Monday, 10 January 2011

Octave Tower, Bondway

Message from the Vauxhall Society:

Please email the Secretary of State for Communities, Mr Eric Pickles, asking him to rule against the building of the 42-storey Octave Tower in Bondway, Vauxhall Cross.

If, that is, you support the decision of the committee of The Vauxhall Society to oppose the Octave. Our reasons (set out in full on the website, and below) are that the structure is so high and so wide that it will throw into shadow the surrounding streets and Vauxhall Park; the Octave will also worsen the district’s existing traffic congestion, poor air quality and overloading of public transport.

Now really is the time for you, your friends and neighbours to act. See below for email addresses and suggestions for what you might include in your message.

Ross Davies

How to reach Mr Pickles

The email address of the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government is:

It would be polite, and effective, to copy in Mr Pickles’ Director-General, Housing and Planning, who is Richard McCarthy:

The same goes for the Minister’s two ‘Special Advisers’, Giles Kenningham and Sheridan Westlake:

….but it doesn’t stop there...

The Vauxhall Society is apolitical, and we urge you to email any councillor or MP that you think Mr Pickles might listen to.

Assuming that Labour is against Octave Tower because Lambeth Borough Council opposed it, one councillor politician the Minister might take notice of (and so is worth your while emailing), is John Whelan, Leader of the Conservative Group on Lambeth Borough Council:
Since Mr Pickles is a Conservative member of a Coalition government, you might also copy in Cllr Ashley Lumsden, leader of Lambeth Lib Dems:

What to say in your email
It is not the business of The Vauxhall Society to tell anybody what to say, not even our members, but the points below may inspire you.

The committee of this apolitical society decided unanimously earlier this year to oppose the Octave Tower.

The thing to get over to the Minister and his team is that bad headlines are ahead in the national media for him and the Coalition if he says ‘Yes’ to the Octave Tower.


• Because there was unprecedented all-party opposition in Lambeth to this monstrous project- one community group after another lined up to oppose the scheme
• The decision landed in Mr Pickles’ lap only because a developer and his battery of expensive lawyers chose to go over the heads of the council and people of Lambeth
• By saying ‘Yes’ Mr Pickles follows in the footsteps of John, now Lord, Prescott and Ken Livingstone, in nodding through another skyscraper Lambeth did not want, The St George Tower – now under construction
• Lots of media people live in or have lived in Lambeth, and newspapers - among them the Evening Standard, The Independent and i group - are following the Octave story.
• A ‘Yes’ decision would be a gift to headline writers, who will interpret it as a pointer to the Coalition behaving much the same as New Labour, and the headlines will have fun with Mr Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ meaning big buildings whether people want them or not
• The phones will be ringing asking local celebrities what they make of a ‘Yes’ decision – would Mr Pickles risk a ‘Woolas Moment’ with Vauxhall’s Joanna Lumley if she hears he’s agreed to a cut in sunshine for one of the poorest wards in Vauxhall because of Octave’s shading of Vauxhall Park?
• Vauxhall Park won a Green Flag Award for excellence for the fourth time in 2010; Mr Pickles’ department sponsors the Green Flag award