WCDG is the Waterloo community's land planning group. We have been active since 1972.
The aim of the group is to work with and for the local residents to maintain and develop a healthy and sustainable community, for more land for homes and essential amenities such as shops and open space, for the benefit of present and future generations.
· WCDG monitors all development proposals and planning applications in Waterloo, making comments and objections where appropriate. We also make proposals and comment on the development of planning policy, such as the London Plan, Lambeth and Southwark’s Local Plans, or the government’s recent proposals for the planning system.
· We establish a dialogue with developers and planners as early as possible to maximise opportunities for the local community to have their say.
· We organise regular public meetings for all residents in Waterloo to speak directly to developers and planners. We also publish regular newsletters to keep people informed.
· We provide advice and support to individuals and organisations on development proposals and planning applications.
Any resident of Waterloo can become a member, and can be elected to the management committee which oversees the work of WCDG. We are a charity and a company limited by guarantee, and are answerable to the Charities Commission and Companies House, as well as our members.
Partners and Friends
WCDG works closely with other stakeholders in Waterloo including Waterloo Quarter Business Improvement District, Lambeth Council, WaCoCo, Bankside Open Spaces Trust, and numerous local resident’s associations and friend’s groups
· Michael Ball, Director, was born in Waterloo and has led the organisation since 2002
· Haydn Grant, apprentice in Construction
· Jason Roberts, apprentice in Construction
· Vynna Simms, apprentice in Construction
A Brief History...
Around 80,000 people lived cheek by jowl in Waterloo in 1900, along with wharves, yards and industrial sites. But the population had declined to under 50,000 by the time of the War, and was zoned for a massive expansion of offices and national arts venues.
By 1972 there were only around 4,000 households remaining in Waterloo, and plans afoot for some of the biggest offices in Europe. A critical mass of schools and shops had been closed, and there was nowhere for a new generation of Waterloo residents.
WCDG was formed in 1972 by local residents to address these problems. The first battle was to stop the Imperial War Museum building all over Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park. A local architect provided WCDG with an alternative proposal which demonstrated that there was no need for a blade of grass to be lost. The case went to a public inquiry and the Inspector agreed with us – the park was saved!
One of the major campaigns in Waterloo in the 1970’s and 1980’s was the ‘battle of Coin Street’, where 13 acres of prime real estate on the then emerging South Bank were zoned for offices. Eventually it was agreed that the land should be used for housing and community spaces, and in 1984 the land was finally sold to the campaigners who became the Coin Street Community Builders… but that’s another story.
Around 60% of Waterloo has been redeveloped since the war, causing stresses which threatened to destroy the local community in the 1970’s. Since then the community has gradually rebuilt itself and begun to flourish.
Today planning policy has caught up with WCDG’s vision, and sustainable communities and mixed development are now key policies of central and local government. A new wave of intensification is proposed for Waterloo, with additional floors being added to existing towers and massive new developments proposed at Shell, Elizabeth House, and around Blackfriars Road. How will local residents benefit? Join WCDG and help ensure that we do!
Since 1972 WCDG has
· Campaigned for mixed and balanced communities and affordable housing, and we have helped deliver new co-operative housing
· Campaigned to save and establish local facilities such as the Waterloo Library, Waterloo Action Centre, Buffer Bear Nursery
· Campaigned to save, improve and enlarge public open space: we led the campaign to save Jubilee Gardens for 20 years, and worked in partnership to invest £6m in new Gardens managed by an independent Trust. We have also secured funding for improvements to Archbishop’s Park, Hatfields Open Space, Emma Cons Gardens, and Ufford St Recreation Space.
· Delivered new open space run by the community at Waterloo Millennium Green and Play spaces, plus Living Space
· Established and supported local groups such as. Association of Waterloo Groups, Friends of Jubilee Gardens, Friends of Archbishop’s park, and various Tenants and Residents associations
· Campaigned to protect the local shopping centre in Lower Marsh & The Cut, helped source funding and deliver major improvements to the centre, and supported the creation of a Business Improvement District – Waterloo Quarter
· Secured local environment improvements: street tree planting, new paving, new and improved ground level pedestrian crossings.
· Represented local views at Public Inquiries and Parliamentary Select Committees on major development proposals at County Hall, Shell Centre, Elizabeth House, Channel Tunnel Terminal, Imperial War Museum, One Blackfriars, Cornwall Rd Bus Garage.
· Helped thousands of local residents to have their say about local plans and development proposals.