Waterloo has a lot going for it, with the busiest railway station
in the UK and arguably one of the best public spaces of the capital in the South Bank. However the bit in between just doesn't really work, or at least it could be much better indeed. Still, the area has improved dramatically over the past few decades clearing its reputation of 'cardboard' city.
At the same time, commercial areas have built up around London rail terminals such as Liverpool Street, Paddington and are currently in the process of being built around King's Cross and Victoria (albeit already established) whereas Waterloo seems to have been left behind. With the busiest UK terminus and the catchment area of commuters from south-west London and Surrey, the regenerative potential is huge.
Two huge developments if they get the go-ahead are likely to change all that and transform Waterloo, with its much needed commercial space. However, with the success of both London's prime resi sector and the South Bank making the area a much desirable place to live, residential plans also feature heavily in both. These are:
Starting with Elizabeth House, plans have been on the cards for a while with numerous plans being vetoed, the latest of which was dubbed 'The 3 ugly sisters' by opponents to the scheme. Below is a render of the scheme, the main tower in the background to the left behind the Shell tower. More images can be found here
This is where the scheme really works for me though, that 'bit in-between' the station and the Eye. Most of the building will be lifted up off the ground to provide much needed public realm and a new entrance/exit to the station, where hopefully one day the now-redundant Eurostar platforms will come back in to use.
This is how the space currently looks, which in truth is criminal for being next to somewhere which distributes a footfall of over 80 million people per year.
The redeveloped Shell Centre, which is a couple of years behind Elizabeth House in the development pipeline will transform the area once again a few years later. Plans have yet to be submitted for this site though, with consultation still on going. A number of new buildings will be included, however I must stress the plans shown below are by no means indicative of the final masterplan, which is still in development. These sketches have been produced as part of the consultation process to stimulate feedback in consultation workshops.
And if you want to get involved and have your say then there is still time, with a two-day drop-in exhibition and workshop session next week on York Road (16th and 17th / May). For more information go to the schemes website here.
People fearful of the views being ruined when looking through a giant ferris wheel should remember that the public realm, really will make up for all that, with much improved linkages through both sites, as shown in the render below (Shell centre) with the arches opened up and brought back in to use.
LRR subscribers can view the Elizabeth House building record here
LRR subscribers can view the Shell Centre building record here