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The official regeneration magazine of Southwark Council Issue One February 2005


Welcome to Southwark Southwark The official regeneration magazine of Southwark Council Editor Julie Heekin Head of Sales George Haynes Design Wire Images Southwark Council, Blackfriars Investments, Wire Design, Urban Catalyst, BL/Canada Quays, Jody Kingzett, Stratton & Reekie, Sellar Property Group, More London, Land Securities, Tate Modern. Managing Director Toby Fox Publisher 3Fox International Limited 3rd Floor Lansdowne House 3-7 Northcote Road London SW11 1NG T. 020 7978 6840 F. 020 7978 6837 For Southwark Council

Welcome to the first issue of Southwark, Southwark Council’s official regeneration magazine. Over the coming years this magazine will chart the vast changes that large scale mixed-use regeneration projects such as Elephant and Castle, Canada Water and Bermondsey Spa and Square are bringing to the borough in the form of new residential, retail, cultural, leisure and community facilities. This magazine is distributed throughout the UK’s fast-growing regeneration industry. For our colleagues at councils and agencies across the country, we hope Southwark is setting benchmarks. For developers and investors, architects, housebuilders and engineers, Southwark offers landmark development projects. For commercial and residential letting agents and landlords, our rich mix of communities, culture and history – not to mention top class transport links – make this an exciting borough in which to live, work and play.

projects – More London, Bankside 123 and Palestra – totalling 393,000 square metres are due for completion during 2007, cementing Southwark’s credentials as a major business destination (page 28). These are no ordinary office buildings. They reflect our openness to striking design. On page 34 we take a look at Southwark’s fêted architecture and ask RIBA prize winner Will Alsop how he visualises the borough (page 26). And with London mayor Ken Livingstone sanctioning the development of tall buildings in the capital, we illustrate how the future is looking up for Southwark (page 38). Do you agree? Are there topics you’d like us to cover? Do you simply want more copies of Southwark? Log on to or www. and let us know through the feedback forms there, so we can incorporate your views into issue two later this year. Until then …

Chiltern House Portland Street London SE17 2ES Communications Manager Rachel Fox Subscriptions and Feedback To register for free subscriptions and/or to offer your comments visit:

©3Fox International Limited All material is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the written permission of 3Fox International Limited is strictly forbidden. The greatest care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of information in this magazine at time of going to press, but we accept no responsibility for omissions or errors. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of 3Fox International Limited or Southwark Council.

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Southwark Issue One

Located in the heart of South Central London, stretching from cultural Bankside on the Thames to leafy Dulwich, our borough incorporates some of the capital’s most diverse and also its most disadvantaged areas. Southwark Council believes that social and economic progress can be best achieved through an inclusive approach to regeneration. Recent successes support that view, most notably in Peckham (page 44). But there is still much to be done. On the commercial front, three major

Paul Evans Director of Regeneration, Southwark Council


06 News Catch up with the latest regeneration news in Southwark. 10 Shaping Southwark: The regeneration vision Councillor Richard Porter and others explain Southwark’s vision of a brighter future for all and highlight some of the projects changing the face of the borough. 22 Welcome to Southwark Southwark is London’s hottest new location for tourism, culture and having fun … 26 Will Alsop on Southwark The Stirling prize winning architect shares his thoughts on architecture in Southwark, designing Palestra and breaking ‘the rules’. 28 Open for business Southwark is home to a host of exciting new office developments. We take a look at the movers and shakers in the borough. 32 Leading the way in green With a state-of-the-art waste management facility planned as part of a major PFI deal, Southwark is preparing to go ultra green. 34 Only the best is good enough Southwark boasts some of the most innovative architecture in the country. Paul Evans, director of regeneration at Southwark council, explains why.

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38 Looking up in Southwark The mayor’s London Plan gave its approval to the development of more tall structures in the capital. But what does it all mean? 44 The Peckham story We take a look at the great strides in regeneration taken by one of the borough’s poorest areas. 49 Art by committee The More London office development chose its public art via committee. Development director Liam Bond discusses the results. 50 Famous sons Rio Ferdinand. Advertisement Features 08 BL/Canada Quays – Making waves at Canada Water Advertisers 02 Southwark Council 12 Idom UK Ltd 16 The Hyde Group 18 Urban Catalyst 30 DP9 40 GVA Grimley 42 Environ UK Ltd 46 Sellar Property Group 48 Keegans Back Cover Multiplex

News Top: Southwark Council’s one-stop shop Bottom: The proposed Canada Water regeneration

Elephant and Castle is London’s top planner

Zaha Hadid to design Architecture Foundation

BL/Canada Quays prepare to sign up for Canada Water

Southwark’s council service revolution

Southwark Council last December received a prestigious London planning award from mayor Ken Livingstone for the £1.5 billion Elephant and Castle regeneration scheme. Victorious in the ‘best public sector planning organisation’ category, the council was commended for reigniting the scheme after a failed development over two years ago.

Acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid has won an international competition to design The Architecture Foundation’s new centre for architecture in Southwark. Hadid, who last year became the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Prize, beat over 200 submissions from 20 countries to win the Southwark Street commission.

Southwark Council has agreed to sign a 10-year development agreement with British Land for the ambitious 162,000 square metre regeneration of Canada Water. Chosen in July 2003 as the council’s preferred masterplanning team, British Land and its joint venture partner Canada Quays (BL/Canada Quays) are now preparing to submit the scheme for planning consideration this summer. Work is expected to begin on the Rotherhithe Peninsula site early next year.

Southwark Council showed its commitment to customer service last November by signing a 10-year partnership with Pearson Government Solutions. Pearson is delivering a new Customer Service Centre (CSC) programme, allowing council customers to deal with any and all of their council needs during a single contact – whether by phone, letter, email, internet or face-to-face.

Livingstone said the judges were impressed by the ‘excellent team effort focusing on co-ordination of the council departments and the local community’. He also praised ‘the added achievement of radically shifting developer aspirations away from a shopping centre, whilst coping with challenges to focus on a comprehensive regeneration scheme with strong local community involvement’. The award was accepted by Elephant and Castle project director Chris Horn at a ceremony at City Hall. ‘We believe that public and commercial interests can be successfully aligned in major urban developments of this kind,’ Horn said. ‘Great urban streets and spaces deliver long-term value, a fact evidenced by the huge surge in development interest in the Elephant and Castle.’ Over the next decade, a new city quarter will be created at the site, offering over 5,000 new and replacement homes, up to 75,000 square metres of retail, leisure and entertainment space and public areas with cultural and community facilities (page 17).

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Her design envisages the building formed by a solid concrete ribbon wrapped around a full height glazed space at its centre. Rowan Moore, director of the Architecture Foundation, said: ‘Zaha Hadid won because of the way her design encompassed the range of spaces required by the brief and made them into a convincing architectural whole. It is a powerful, not to say unmissable, building but one that also allows for quieter and more intimate spaces’.

The indicative masterplan for the area, which enjoys transport links to Canary Wharf and the West End via the Jubilee Line, promises 2,000 new homes in a mixture of styles and tenures. Other elements include a library, leisure facilities, public realm creation and improvements around the Canada Water dock, along with 9,000 square metres of office, business startup and live-work space.

The Architecture Foundation – established in 1991 to promote and encourage contemporary architecture – will relocate to Southwark in autumn next year when its new £2.25 million home, sponsored by Land Securities, is due to open. Commenting on the award, Paul Evans, director of regeneration at Southwark Council, said: ‘In recent years Southwark has become a beacon for exciting, modern architecture and I am delighted that someone as talented and as visionary as Zaha Hadid has been selected to join the long list of outstanding contemporary architects to have worked in the borough’.

Councillor Richard Porter, executive member for regeneration, said: ‘We have now reached an agreement with BL/Canada Quays that will see Canada Water reach its true potential as a focal point for the Rotherhithe Peninsula and a major contributor to central London’s success’.

Top and middle: Elephant and Castle regeneration Bottom: Zaha Hadid’s design for The Architecture Foundation

David Taylor, chairman of regeneration specialist Canada Quays, said urban development on this scale is unusual. Alongside Southwark Council, Taylor is liaising extensively with the local community to ensure the scheme benefits it.

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The Customer Service Centre, based at London Bridge, will handle over two million calls a year and the first ‘one-stop shop’, at Bermondsey Spa, will open this summer as part of the regeneration programme there (page 14-15). Further one-stop shops will follow in Peckham and Walworth. Council leader Nick Stanton said: ‘People have to contact different offices depending on what kind of service they need from the council. This simply doesn’t make sense anymore and it is time for change. Our long-term plan is to provide a model of good practice which could be bought into by other councils, bringing extra revenue into Southwark’.

Southwark unveils Tenda Road scheme Southwark Council, in partnership with a Registered Social Landlord (RSL), is planning to build a new Children’s Centre and 16 key worker residential units at Tenda Road, South Bermondsey. The centre – which will replace an existing 55-place childcare

facility – will be completed in March 2006. It will include an 88-place nursery offering childcare provision for babies, toddlers and children aged up to five years. The Council is currently in discussions with an RSL partner and hopes to reach an agreement for the construction and management of the project by this summer. *We’ll take a closer look at the Tenda Road scheme in issue two of Southwark, which will be published later this year. As well as catching up on developments from the borough’s flagship regeneration projects, we’ll also check the progress of the cross river tram, feature the housing regeneration in Nunhead and ask another famous face their opinions on Southwark.

Left: Images from the Canada Water regeneration masterplan. Above: Michael Sraga of Urban Strategies asks local schoolchildren for their views of Canada Water

Making waves at Canada Water

With a leading role in the 162,000 square metre regeneration of Canada Water, British Land arrives in Southwark. Although a development powerhouse and one of the industry’s most respected companies, large scale, mixed-use regeneration represents something of a new direction for British Land. But through its strategic partnership with regeneration specialist Canada Quays the property giant is building a team with the diverse skills required to deliver the groundbreaking scheme. Located on Southwark’s Rotherhithe Peninsula, Canada Water has credentials to match any UK regeneration scheme. Just minutes from Westminster and the West End on the Jubilee Line, and with easy access to Canary Wharf and the City, the area boasts an abundance of vacant land. But not for long. British Land and Canada Quays (BL/Canada Quays) are currently completing a 10-year development agreement with Southwark Council to revitalise the site in SE16. The indicative

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masterplan envisages a rejuvenated Canada Water with a water’s edge promenade, bustling with cafes and restaurants, linking to a new library and community centre, leisure facilities, shopping area and revitalised public spaces. Two thousand new homes in a mix of styles and tenures will also be created (page 21 for more details). Fronting the project is one of the regeneration industry’s most well known operators, Canada Quays chairman David Taylor. He brings specialist regeneration know-how to the partnership, after more than two decades of work in the field. He has served at board level both in public and in private sector companies, including stints as managing director of AMEC and chief executive of English Partnerships. Yet, in 25 years, Taylor has seen little else to rival the scale of this project. ‘Urban development of this size is unusual,’ he claims. ‘This is an extremely large and complex project.’ For several years now he has overseen the untangling of intricate land ownership issues

and extensive consultation with local resident and forum groups. ‘We are working hard, with Southwark Council, to develop a scheme that benefits the entire community,’ Taylor says.

It’s not just size and ambition that distinguish Canada Water from other schemes; the partnership between British Land and Canada Quays is also a point of difference.

These sentiments are echoed by Michael Sraga, associate at Toronto-based masterplan architect Urban Strategies. ‘Our involvement in Canada Water has enabled us to meet many interesting people who live and work on the Rotherhithe Peninsula,’ he says. ‘With other team members we have joined panel and resident discussions. I have twice participated in classroom activities at St. John’s primary school and look forward to doing more of the same; this part of developing the masterplan is the most rewarding. We are creating a new neighbourhood that will fulfil the aspirations of residents and business owners. These aspirations look beyond what Canada Water is today; rather they focus on what it can and should be in five or 10 years. As I told the St. John’s pupils last Spring, I want to see a neighbourhood emerge that they will want to live and work in.’

‘I suppose it is relatively unusual to find a partnership between a huge company like British Land and a small, independent company, but it works really well,’ Taylor asserts. ‘We have skills and expertise that complement each other. British Land is one of Europe’s most established property companies and holds vast development experience in all sectors of the market.’

Southwark Issue One

‘Canada Water represents one of the largest and most exciting mixed-use developments in London,’ says British Land’s Andrew Walton. ‘It is one of a number of large scale regeneration projects being undertaken by British Land and we look forward to working closely with our partners at the council and the community.’

But the company’s current priority is Canada Water. With the 10-year development agreement currently being completed, the team is starting work on a detailed masterplan that will be submitted for planning approval later this year. Work is expected to begin onsite early next year, when the face of SE16 is set to change forever.

Shaping Southwark: The Regeneration Vision A decade ago, Southwark was the second most deprived local authority area in England. Today, with a council that is promoting, engaging in and/or leading some of the UK’s most exciting and innovative regeneration projects, the borough is arguably London’s hottest location. A snapshot of past, present and future ventures includes: the £500 million Bermondsey Spa regeneration; total transformation of the housing stock, trams and RIBA prize-winning development in Peckham; the Jubilee Line Extension; the £1.5 billion Elephant and Castle redevelopment and Renzo Piano’s highly anticipated London Bridge Tower.

That’s not to say there isn’t more work to do as complex social problems don’t disappear overnight, or even over a decade. Southwark is still the ninth poorest borough in the country, but the political and commercial will for progress is very much alive.

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Shaping Southwark

Southwark Council’s executive member for regeneration Richard Porter says his main challenge is to ensure that economic growth benefits all residents. ‘In recent years the focus of regeneration has moved towards creating sustainable communities, rather than focusing simply on buildings alone,’ he says. ‘This is a very positive change. It has been a difficult process, but I think that developers now

understand what we expect from them. And we are also willing to listen and accept constructive criticism.’ The council’s checklist includes extensive consultation with local people, high architectural design standards and the inclusion of community facilities and affordable housing within development schemes. Porter points to the Bermondsey Spa project as a successful example: construction of the council’s ‘one-stop’ shop - allowing Southwark residents to deal with any and all of their council needs during a single contact - is now under way. ‘Regeneration shouldn’t alienate the existing community and its benefits should be accessible to all,’ Porter comments. ‘It is our job to ensure that capital gains received from developers are reinvested in schools and in improving the local environment.’ Southwark Council’s director of regeneration Paul Evans echoes these sentiments: ‘We give shape to regeneration and development schemes ensuring that they

form the most coherent and rewarding plan for Southwark. We must also be adaptable and ready to react to changes as they arise’. And as Porter points out, Southwark is a safe bet for developers. ‘The borough holds immense potential and projected investment returns are very good,’ he says. Judging by the current frenzy of activity, many agree with him. Regeneration projects at Elephant and Castle, Bermondsey Spa, Bermondsey Square and Canada Water are channelling billions of pounds into the borough (pages 14-21) and high profile office developments such as Bankside 123, More London and the Palestra building have seen Southwark become London’s hottest new office location (pages 28-31). Stuart Bailey, director at Palestra developer Blackfriars Investments, believes the mix of excellent transport links and exciting cultural and entertainment facilities is attracting business to the borough. Certainly, Southwark is a great place to live and work – bursting with restaurants,

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bars and cultural experiences. This is increasingly important to employers who are looking at issues such as staff retention. Crucially, the Jubilee Line as well as train services from London Bridge and Waterloo mean that the borough is easily accessible from other parts of London. Transport connections were boosted further in October last year with the approval of the cross river tram linking Camden with Peckham (where the depot will be based) and Brixton, via King’s Cross and Waterloo. Southwark Council, through its membership of the Cross River Partnership alongside three other London boroughs, lobbied hard to bring the tram – which should be operational by 2011 – to Peckham. ‘I believe the tram will be a huge catalyst for further regeneration,’ says Porter. ‘Its importance in bringing jobs, more regeneration in housing, more employment, more business and better access to facilities can hardly be over estimated.’

Shaping Southwark

What is the most positive change in Southwark? ‘Some might say the Tate Modern, others the Jubilee Line Extension. Both of these are tremendous achievements but for me Peckham is the greatest regeneration achievement of the past two decades.’ Paul Evans director of regeneration Southwark Council. ‘The demolition of the North Peckham estate in terms of the physical improvement that this produced. I also believe construction work at Elephant and Castle over the next few months will produce some spectacular changes.’ Richard Porter, executive member for regeneration and economic development, Southwark Council.

Social Challenges


Although Southwark has enjoyed extensive physical and social improvements over the past decade, many of its 250,000 residents still face hardship. While unemployment stands at around three per cent nationally, it runs at 8.5 per cent in the borough. Within minority communities that figure is higher still. ‘Southwark has suffered from the decline of the traditional industrial and manufacturing industries that used to provide employment. We also have large minority populations who face barriers when attempting to enter the labour market. Regeneration can help ease unemployment and encourage integration through job creation and improving the local environment,’ says the council’s executive member for regeneration and economic development Richard Porter.

At 29, Richard Porter is one of Southwark’s youngest councillors. He has held the regeneration portfolio since May 2004.

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Shaping Southwark

Better Bermondsey Work is under way on the £500 million regeneration of Bermondsey Spa. Spanning more than 20 development sites over 200,000 square metres, the project is delivering new and better homes, shops, health centres, community facilities and open spaces for local residents. Hyde Housing, in collaboration with Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects (PTEA), began preparatory work on 73 new homes and a health centre last November. The one, two and three-bed apartments – 25 per cent affordable and 17 per cent reserved for keyworkers – will be completed by Autumn 2006. PTEA director Stephen Chance describes the development as a ‘unique curved landmark building with collonades’. A ‘car club’ car-sharing scheme designed to cut vehicle use is also planned. Hyde, which already owns around 1,500 properties in the borough, is also leading the development of five linked sites around Old Jamaica Road. Delivering 627 homes – divided equally between affordable, key worker and private accommodation – a health centre and commercial space including a small supermarket, construction is scheduled to begin this April. The first phase will produce 207 apartments, while the scheme itself will include one to five-bed maisonettes and apartments. Regeneration architect of the year 2004, Levitt Bernstein designed the scheme and is also working with Hyde on the 190-home Site D. ‘We have masterplanned housing that is high density and high quality,’ explains director David Levitt. ‘The

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design incorporates all of the tenures seamlessly; there is no distinction or separation.’ And what can we expect to see? ‘Contemporary and urban materials such as brick and exposed steel.’ London based practice IDOM UK is currently designing a mixed-use development with 49 residential units and a nursery on Site J, adjacent to St. James’s church. Construction is expected to start later this year. In total, 13 sites are at various stages of planning approval or construction, all overseen by Southwark Council’s projects team. ‘We are looking at the area comprehensively to link and balance all of the council’s objectives from regeneration to air-quality improvement,’ says Tim Thompson, head of the projects team. ‘Southwark’s population is expected to rise from 250,000 to 400,000 over the next 30 years and we have to accommodate this, but we also have to create sustainable communities and balance CO2 emissions targets. Owning around 40 per cent of the borough we have the ability to be proactive. This means, amongst other initiatives, ensuring that new health centres are constructed and that all developers produce a diverse range of properties to the highest energy efficiency standards.’

What will be delivered at Bermondsey Spa? 2000 new homes (more than a quarter will be affordable) 16 GP surgery places A dental practice New youth facilities Over 26,000 square metres of re-landscaped open space Car-club spaces 108 secure bicycle parks New council offices and a one stop shop New shops including a supermarket Once upon a time … Masterplanning on the Bermondsey scheme began five years ago when Southwark Council employed a team of architects headed by Llewyn Davis. The plan was approved with cross-party support on October 13 2000. After suffering the loss of its traditional industrial employment base during the 1970s and 1980s, Bermondsey’s regeneration brings fresh hope. Southwark Council pioneered a new City Academy school and adult training scheme and it has pledged £14 million of reinvestment in the area. Around £10 million will be spent on upgrading existing council housing while a further £4 million will go towards public realm improvements, including the £1.5 million redevelopment of Spa Gardens by Broadway Malayan.

‘Hyde is pleased to be selected as lead developer by Southwark for key sites within Bermondsey Spa to build high quality homes for both sales and rent, and through its long-term commitment to create vibrant and sustainable communities,’ says Hyde Housing chief executive Charlie Adams.

Ultimately, regeneration on this scale is a long term process: the Bermondsey Spa area is scheduled for completion by around 2011. Additional sites will be brought to the market in the coming years and other partners enlisted to forward the vision for a new-look Bermondsey.

Shaping Southwark

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Shaping Southwark

Elephant and Castle Regeneration takes shape The £1.5 billion redevelopment of Elephant and Castle is the largest of Southwark’s – and arguably England’s – regeneration projects. Potentially one of London’s most exciting destinations with its central location and excellent transport links, the area is currently dominated by uninspiring 1960s architecture (including its notoriously drab shopping centre) and a car-centric transport system that forces pedestrians into a series of unappealing subways. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Southwark Council’s regeneration team for the area has the vision and, crucially, the political will to create a better future. Over the next decade, the existing architecture and subways will be demolished to make way for a new city quarter offering over 5,000 new and replacement homes; the introduction of up to 75,000 square metres of retail, leisure and entertainment space; public areas, cultural and community facilities and two mixed-use towers. The Council is ready to select a development partner to turn its masterplan into a reality. It issues an OJEU notice this month and,

says project director Chris Horn, hopes to have selected a partner by the end of the year. ‘Above all, they need to share our vision for Elephant and Castle,’ he says. ‘We are creating a town centre and giving the area back its heart. It won’t just be a place to shop and be entertained, although it will fulfil those needs; it will also be a place for people to come to on a Sunday, have a coffee and enjoy the surroundings.’ In contrast to the current configuration of the area, Southwark Council is determined to place pedestrians at the centre of the regeneration. MAKE was appointed to refine the Foster masterplan for Elephant and Castle last July. Director John Prevc is passionate about the project. He believes the scheme can achieve its ambitious aims by adopting a holistic design approach and concentrating on building a community rather than a series of individual buildings. This view is backed by Horn: ‘We can’t take a retail dominated out-of-town model and plonk it down in the middle of a city; that just wouldn’t work and we are

Developments anticipated in 2005

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OJEU notice for development partner(s) posted this month. Development partner(s) to be selected by year end. A housing partner selected this summer for first 1,000 homes. Dismantling the southern roundabout and associated pedestrian tunnels towards year end. Construction begins of 65 affordable homes and 31 units of public housing for Wansey Street, designed by de Rijke Marsh Morgan.

Shaping Southwark

completely opposed to the idea. Our team is committed to building a diverse, mixed-use community; that’s what cities are.’ Plans are beginning to take shape. The demolition of the 1,212-unit Heygate Estate and the rehousing of its residents are central to the development. To this end, the team led by Horn is about to embark on a massive decanting process. A partner will be selected this summer (from a shortlist of six housing associations) to construct 1,100 new homes to replace the estate. These will be completed in phases from the start of next year. Similarly, the dismantling of the southern roundabout and its supporting subways will be under way before the year-end. So 2005 looks like the year when the oftdiscussed Elephant and Castle regeneration finally begins to take shape. But roundabout enthusiasts need not lament just yet – there’s still a long way to go.

Our new Life Long Learning Centre and residential development in Barking

Bermondsey Square

Urban Catalyst Ltd is a development company that takes a holistic approach to regeneration issues to bring about the revitalisation of inner cities and towns for the people who live and work there.

We are committed to genuine sustainability and believe that strong partnerships can scale cultural, social and environmental issues. Alongside its development activities, Urban Catalyst has established a separate development management and consultancy arm to aid public and private sector clients in delivering their regeneration projects and programmes. We are actively seeking further investment and consultancy opportunities and have capital to invest.

For further information or to arrange a meeting with us, please contact: Alastair Gaskin (development opportunities) Jon Sawyer (consultancy)

Creating Tourism

Built above the remains of the tenth century Bermondsey Abbey, which will remain undisturbed, Bermondsey Square is a regeneration scheme with a difference: the 13,940 square metre mixed-use scheme is also a scheduled ancient monument, sharing the same status as Stonehenge. ‘Technically, it is a difficult site,’ says Alistair Gaskin, project director at developer Urban Catalyst. ‘For example, our foundations can’t interfere with the abbey ruins which are underground. We have had to design buildings with moveable foundations.’ The buildings in question will include around 60 flats (mostly two-bedroom), office space, a boutique-style hotel, restaurants, a small supermarket and an arthouse cinema/film production company. Negotiations are under way with potential commerical tenants – creative media companies are expected to feature heavily – hotel operators and retailers. Southwark outfit

Shortwave Films will run the cinema and production company. Gaskin says local film makers will take priority while outdoor screenings during the summer months will fill the large public square. Throughout the construction period, Bermondsey Square’s weekly antiques market continues to operate onsite. When complete, the scheme will provide the market with a new, modernised home. Urban Catalyst has been onboard since the summer of 1998 when Southwark Council launched a competition for the development of the site. Years of protracted planning and archaeological work are almost at an end with construction due to begin in April. The Igloo Regeneration Partnership (part of Morley Fund Management) is providing funding. If all goes to plan, Bermondsey Square could be open for business by the end of 2006.

Telephone: 020 7612 1966 Email:

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Shaping Southwark

The Bermondsey Square development is also providing a new and improved home for the local weekly antiques market, which is continuing to operate throughout the construction phase. ‘Bermondsey has a real village feel, but it needs a focal point and that is what we intend to provide,’ says Gaskin. Urban Catalyst is working with Southwark Council’s tourism department to promote Bermondsey as a destination. ‘We are looking into the possibility of a weekly fashion market at Bermondsey Square,’ explains tourism development manager Elsbeth Turnbull. ‘We are also working with the Fashion and Textile Museum on Bermondsey Street to attract more visitors.’

Canada Water

Are you changing Southwark?

At the heart of the Rotherhithe Peninsula, with fine transport links, proximity to central London, stunning views of the City, an able workforce, large green spaces and strong, diverse communities: Canada Water is ripe for development. Following the closure of the Old London Docks in the 1970s, the area was a bleak landscape of empty parking lots. Southwark Council inherited 32,000 square metres. So with developers British Land and Canada Quays (BL/Canada Quays) and masterplanner Urban Strategies, Southwark Council is creating what it calls a regeneration template. Although the council is custodian of only 32,000 square metres it has devised a blueprint for 162,000 square metres surrounding and including Canada Water itself. With environmental sustainability paramount, the masterplan places a rejuvenated Canada Water at the

centre of the scheme. A water’s edge promenade lined with cafes and restaurants links the library, new public spaces, leisure facilities and shopping district. Residential accommodation forms the largest element of the scheme, providing around 2,000 homes of many types and tenures. A new library and community resource centre will occupy a prime location opposite Canada Water underground station, while the existing shopping centre is earmarked for redesign and expansion. Following much public consultation, BL/Canada Quays won an international design competition launched by Southwark Council. ‘Our brief is to plan a high quality, mixed-use development offering new and improved facilities,’ explains Canada Quays director David Taylor, a familiar figure in the world of regeneration. ‘In Urban Strategies we are working with the very best. I have been collaborating with them for 15 years.’

Above: Urban Strategies director Michael Sraga asked local schoolchildren how they would like Canada Water to look. Right: An image from the masterplan.

Is your company working on any of Southwark’s regeneration or development schemes? Southwark Issue One

Shaping Southwark

Now preparing to sign a 10 year development agreement with Southwark Council, the BL/Canada Quays team is conducting the relevant environmental studies and hopes to gain final planning approval sometime this year. Work could begin during 2006.

Canada Water vision 2,000 residential units Over 9,000 square metres of shops and cafes Leisure facilities Over 9,000 square metres for business use Public realm improvements New library and community centre


Welcome to Southwark

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‘Southwark: Isn’t it really far from central London and difficult to reach? Unfashionable? Unsafe? Uninteresting?’ If this mirrors your opinion, you’ve obviously been overseas since about 1981. So, welcome home. And welcome to Southwark, probably the UK’s most diverse location and, quite possibly, its funkiest. Stretching from the banks of the River Thames in SE1 to leafy Dulwich, this London borough is home to some of the best bars, restaurants, theatres and museums in the capital... Southwark Issue One


‘Its central location along with the fabulous mix of bars, restaurants and theatres are Southwark’s main selling points,’ says Tim Plumbe, director of commercial letting agent DTZ. ‘The borough is minutes from the City and a short, direct tube ride from the West End and Canary Wharf, while mainline services from Waterloo and London Bridge are close by.’ Southwark is also a major tourist destination: home to the Tate Modern (Britain’s third top attraction with 3.9 million visits in 2003), the London Dungeon, the Globe Theatre, Borough Market and the Millennium Bridge to name but a few. Recent regeneration projects have boosted the thriving arts and entertainment scene in Southwark. New bars and restaurants join already established haunts on a seemingly monthly basis, while the borough’s theatres are attracting (as they have since Shakespearean times) significant media attention. The star studded backing of the Young Vic refurbishment – which is rebuilding its home on The Cut – has made countless headlines. Alongside the cultural renaissance, Southwark has become a beacon for businesses. London mayor Ken Livingstone is perhaps its most famous

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worker, but a host of new office developments are springing up (pages 28-31) and a clutch of new media companies and architects are helping SE1 steal Hoxton’s funky crown. With such a bright future ahead, it’s important that Southwark’s rich historical past isn’t forgotten. ‘Southwark covers the classical range of the city: every aspect of London is represented from Roman, Medieval, industrial and village through to modern officedevelopment and housing estates,’ says Paul Evans, director of regeneration at Southwark Council. As Liam Bond, development director at More London, puts it: ‘Southwark is many places all in one. It encapsulates what London has always been about’. Home to hundreds of different communities and cultural groups, Southwark is also one of, if not the most diverse place in the UK. ‘Southwark is a real melting pot,’ says councillor Richard Porter. ‘Throughout the 1980s and 1990s a large West African community made the borough their home. At present we are seeing a lot of immigration from South America, particularly Colombians. It is no small praise to Southwark’s residents that all of these groups co-exist in harmony.’

Will Alsop on Southwark

Despite his practice’s recent and well documented financial difficulties, architect Will Alsop is still very much in business. Winner of the Stirling Prize for Peckham Library and architect of Palestra, the 27,800 square metre speculative office development on Blackfriars Road, the Alsop & Partners director shares his thoughts on Southwark, designing Palestra and being labelled a maverick. At what moment did you decide to be an architect? I can’t remember ever wanting to be anything else. I’ve always wanted to be an architect. If you weren’t an architect, what would you be? A sculptor. I used to teach sculpture at St Martin’s College a long time ago. How do you feel about being termed an architectural maverick? Not very good really. The label comes partly from lazy journalists. It also comes from other architects. I haven’t produced a huge number of buildings but my work seems to get lots of publicity, so perhaps there is an element of jealousy. Some people have the attitude that you can’t have a good time with architecture and must stick to a strict set of rules. I don’t think you can define architecture in that way. You’ve said a lot of positive things about Southwark. What is special about the borough? My experience of working in Southwark has been good. I have had a positive relationship with the politicians and council officers. This sounds obvious and it should be. It’s also why Manchester has been so successful. Everyone in the council shares the same vision and is always pushing the architect to do better.

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With Peckham Library, location was one of the things that intrigued me. We put the main body of the library on the fourth floor from where you can see St Paul’s Cathedral. I think it’s important that people in Peckham see themselves as part of central London and not some distant suburb. I said in my RIBA acceptance speech that if a poor borough like Southwark could put so much time and effort into a public building, why couldn’t Kensington and Chelsea, where I live, do the same? Poverty in the north of that borough is just as bad as any in Southwark. What do you think is the most impressive architectural work in Southwark, by someone else? It’s tempting to say the Tate Modern but I’m not sure that it is very successful as a work of architecture. The Peckham Pulse is good – I like to go swimming there. I also like Kingsdale School. What operational changes might the council introduce to encourage more fine architecture? If I worked for the council and I wasn’t an architect but understood its importance, I would identify half a dozen urbanists and make them my best friends. This group would meet on a regular basis and build a trusting relationship. Trust can be built over the course of a project but that relationship will end when the project is over. I sit on (regional development agency) Yorkshire Forward’s Urban Renaissance Panel. We were awarded the Barnsley regeneration commission through this forum. What project (real or imagined) in Southwark would you most like to work on next? Some years ago, we were involved in the plans to regenerate the Aylesbury Estate. We left that process, and, ultimately,

the scheme failed. During our public consultation the residents were really keen to contribute and engage with us, so I’d like to have another go at the Aylesbury. How did you approach the design for Palestra? Did the speculative aspect affect it? In London, the size and configuration of floorplates is the overriding factor in office design. We spent days and days addressing this to ensure that the building could be flexible. It is more difficult to design speculatively as one has to anticipate the needs of the eventual occupants. For me the challenge is: can we achieve this and produce a building that is also interesting? I believe we have.

Open for business Southwark’s excellent transport links and easy accessibility from central London were decisive factors in financial services company Ernst & Young’s move to its new headquarters at the More London development, according to managing partner Mark Molyneux. The company isn’t alone in recognising the borough’s potential. With three major office-led projects totalling 393,000 square metres due for completion by 2007, Southwark is fast becoming a business destination to be reckoned with. Thameside, heavyweights such as the London Assembly, Hewitt Bacon Woodrow and IPC Media are among the first tenants at More London and Bankside 123, while the 27,800 square metre Alsop-designed Palestra building on Blackfriars Road – Southwark’s only major speculative development – is negotiating with potential major space users.

Only minutes from the City and with fantastic public transport, accessibility is a buzzword for those active in the borough. As Jonathan Turk, Land Securities project director, points out: ‘Bankside 123 will consolidate its locale’s status as one of London’s most exciting business and cultural destinations all within 12 miuntes’ walk from Bank, London Bridge and Waterloo. The West End can be reached in just nine minutes on the Jubilee Line’. Molyneux says that many of his staff were surprised that their journey times to work have been cut following the relocation to More London from the City and Waterloo: ‘It certainly caused minimal disruption,’ he comments. Southwark has often suffered from misperceptions as to its location. The area encompassing Bankside and Blackfriars is now marketed by letting agents and developers as South Central. This new district unites neighbourhoods that border both sides of the River Thames. ‘The term South Central is ideal because it doesn’t distinguish between north and south of the river,’ explains Stuart Bailey, director at Palestra developer Blackfriars Investments. ‘The Thames doesn’t run in a straight line. Elephant and Castle is further north than Victoria.’ But accessibility and commercial acceptability aren’t the borough’s only attractions for office tenants. Tim Plumbe, director at commercial letting agent DTZ, believes that Southwark’s rich cultural and entertainment offer is also a deciding factor. ‘Over the past 10 years, staff retention has become one of, if not the, major issue for employers,’ he says. ‘Companies are increasingly looking for a location that offers employees something more.’on i

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To pre-let or not to pre-let While Bankside 123 and More London opted to pre-let space, Blackfriars Investments is building the 27,800 square metre Palestra speculatively. ‘We believe our timing is spot on,’ says director Stuart Bailey. ‘The pipeline in Central London is drying up and Palestra can fill this void.’

More London Location: Between London Bridge and Tower Bridge. Size: 280,000 square metres (186,000 square metres of office space) across seven Foster-designed buildings. Includes London Assembly, four-star hotel and retail element. Completion date: Buildings one, two and six and the London Assembly are operational covering 90,000 square metres. The remaining buildings will be ready for occupation during 2007. The look: Glass dominated. Famed for stunning views over the River Thames. Tenants so far: Ernst & Young, Visit London, Norton Rose, Hewitt Bacon and Woodrow and Lawrence Graham. The developer says: ‘The nice people across the river have been working on our view for the past 1,000 years.’ Bankside 123 Location: Beside the River Thames, close to the Tate Modern. Size: 85,000 square metres across three buildings. Completion date: Bankside 1 will be handed over for fit-out in Spring 2006. The look: 6,000 square metres of retail and leisure facilities will be arranged over each of the buildings with a terrace environment planned for Canvey Street between Bankside 1 and 2. Tenants so far: IPC Media has purchased Bankside 1 (46,035 square metres). The developer says: ‘It is a major office-led development with a unique sense of character.’ Palestra Location: Blackfriars Road opposite Southwark underground station. Size: 27,800 square metres. Completion date: Mid-2006.

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The look: Designed by Will Alsop, Palestra is composed of stacked rectilinear units with colourful glass façades. The floor plans are designed to be straightforward and flexible. Tenants so far: Negotiations are under way The developer says: ‘We are making a dramatic design statement. This building will excite people and become a landmark for Southwark.’ Ernst & Young on Southwark In Autumn 2003, Ernst & Young completed a 10-week move to its new London headquarters at More London, the 280,000 square metre office-led development in SE1. Managing partner Mark Molyneux chose the company’s new 37,500 square metre office at One More London Place and organised the move. What attracted you to Southwark? More London gave us the opportunity to bring the majority of our staff under one roof (most were based in the City and Waterloo). We were impressed by the development – the views alone are amazing. And the location is great, very accessible and easy to reach. How were you involved? I led the project, visiting potential sites, recommending preferred candidates, negotiating with landlords and overseeing the fit-out and move. How many other sites did you visit? About half a dozen from Canary Wharf to Paddington Basin and several places in between. We were impressed by the development and its location. The people of Southwark have welcomed us and Southwark Council has also been very helpful. Do you see Ernst & Young as a trendsetter? We didn’t move here to be a trendsetter, but we are confident that More London will be successful. I think the surrounding area will see a lot of development in the coming years. How do your staff like their new home? Everyone has been very positive about the move. I think many were surprised by the accessibility and quality here.

Leading the way in green

‘With the integrated plans for managing waste on one site, Southwark has one of the most innovative and environmentally friendly strategies for waste in the country,’ says councillor Richard Thomas, executive member for environment and transport.

When Southwark Council unveiled plans for a £160 million PFI-financed waste management programme it became the envy of local authorities across the UK. Southwark Council’s waste management strategy was adopted in response to government targets for increasing recycling and diverting waste from landfill. The borough’s recycling rate stood at four per cent of all waste in 2002/3 and the target is to reach 18 per cent by the end of March 2006. The council’s waste management strategy aims to increase this dramatically – delivering a recycling rate of 50 per cent by 2020 thereby exceeding government and regional requirements.

Learning to be green

‘We’ve revised our entire approach to waste management,’ says Gill Davies, Southwark’s director of environment. ‘Most waste is currently sent to landfill sites in Essex but this is no longer environmentally or economically feasible.’ All of the UK’s local councils are under pressure to adopt more sustainable approaches to waste disposal, in line with European regulations. Southwark will be one of the first to implement such measures.

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The council is negotiating to purchase land that will accommodate a stateof-the-art waste facility planned to be operational by 2009. Not only will every piece of rubbish in Southwark be recycled, composted or treated there, the groundbreaking scheme will also encompass an innovative environmental education centre and potentially a business park. All waste that is not recycled at the new facility will be treated to become a fuel or soil improver – the ‘greenest’ treatment option available. The programme is set to become a model for dealing with waste in an inner-city urban environment.

At the heart of Southwark’s plan is an innovative education centre designed to raise awareness of environmental issues, cut the amount of waste produced and maximise recycling. The interactive centre will be open to the public and school parties will be invited to use it as a resource for environmentbased projects.

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Similar technology to that envisaged for Southwark is already commonplace on the continent. The Council’s Integrated Waste Solutions Programme team has visited successful schemes in Germany, Italy and The Netherlands. ‘We can learn from their experiences to ensure that best possible practice is followed here,’ says programme manager Will Gardiner. Southwark is awaiting approval on a £34.5 million bid for government support for the programme. Meanwhile, Ove Arup and Partners has been appointed to advise on the factors influencing site layout as the first stage in a complex design and planning process. If the government gives the go-ahead, the procurement process will begin in March 2005 to identify a partner to build and operate the 200,000 tonnes-per-year facility for the next 25 years.


Southwark is home to some of London’s most evocative architecture. From the Tate Modern at Bankside to Charter School in Dulwich, buildings old and new are helping the borough develop a reputation as the capital’s most innovative design location.

Only the best is good enough

This proactive attitude has attracted many of the industry’s most interesting figures; the list of those currently active in the borough reads like a veritable who’s who of architecture. ‘Architects know that they will be listened to, that we are receptive to creativity and that their designs will receive a strong response,’ says Evans. This sentiment is echoed by Bob Allies and Graham Morrison, architects of the borough’s Bankside 123 development, who moved their 170-strong practice to Southwark from London W1 in 2003. ‘Every architect’s plans are only as effective as his relationship with the immediate community and its planning authority,’ says Allies. ‘We have found this to be a borough in which we can build and develop. There is forward thinking here and there are open minds.’


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‘We are proud to be an enlightened patron,’ says Bob Coomber, the council’s chief executive, in the introduction to architectural book, ‘City Reborn’. ‘We have been asked whether we see ourselves as the new Medicis but perhaps this is a little too grand a concept.’ Nonetheless, Southwark boasts architecture that either wouldn’t or couldn’t be approved in other parts of the capital. ‘It’s not that other councils do things badly, but you must continually strive to achieve excellence,’ observes director of regeneration Paul Evans. ‘It’s important that all projects, regardless of size, are expected to reach the highest design standards. As a planner and landowner we should be open to change but we can also prompt change.’

Evans acknowledges that good design doesn’t have to be outrageous to be challenging and innovative. When Will

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Alsop proclaimed: ‘This could not have happened in Kensington and Chelsea,’ as he accepted the prestigious Stirling Prize for his colourful Peckham Library in November 2000, he probably wasn’t wrong. Cynics might say that Southwark has more scope for development and improvement than many other London boroughs, but that is only part of the story (and ignores Southwark’s many outstanding buildings). Many boroughs are home to brownfield sites, abandoned industrial buildings and obsolete residential estates but few are managed by a council that champions modern architecture. ‘Southwark is genuinely interested in modern design,’ agrees Chris Williamson, of architect Weston Williamson, who was involved in the refurbishment of London Bridge tube station. ‘We got to know the area around London Bridge, we had many meetings with the planners and were impressed.’ But despite Southwark’s willingness to push architectural boundaries, schemes that are contrary to its Unitary Development Plan are unlikely to get very far – no matter how famous the architect or prestigious the developer. ‘For a long time planners in local government had to take a back seat,’ claims Evans. ‘We must have the confidence to lead design in the borough; that means rejecting the below par and really supporting the schemes we approve of. The proposed London Bridge Tower by Renzo Piano is a great example of this.’ Good architecture, he believes, is the main catalyst for regeneration. Peckham Library attracted 3,000 new readers within a couple of months of opening in 2000. ‘It is the absolutely critical component of regeneration and it’s also cost effective – good design doesn’t cost more than bad design. In fact, it’s less expensive. Experience shows the false economy in so-called cheaper buildings. Great buildings attract tourists, visitors and businesses to an area and they also improve the environment and prospects for local residents.’

Who’s working in Southwark? A snapshot – in no particular order – of the architectural talent involved: Conran Roche (Conran and Partners) CZWG Richard Rogers Allies and Morrison Idom Foster & Partners Herzog & de Meuron Renzo Piano John McAslan Will Alsop Richard Griffiths Allies & Morrison MAKE Ian Ritchie

City Reborn Last November Southwark Council published (in conjunction with Merrell) ‘City Reborn’, a coffee-table-style book of Southwark’s architectural highlights over the past 25 years. ‘Beginning with New Concordia Wharf in 1981, the book showcases the projects that have transformed Southwark during the past two decades,’ explains design and conservation officer Will Reading. ‘And it also looks to the future by profiling forthcoming developments.’ This, he claims, is the first time a council has produced such a high quality architectural publication. ‘City Reborn’ is on sale priced £19.99 at all good book shops, the Southwark Tourist Information Centre and the Local Studies Library. Among the book’s highlights: Charter School In 1999 Dulwich School for Boys was failing academically and facing closure before Penoyre & Prasad won a competition to transform the tired 1950s campus into a landmark 21st century institution. Due to be completed in 2006 (although the first pupils were admitted in 2000, by which time places were 500 per cent oversubscribed) the building’s exterior has bold purple and blue cladding, while the main entrance leads into a glazed courtyard with a new roof supported on steel ‘trees’.


Borough Market Borough Market, which predates London itself, is an institution. Greig & Stephenson began a programme of refurbishment in 1997 which continues today. Market buildings are being renovated for existing or, in some

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cases, new purposes. Services and infrastructure are being improved with clearer routes for the public to ensure that the market retains its status as one of London’s most popular tourist spots. Southwark Cathedral Southwark Cathedral was a hidden gem easily passed over by Londoners and tourists until its 1997-2001 renovation. Richard Griffiths Architects’ brief was to provide a new library, refectory, shop and meeting rooms, all fully accessible and addressing the pedestrian route along the river, from which the cathedral was isolated by a car park. The acquisition of a Victorian building to the east of the cathedral opened up a pedestrian route along the north side of the building. The new refectory and library block is located at right angles to the cathedral with a glazed cloister connecting it to the chapter house, now an exhibition space. The car park was replaced by a garden and the cathedral itself was cleaned and relit as part of the project. Jubilee Line Extension Four of the 11 stations on the Jubilee Line Extension of the London Underground can be found in Southwark: Southwark itself, London Bridge, Bermondsey and Canada Water. Work began in 1993 and was completed in 1999. Each of the stations – which were all designed by different architects – boasts stunning designs. For more information, or to order a copy of ‘City Reborn,’ contact Will Reading on 020 7525 5583 or email

Southwark Issue One

Looking up in Southwark

Although the Plan is not explicit on the exact means of achieving this goal, it predicts the capital’s office stock will have to grow from 27.4 million square metres in 2002 to around 35 million square metres by 2016 and asserts that: ‘Tall buildings will be supported where they create attractive landmarks, enhance London’s character, help to provide a coherent location for economic clusters of related activities or act as a catalyst for regeneration’. Livingstone’s enthusiasm for, or at least his lack of opposition to, tall buildings is attracting significant interest from developers. As John East, Southwark Council’s head of planning and transport, explains: ‘While the London Plan supports tall buildings in principle, it is vague on the exact criteria governing planning approval. We are addressing the mayor’s recommendations, in particular with respect to densities (the London Plan recommends densities of at least 3:1 potentially increasing to 5:1 in selected areas). The workshops are our response to the growing demand for more multi-storey structures. Following the publication of the London Plan, formulating a definitive strategy is crucial’.

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He’s right. Denial isn’t an option; Southwark Council already has planning applications for more than a dozen 30 storey-plus buildings. Many of the industry’s leading names are attending the workshops. ‘Our goal is to develop the existing policy on tall buildings in terms of Section 106 requirements, setting levels for ground floor activity, engagement with the public realm and issues surrounding strategic and local views,’ says East. ‘It works both ways. By opening a dialogue with developers and architects, hopefully there is a level of ‘buy in’ and less room for ambiguity on either side with future applications. I am also aware that we can learn from their experience and hope to encourage an environment of knowledge sharing. ‘But we must ensure that the interests of local people are safeguarded. Where tall buildings are concerned, there will be lots of public consultation. The local community is often, quite understandably, suspicious of new schemes. However, I believe that a well managed development enhances the prospects of the entire community.’ Southwark Council is not exactly inexperienced when it comes to tall buildings. It has already approved Sellar Property Group’s 310 metre London Bridge Tower, while Bankside and Blackfriars are also earmarked as potential locations for development. However, outside of the City and more recently Canary Wharf, there have been very few planning applications for such structures during the past 20 years and cynics have questioned Southwark’s potential to attract the rental rates needed to support the cost of tall building construction. With architectural


Southwark Council this month embarks on a series of workshops bringing together the UK’s leading architects and developers as well as local community groups to discuss its tall buildings policy. Tall buildings (it seems) are fashionable again. In February 2004 London mayor Ken Livingstone unveiled the London Plan, a new strategy addressing – amongst other issues – ‘how to incorporate (the capital’s projected economic) growth without encroaching on open spaces’.

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eyesores of the 1960s and 70s in mind perhaps, East comments: ‘Multi-storey buildings fell from fashion. With this new generation of tall buildings the emphasis will be very much on good design, excellent transport links and a real connection with the public realm and surrounding community’. If the London Plan’s projections of an expanding commercial property market are correct, can Southwark become one of the main beneficiaries? ‘We are creating the environment needed to bring business here. That includes the whole package from efficient street cleaning to a range of bars, restaurants and leisure facilities,’ says East. ‘In terms of attracting large companies to Southwark, this process is already well under way. The Thames is no longer intractable and we have the added advantage of offering virgin territory that can be adapted to suit today’s requirements.’

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Tall tales in New York The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York hosted Tall Buildings from June to September 2004, an exhibition showcasing, through large scale models, the newest innovations in skyscraper design by some of the world’s leading architects and engineers. The proposed London Bridge Tower was among 25 high rise projects featured. ‘In selecting them we considered three fundamental aspects of the tall building: technology, urbanism and program,’ says MOMA’s chief curator Terence Riley. And CABE approves … The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) gives a cautious thumbs up to the London Plan’s support for more tall buildings in the capital, praising the importance placed on design, quality public space and mixed-use developments. The issues it draws to attention are: ‘the production of accurate and realistic representations of the appearance of the building in all significant views affected … that proposals for tall buildings should take into account the potential benefits of public access to the upper floors … that there should be guarantees that architectural quality is maintained through the implementation of the entire project’.

Southwark Magazine Issue One Southwark Issue One

The Peckham Story

When it comes to regeneration success stories, Peckham is one of London’s most compelling. Over the last 10 years, Southwark Council has invested – first through the Peckham Partnership and now via the Peckham Programme – over £300 million on initiatives to improve the area’s prospects and reputation. Giant leaps have been made in housing, award winning architecture and measures to tackle SE15’s social problems. In October 2004, Transport for London approved the cross river tram route linking Peckham to central and north London, while the East London line extension will see the underground head ‘sarf’ by 2011. Peckham has, quite literally, landed on the map.

‘Peckham is arguably Southwark’s greatest regeneration achievement of the past two decades.’ Paul Evans, director of regeneration, Southwark Council.

Arguably the most striking aspect of its regeneration is the large scale rehousing programme, which has delivered over 2,000 new council, private and housing association homes. Estates and tower blocks (including the North Peckham and Camden buildings), have been demolished and replaced with low level housing built to a traditional pattern of streets, terraces and public parks. Private sector partners, notably Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects (PTEA) and housebuilders Laing and Countryside Properties, have been instrumental in Peckham’s transformation. Stephen Chance, director of PTEA, says its brief was ‘the brief we gave ourselves: to turn a notorious no-go area into an ordinary part of London. The aim was to provide an environment in which a strong and stable community could develop’. Working to street and road patterns in use before the estates were erected in the 1960s, PTEA redesigned 300,000 square metres of the Five Estates area.

Tackling social problems

It has also suffered from a severe image problem. As the setting for hit television show ‘Only Fools and Horses’, Peckham seemed to be inhabited entirely by petty criminals, albeit loveable, selling fake designer gear at the local market. Its reputation took a more sinister turn in November 2000 with the violent death of local schoolboy Damilola Taylor which saw SE15 under the media spotlight for all of the wrong reasons. Despite the negative publicity surrounding the tragedy, Peckham’s crime rates have actually fallen in recent years: seven years ago it featured in London’s top five crime hot spots; today, it doesn’t even make the top 10.

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Peckham was certainly in need of a facelift by the late twentieth century. ‘It had grown tired,’ explains Russell Profitt, head of the council’s Peckham Programme. ‘The housing sector was rundown and dominated by sprawling estates. The population was, to a large extent, disenfranchised and Peckham suffered from the kind of social problems associated with poverty. Investors didn’t want to be here.’

However, Peckham’s housing revolution is far from over. Southwark Council’s Unitary Development Plan earmarks another 13 sites as suitable for redevelopment and a further 3,000 new units are expected to

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be constructed over the coming decade. The aim, says head of the council’s Peckham Programme, Russell Profitt, is to create a diverse and buoyant housing sector that combines private, social and affordable housing. New schemes will be mixed, accommodating retail and/or office space as the next phase of Peckham’s regeneration focuses on commercial investment and new community facilities. At the heart of this investment will sit a rejuvenated town centre complementing Peckham Library – the Alsop-designed 2000 Stirling Prize winner – the Peckham Pulse leisure complex and a new tram depot. Southwark Council is hoping to attract new retailers to a redeveloped shopping centre on Rye Lane and broaden the cultural and entertainment offer in Peckham with additional theatres and cinemas. This year the next phase comes to life with additional sites due to be marketed for residential and commercial redevelopment. Meanwhile, the Peckham Programme is strengthening connections with the 400-plus existing local businesses through its Town Centre Management Group. Working with these and other community stakeholders on issues such as litter, waste, lighting and security, it is ensuring that the area feels, and is, safe and well managed. This cooperation will soon be formalised. Following legislation passed by the government in July 2004, Peckham town centre is preparing to apply for Business Improvement District status. The timing is certainly ripe. The cross river tram – approved by Transport for London (TFL) in October 2004 – will be crucial in promoting the next phase of commercial, residential and social regeneration in Peckham. Southwark Council, through its membership of the Cross River Partnership with three other London boroughs, has lobbied

Community Focus Cosmetic, commercial and infrastructural progress aside, Peckham’s transformation is about much more than bricks and mortar. A variety of social and economic initiatives have helped to dramatically improve the life chances and opportunities for local residents. The education programme contributed to a 126 per cent increase in literacy among key stage two pupils in Peckham and a 114 per cent increase in the number of pupils gaining five or more A*-C grades in GCSE exams. Various employment and training initiatives resulted in a 26 per cent reduction in unemployment between 1994 and 2002, while community safety drives halved fear of crime in the area. ‘The community has really responded to improvements in the environment and engaged with us,’ says Russell Profitt, head of the council’s Peckham Programme. The programme is currently working with the Peckham Youth Forum to develop a £1.5 million Kelly Avenue park (pictured above). Set to become the UK’s first youth-designed and -managed park, the project epitomises Peckham’s innovative approach.

Bellenden Renewal An imaginative housing renewal programme has transformed the Bellenden area of Peckham into a haven of restaurants, artists’ studios, shops and attractive open spaces, featuring street art by Anthony Gormley and Zandra Rhodes. Bellenden now attracts visitors from all over the world and has been shortlisted for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Sustainable Communities award. The results were expected as Southwark was going to press. Regeneration consultant Keegans has worked on the Bellenden renewal for seven years: ‘The results have been amazing – attracting business, creating jobs and lowering crime,’ says director Peter Keegan.

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hard to bring the tram to Peckham. Working with TFL, it conducted route and feasibility studies. ‘The tram is a tremendous opportunity for Peckham,’ says Southwark Council’s director of regeneration Paul Evans. ‘The area desperately needs improved transport links. The tram will improve accessibility, not just for Peckhamites travelling to work in central London but for visitors looking to shop or socialise in Peckham.’

business and better access to facilities can hardly be over estimated’. The tram will link Camden in North London with Peckham (where the depot will be based) and Brixton via King’s Cross and Waterloo. It should be operational by 2011, as should the East London Line extension that will connect Peckham with Clapham Junction in the south and, to the north, with the City and, eventually, Islington.

Councillor Richard Porter adds: ‘The tram will be a huge catalyst for further regeneration. Its importance in bringing jobs, more regeneration in housing, more employment, more

The next chapters in Peckham’s regeneration are about to be written. The political and commercial will exists and the vision is in place.



‘There were a few black eyes but the process was generally pretty painless,’ says development director Liam Bond of the selection of public art for the More London site between Tower Bridge and London Bridge. ‘I’m joking,’ he reassures with a laugh. But as more than half of the office development is fully accessible public space, art was always destined to play an important role. Art for the scheme was selected by a committee comprising Bond, Foster and Partners architect Frank Filsko, Susan May of the Tate Modern, Southwark Council’s framework and implementation manager Alistair Huggett, Michael Davies of the Bermondsey Street Area Partnership and Karin Eckland from Delfina Studios. More London’s curator Andrea Schlieker also played an important role. Wasn’t it difficult to reach consensus among such a wide ranging group? ‘Yes,’ says Bond. ‘There were differences of opinion, that is natural; but discussions were always fruitful. We never failed to reach agreement.’ From a list of 50 artists 12 were shortlisted and made submissions,

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including Damien Hirst. The three winning designs are diverse: Stephan Balkenhol’s sculpture Couple, Fiona Banner’s critique of the full stop and David Batchelor’s Evergreen light tree. Balkenhol’s figures represent ‘every man’ (and woman). It was this celebration of the ordinary that appealed to the committee. Meanwhile, Banner’s five sculptures are scattered around the development, each representing a commonly used full stop typeface. These are designed, literally, to punctuate the many acres of public space. Situated within a cluster of real trees, Batchelor’s four-sided lightbox tree is designed to not only mirror the glass and steel of the surrounding buildings but also to celebrate its own artifice and an urban view of nature. Bond says it was fascinating to watch the sculptors at work. An art lover himself, he gives the impression that chairing the committee was more of a pleasure than a chore.

Through the ages, Southwark has produced some of London’s most talented and groundbreaking characters. In this issue of Southwark we take a look at arguably the borough’s most famous protege of recent years… Rio Ferdinand. Rio is one of England’s most talented footballers. Born in King’s College Hospital, Dulwich, on November 7 1978, he grew up on the Friary Estate in Peckham, attending Camelot primary school and Blackheath secondary. A talented all-round sportsman, Rio first excelled at gymnastics and became Inner London Schoolboy Champion aged 11. However, a future on the pommel horse was forgotten when he signed for West Ham United Football Club in 1993. On leaving school Rio ignored offers from Middlesburgh, Norwich City, Millwall, Charlton and Chelsea to remain with the Hammers until an £18 million move to Leeds United in 2000.

Although his subsequent £30 million UK record transfer from Leeds United to Manchester United in 2002 saw Rio remaining “up north”, he is still active in the local community. Rio uses his position as a role model to encourage youngsters in the borough to achieve their goals and has contributed to local events and charities. In the aftermath of the violent death of local boy Damilola Taylor in 2000, Rio recorded a personal appeal for young people to come forward with information and made the first ever donation to the Damilola Taylor Trust.

Tell everyone.

He recently became the face of a Beat Bullying campaign urging people to wear blue wristbands to show their opposition to bullying. Rio’s career hit a low spot last year when he incurred an eight-month ban for missing a drugs test: he blamed his awful memory for the lapse. That hurdle well and truly behind him, Rio is back on the football field and hitting the headlines for all the right reasons.

Famous Sons Promote your company and its work in Southwark magazine. Reach 36,000 regeneration professionals twice each year. Contact George Haynes, head of sales, 020 7978 6840, 50 51

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Southwark #1  

Physical, social and economic regeneration in the London Borough of Southwark

Southwark #1  

Physical, social and economic regeneration in the London Borough of Southwark