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Skipton House Redevelopment - Elephant & Castle

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Thursday 8 October 2015 11.15am
All the display boards from the exhibition are here
http://skiptonhouseconsultation.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2015/08/Skipton-House-panels-final.pdf

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Thursday 8 October 2015 11.47am
Thanks for posting that James.

The document is an odd one. Suspicious manipulations throughout, noticeably to distorting public space around the building, suggesting some link / credit for N-S superhighway which is not adjacent, strangely repetitive about Skipton St as if that were really an issue or major benefit and they remain shtum on the height of anything, only a pigeon could judge from their almost isometric illustration whether it leaves Strata behind in Elephant's race to the stars. Surely the architects of the world's tallest building would like to be a bit more proud of their latest edifice, or do the developers detect tower fatigue?
Thursday 8 October 2015 3.10pm
Back from the consultation, good to see James there too gathering a story.

Key stats:

The tallest of the two towers is 147m in the north west corner. That's 1m shorter than Strata, 24m taller than One The Elephant. It's split into 38 floors, mostly residential with offices below. The two blocks at the front are the office and retail space. The cultural space will be mostly subterranean and draws some inspiration from Kings Place in Kings Cross, the Clore Ballroom in the Festival Hall

The roof garden aspires to be dawn to dusk, not ticketed, free. Concerns over late night revelry disturbing very adjacent residential properties at MCH and Perronet House might determine closing hours.

Provision and ratios of affordable / social housing has yet to be figured out. It might be off site. The council will adjudicate on what was presented as a trade off between cultural space and affordable housing.

There's lots to commend it, the ability of the developer to answer questions in detail directly rather than through a consiglieri or marketing team was notable superior to other encounters with developers, but I'll let their marketing do the sell for you.

The lead architect is David Childs (he wasn't there) who is best known for World Trade Centre https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Childs. The most direct point of reference for the scheme is the Time Warner Center in NYC, like this twin towers with an atrium, though the Skipton House project is 80m shorter https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Warner_Center New York

I'm interested to hear of other reasons to support it or be concerned about it. It's the most adjacent development to Perronet House of anything here - yes it's my back yard - and it's the most out of the blue without years of community speculation or campaigning - so I'm keener than ever to scrutinise it.

Skipton House will be demolished mid 2017 at the very earliest.
Thursday 8 October 2015 7.37pm
Thanks for posting the boards.

It seems very odd, to build down to tube level and not be able to access the underground? A great missed opportunity to be rid of the ghastly lifts and have a proper station on the Bakerloo side, as well as the Northern.
Friday 9 October 2015 7.47am
JamesUp. Yes I agree. You've itched a raw nerve there, even on this development there are negative repercussions of TfL's decision to invest in an aesthetically driven, linger-enhancing redesign instead of prioritising transport efficiency and safety for all users. Our so called "Piccadilly Circus of the South" should have had a subterranean ticket hall integrating the two stations from which several large pedestrian subways radiated out to the edge, some to street, some directly into buildings. That was the plan as the Bakerloo was originally being built, but the land owners refused sale, forcing the Bakerloo station to be built on its present, awkward site. The opportunity was missed again in the 1950s scheme that's being demolished now.

So I had an interesting though depressing conversation with the developers about the tube station. They've struggled to get clarity from TfL about how best to integrate it, so much so they've had to do wind modelling tests as if the building were there or not. It's not listed nor in the nearby conservation area, and it's forecast to hit capacity level by 2020 (not sure I recall that date correctly, but it was seemed very soon). TfL have not given them a plan as to how they'll overcome that issue (they probably don't have one). Demolition, from TfL's point of view, is definitely not out of the question, although Stephen Witherford, their architect for the 'square' has passionately made the case to retain it as a rare piece of prewar history here. I recall from consultations hearing with incredulity that TfL's surface planners (very much a different department to the tube people) were unaware that the two tube stations were connected underground, so were insistent that the key route for pedestrians that needed improvement was from the Bakerloo to the Northern line stations above ground, despite the fact their own data shows by far the most numerous pedestrians pass under New Kent Road and didn't continue round to the Bakerloo or vice versa. The new crossings reflect that ignorance.

It's a reminder of how this major transport intersection, a key node in TfL's route is being utterly mismanaged, a the vast expensive bodge and missed opportunity. The council and GLA are too impatient for any investment and change and too complacent about the importance for safe efficient travel here. Their much marketed 'improvement' has, L+R confirmed as have Delancey directly, been rejected as an overarching concept by Delancey who are ignoring the proposed dimensions of the square on its southern edge and are not embracing the pointless pizza by creating their places to linger inside their development not on it's edge next to TfL's horrid snarl up. The moment it becomes two way I hope fans of the scheme begin to realise the horror they've endorsed, today's congestion, traffic density and pedestrian frustration will seem like a golden age compared to the walls of traffic to come blocking an easy crossing. The only winners will be cyclists, but they'll need to have a good bell to ensure they don't mow down pedestrians at the numerous engineered collision points (some are now detailed on maps at Facebook.com/elephantandcastleroundabout).
Saturday 10 October 2015 1.59pm
This 1982 Thames News report about plans for the Technopark shows the Skipton House site when it was still an empty plot.



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Wednesday 14 October 2015 4.05pm
I also work at Skipton House. Although I read SE1, as I live very near, I missed this story and I had no idea about the fact that we would definitely be leaving this building until an all staff message today. I also agree that it would be a bas to lose major employers from E&C, and short sighted as new businesses will be entirely reliant on evening trade. E&C is definitely not a tourist destination!
Friday 16 October 2015 12.29pm
The proposed replacement has 500k ft2 of office space, twice the size of Skipton House, so it's not likely to reduce employment.
jpm
Friday 16 October 2015 4.29pm
I agree entirely with the above. The one huge thing that the various bits of Elephant regeneration have missed out is the potential to make the Elephant the proper transport interchange it deserves to be.

Currently (!) the tube lines aren't properly accessible and crowded and the rail station is really inaccessible (I'm surprised there aren't choirs of nuns singing 'Climb Every Mountain' at the tops of the platforms). There is no common/easy way to transfer between the rail station and the underground

The shopping centre developers say that Network Rail (responsible for the Station) aren't interested in engaging with their plans for redevelopment of the surrounding buildings and the Skipton House developers say that Transport for London (responsible for the Underground) aren't interested in engaging with their plans to redevelop the building above the Bakerloo end of the station.

Step 5-10 years into the future and Elephant & Castle station will be connected to the upgraded Thameslink services running across the city (and could be an important interchange from all points south to the underground) and the Bakerloo line could be extended as far as Bromley.

And, of course, the Elephant becomes an important destination in its own right with Cinemas, Theatre (plus restaurant and shops).

Short-sighted seems an understatement, particularly as now is our once-in-60-years chance to get it right.
Tuesday 26 January 2016 1.52pm
The full planning application is now online:

http://planbuild.southwark.gov.uk:8190/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=_STHWR_DCAPR_9564104

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