Wednesday 10 September 2014 12.58pm
What's really clear is that the Elephant is rapidly becoming another tall building cluster.
So it's not that the a new 13 storey building is out of scale with the 43-storey Strata or the (nearer) 22-storey Signal Building on Newington Causeway
. (or even the 10-storey Heygate Estate/Perronet House
etc) It's that the 4-5 storey Rockingham estate is out of scale with the other buildings around.
A fact of life (like it or not) is that this area has massively changed. In the mid 1980s, London's population was at its lowest for years (6.7 million) - and nobody wanted to live in the grotty inner city bits like Elephant and Bermondsey.
In those days the GLC was grateful to get people into council homes in the area that actually paid rent (rather than just squatting) so students could get three-bedroom council flats if they were prepared to brave the area.
By 2013, the population of London had grown to 8.4 million (up 25%) and inner city London with its excellent transport links has proved a very popular place to put new homes for these people. And these homes are back being the very high density the inner city traditionally had.
So very low rise homes like the Scovell estate (or the houses by the Weston Street
junction) got built in the 1970s because there was hardly any desire to have homes here at all. They, sadly, are the out-of-place anachronism, rather than the new towers.
This is the inevitable consequence of London becoming the 'desirable, go-to, world city' - like it or not - and the pace of change isn't going to slow any time soon.
I can't see SE1 going back to being as desirable as Rotherham or Sunderland in the next 20 years or so, but I could be wrong.