Retail around London Bridge - the future

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Saturday 6 March 2004 12.44pm
now that

- Borough Market is the best in the country
- a walk along the southbank is London's favourite activity
- More London is nearing completion
- ever more private flats are being built (esp along long lane)

What will happen to retail along Borough High St, Tooley St, Bermondsey St and around?

Will it knit together as a retail destination?

Will we get something like the city, but open at the weekends?

Will we get another covent garden?

Could Hays Galleria become a centre for clothes shops, and its other businesses moved out on to Tooley St (will the rents rise and push out people like the picture framers or the xmas shop?)

It is easy to foresee more cafes and cofffee shops, but what else will we get and will we lose some small businesses?

As you may have guessed this comes from a pub conversation and my hope of a few of my favourite clothes shops opening. What do others predict?
Saturday 6 March 2004 1.18pm

Retail momentum is growing as the public slowly starts to perceive the London Bridge area as one where there is retail. For the last decade it has been a place where office workers 'survived', now there is growing choice. The obstacle has always been the lack of potential punters and that is changing fast.

Borough Market has established itself as a 'profile' retail destination and that is contributing to the changing perception of the Borough High St area. The growth of residential use will further reinforce that changing perception. As demand for retail space rises, rents will inevitably rise.

The question that I certainly can't answer is how the picture may change in, say, the next 10 years but I'm willing to guess:

The Renzo Piano tower (if and when) will trigger a reappraisal of the Tooley St & St Thomas St frontages. On St Thomas street, the NCP parking will be redeveloped. The street level treatment of the Piano tower (canopying part of St Thomas St to protect against the wind tunnel effect) will trigger a re-evaluation of St Thomas St (and Tooley St) as retail opportunities. The link will then be made with Bermondsey St and retail will become a realistic option for owners/developers.

The Piano tower will also force a reconsideration of Railtrack/Espacia's plans for London Bridge Station and the tower block opposite the bus station (ie not the Piano tower site) will probably also go back into development. Railtrack/Espacia will have a large part to play in the spread of retail because the arches beneath London Bridge Station spread right through to the Northern end of Bermondsey St. If Railtrack/Espacia repeat the approach taken on the entries to London Bridge Tube then these arches offer potential for smaller scale (and cheaper) retail space.

Depending upon structural considerations, Railtrack/Espacia could develop the arches immediately parallel to Bermondsey St as retail opportunities with windows let into the Bermondsey St tunnel walls. The pavements are certainly wide enough to accomodate pedestrians and shop windows.

Time scale? 10 to 15 years minimum.

Railtrack/Espacia are the people who really need encouragement. Their original proposals for London Bridge Station were awful and the Piano tower did everyone a favour by raising the game and causing them to reconsider.

Regards to all

Niall Connolly
London SE1
Sunday 7 March 2004 2.19am

Post edited (07 Mar 04 12:38)
Sunday 7 March 2004 5.06pm

Which scheme do you mean when you say "their original proposals for London Bridge Station were awful"?

The scheme for which Network Rail have planning consent is now being promoted as part of Thameslink 2000 - it includes a substantial amount of retail including a Sainsbury's local sized unit on Tooley Street next to the proposed new ground level entrance

See my post of 27 November in this thread on the Thameslink 2000 consultation for links to some of the drawings.

Post edited (07 Mar 04 17:11)
Sunday 7 March 2004 7.56pm
Proposals for improvements to London Bridge Station were always part of Thameslink 2000 - Railtrack (as was then) made it quite clear that, if they didn't get permission for T2000, they wouldn't do anything with the station. A sweetener? Or some might call it something worse. T2000 now going to further public enquiry - we can only hope that the Glass Tower will make the powers that be realise that something must be done with the station and it shouldn't depend on Thameslink, which means demolition of historic buildings, end of a community, probable problems for the market & the Cathedral..... etc etc. It seems very cynical to make neessary & much needed improvements to a major London terminus & junction - which everyone wants - dependent on a scheme which is strongly opposed by the local community. But so, what's new?
Monday 8 March 2004 11.38pm

Thanks so much for such a well- informed and intelligent reply. Very comprehensive answer - what more can I say!

What would other people like to see happening in the area?
Wednesday 10 March 2004 6.07pm
I want a swimming pool

and not just a 10m bath in the basement of a private health centre
but a proper 50m pool attached to a sports complex, a Health Centre (we must be short of doctors here) and perhaps supported by retail in a related food and fitness mall. That sounds a bit worthy, so perhaps it should have a bar as well, and water slides for the kiddies.

Liebeskind designed, a retractable glass roof and a position near the river are essential, and it could be used for the Olympic Games as an upmarket venue to Stratford Marshes

It would look good at Potters Fields, at the end of a linear park
Wednesday 10 March 2004 6.44pm
some subsidised live/work/retail spaces for interesting designer-makers would be nice. The kind of operations that are just starting out. It could help create a kind of link between Borough Market (small producers, niche products) and the Design Museum (design classics.)

London Bridge could be clerkenwell in its dullest sense if it keeps on going the corporate route in terms of major buildings.

Small and organic forms of development are needed, and more of a sense of community.

I think the above could help offer this.
Thursday 11 March 2004 8.33am
I want a swimming pool too.

Considering all the trade offs and bartering involved around modern developments surely a shard of glass is worth an outdoor lido? Imagine the view of the pool from the viewing galleries, what better relief for all the new workers planned for the area.

Monday 15 March 2004 4.40pm
Southwark Council are asking the community for projects to add to the Section 106 (planning gain money) database.

Everyone I speak to living in this area wants a swimming pool. So get writing NOW to Alistair Huggett at Southwark Council.

It might never happen BUT if you don't ask you will NEVER get. maybe someone could start an electronic petition....

Get involved - go to the Community Council meetings and have your say rather than writing/talking about it! Information of next meeting and agenda on Southwark Council website.

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