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Go-ahead for twin towers in Blackfriars Road

Southwark Council has given the go-ahead to the development of two more tall buildings at the northern end of Blackfriars Road.

20 Blackfriars Road
20 Blackfriars Road seen from the south
20 Blackfriars Road
The development seen with the Beetham Tower. The 240 Blackfriars Road development on the left is omitted.
26 Blackfriars Road
The attractive shopfront of 26 Blackfriars Road - which will be demolished - is depicted in stained glass at neighbouring Christ Church
Paper Moon tiles
Developers Circleplane are appealing for help from local residents to find a new location for these tiles from the Paper Moon

The buildings at 20 Blackfriars Road will bring almost 300 flats, offices and open space to the area.

The buildings are planned for the junction of Blackfriars Road, Stamford Street and Paris Garden and will be made up of a 42-storey residential tower and 23-storey office tower along with further buildings of up to seven storeys.

Architects Wilkinson Eyre say that when viewed from the south the tower will have the slenderest profile of any residential tall building in London and will be highly energy efficient, benefiting from excess energy transferred from the office tower.

The site is currently occupied by a number of office buildings previously occupied by Sainsbury's as well as two former pubs – the Brunswick Arms and The Paper Moon – which will both be demolished.

Plans for the site were initially worked up by Land Securities who sold the site to Israeli developer Gil Levy's Circleplane company last year.

The planning committee heard from Revd Tim Scott, rector of Christ Church Southwark, which is surrounded on two sides by the development site.

"This is one of the prime sites in the fastest-changing area of London," Mr Scott told councillors, noting that the development of the site "will and should go ahead" and calling for the developers to work with the church to improve community facilities for new and existing residents and local workers.

The loss of the Paper Moon pub was lamented by Cllr Robin Crookshank Hilton, who described the building as "a much-loved local landmark".

The historic decorative tiles inside the pub – which closed at the end of 2007 – will be preserved and the developers are open to suggestions from local residents about where they should be relocated.

The meeting was addressed by Cathedrals ward councillor David Noakes who noted the concerns of his constituents about the impact of proposed tall buildings on amenity and quality of life, including solar glare, wind, light and TV reception issues.

Cllr Noakes also noted that the council still lacks a strategy for the development of tall buildings in north Southwark – an issue also raised by English Heritage in its comments on the application.

Almost 6 million of section 106 cash will go towards open space and play areas, education, healthcare, road improvements, renovation of Christ Church Garden and employment, including helping to get local people jobs on the construction of the site.

"This is another step forward in the transformation of Blackfriars Road with a great new landmark building," says Cllr Richard Thomas, Southwark Council's outgoing executive member for regeneration.

"New developments can impact on the communities who live and work in the area, which is why this section 106 is so important. It enables us to provide the facilities and infrastructure required to support our growing communities."

The 20 Blackfriars Road development is immediately to the south of the Beetham Tower which gained planning permission at the end of last year. To the east work has recently started on Great Portland Estates' development at 240 Blackfriars Road and redevelopment is also planned at the former Social Security office at Wedge House to the south.


Where could the historic tiles from the Paper Moon be preserved?

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