What’s in it for local shops and businesses?
- Increased foot fall will benefit many shops and businesses,
- A better ‘front door’ to the area fitting of a Central London shopping, gallery and business district,
- Safe environment for journeys to and from shops and businesses for shoppers, visitors and employees,
- Safer streets, including Durham Street, will encourage more local residents to visit the shops on Kennington Lane and shop locally,
- The benefits of a sustainable consolidation centre for the distribution of goods,
- Better East West connections through the arches will encourage more commuters, local residents and visitors to Vauxhall visit the shops on Kennington Lane and the soon to be renovated arches along Goding Street.
The Transport for London approach limits commercial development primarily to the bus station site. At the time of writing the Vauxhall Island site was up for sale and remains to be seen what will happen on this part of the site. Ultimately, a busy transport interchange surrounded by busy road – whether two way or one way – is essentially an island. That will always limit its potential and ability to reach out to all local residents particularly the elderly and less able put off by having to cross busy roads
The Our Vauxhall approach (2 entrances/exits) to the bus station allows South Lambeth Place to be put to alternative use. An indoor market is one possibility building on the success of Vauxhall Food Garden. Although access will still be required, once freed up from the need to service buses a range of commercial possibilities arises.
Increased foot fall arising from the new public green space – 5 times the size of an Olympic pool – will immediately benefit existing businesses under the railway arches e.g. Counter, VauxWall, Dirty Burger, Nandos. As additional arches become available, the commercial potential becomes obvious. Reduced noise levels and improved air quality will broaden the appeal of this area and attract more footfall. In the longer term Cobalt Square may become available for redevelopment opening up further commercial possibilities and a better transition to Kennington Lane
A district centre primarily targeting the travelling public with convenience retail focussed on the bus station site is likely to have an adverse impact on Kennington Lane shops. In contrast, the existing shops on Kennington Lane are a key part of Our Vauxhall’s district centre. These shops face a particular problem being primarily Victorian building stock on a busy, noisy polluted road. They benefit from the marginally ‘business friendly’ parking and bus stops which generate foot fall but the area does not appear to be thriving. The full two way Our Vauxhall approach reduces traffic flow along Durham Street and that is expected to encourage more local residents to make the trip to Kennington Lane shops. In addition the Our Vauxhall full two way approach reduces traffic along Kennington Lane which should make a slight improvement to noise/air quality.
Any changes to parking restrictions or location of bus stops have the potential to harm or help businesses. For this reason Our Vauxhall will review the mix of cycle parking, bus stop locations, business friendly parking and see what improvements can be made. Along with other traditional commercial parades shop owners will need to adapt.