Nine Elms is a district of London in the north-eastern corner of the London Borough of Wandsworth between Battersea and Vauxhall. Within Nine Elms is central London’s last industrial district, described as largely derelict and in need of regeneration. Nine Elms is the final part of the South Bank – dubbed London’s ‘Third City’ – to be renewed and transformed. The area consists of 195 hectares of land on the South Bank of the River Thames, under a mile from the Houses of Parliament, and covers the area from Lambeth Bridge in the north to Chelsea Bridge in the south.
Nine Elms has existed on the Thames for hundreds of years, its name deriving from a row of elm trees along the main road, named Nine Elms Lane in around the mid-1600s. The area began to be occupied in the late medieval period, with the Heathwell sewer construction in the 1400s draining the area including Nine Elms. This allowed for development in the area, and it became thinly populated. In around 1660 the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens opened, which was one of the most significant leisure venues in London – offering entertainment such as lion-tamers, ventriloquists, jugglers and fire walkers. However, this came to an end in 1859 after the industrial revolution brought with it railways and ease of transport to other areas of the country.
The Nine Elms railway station itself opened in 1838, and was the first terminus of the London and South Western Railway. This, alongside the construction of Westminster and Vauxhall bridges, helped spur on speedy development in the area. The Nine Elms railway terminus closed, however, in 1948 and was eventually demolished after suffering damage during World War II. It was replaced in 1974 by New Covent Garden’s flower market, which has since become a well-known feature of the area.
Another well-known feature, or landmark, in the area is Battersea Power Station. The power station was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and constructed between 1929 and 1955. The station had a capacity of 509 MW, which provided a fifth of London’s electricity. It was decommissioned in 1983, and has since been the subject of numerous redevelopment plans.
What the Area Needs
Currently, the area suffers from less than optimal transport links, which need major improvements if they are to support growth in the area. The area also consists of vast areas of brownfield land, land previously used for commercial or industrial purposes, and comparatively few areas of safe, green areas. Whilst there is plenty of potential for the area to become another riverside tourist destination, the culture in the area needs expanding upon and strengthening to attract the attention needed for growth. In order to support this growth, the area also needs new homes, and property to let in Nine Elms will also help meet the demand for homes in London as a whole. Meeting demand would ultimately help lower house prices, making the area more affordable for families. With this need met, the area would also need new schools and nurseries to create a real growing community.
In order to fulfil the area’s potential as a tourist area, with the transport links, housing and public services to support growth, an estimated £15bn worth of regeneration is necessary. The regeneration will transform the area, making it a business district of international importance and creating 18,000 new homes, 25,000 new jobs, opportunity for education, green areas and tourist attractions.
With the development of Nine Elms inevitably comes the increased need for transport, and for better quality transport. Plans of over £1bn in the creation of new transport links and improvements to existing transport began in spring 2015, including extensions and upgrades in regards to rail, tube and bus services.
The Northern line extension aims to extend the Northern line to Battersea, with two new stations at Battersea and Nine Elms planned to be open by 2020. The extension will provide new tube stations at Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms, massively reducing journey times in and out of main areas of employment and residential areas such as the City Centre and the West End.
The Vauxhall bus, tube and rail interchange and the Vauxhall gyratory are also to be improved as part of the regeneration project. Improvements include removing the one-way traffic system to ease congestion and increase pedestrian and cycle safety, and making general improvements to existing facilities of the bus, tube and rail interchange such as shelter and travel information. The bus station will remain central despite changes to the road directions in order to keep existing benefits such as the short walking distance between bus, rail and tube stops. In Nine Elms, there are also new bus routes to be introduced, with additional improvements to existing services.
Further improvements for the benefit of cyclists and pedestrians include the new pedestrian and cycle bridge to be built between Nine Elms and Pimlico in Westminster. There are also plans to extend the river walk with new cycle and footpaths to stretch the full length of the area.
New Thames Bridge
The new pedestrian and cycle bridge between Nine Elms and the Pimlico embankment in Westminster is to be named the New Thames Bridge. The bridge is being built in order to boost the area’s transport links and support growth in the city as a whole. The exact location of the bridge has not yet been decided, although some preferred options include those which locate it close to the new US Embassy site. The bridge has not yet got a design either, with a competition between architects across the world launched in order to decide the design. The results of this competition are due to be revealed in the autumn of 2015, with considerations of funding addressed once it has been decided.
The improvements to pedestrian and cyclist transport and planned extension of the river walk are also part of plans for regeneration in terms of leisure and culture. Plans to create more green open space aim to combine parks, public squares, footpaths, cycle lanes, sports areas, shopping areas, cafes and other outdoor leisure areas to create an inviting public area designed for residents and tourists alike to enjoy their free time.
Part of these plans is the creation of the linear park – a car-free area extending from Battersea Power Station to Vauxhall Cross. The park will open out onto other public areas such as shops, hotels and other parks and public squares alongside homes and residential areas.
The linear park will open up onto the Thames River Path at numerous points along the path, allowing access to the river’s edge and the beautiful views so rare in urban areas. The Thames River Path will also be extended to stretch across the full length of the regeneration area, with the addition of riverside shops, cafes, restaurants and other attractions.
In October 2008, the U.S. Embassy in London announced its plans to relocate to the Nine Elms area from its location at Grosvenor Square, Mayfair. The U.S. Embassy in London announced its plans to relocate due to a need for space and a safer facility. Whilst the renovation of the building at Grosvenor Square was considered, it was eventually decided that the best option to create a ‘modern, secure and environmentally sustainable embassy’ was to build a new facility in the Nine Elms location.
The building aims to achieve the ‘outstanding’ grade from its BREEAM environmental assessment, the maximum rating. To do this, the building will include facilities to provide its own renewable energy, gardens and a pond for wildlife to thrive, and the facilities to recycle greywater on site. The building itself, ‘The Chancery’ is an eleven story cube-shaped building with three entrance pavilions for access, including that for the expected 1,000 daily visitors.
Interestingly, the building also contains six internal gardens throughout the upper floors, each designed to represent a different part of the varied U.S. landscape.
Housing, Schooling and Healthcare
In the regeneration area, there are already currently 10,000 households and plans for a new community will bring an additional 18,000 new homes to the area. The new transport links and leisure areas above mentioned will make the area more appealing for prospective home owners, with plans for new communities to form as the area grows and develops. With both properties to buy and property to let in Nine Elms, the area will suit buyers and renters alike, and so will help draw in those from a variety of financial backgrounds.
The building of new property to buy and property to let in Nine Elms aims to boost the amount of housing in London. This should, in turn, help lower housing prices as demand is lessened. The result of this will be more affordable housing for normal working households. Planned homes include studios and four bedroom properties available through shared ownership or renting. The available affordable housing is spread out across all residential development areas, and existing residents get priority in applying for those properties, so existing communities will remain intact. The range of sizes in property to buy and property to let in Nine Elms also helps ensure accessibility as it provides for single dwellers, couples and families alike. Public services such as schools and health centres will also be built in the area to meet the needs of the growing community. This will help the area become even more family-friendly, so it can grow and develop as an area with its own locals and culture.
Specifically to Vauxhall, there will also be a number of improvements to create a new ‘heart of Vauxhall’. The area has gone into decline in recent years, but it was not long ago that the area was a real gateway to the city, with a community of homes, businesses, shops and schools. As part of the plans, the area will be restored and modernised to become the thriving town centre it used to be. The town centre will once again have a High Street, and may also have a Civic Town Square for the community to hold events and nurture its own culture.
Vauxhall’s green areas will have links to Battersea Park and the new Nine Elms linear park, creating great links between the different parts of the regeneration area. The railway arches will also be revived and used for businesses and community projects, as well as being opened up for footpaths and cycleways.
Battersea Power Station
Battersea Power Station, the decommissioned coal-fired power station on the River Thames, has been the centre of much development speculation over the years. Since its closure in 1983, it has remained one of the most well-known London landmarks, and this is perhaps the cause of the level of interest in the building despite its bad structure. The site was originally supposed to be redeveloped by Parkview International, but this was then passed onto Real Estate Opportunities, who bought the site for £400 million in 2006. However, this deal fell through and in 2011 the building went back on sale. Then, in 2012 Ernst & Young entered into an agreement with Malaysian company SP Setia and Sime Darby, and the building was purchased later in that year.
Battersea Power Station’s ideal location by the riverside makes it the perfect place for new homes, and the regeneration of the building focuses on making it into the ideal residential location. According to plans, the old power station will be transformed into 800 apartments, offices, shops, a gym, a spa and a theatre. Flats include studio flats and penthouse flats, with prices ranging from £338,000 to over £6 million and beautiful courtyard areas add to the greenery planned in the Nine Elms area as a whole.
The regeneration of the Nine Elms area is expected to create 25,000 permanent jobs in offices, restaurants, shops and so on. It is also expected to create around 22,000 construction jobs over the ten years between 2012 and 2022 as the area is redeveloped, with many of these roles already filled. The jobs available are being aimed at local residents in order to benefit the existing communities, and help retain the idea of redevelopment instead of replacement. The redevelopment project is expected to create up to 1,000 apprenticeship places, more than the Olympic site and the Crossrail project combined. The creation of both temporary and permanent jobs will be aided by the redevelopment plans, and will be a driving force for the area, as the creation of jobs helps influence the local economy and living standards.
The district is the largest regeneration area in London, and set to transform this area of Wandsworth into a vibrant one with flourishing businesses and communities that create a real culture in the area. With the creation of tens of thousands of jobs, beautiful green areas and property to let and for sale in Nine Elms, it is quickly becoming the place to be. If you would like to know more about property to let in Nine Elms, the regeneration of the area, or would like to talk to Vauxhall estate agents specialists, then visit Henry Wiltshire today.