Simon Hughes MP will chair a Public Meeting arranged by the local Ward Councillors on the new proposals for the development of Bermondsey Square on Wednesday 16 April 2003
7.30 - 9.00 p.m.
at the South London Mission Methodist Hall
256 Bermondsey Street, London SE1
I hope Simon is going to support these excellent proposals, and not be swayed by those anti-development types who have a habit of shouting loud and long, at the expence of people like me who can never be bothered attending public meetings, especially when there is such quality drama on ITV on Wednesday evenings, like The Bill.
The meeting was quite well attended given good the weather and footy. MM can be assured that Simon Hughes is of the view that development is needed, and will hopefully act as a catalyst for regeneration of this part of Bermondsey. In fact there was not one voice anti development per se. The Bermondsey Street Assoc (BSAP), for example, welcomes the new proposals, so it is not a case of loads of NIMBYs. Much of the anti sentiment last time related to broken promises and the fact that the submitted design was nothing like the one that emerged after earlier public consultation.
The problem with the earlier application, in my view, was largely its scale, its mix of use and its aesthetics. Now with a cinema proposal, reduced massing on most elevations (though compensated for by rising at the TBR / Abbey Street junction) it is workable. There are still practical concerns such as parking, servicing, noise and light etc. but IF Southwark traffic, parking, planning and regeneration actually talk to each other then these should be sorted out.
Huges is satisfied, too, that the developers, Urban Catalyst, are about as good a development company as you can get, who are keen to avoid leasing out to chain shops and introducing such things as car hire by the hour for the new residents etc.
The next BSAP meeting is in fact the AGM so anyone would be welcome to come: 1830 Thursday 1st May Sorry, don't know venue hopefully someone will respond to this, or leave a message for the BSAP at the Bermondsey Street Post Office, they will get back to you.
And what are the plans for the Friday morning antique market which (possibly more than anything else? - though I am sure this will bring up differing views) is the defining feature of this corner of SE1.
Urban Catalyst (UC) say that the market will remain at the core of the project. In effect without a market there should be no Bermondsey Square project. UC believe the new square will help enhance its future prospects through better promotion, more visitors, complementary activities and improved services for traders. Additional markets are planned. There is some doubt, however, in my mind, that the market can continue during the development process. If it moves or becomes much smaller there is a risk that it will simply not return or die.