Development in shadow of Sky Pool slammed as ‘Dubai-on-Thames’ as flats struggle to sell

By James Mayer, Local Democracy Reporter

A development near London’s Sky Pool has been slammed as “Dubai-on-Thames” as just a fraction of new homes have been sold.

But Chinese developers R&F say its £100m sales in 2021 is “a strong performance by anyone’s standards”.

Since 2017 R&F has acquired three adjacent sites in Nine Elms, namely, Vauxhall Square, One Nine Elms and Nine Elms Square (now re-named Thames City).

The Thames City development in Nine Elms is not due to finish until the late 2020s.

Nine Elms includes multiple buildings and skyscrapers, as well as the US Embassy, cafés, restaurants and an outdoor swimming pool bridged between two towers 35 metres high – the Sky Pool – which opened in May.

The Sky Pool has become a controversial luxury symbol as only exclusive Embassy Gardens members are able to use the pool as full property owners get access to luxurious entrances.

While those in shared ownership homes within the building must use so-called “poor doors”.

The Sky Pool was built by developer Ballymore.

In a Wandsworth council meeting on November 11, Labour councillor Simon Hogg voted against the council’s local plan due to the lack of “genuinely affordable homes”.

He branded the Nine Elms development on Twitter as “Dubai-on-Thames”.

He said in the meeting: “Over development has gone too far in this borough, there’s sort of towers sprouting that people don’t know about, developments that are there for overseas investors rather than for local people.”

In response, Conservative councillor Guy Senior, said: “Without that overseas investment, those developments would not have taken place in the first place.

“So it is important that we get in a modicum of this investment because obviously we wouldn’t be building otherwise.

“The construction phase has created 20,000 jobs and there will be 25,000 permanent ones available to local people when the project is complete.”

This record on affordable homes delivery has been singled out by Mayor Sadiq Khan who has described Wandsworth as a “fantastic example” of a London borough that’s building the homes that Londoners need.

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