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Destroying the character of Bermondsey Street

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Wednesday 26 May 2010 5.59pm
The idea of cladding Guys is surely to do with it being an ugly sister to the "Cinderella" going up across the road.
Thursday 27 May 2010 9.42am
If you clad Guys Tower now you'll want to clad the Shard in 20 years time.

The idea that the Shard is intrinsically beautiful and Guys tower intrinsically ugly is to see buildings without historical context. Unfortunately, such uncultivated aesthetics are both commonplace and held to with considerable self-confidence by many. In architecture everyone rightly feels entitled to their own opinion, but that is not to say that there is not informed and uninformed opinion and that the former is not better than the latter.

Both this problem and the newly announced consultation (whatever it might amount to) have move the issues forward. Soon on BSTOWERS.COM will be more details of the economics of the Sellar Shard satellites, the position of the GLA and the finances of Sellar himself - all of which make the Three Tower plan look even more more improbable than its extreme incongruity.

The issue now is how to influence the SPD and to develop alternative proposals for the St Thomas St car park. BSTOWERS has led to the formation of a new Bermondsey Village Action Group which will look at both safeguarding the area as well as how it should develop. The Sellar satellites and the SPD are just graphic examples of why this cannot be safely left in the hands of developers and planners.
Thursday 27 May 2010 3.38pm

The signs at Guy's say the cladding is to improve the emergency efficiency. No idea what they mean (today's efficiency vs. the future and how big of an improvement).

So, it is not supposed to be just a cosmetic change. Given how building economics work there would be no budget for just a cosmetic change.

What are you thinking needs to be safeguarded? In some ways the community has evolves based on a series of accidents rather than some sort of master plan. Most urban settings evolve that way.

I am not sure that a developer is automatically someone who is not able to contribute in a productive way. Planners are closer to the informed opinion in that they have some degree of training in the specific topic.

Let's assume developers and planners are part of the solution rather than assuming they are automatically part of the problem.
Sunday 10 October 2010 8.42pm
Having started this forum topic several months ago I wanted to highlight to all the forthcoming public meeting at Bermondsey Village Hall, on Tuesday 12 October, at 6.30pm.

My original comments still stand that having read part of Southwark Council's London Bridge Planning Framework covering Bermondsey Village and the Bermondsey Street Conservation Area I feel that the council are too accommodative to the desire of large scale developers at the expense of the character of our neighbourhood.

Southwark Council makes plenty of relevant and worthy observations about the area:
*The fine grain character and scale of the medieval street pattern remains largely intact... particularly in the Bermondsey Street Conservation Area.
*A series of alleyways and courtyards lead off Bermondsey Street. The narrow arched entrances along Bermondsey Street are a distinctive feature of the area.

The general planning recommendations appear constructive too:
*The scale and setting of historic buildings... should be protected and improved. The dominant building type is 19th century warehousing of small to medium scale. Historic warehouse buildings should be adapted and reused.
*The conservation area is quite sensitive to buildings heights and the impact of tall buildings on the appreciation of the area needs to be carefully considered, in particular the view down Bermondsey Street.
*Development should respect the established building height of the area. The predominant building height is 2 to 5 storeys.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the council recommends that consideration should be given to a building on St. Thomas Street of 100 metres(!!!) in height, at the Weston Street end of the current car park site, which steps down significantly towards the Bermondsey Street Conservation Area.

Why? Given everything the council has written about the important historical character of our neighbourhood why should consideration be given to anything other than a 2-5 storey building? Recently local residents vocally objected to a high-rised development on the site of the former Recall warehouse, why doesn't the council take into account these kind of local objections when formulating new planning frameworks?

Also, I note that recently an application for a tall building, 31 storeys, equivalent to 109m in height, on the corner of Weston Street and St Thomas Street has been submitted. Seems like the developer is either unwilling to wait for the planning framework to be formalised or has decided that tall buildings in this neighbourhood are a dead cert.

As I mentioned, there is an opportunity to discuss this with the council on Tuesday night, at 6.30pm, at Bermondsey Village Hall. If there are any councillors reading this thread it would be great to see you at the meeting - no councillor attended the evening meeting that I went to in March.
Monday 11 October 2010 11.41am
St Thomas Street isn't in the conservation area though is it (and rightly so as there is nothing of architectural merit on it west of Bermondsey street)
Monday 11 October 2010 2.42pm
I agree with Lyonsdown. we're not talking Bermondsey St here (which I agree needs to retain its character) but that empty, souless, windy St Thomas street that has offered nothing for so many years. It my view height isnt the issue, the architecture is. If you look at the plans for the 31 storey tower previously mentioned at the top of Weston St, the architecture is so good that it will really benefit the area - much like the Shard itself. The same could be applied to the car park site further down...
Monday 11 October 2010 3.50pm
MR MC wrote:
Recently local residents vocally objected to a high-rised development on the site of the former Recall warehouse, why doesn't the council take into account these kind of local objections when formulating new planning frameworks?

From what a resident told me, the objections that actually stopped the project were not ones based on height. Height being almost a red herring in the case of the Recall decision. The impact on local services was more important I was told. Density rather than height as an absolute.

Do you know anything else concerning the 'Recall campaign'? The details which might have relevance to other discussions.

As someone else has posted out the bulk of the tall building zone has little to no direct contact with Bermondsey Street. The closest neighbor on one side is a series of rail tracks. Having tall buildings along St Thomas could be a great idea in terms of density next to a major transport hub. It still could be a problem in terms of local delivery of things that need to arrive or be taken away by truck.

The tall building designation makes no comment about the use of a building. If we were talking about low income housing, premium housing or office space the impact would vary a lot. Hence the actually planning process would capture most of the discussions around a buildings actual impact vs. the idea that tall buildings could exist near a transport hub.

John Corey
Wednesday 29 June 2011 8.35am
What do you think about Bermondsey street lately?

We have got a tapas place more.. fair enough. I did not really miss another eatery (but it is ok, well done), White Cube should be coming up in years, and that is good.

At the same time the Shunt company and Terra plana shoes left the street.

I believe in different ways they are both big losses for the area.

The former was a source of creativity and made the street far more lively, whereas now is just too quite sometimes.
Terra plana added needed variety of offer.

Does anybody know what is going to happen with these two empty spaces: the tobacco warehouse and the Terra plana shop?

I hope nothing to do with food..

Also on the same line, is there anybody informed over the future use of the retail spaces at the corner between bermondsey street and long lane. Still empty..

Thank you!
Wednesday 29 June 2011 9.31am
Moreover, the future of the east side of st Thomas's (connecting with North Bermondsey st )
't seem very bright as most of the arches will be closed as they will serve as TFL storages.
TFL are still open to hear residents views, so contact them if you wish..
Wednesday 29 June 2011 11.56am
I figure the street will continue to evolve. Businesses will come and go. Mostly driven by their ability to turn a profit. If they cannot make money they really cannot afford the location.

Speaking about the character of Bermondsey Street and the surrounding area, there is an opportunity to have direct input to the future planning guidelines. Check out the YourBermondsey page on Facebook. A link is in my signature.

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