site gym. A day centre for adults will also be demolished to make way for the tower blocks.
Lambeth Council approved the estate’s redevelopment by a majority of four to one at a planning meeting on March 15. But residents living nearby claim the high-rise flats will overshadow a park and obscure their view of the Houses of Parliament across the River Thames.
Speaking at the meeting, resident Michael Ball said: “We object to the unnecessary harm to Lambethians’ heritage by the complete loss of valuable, unusual, rare views of the Westminster world heritage site.
“We strongly support the ambition for the development of 141 homes but strongly object to the design of this application because of the unnecessary harms it causes. These [towers] will create all of the misery for decades. They are an opportunity missed.”
Sara Carrea, who lives on the nearby Ethelred Estate, added: “Most of us do not have gardens. Many residents cannot afford even a day trip to the coast. For many of our children, the doorstep green is their only holiday.
“At present the doorstep green is the only public garden in the area that still receives direct sunlight in the afternoon and evening in the summer. This will be taken away from us without adequate consideration for the adverse social and mental health impacts.”
But another resident Tom Williams said the new homes were essential to help ease the borough’s housing crisis. He said: “With more than 35,000 people on the council’s housing list, soaring house prices and years of under-investment, we urgently need more housing in areas like Waterloo and Vauxhall and we need them right now.
“As a local activist I regularly speak with local residents and it’s awful hearing from families living in cramped and mouldy homes who’ve been on the housing list for over a decade. Their voices are all too often drowned out by those home-owners campaigning against new homes with no regard for those who don’t have somewhere safe and secure to live in.”
Since the old people’s flats closed, the estate in Vauxhall has been used as temporary housing for homeless families. Until recently, three people were living on the site. One person remains there but is due to move out in the next week.
The Lambeth Walk adult day centre, which will be bulldozed as part of the plans, has been rehoused in the newly-opened Coburg Crescent centre in Streatham Hill.