Our Energy, Environment & Design (EED) team undertake the Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposed £600 million investment on London’s Waterloo.
In April 2012, following extensive public consultation, a planning application was submitted by the Elizabeth House Limited Partnership to dramatically transform the Waterloo district of Central London. The proposed Elizabeth House development will be the largest mixed-use investment in Waterloo in 40 years and will deliver approximately 6,100 new jobs on the site, and 142 new homes, bringing an additional £11.8 million of inward investment to the area each year. Additionally, the equivalent of around 460 permanent full time jobs would be generated during construction.
The proposed £600 million scheme will see the creation of a new business district for London and a dramatic new public space in front of Waterloo Station. A 16-storey office block known as Elizabeth House currently sits between Waterloo; London’s busiest mainline station and Europe’s largest cultural quarter at the South Bank. The existing block butts hard against the historic Victory Arch entrance to Waterloo Station, effectively blocking off the possibility of improving access to the station itself, and to routes between the station and the South Bank.
The development proposals take the form of two new buildings separated by a large public space, forming part of 10,000 square metres of new public realm running the length of the site. The buildings (known as the ‘North’ and ‘South’ buildings) will be 29 storeys and 10 storeys tall respectively and have been designed by former Stirling Prize winner and Royal Gold Medal recipient Sir David Chipperfield. They will collectively provide over 52,000m2 of new office space, 1,500m2 of small shops and cafes, 142 new homes and a glass-fronted gallery space on the ground floor of the North building.
With a development of this scale, understanding potential environmental impacts is essential. To this end, Waterman EED were commissioned to coordinate and undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), drawing upon our wealth of experience and expertise to liaise with the local authority on the necessary scope of the assessment as well as provide expert advice on the challenging areas of Air Quality, Noise and Vibration, Archaeology and Flood Risk, amongst others.
Working closely with the Elizabeth House Partnership and other members of the Project Team, Waterman EED successfully completed the comprehensive EIA that focused on the key challenges faced by the development. The EIA process identified appropriate measures and solutions where necessary to prevent, reduce or offset any potential negative environmental effects identified, giving the proposed development the best possible chance of achieving planning permission. Lambeth Council are currently considering the proposals. Should planning permission be granted it is anticipated that work will commence in 2013 with completion scheduled for 2016.
Environmental challenges faced by the project included:
- The site’s location within an Archaeology Priority Zone and Air Quality Management Area;
- The potential for contamination and unexploded ordnance (bombs) beneath the site;
- The risk of flooding from the River Thames;
- The potential for noise and vibration nuisance associated with demolition and construction works;
- Potential adverse effects to local wind conditions;
- Transportation and access issues;
- Potential changes to the availability of sunlight and daylight at the site;
- Potential effects on the surrounding townscape and built heritage; and
- The potential for dust creation in this very busy part of Central London.