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Pickles decides not to call in One Nine Elms Scheme in Vauxhall

Secretary of State Eric Pickles has decided that the One Nine Elms Scheme in Vauxhall will not be called in for public inquiry. 07 Sep 2012

The application for the scheme had been referred to the Secretary of State by Wandsworth Council. 

Under the scheme the Market Towers that currently stand will be replaced by two new towers and be the focal point for Vauxhall's cluster of tall buildings. The new development will be a mixed-use scheme to include more than 400 homes, offices, a hotel, and a public square with shops, restaurants and cafes.  

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, subsequently wrote to the Secretary of State asking him to back the development, reports the Estates Gazette (subscription). Johnson argued that the scheme had local and national support and that an inquiry would "undermine the delivery of jobs and growth."

"While English Heritage maintains an outstanding objection to the scheme, I am of the view that it complies with the London Plan and does not warrant being called in for a public inquiry," he wrote.

Richard Ford, Partner at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Outlaw, commented: "It is pleasing to see further evidence of the Government not wishing to hold up major development with a long and costly public inquiry. When a scheme complies with policy and local and Mayoral decision making is taking its proper course, call in should be used sparingly. We have come a long way already from some rather trigger-happy call in decisions a few years ago and we continue to monitor the call-in trends carefully." 

The One Nine Elms development is part of the Vauxhall/Nine Elms/Battersea (VNEB) Opportunity Area. It is identified as an Opportunity Area in the London Plan as an area having potential to accommodate a substantial number of new jobs and homes. The framework sets out an ambition for around 16,000 new homes and a range of 20,000-25,000 jobs.