Friday 15 July 2011 10.06am
Most of the demolition seems to be an inevitability to provide enough space for the passengers to get in and out of the station. Remember that the widening of the viaduct virtually halfs the size of the existing bus station level concourse and Network Rail are supposed to be planning for the growth over the next 60 years. Or at least they ought to be given the amount of money they will probably spend. Given then that this 80m wide concourse has to be created, the question is, do you hide it behind a veneer of fake brick arches which no longer reflect what is behind them, or do you accept that the two ends of the concourse will be the NEW PRIMARY ENTRANCES to the station and celebrate that fact with some good modern design. I much prefer the latter idea as I believe that unlike the Shard entrance which promotes little more than the Shard and its associated development in London Bridge Street
, the Tooley Street
and St Thomas'Street entrances could have a massive beneficial effect on the regeneration of the surrounding area attracting new businesses to occupy all the retained arch frontages both East of the Shiprights Arms and all along St Thomas' Street to Bermondsey Street
. The latter potential is particularly important if the regeneration that is well established to the North of the Station is to cross the viaduct and benefit the area East of the Hospital. Unfortunately in the current design the St Thomas' Street entrance is a distinctly poor and almost apologetic relation of the Tooley Street
one and it sounds as if this is being promoted not by Network Rail but by our own planning department who seem to have lost the plot. Yes! please keep and repair the existing arches East of the new entrance but don't hide away the entrance itself otherwise the repaired arches will only attract second rate tenants or worse still end up boarded up.
Rant over, apologies to all!