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Grimshaw on the Waterloo masterplan

Part of the Waterloo masterplan, courtesy of Grimshaw

Grimshaw has been writing about the development of the proposed Waterloo masterplan. It has released more news from Lambeth and Network Rail's vision, which brings forward comments that Grimshaw Partner, Kirsten Lees, made at Future Cities Forum held at Here East last September.

Lambeth and Network Rail have unveiled an ambitious new vision → for Waterloo and the South Bank area, centred around the transformation of Waterloo Station into a world-class multimodal transport and civic hub. This vision, set within a strategic masterplan – the Waterloo Station Masterplan – will guide the future development of the area, to significantly improve the quality of life and economic prospects for both current and future residents, businesses, and communities in Waterloo, the South Bank and wider Lambeth.

Waterloo has an immense commercial significance for London, is home to one of the busiest transport hubs in the UK, and is the gateway to the South Bank, the largest cultural quarter in Europe. Drawing over 100 million visitors annually, and with a growing population of residents and workers, the masterplan sets the conditions for a more cohesive, legible and permeable network of streets, spaces, transport and development across the area. By integrating the station into the surrounding urban fabric and beyond, the masterplan seeks to enhance connectivity and facilitate movement.

Acknowledging the diverse neighbourhoods, emerging innovation hubs and vibrant cultural sites, it reconnects communities that have been historically divided by the station and surrounding vehicular networks to create an active, people-centric, sustainable, inclusive, and healthy destination.

Delivering lasting change founded on decarbonisation and social impact, key elements of the masterplan include a holistic active travel strategy, the creation of new and improved accessible station entrances, the establishment of new pedestrian friendly walkable routes around and through the station, and the enhancement of the public realm throughout with an emphasis on improved biodiversity and urban greening with both new and enhanced inclusive open community spaces. These foundations will serve to attract investment across Waterloo benefiting both local communities and businesses. and identifies opportunities for sustainable and inclusive growth, such as repurposing under-utilised but distinctive spaces such as the station undercrofts and viaducts.

The masterplan translates these key elements into concrete outcomes to deliver significant improvements for the Waterloo area: over 40 enhanced walking and cycling routes to encourage healthier modes of transport and better air quality; 11 improved accessible gateways to the station and the remodelling of Exit 2 and the northern concourse to relieve congestion, improve interchange and overall passenger experience; a new at grade southern station concourse connecting Lower Marsh and York Road, improving passenger flow, navigation and intuitive onward connections to key anchors to the south of the station such as St Thomas’ Hospital and the emerging SC1 cluster; new accessible, safe and welcoming plazas and pedestrianised streets such as Cab Road and Mepham Street providing a new civic gateway alongside activated and intuitive passenger interchange routes to encourage sustainable onward travel across the city; and a comprehensive green infrastructure plan and restorative tree strategy to introduce more trees and greenery around the station.

The design of the masterplan is led by international architecture practice Grimshaw, appointed by Network Rail and Lambeth Council, in partnership with several key partners including South Bank Employers’ Group, South Bank BID, We Are Waterloo, LCR Property and local developers HB Reavis, Bourne Capital and SB Royal Holdings. The design team includes WSP, Gbolade Design Studio, Exterior Architecture, Hatch, Iceni Projects, Turner & Townsend, and Savills. Lambeth, Network Rail and their partners are committed to commencing a short-term investment programme to kickstart the realisation of the masterplan’s vision. Working with residents, businesses and stakeholders this collaborative approach ensures that the masterplan evolves in a manner that maximises its positive impact on the area, its inhabitants and its visitors.

'We are delighted to be working with Lambeth Council on an exciting long-term plan to transform London Waterloo station. London Waterloo is iconic, and one of the busiest stations in the country, and it is imperative this station continues to evolve to ensure it is a world class transport hub and meets the needs of the millions of passengers that use the station each year, today and into the future. This a significant but first step towards realising this ambition, and there is a great deal of work to do to progress this forward, and find funding. We look forward to working with our wider partners, passengers, local businesses and organisations, and the local community, as we refine these plans.'

Network Rail chair, Lord Peter Hendy of Richmond Hill

'Waterloo and South Bank is hugely important to Lambeth’s economy and culture and is the gateway to millions of visitors’ journeys every year. The area is home to leading educational, cultural, and healthcare institutions as well as exciting start-ups at the forefront of the medical tech, digital, and the green economy. It’s increasingly a place for business to locate to, and significant, high-quality developments in the pipeline will bring new homes and workspaces. The Vision document provides a strong framework for this change and will allow us to harness and shape the investment in Waterloo and South Bank to make sure spaces are safe, accessible, and welcoming for our residents and visitors to the area.'

Lambeth Council leader, Cllr Claire Holland

'Waterloo is an extraordinary neighbourhood, and this masterplan is designed to help it meet its full potential through a framework that is visionary and aspirational but critically pragmatic and provides a flexible framework for delivery. The Waterloo and South Bank area of tomorrow will be one of London’s healthiest, most sustainable, diverse and successful centres with an integrated world-class multimodal transport and civic hub at its heart. This evolution will bring equitable change for communities, business, visitors and passengers alike.'

Grimshaw, Partner, Kirsten Lees

Kirsten took part in Future Cities Forum's discussion event at Here East last September and said:

' I really want to pick up on the question of how successful innovation districts can be for connecting with local residents, how inclusive they are in terms of bringing on jobs and opportunities, and how that might be a measure of their success. I really want to congratulate the client at Waterloo on looking beyond the 'red line' of the station - which so often restricts big

infrastructure master-plans. It's come about as a partnership between Network Rail and Lambeth Council as well as the BIDs and the local developers. They got together to to look beyond the red's the stitching together of the interfaces of station, the infrastructure and the community.'

'There are so many fantastic ingredients around Waterloo. The major cultural quarter, the emerging MedTech area of St Thomas Hospital and Royal Street, and the really vibrant history and heritage around the local community. The full emphasis of the master-plan is about stitching all these pieces together and developing the public realm. Waterloo does not have any threshold. The challenge is providing more and safer public realm, and better inter-modal connections at what is the busiest station hub in London.'

Below: Kirsten Lees (far right in the picture) joins Infrastructure and Project Authority's Stephen Dance, British Land's Head of Innovation Leasing, Mike Wiseman and the Pro-Provost of UCL East, Professor Paola Lettieri, among other panellists.


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