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Potters Fields: Southwark receives new bids for its land

Southwark Council says that it has received new proposals for its land at Potters Fields to include an "iconic cultural venue" and affordable housing.

The authority – which owns the largest chunk of the derelict former coach park next to Tower Bridge – says that it has received "several proposals" for the site which were considered by the council's ruling executive in closed session at the Town Hall on Tuesday night.

There has been an impasse between Southwark Council and Berkeley Homes for more than 18 months since the property developer gained planning permission on appeal for eight cylindrical residential towers on the high-profile riverside site.

"Southwark Council's priorities for Potters Fields are to ensure that we receive best value for the land; to see a world-class development that combines an iconic cultural venue and mixed-tenure housing; and the outstanding architecture that this unique location on the Thames deserves," says council leader Nick Stanton.

"This is the last prime riverside site in central London and we want to make sure that the site becomes home to a building that all of London can be proud of. This is our best chance to deliver these benefits for Southwark and for London. With council officers negotiating with parties interested in developing Potters Fields, a compulsory purchase order is no longer appropriate.

"The council wants this resolved quickly but now that we have received offers for the council's land at Potters Fields we have a duty to examine these in detail. We intend to move quickly and there will be no unreasonable delays."

Southwark Council's executive will consider a detailed proposition about which offer best meets its ambitions for the site at a special executive meeting to be arranged before the end of October.

Meanwhile Mayor of London Ken Livingstone – who last month set a one-month deadline for Southwark to resolve the future of the site – revealed at Mayor's Question Time that he was last week visited at City Hall by Simon Hughes MP who put forward his alternative proposal for Potters Fields.

"I had Simon Hughes in my office last week talking about how we could take the Potters Fields site that's been so controversial, make it a bit bigger and in doing so get the full 50 per cent affordable housing," Mr Livingstone told London Assembly members.

The North Southwark and Bermondsey MP is backing a proposal that would take in a wider site including the slice of land between Queen Elizabeth Street and Tooley Street where the NatWest bank stands and would incorporate more than one cultural venue as well as more housing.

Meanwhile the proposal known as The Hill continues to be developed and enjoys the backing of the Tooley Street Tenants' and Residents' Association. Actor Emma Thompson is the latest figure from the arts world to endorse the Hill scheme.

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