Latest Nine Elms model reveals scale of billion-pound development

Streatham Guardian: Massive: Thousands of homes will be created Massive: Thousands of homes will be created

An unveiling of one of the biggest regeneration projects in Europe, due to transform a corner of the borough, produced mixed feelings from residents.

The latest scale model of the project, at the Nine Elms open days on Thursday and Friday, showed how the South Bank will look when work is complete.

Council leaders, planning managers and directors were on hand to answer questions and address any concerns about the billion-pound projects taking place over the next 20 years.

Council leader Ravi Govindia said: "It will put Wandsworth very firmly on the map as an international quarter, attracting international investment."

"There will be a whole range of businesses moving to the area, which translates into more jobs and opportunities," he said.

"We want to take people with us to share what comes by way of opportunities."

The display included information about the US Embassy, the New Covent Garden Market and the restored Battersea Power Station, all set to become iconic landmarks of London.

Darren Williams from Balham, who runs his own building company, was impressed with the development as a whole.

He said: "They could help young people more to get work, and help 16-20 year-olds get apprenticeships, but I think this will be good for them.

"It needs to be done, I am pleased with what I have seen so far."

Coun Govindia said the regeneration would produce 40,000 jobs, providing many young people with their first step on the career ladder.

Council recruitment agency Work Match, which acts as a link between unemployed people and developers, gave advice at the open days.

He said they were doing all they could to ensure young people would benefit from the construction jobs being created.

Henrietta Crocker Poole, who runs Battersea Summer Scheme, believed it was time for Battersea Power Station to be developed but hoped the regeneration would benefit people in the area.

She said: "It is going to shift the whole balance, Battersea in particular.

"I just hope it connects the estates, they need it, they are isolated at the moment and there is not proper youth clubs.

"There is a lot needed there, it is a very neglected area, I really hope that happens."

In addition to landmarks, tall buildings, parks and luxury apartments, the first of which will be moved into in September, the regeneration will provide 3,000 affordable homes, 2,000 in Wandsworth.

Coun Govindia said: "This is not a small figure.

"There is housing available across a whole range of price plans, social rent as well as intermediate housing or shared ownership. It will mean homes for 3,000 people looking for housing opportunities."

He said a balance needed to be struck with infrastructure investment and building affordable homes.

He added: "Without the billion pound investment in the Northern Line extension we would not have half these sites.

"It was a site for the last 30 years doing nothing, providing no jobs, no housing, and no commercial activity."

Not everyone was convinced. Sarah Wells from Vauxhall, said, like many people she was unhappy about losing the Vauxhall Gyratory.

She was also concerned about the high rise buildings she said would block out the sun in the Vauxhall Park.

She said: "I am not happy with any of it, I think they are catering for foreign investors and not for London, they are just trying to make money. There is a huge need for housing and they are not being catered for."

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