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Demolition threat to 'Colorama' Victorian warehouse buildings, Lancaster Street

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Monday 21 May 2012 3.17pm

I am impressed by your detail knowledge of the issues! I am new to this so relay canít argue on most of the details and off course any HSE risk is unacceptable.

Re the height point, in the end this needs to be economical and adding only 2 floors will make it a low return project. With 3 floors you get a more then doubling of surfaces and thus a good uplift that make economics work better (keeping facade etc.. are not cheap endeavors).

Also re the ratios of 1/2/3bd, I have no idea what the official council position is but I know that itís extremely hard to find 3bd flats these days in SE1.

Will feedback on the planning application.


Love your style!
Wednesday 3 October 2012 7.54pm
Looks like this application might go to committee on 24 October.

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Wednesday 3 October 2012 8.42pm
Thanks James

Just to reiterate some of the main points on this discussion board and further updates:

1) There was the Union Street and North of Borough Road Character Area Appraisal 2007, which recommended this building for local listing.

a) This policy has been dismissed by the planning dept as out of date and have advised that the policy they are working to is the Borough, Bankside and London Bridge SPD.

2) Having read through Borough, Bankside and London Bridge SPD, there are two important points:
a) it has not yet been adopted
b) It also refers to the Union Street and North of Borough Road Character Area Appraisal 2007 and this is recommended action!
c)One would therefore hope that Southwark Planning Dept base there recommendations on this policy, (dispite it having not yet been adopted). However this is also not the case, as they have recommended them for demolition, dispite these buildings clearly having been around since before 1896, and retaining their Victorian Lighting Industry character.

So, we have past policy and future policy which recommends these buildings for local listing, yet Southwark planning dept seem to be working outside of policy, recommending Southwark's heritage for demolition.

If this is the position for the historic Colorama buildings - how will it pan out for other historic buildings also in the vicinity, listed in Union Street and North of Borough Road Character Area Appraisal 2007 currently under threat? Without policy in place, there is a greater risk all round.
Friday 2 November 2012 3.32pm
hi all,

i'd like to open this thread again. it seams as though the granting of planning permission is imminent and this greatly worries me.

by now it must be obvious that this council and previous ones have little interest in preserving the working class victorian heritage of elephant and castle.

despite petitions and letters of concern, they've decided to sell off this monument of the building to be demolished, creating a construction site out of the area and eventually paving the way for luxury flats.

this cannot stand. we can do something about the situation and i'd like anyone interested to contact me at [email protected]

i believe the next open meeting in regards to development plans is on the 8th november. can anyone confirm this?


Sunday 4 November 2012 5.02pm
The application will be heard by a planning sub-committee on 14 November. Planning officers are recommending that councillors approve the planning application:

From the officers' report:

"it is accepted that though these buildings do have a certain scale, character and identity which they contribute to the surrounding townscape, their heritage value is not considered to be significant (in terms of architectural quality and historical relevance) and their loss is considered to be acceptable (indeed the buildings enjoy no protection at present from demolition in that they are not listed or within a conservation area)."

The Victorian Society describes the demolition of the buildings as "a damaging and backward proposal that would see the destruction of a part of Southwark's late Victorian architectural heritage".

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Sunday 4 November 2012 5.30pm
James Hatts wrote:
The application will be heard by a planning sub-committee on 14 November. Planning officers are recommending that councillors approve the planning application:

Another developer pleading 'financial viability' to reduce the required 35% affordable housing component as laid out in Southwark Southwark Plan (2011), the Core Strategy (2011) and also the Affordable Housing SPD (2008).

The Southwark District valuer on reading the developers viability report accepts the proposed offer of 21% affordable housing and comments that this 'exceeds the level that is technically viable' and thus justifies the shortfall in the level of affordable housing.
Monday 5 November 2012 2.31pm
i think there's been enough talking about the de-merits of demolishing the building.

we know that the local council has and will continue to sell out to big business

interests. gentrification continues full steam ahead and we largely feel powerless

despite an odd online petition here and there.

demolishing these buildings is criminal. the local area will be turned into a

disgusting construction site. luxury flats and un-affordable housing (less than the

already low quota of 30%) will further change the make-up of elephant and castle.

rent will continue to increase and small businesses will go out of business.

what about holding a demonstration or an open meeting for local communities

concerned and affected by this proposal?

what ideas do you have?!?!
Monday 5 November 2012 7.35pm
Bourough and Bankside planning guidance at the moment is in a state of uncertainty, whilst we await the Neighbourhood Plan.

This has raised its head recently in relation to the plight of Colorama buildings, which Southwark planning officers are recommending for demolition to make way for new housing.

Presently planners have already stated that they will be omitting the Colorama buildings from Local Character Appraisal (and therefore the SPD), and possibly other buidlings which they think are surplus to requirement - yet - without further consultation - not even the Neighbourhood Plan forum - despite there having been previous consultation on these buildings and recognised for their merit to have been included in the future SPD.

Now if this is the case for Colorama, , it is also likely to apply and impact other heritage buildings, outside of conservation areas and without listed status, in this area.

Therefore the heritage of this local area is greatly under threat - as currently, at a whim, planners can change their minds as to the merits of certain buildings.
(These buildings have not changed - they still represent the victorian characters for which were once recommended for local listing)

Not only do we need to take a stand now, against this complete disregard for our heritage safeguards, we also need to make sure that we take all possible measures to safeguard our heritage within this area for the future.

It is therefore paramount that the community take a stand to prevent Blackfriars heritage from being wiped out to make way for bland homogenous buildings which are out of keeping with the historic character of the area and pay no reference to the heritage of the area.

As a consequence, Blackfriars Preservation Society is being formed. The pressure for development within this area is immense and existing heritage safeguards are being ripped up and disregarded.

Come and support the objections on the 14th November

1) past and future planning policy/guidance has been dismissed

2) The Neighbourhood Plan is not yet in place and items of policy and guidance which have already been consulted on, are being tampered with by Planning officers without further consultation with anyone group or one.

3)The Neighbourhood Plan forum will not be consulted on these adhoc changes to planning guidance/policy and it is outrageous, as this is the community group which is leading on the policy side of the new Localism Bill.

More to follow.....
Monday 5 November 2012 8.16pm

Just to be clear these particular buildings fall outside of the Bankside Neighbourhood Plan area so there is no particular reason that should be preventing any other legislation from applying to these particular buildings.


Monday 5 November 2012 9.07pm
Hi Rebekah,

Thank you for clarifying matters in relation to the location of Colorama in relation to the Bankside Neighbourhood Plan.

It would be useful to discuss this with you further as, we can check, but I am pretty sure that the same SPD applies to the wider area and therefore, the same concerns in relation to heritage and in how planning officers are just able to omit buildlings from heritage safeguards at a whim.
As noted, it would be useful to discuss this further.

It is also very concerning that there is no apparent overarching Neighbourhood Plan for this immediate area. If it is not covered by the Bankside Neighbourhood Plan, what one does it fall under? It highlights that it is more vulnerable.
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