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 – “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.

  • 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

 Constructive Suggestions for Lambeth Council considering the master 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.

You can download a pdf with more details and images of the proposed scheme here


Save Oval


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