Although nothing like as closely involved in the developments in Nine Elms as I was (and even then it was such a big project I was only tangentially involved) the development continues apace: the Tideway site was recently given planning permission and the Secretary of State recently approved the plans for Battersea Power Station.

One of the next big developments is the New Covent Garden Market site. This is the biggest single site in the Nine Elms area, pretty much stretching from one end to the other – so what happens there is going to have a major impact on how the opportunity zone looks and feels when completed.

They are about to start their third public consultation, before submitting their formal planning application. If you are interested then you can visit their exhibition about their plans at the Yvonne Carr Community Centre on Thessaly Road later this week. The exhibition will be open on 4.00-8.00pm on Thursday, 3 Mar and Friday, 4 March and from 10.00am-5.00pm on Saturday, 5 March.

Another of the big projects for Nine Elms took a step forward yesterday with the announcement of the six shortlisted developers for the redevelopment of New Covent Garden Market.

New Covent Market is the biggest single development site in Nine Elms and having the six major developers from which to choose is a real boost given how hard the recession hit the construction sector.

Amidst all the gloom and talk of austerity it’s exciting to see things starting to move there. I noticed one of the sites referring to the area as the ‘Embassy Quarter’. Perhaps a bit premature, but a sign that after the recession the optimism is there.

The dates for the next public exhibition at New Covent Garden Market have been announced. The exhibition will run over three days starting on Thursday 25 February and finishing on 27 February – including some very early morning sessions (you can go at 5am on the Friday).

The market is a fascinating place, and a real hive of activity when most of us are asleep – by 8am most people there seem to have finished their working day – and worth a visit just to be generally nosy since most people never see in there. But it is also part of the wider Nine Elms regeneration area and the Market’s regeneration will be a key part of the London’s biggest opportunity.

The market authority’s website has details and a map. I cannot recommend a map highly enough, I can speak from experience it’s a big place to get lost in.

I posted about Jan Lloyd’s presentation on New Covent Garden Market to the Regeneration and Community Safety OSC the other day and have been picked up on my comment that their public exhibitions are over. It was sloppy writing by me.

The first round of public consultations are over, but a second round are starting towards the end of next month (which I knew, but wasn’t sure of the timings). Like the first, New Covent Garden Market will be running a consultation and holding a public exhibition on the site so you can see how the plans are developing and what that bit of the Opportunity Area will look like.

I’ll post something nearer the time, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for it. The Market is likely to be the first visible sign of the regeneration of the area but tends to miss out on publicity to the (admittedly more iconic) Power Station site to the west. However, the Market’s plans will take something that really has been at the heart of London life for hundreds of years – quietly putting the food on our plates and generally doing it while we all sleep – and start giving it a public face that will raise both its profile and the profile of Nine Elms and Wandsworth.

Last night was the first Regeneration and Community Safety OSC of the year and was kicked off by a presentation from Jan Lloyd on the proposed redevelopment of New Covent Garden Market.

It’s amazing when you look at the Market today, when it’s employing 2,500 people (a few hundred less than before the recession) and providing 40% of the food that’s on restaurant plates in London to think it was actually at Covent Garden until 35 years ago.

And browsing through their brochure brings home just how much ‘industrial’ land remains in Wandsworth – that corner of the borough is a major employment area and generates huge benefit for the borough and London as a whole, but remains tucked away and – despite its size – unseen by most people as they pass by the walls or flats surrounding them.

Although their public exhibitions are over it’s well worth having a look at the redevelopment section of their website, not just to see what they are planning, but also for some of the fascinating history of the market.

UPDATE, 14 January: I’ve been picked up on this post, there’s another public consultation and exhibition towards the end of February.

Not a stock photo, but MiniMe's first digger

Being a new man
Actually a fairly quiet week this week.  Partly because it’s still summer, and consequently everything is just a bit quieter, and partly because I started my new man duties this week – which effectively limited me to half-days consisting of an hour’s work during the morning nap and a few hours after bedtime.  It also provides me with the photo of the week:  The Digger.  I rather like the photo for some reason, the lighting and aperture worked far better than it normally does for me.  Indeed, I like it so much it’s now my wallpaper (though that was a close run thing against the man in the nappy).

I am incredibly hesitant to raise this again. Not because it’s an issue that has gone away, or because I think I was wrong (feedback has been overwhelmingly in favour of the council’s position) but largely because the majority of the discussions on here were negative circular and, in one case at least, borderline offensive. While I’ve no problem with allowing and responding to the comments (which a few people have suggested I would have been better deleting or at least ignoring) I recognise it all gets rather dull for the reader.

[Within a few hours of writing this I have temporarily (and possibly permanently) removed several comments which appear to be from sock-puppets supporting chugging.  I’m a little sad since  this is the first time I’ve had to do this on the blog. I’ve no issue with publishing comments disagreeing with, or in outright opposition to, my views – and there are many comments like this scattered through the blog – and I don’t have any issue with comments being anonymous but feel it’s perfectly reasonable to remove comments purporting to be from multiple people when there’s some evidence it’s all the same person.]

Having said all that we are continuing to monitor the situation (one trader reported counting 11 – that’s eleven – chuggers operating the Tooting Broadway piazza area earlier this week, most using aggressive tactics) and are taking up the issues with the charities directly, since the PFRA are unwilling or unable to deal with the problems themselves.

New Covent Garden Market and Nine Elms
Perhaps one of the most interested meetings I had this week was with New Covent Garden Market (NCGM) to get an update on their progress towards redevelopment. It really brings home the scale and scope of development that is taking place in Nine Elms when you go there. It is a massive site.

It also brings home the complexities involved in redeveloping the whole area – since it won’t just be NCGM developing the area, but also the new US Embassy and the Power Station alongside a number of smaller developments. Moving beyond our borough boundary Lambeth are ambitious to redevelop Vauxhall. None of these developments will exist in isolation, and making sure the whole area ‘works’ instead of just creating a series of individual developments will not be easy, but will definitely be worth it.

Bank Holiday Weekend and crime maps
I will, as I usually do, be taking a blogging break for the bank holiday (unless there’s something so amazingly urgent I can’t wait) – so the crime maps will appear on Tuesday rather than Monday. In the meantime have a great bank holiday weekend.

One event I’m going to miss is the the launch of our promotion of Nine Elms tonight.

Nine Elms is central London’s largest regeneration area – anchored by the Power Station to the west and New Covent Garden Market in the east there are about 450 acres on the Thames riverside, at one point just a mile from the Houses of Parliament.

The event will launch Nine Elms, Wandsworth – Regeneration in the heart of London which forms part of Wandsworth’s recession fighting programme.

Nine Elms has already got a major boost with the decision of the US Embassy to move to land around the Ponton Road area.  Not only will this generate direct employment (most embassy staff are locally employed, and the embassy is likely to twice the size of the current Grosevenor Square) but it is likely to attract other businesses associated with the embassy to the area.

The recession will not last forever, and the council, through events like this, is seeking to ensure Wandsworth not only fights the effects of recession, but comes out strong on the other side.