Oval Gas Works

07th December 2018
By Grant Leggett

Boyer's London office has successfully secured planning permission and Listed Building Consent from the London Borough of Lambeth for the redevelopment of the Oval Gas Works site, on behalf of our client Berkeley Homes (Central London) Ltd. The proposals for the internationally recognised site adjacent to the Kia Oval will comprise a significant redevelopment in regenerating and optimising a large highly accessible brownfield site for mixed use development.

The redevelopment of the site required Boyer and Berkeley to navigate a complex range of planning issues due to the presence of the listed and locally listed gas holders on site, HSE Hazardous Substances Consultation Zone and the site being located within a Key Industrial and Business Area (KIBA), which meant the introduction of residential uses was a departure from the Local Plan.

The redevelopment of the Oval Gas Works site comprises buildings ranging from 4-18 storeys in height, 738 residential units, 10,160sqm of office floorspace including shared working space with ancillary café and space for community use, 800sqm for waste management use and 147sqm of community space.

The planning permission allows for the demolition of existing buildings including temporary disassembly of listed gasholder no.1, demolition of locally listed gasholders 4 and 5 and redevelopment to provide a mixed-use development comprising the re-erection of restored gasholder no.1. The redevelopment also includes the provision of a new publically accessible open space, new pedestrian and vehicle routes, accesses and amenity areas, basement level car park with integral servicing areas, provision of new gas governor and substation, and other associated works including works of decontamination.

Boyer has worked with Berkeley Homes since they began exploring redevelopment of the Site in 2013 for a mix of uses that would optimise the Site’s potential and facilitate its decommissioning. However, the Site’s designation in the then Lambeth Council Core Strategy and emerging Local Plan was recognised as a Key Industrial and Business Area (KIBA) in which residential uses are excluded. Berkeley Homes therefore pursued de-designation of the Site to enable mixed-use development by making representations on the emerging Local Plan in 2013 and 2014, in which they contended that the safeguarding of the Site for industrial and business uses only was unsustainable, and would prevent the land being developed sustainably and maximising its potential. It was also argued that the KIBA designation would discourage the decommissioning of the hazardous installation and the full decontamination of the Site.

Berkeley also embarked on a Masterplanning exercise for the Site and its surrounding area, known as the Oval and Kennington Development Area (OAKDA) in September 2015. Boyer was a key contributor in the preparation of the Masterplan along with Berkeley and GRID Architects. The Masterplan was developed in partnership with Lambeth Council and was subject to detailed technical assessments and extensive public consultation. The resulting OAKDA Masterplan which covers approximately 16 sites was completed in May 2016 and subsequent addendum submitted in October 2017. Lambeth Council agreed in late 2017 that the Masterplan is capable of being a material consideration to the determination of planning applications. The Masterplan has also informed the Local Plan Review.

As the KIBA designation remained, the proposed development represented a departure from the Local Plan for Lambeth, by virtue of being mixed-use development of a site currently designated in the Local Plan for industrial and business uses. However, the substantial public benefits of development were significant material considerations that justified the departure from the Local Plan. The proposed development would enable the site to fulfil its potential as a place where people can work, live and play. It would provide a vast increase in the site’s capacity to provide jobs through the introduction of a flexible employment hub and waste management space. It would provide 738 much-needed homes for Londoners. 35% of the residential accommodation on-site would be affordable. It would also provide publicly accessible open space, private amenity space and playspace for children. All of these benefits would be delivered in a development that integrates the site into Kennington and Oval in a development that greatly increases the site’s permeability, accessibility, legibility, townscape and streetscape, while retaining and enhancing the site’s heritage. Heritage would be enhanced by, principally, restoration and retention of the Grade II listed Gasholder no.1, but also through incorporation of other elements of the Site’s heritage in the landscape. The development would also contribute to local infrastructure through payment of substantial CIL monies.

The Committee, in resolving to approve the scheme in June 2018, agreed that mixed-use proposals contribute to the development’s overall suite of public benefits, which over and above the vast increase in the land’s employment potential significantly outweigh the benefit of retaining the site for KIBA-compliant uses. The development would also enable the de-contamination, de-commissioning of the hazardous installation, and the removal of its Hazardous Substances Consent on site, thus enabling the redevelopment of surrounding sites within the OAKDA Masterplan.

Boyer continues to work on a number of projects throughout the London Borough of Lambeth and look forward to a continued successful working relationship with Berkeley Homes (Central London) Ltd.

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