An application for a development of 154 homes in Tanner Street has been unanimously refused by Southwark's planning committee.
London & Quadrant Housing Association wished to develop a site bounded by Maltby Street, Tanner Street and Riley Road. The Tanner Street frontage would have faced a 19th-century antiques warehouse whilst the railway arches opposite in Maltby Street are occupied by Monmouth Coffee's roastery.
The plan for a curved building rising to ten storeys – designed by Make architects – was rejected after an hour and a half deliberation on grounds of density and height.
The scheme had been criticised by the council's design review panel and planning officers recommended that elected members turn down the application.
Planning officers wrote in their report: "The strong crescent from of the development gives the scheme the appearance of a 'landmark'. The streets bounding this development are minor side streets; an overly large 'landmark' building is not appropriate within the context of this area."
Committee member Cllr Gordon Nardell concluded: "The design and appearance is just not up to it for height and location". Earlier he had criticised the "formidable brick element".
Cllr Richard Livingstone raised the question of "a canyon effect" in Maltby Street which he described as already being "a narrow road".
Architect Frank Filskow claimed that the building would result in "a widening of public space" at the Maltby Street junction.
The site is currently occupied by two large warehouses and low rise office buildings including Century House. The new building with 154 flats would have been laid out in a curve beginning in Riley Road and ending in Maltby Street.
The proposal included 88 homes for private sale, 40 social rented homes and 15 intermediate homes.
The developers planned to move their own offices into part of the gound floor and the basement. There would have been a health club fronting Riley Road.
Objectors included the Arnold Estate Tenants' and Residents' Association whose concerns included "excessive parking provision".
The number of parking places and uncertainty about on-site provision for domestic and business refuse services was highlighted during the committee's discussion.
John East from Savills, representing the developers, claimed that the relocation of the London & Quadrant offices would bring sixty new jobs to the borough.
Planning officers warned that the proposed building would be "overbearing and overly dominant within the townscape ... and is not considered to contribute positively to the urban fabric of the area".