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Homes & Pub to be knocked down on Blackfriars Road

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Thursday 23 January 2014 6.05pm
Thank you so much to all those people who have done research and formed such amazing objections to what is a nightmare proposal, and all for the benefit of people who live in the area, London's heritage and the environment. And boo to the likes of Development Security who object because they think the council shouldn'tput a height restriction on some sites, presumably because they want to profit from a skyscraper.
Thursday 23 January 2014 6.32pm
I agree with Dennis, it would be interesting to hear councillors' views about who the council is representing in this case

As I understand it only residents are able to vote in elections (coming soon!) but clearly developers' aspirations (70m towers, non-residential "appropriate town centre uses"...) are being given enormous weight by our councillors in planning policy such as this SPD.

How do our elected representatives, and the officers who work to their direction, decide that homes is not an appropriate land use when our council is meant to be representing the electorate, i.e. the people who live there now, and not businesses who fancy big returns from redevelopment? I know there is London-wide planning guidance that each Borough has to comply with, but local councils retain significant room for maneuvre.

I think this is particularly interesting in Southwark, as Anna Minton has pointed out in a report for Spinwatch, "If you are a councillor, it's currently perfectly legal to work for a lobbying company at the same time," she says. Her report raised concerns about what she perceives to be the "revolving door between officers, councillors and private-sector developers". As an example, she pointed to Southwark Council, where she says just under 20 per cent of the 63 councillors work as lobbyists, and which has seen former officials and councillors move to work for or advise developers involved in the regeneration of Elephant and Castle, which lies within the borough."
Thursday 23 January 2014 9.00pm
As a local resident often forced to trudge up and down Blackfriars Road, I really won't be very sad when those extremely drab, ugly and squat post-war commercial buildings along Blackfriars Road are all gone for good. It's like Eastern Europe.

I've read the Southwark Blackfriars Road development plan document and it is an extremely optimistic and carefully thought out piece of work - if just a few of the ideas come to fruition then the quality of the local environment will be massively improved - and basically that is the document's absolute primary focus - improved spaces in the public realm, accessible to everybody - trees, cycle routes, street cafes.

Presumably, we all want things to be better, don't we?
Thursday 23 January 2014 9.34pm
Floodplain, I would agree I want things to be "better", but what does that mean? Street cafes are a pathetic architects cliché, certainly not my personal priority and irrelevant for much of the year.

And when you look at the map in the SPD, and particularly the responses of the council officers to developers openly suggesting removing existing residents from alms houses to "elsewhere in Southwark", my question is: for whom are we planning?
Friday 24 January 2014 12.30pm
Just for the sake of clarity Floodplain - Quadrant House, Edward Edwards House and The Prince William were all built and were first occupied in 1977. Between them they are also home to between 60 and 70 single people, childless couples, families and senior citizens. Personally I think we're rather more important than yet another office block.
Friday 24 January 2014 5.56pm
One things for certain,they wont be able to claim "failed" housing estates,I see Tadworth hse is included,hardly Eastern Europe.
Friday 24 January 2014 10.38pm
Suziq, there are no statements anywhere in the Southwark development document about losing any housing.

Not eveyone living locally opposes new development and the improvements that this will bring to us all. The diversity that a changing city brings is something to celebrate - or are you against diversity?

The changing face of Blackfriars Road is only just getting going and it's going to be really exciting.
Friday 24 January 2014 11.42pm
Floodplain wrote:
Suziq, there are no statements anywhere in the Southwark development document about losing any housing.
Not eveyone living locally opposes new development and the improvements that this will bring to us all. The diversity that a changing city brings is something to celebrate - or are you against diversity?

The changing face of Blackfriars Road is only just getting going and it's going to be really exciting.


I'm so excited...

"Welcome to One Blackfriars

On the south side of Blackfriars Bridge, London SE1 a stunning new riverside quarter is planned. One Blackfriars will provide a mix of residential, commercial and retail properties. This impressive landmark development is set to offer a 170m tower and boutique hotel.

Studio, Manhattans & 1 Bedroom Apartments from £960,000*

2 Bedroom Apartments from £1,850,000*

3 Bedroom Apartments from £2,900,000*"
Saturday 25 January 2014 12.59am
Floodplain, I am more cynical than you. When you say "there are no statements anywhere in the Southwark development document about losing any housing", you must be talking about overall levels of housing, in Southwark or maybe London.

I believe it is an issue of thinking about people and not just numbers. Because the document certainly is quite clear that developers aspirations to demolish existing housing for new "mixed use" developments (and thus for current occupants to be cast aside, which is the issue that worries me) will in principle be supported by the council. The SPD clearly states that Blackfriars Road is a "town centre" and thus "residential development is not a main town centre use."

The wording of the developer proposing to redevelop 216–230 Blackfriars Road is clear on this:
It is likely that the scheme will include residential uses to replace existing units, and will include a replacement public house. There could also be a supermarket to provide enhanced shopping facilities in this part of the Borough. The site may also be brought forward for development with another site(s) in Southwark to provide replacement Alms house. The existing Alms house is no longer fit for purpose; the lift is inadequate and the building is not compliant with Disability Discrimination Act 1995 requirements.

So unquestionably existing residents of the Almshouse would have to move to "another site(s) in Southwark", and who knows on what terms. And the "replacement units" will of course be offered for sale at market rates, perhaps if the council bucks the trend of its own approvals over the last four years a few even may be offered at 80% market rates. And many will be sold to overseas "investors". In my eyes this is only "replacement" in terms of numbers; the replacement housing is in no way for existing residents unless they happen to be able to afford the new housing.

Note that the question of lifts and DDA is a standard developer tactic - this building has a ground floor and a first floor, that's it.
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