Iron work

Little Oval

Berkeley Group have, with Lambeth Council, developed a high density high rise master plan for the Gasholder site north of oval. This is expected to go for planning soon. There is plenty to like about the scheme but residents have also highlighted problems. Create Streets have worked with the community, including the Save Oval Campaign Group and the local Neighbourhood Forum, to create an alternative masterplan on zero budget - "Little Oval."


Berkeley’s proposed master plan is spatially well conceived. It ‘connects’ in the right places and is better than many London developments. Unfortunately however most neighbours consider it too bulky, too high and too ugly. Most of the development is 6-10 storeys with two 13 storey towers over-looking the Oval cricket ground


Client: Save Oval


Team: Urban Engineering Studio, Francis Terry & Associates, calfordseaden, ESHA Architects


Little Oval can deliver identical retail and job-generating commercial space. It can deliver comparable levels of homes. Amongst its other advantages are:


  • It is more popular locally – 92% support a master plan that echoes the “Streets & squares of Kennington,” like the Little Oval proposal, rather than the 8% who support an approach similar to Vauxhall & Nine Elms.

  • It is more flexible in the long term with more capacity to change use or type of home

  • It keeps 2 not 1 of the iconic gas holders using both as public spaces

  • It is lower rise (3 to 8 storey)

  • It has a much stronger sense of place but also an exciting and new ‘iron aesthetic’ to respond to the gasholder legacy


overview site plan

1. Improve east-west links: 

Review with Berkeley Group and TfL how to open up the site East / West to create a better green link to Kennington Park. At present the links from East to West are still not good enough


2. Insist on a popular design-code:

Oblige Berkeley Group to work with the local Neighbourhood Forum and other local community groups on a provably popular form-based design-code for the site so that strong local fears of ‘another Vauxhall’ do not come to pass.

3. Tone down the density and scale:

Reducing this a little (by a modest reduction in density and a slight increase in affordable housing) will still make for an incredibly buildable and viable development, without undermining deliverability. By our estimates a 10-15% reduction in internal development area will make for a MUCH more human development with more light, more sense of place and (probably) happier residents.


4.Keep two gasholders:

Require Berkeley Group to keep one of the locally listed Gasholders in addition to the Grade II listed Gasholder One. Doing so will make for a better more, distinctive place – and might even make the scheme more profitable in the long run.

Constructive Suggestions for Lambeth Council considering the master plan

Rec one Rec Two Rec three rec five 1 Rec five 2 Red five 3 Little Oval Map Iron work2

"Create Streets plans, even in this early form, show a clearer vision. The Haussmann style Parisian approach, denser buildings with less height, narrow, characterful streets, gambrel roof flats." Local resident