Page 1

INSIDE — REGENERATION GETS FASHIONABLE: ZANDRA RHODES ON SOUTHWARK • THE UDP VISION CHANGING TIMES ON THE AYLESBURY ESTATE • REGENERATION TURNS THEATRICAL


Southwark advert

Welcome to Southwark

������������������������������

Southwark The official regeneration magazine of Southwark Council Editor Julie Mackintosh julie@3foxinternational.com Head of Sales George Haynes george@3foxinternational.com Managing Director Toby Fox toby@3foxinternational.com

�������������������������� ������������������������ ����������������������� �������������������������� ������������������������� ������������������������

Design Wire www.wiredesign.com Printed by Wyndeham Grange Images Southwark Council, Wire Design, Land Securities, BL Canada Quays, Jody Kingzett, Sellar Property Group, More London, Gross Max, Make, Shangri-la Hotels, Fashion and Textile Museum, Dan Macarrie for Levitt Bernstein, Tate Modern, DIVE Architects, Southwark Playhouse, Broadway Malayan, Patrick Baldwin, Unicorn Theatre. For Southwark Council Chiltern House Portland Street London SE17 2ES Communications Manager Rachel Fox rachel.fox@southwark.gov.uk Publisher

3Fox International Limited 3rd Floor Lansdowne House 3-7 Northcote Road London SW11 1NG T. 020 7978 6840 F. 020 7978 6837 Subscriptions and Feedback To register for free subscriptions and/or to offer your comments visit: www.SouthwarkMagazine.com ©3Fox International Limited 2005 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.

02 03

��������������������

Southwark Issue Two

Welcome to the second issue of Southwark, Southwark Council’s official regeneration magazine. Showcasing the exciting opportunities available and the landmark mixed-use developments currently under way at Elephant and Castle, Canada Water, Bermondsey Spa, Bermondsey Square and elsewhere in Southwark, this magazine welcomes you to London’s most exciting borough. Stretching from the banks of the Thames in SE1 to suburban Dulwich, Southwark is diverse ethnically, economically and topographically. This is an exciting time for us. A decade of work on our vision for the borough is almost complete as our Unitary Development Plan (UDP) enters its final stages (page 10). The vision is expressed, in part, through the multibillion pound regeneration schemes that are transforming the borough by delivering new residential, commercial, retail, cultural, leisure and community facilities (page 14-21) but it is driven by a commitment to improve life for every Southwark resident.

To address the demand for taller structures following the publication of mayor Ken Livingstone’s London Plan we held a series of tall buildings workshops, the results of which are revealed on page 28. Fashion and Textile Museum founder Zandra Rhodes shares her views on Southwark (page 26) and we also discover how theatres are helping the borough’s regeneration (page 22). In this issue we introduce a new section dedicated to the £1.5 billion Elephant and Castle regeneration, truly one of the UK’s flagship projects and deserving of its own ‘a magazine within a magazine.’ We hope you enjoy reading Southwark. Let us know at www.southwark.gov. uk or www.southwarkmagazine.com. Issue three will be published early next year. Until then... Paul Evans Director of Regeneration Southwark Council

Housing is an area where we can really make a difference. Here we focus on ambitious plans to expand our housing renewal programme to Nunhead and east Peckham (page 46) and take a look at the high profile Aylesbury Estate (page 50). As a thriving 21st century borough, just five minutes from the City, Southwark has become London’s hottest new business location. Sellar Property Group recently signed the Shangri-La Hotel Group to its proposed 310-metre London Bridge Tower.

02 03


Contents

Southwark

06 News Catch up with the latest regeneration news in Southwark. 10 Shaping Southwark: The UDP vision With its current 10-year Unitary Development Plan almost complete, Southwark is home to some of the country’s most challenging and exciting regeneration projects.

WALWORTH

14 Southwark: A regeneration story We catch up with Southwark’s headline hitting developments at Bermondsey Spa, Canada Water and Bermondsey Square and look to future regeneration hotspots. 22 Regeneration turns theatrical Southwark’s lively and growing theatre scene is one of the borough’s many cultural attractions. 26 Zandra Rhodes on Southwark One of the UK’s most celebrated fashion designers and founder of the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey, Zandra Rhodes shares her thoughts on Southwark, funding problems and becoming a tour guide. 28 Up, up and away Southwark will be home to Europe’s tallest building by 2009. The council recently held workshops with industry stakeholders and residents to discuss building upwards in the borough - we report back.

Elephant and Castle: Special Report 46 Eight years of progress Never far from the news, we take a look at the Aylesbury Estate eight years after that visit. 50 Potters Fields Park gets ready to bloom Sitting between More London’s 280,000 square metre office development and Tower Bridge, Potters Fields park is about to get a stylish new look.

37 News What’s going on down Elephant way? 40 Taking social housing into the 21st century We take a look at the groundbreaking design process set to deliver the country’s coolest social housing.

52 Learning from Bellenden Following the success of the Bellenden renewal area, Southwark Council is about to work the same magic on Nunhead and east Peckham. Advertisement features 08 BL Canada Quays – Let’s talk about Canada Water Advertisers 02 Southwark Council 12 Idom UK Ltd 16 Hyde Group 18 Proctor and Matthews 20 Barratt 32 Sellar Property Group 34 Haworth Tompkins 36 Elephant and Castle 38 Tibbalds 42 Herbert Smith 46 Franklin + Andrews Back cover Derwent Valley Holdings Plc

33 Filming in Southwark Southwark is London’s premier filming location. The council’s film officer Andrew Pavord explains why.

Southwark Issue Two

04 05


News

News

News

Re-green-eration: Brimmington Park gets ready to open…

Land Securities to begin construction of Bankside 2 and 3

White’s Grounds wins RIBA award

Brimmington Park in Peckham will unveil its new look in October following a series of major upgrades. These include improvements to play areas, lighting and pathways as well as new competition standard pitches. Work was set to begin onsite as Southwark magazine went to press. ‘The renovation is great news,’ said head of the council’s Peckham Programme Russell Profitt.

Land Securities is to proceed with the speculative construction of buildings 2 and 3 of its office-led Bankside 123 scheme in Southwark. The decision marks a turnaround by the developer which had planned to pre-let buildings 2 and 3 – totalling around 40,000 square metres – before construction work began. The 46,350 square metre Bankside 1 was pre-sold to IPC Media in May 2004. It will be ready for fit-out in spring next year.

…Proving the power of parks

‘We believe that completion of Bankside 2 and 3 will be well timed in the office market cycle,’ said Land Securities development director Jonathan Turk. ‘Completion of Bankside 1 in March 2006 for IPC will demonstrate the quality and scale of the scheme.’ He confirmed that a number of potential tenants have expressed interest.

A conference organised by Southwark Council in February highlighted the power of parks in regeneration. The parks conference, attended by representatives from each London borough, enabled councils to share best practice and hear a keynote speech by Tupper Thomas, the administrator driving the transformation of Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York. As Thomas pointed out, US-style philanthropy isn’t a funding option in the UK. Since 1999 Southwark Council has secured £20 million to invest in its parks and public spaces, £14 million of it from heritage and lottery sources. The spending programme, which runs until the end of 2006, compares very favourably with other local authorities according to parks manager Jon Sheaff. And they increase the appeal of development opportunities, says head of parks and sport Jay Yeats. ‘The quality of our green spaces is reflected in the value of land around them,’ he said. ‘That is why there is always pressure to build around or close to parks.’

A project to turn a disused railway arch into a play facility for young people has won second place in the RIBA ‘Urban Space by Design’ competition. White’s Grounds in Bermondsey, part of Southwark Council’s Light at the End of the Tunnel programme, was awarded the prize in the unbuilt category. Designed by DIVE Architects, and funded by the Pool of London and More London, the scheme will offer sports activities including skateboarding ramps and a climbing wall in the 600 square metre arch. “We had lots of consultation with local schoolchildren to find out what they want from the scheme,” said Ia Hjarre, of DIVE Architects. And why does she think White’s Grounds impressed the RIBA judges? ‘I think the jury saw the importance of reintroducing a disused space. This could act as an example for other cities on how to develop spaces that are not used well.’

Work is expected to begin on 2 and 3 in October with completion scheduled for September 2007.

The £430,000 project has been lodged for planning approval. If this is granted, work should begin onsite early next year for completion by the summer of 2006.

Land Securities chief executive Francis Salway said: ‘We believe that when building out this scheme we will draw on the growing list of corporate and professional service occupiers looking to the South Bank for well-priced, good quality accommodation.’ The trio of buildings will be set within a series of interconnected public spaces extending from Southwark Street (to be transformed into a tree-lined boulevard) to the Tate Modern. In additon to office space, Bankside 123 will provide 6,000 square metres of retail and leisure.

Southwark welcomes London Architecture Biennale Southwark is set to host the prestigious London Architecture Biennale during next summer’s Architecture Week. The eight day-long festival in June will celebrate and analyse the capital’s vibrant architectural scene through a series of events, talks, walks, parties, seminars, debates, exhibitions and installations. The theme of the Biennale – which will have its base in Clerkenwell, Kings Cross and the South Bank – will be ‘change’. The festival’s partners (which include Southwark Council) aim to attract architectural talent from across the world as well as engage with the local community. Events will take place in a variety of Southwark venues; possibilities include the Tate Modern, Borough Market and Bankside as well as its parks or any of the numerous architectural practices. ‘We are very excited to be part of such a groundbreaking festival,’ said Paul Evans, Southwark Council’s director of regeneration. ‘Southwark is committed to upholding and challenging standards of architectural excellence. We are already home to many world class buildings and with many more planned, it is fitting that the Biennale should be celebrated here.’

Top: Borough Market is a proposed venue for the London Architecture Biennale Bottom: White’s Grounds will be a venue for local young people

The inaugural London Architecture Biennale in 2004 attracted 25,000 visitors.

Top: One of Southwark’s many parks Bottom: An impression of Bankside 123

Southwark Issue Two

06 07


Let’s talk about Canada Water

If one of the keys to successful regeneration is extensive public consultation, British Land and Canada Quays’ (BL Canada Quays) development at Canada Water is set to be a surefire hit. With more than 25 years’ regeneration experience, Canada Quays chairman David Taylor is well aware of the value of listening to and, crucially, responding to local opinion: ‘It is our goal to really engage the local community, acknowledging and addressing their concerns as well as taking on board the many suggestions they have for the scheme,’ he says. ‘We are now in the middle of an extensive consultation programme which has been lively and extremely informative.’ BL Canada Quays signed a 10-year development plan with Southwark Council in February to revitalise the 162,000 square metre site on the Rotherhithe Peninsula, with ambitious plans for a vibrant live/work/play destination centred on a rejuvenated Canada Water. These include new leisure and retail facilities; over 9,000 square metres of commercial space; a Piers Gough-designed library; other community amenities; and major public realm improvements. Two thousand homes, in a mix of styles and tenures, will also be created.

invited via a newsletter and the dedicated website at www.canadawater-southwark. co.uk. The events, introduced by Taylor and attended by council officials and all of the scheme’s major consultants, covered transport, sustainability and environment, design quality and community facilities.

A diverse consultation process is allowing local residents to respond to BL Canada Quays’ masterplan before it lodges a planning application later this year.

Concerns were voiced over the strain on public and transport services from large scale development. Environmental protection for the Canada Water basin was also highlighted as an important local consideration, while debate around the types of community facilities that would best serve the area’s needs was illuminating. Over 80 per cent of those who attended said they found the workshops ‘useful and informative’.

Three open sessions were held this summer, to which the community was

Issues are also being examined during focused sessions, which BL Canada

Advertisement feature

Quays is arranging with local youth groups, the disability forum and voluntary sector organisations, as well as during regular meetings with the Canada Water Consultative Forum, which it established to help gauge local opinion.

proposed tower next to Canada Water tube station to create more space within the development. We’re devising better pedestrian connections to Lower Road and we’re reinstating the glass-covered retail galleria.’

David Taylor offered all those attending the initial youth group discussion the chance to win two tickets to one of the first England football matches at the new Wembley Stadium next year. ‘The discussion was very well attended,’ he laughs.

That’s a fairly impressive response rate. The team is working to resolve other issues ahead of the submission of its planning application later this year, particularly the exact nature of the community facilities best suited to the needs of the area. ‘Obviously we can’t please everyone on every point, but people do have the chance to be heard and to have direct contact with the team who are responsible for the project,’ says Taylor.

Those who view public consultation as little more than talking shops should take note of Michael Sraga, associate at Toronto-based masterplanner Urban Strategies, when he explains: ‘After hearing the views of the local community we have revised several aspects of the scheme, including adding additional public spaces and play areas and relocating the

group and whilst we won’t see eye-to-eye on all issues, nevertheless we can have a constructive dialogue,’ he says.

In doing so, we can best fulfil the excellent potential of the area and repay the trust that has been placed in us.’

BL Canada Quays efforts have drawn support from partners at Southwark Council. Director of regeneration Paul Evans praises BL Canada Quays’ thorough and active attitude, while head of property Steve Platts commended the team for including the new library in the first phase of the regeneration, thus ensuring that local people reap its benefit as early as possible. BL Canada Quays has a close working relationship with the council, a fact that Taylor believes will enhance the quality of Canada Water’s regeneration.

These sentiments are echoed by Barry Duckett, chairman of the Canada Estate Tenants and Residents Association: ‘We welcome the setting up of a working

Ultimately, he says, that is what his quest for extensive consultation will also achieve: ‘Urban regeneration on the scale of Canada Water is rare. We have to ensure that the community is with us.

Southwark Issue Two

Advertisement feature

08 09


Shaping Southwark: the UDP vision A decade into its regeneration story, the London borough of Southwark is brimming with tales to suit every reader. For those who enjoy a cultural yarn, the Tate Modern on Bankside – an unoccupied and disused power station from 1981 until its reincarnation as a modern art gallery in 2000 – was recently voted London’s favourite building by readers of Time Out magazine.

PHOTOGRAPHY: TATE MODERN

Economists might be attracted to a text on Southwark’s 393,000 square metres of new office space and the opportunities it holds as the capital’s hottest investment prospect, while powerbrokers might enjoy the political intrigue unfolding inside the Foster-designed London Assembly building at More London. For engineers, what about the Jubilee Line Extension or plans for a tram line from Peckham to Camden? Architects might note the proposed London Bridge Tower, which will be Europe’s tallest building on its completion in 2009. Regeneration workers are spoiled for choice: from the £500 million Bermondsey Spa regeneration to British Land and Canada Quays’ (BL Canada Quays) 162,000 square metre transformation of Canada Water, Southwark has lots to offer. This regeneration story is set to run and run; after all, despite the vast progress that has been made in recent years, Southwark is still the country’s ninth poorest borough and its second largest social landlord after Birmingham. These facts are readily acknowledged by Southwark Council director of regeneration Paul Evans. He highlights the importance of the borough’s current 10-year Unitary Development Plan (UDP) – which has just completed its final, public inquiry phase – in determining forthcoming plotlines. ‘The UDP

unites all of the regeneration activity in the borough under a common vision,’ he explains. ‘It is shaping our goals and provides the key tool for specific policies that will provide positive change for the borough and its residents.’ As Southwark Council’s executive member for regeneration, Richard Porter, says: ‘We began by defining our location, our proximity to the City of London and the West End and identifying action areas to work within. Following the Jubilee Line extension, the next step is towards construction of the East London [tube] Line and the new Peckham to Camden tram.’ The UDP also identifies the borough’s potential as a preferred office location: three major new commercial developments at More London, Bankside 123 and Palestra on Blackfriars Road totalling 393,000 square metres are scheduled for completion by 2007. Companies such as Ernst & Young, IPC Media and law firms Norton Rose and Lawrence Graham have chosen to relocate to new headquarters in Southwark. Conversely, the need to adapt old heavy industry property to meet new demands is also being addressed, as evidenced by the £160 million waste management facility proposed for Old Kent Road. As Evans points out, the UDP translates goals into specific guidelines on issues such as housing, design standards, density, car parking, the inclusion of community facilities and the public realm. ‘We aim to make the planning process as straightforward as possible so that developers know what we expect. Of course, every scheme is different but we hope we are sufficiently clear about what is likely to be approved.’ 10 11


Indoor Swimming Pool in College Vizcaya. Spain

‘We aim to make the planning process as straightforward as possible so that developers know what we expect. Of course, every scheme is different but we hope we are sufficiently clear about what is likely to be approved.’

The key, says Porter, is in public consultation. ‘We talk extensively to residents before and during each regeneration scheme and strongly encourage developers to do likewise.’ Evans adds: ‘BL Canada Quays is engaging in a consultation process at the moment through workshops and forums at Canada Water. Land Securities has been very successful in engaging the local community at Bankside 123, as was Sellar Property Group in securing planning permission for London Bridge Tower.’ Likewise, Southwark Council is keen to hear the views of its stakeholders. Earlier this year it held a series of tall buildings workshops, which brought together planning consultants, regeneration bodies, architects, housebuilders and developers as well as local residents to discuss the issues surrounding taller structures (see page 28 for a full report). The promotion of good and innovative design in architecture is another key to the borough’s regeneration success with buildings such as the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey, the Peckham

Library and Charter School in Dulwich. At the end of last year, the Architecture Foundation announced plans to relocate to a new Zaha Hadid designed building on Southwark Street. So how does Evans rate the borough’s planning process? ‘We are already addressing many of the issues that emerged from the government’s recent Planning Act and the mayor’s London Plan. We will discover how guidelines work in practice on, for example, housing density, affordable housing levels and the mixture of uses within developments. In many ways Southwark is trailblazing.’

ARCHITECTURE. ENGINEERING. CONSULTING LONDON. BARCELONA. BILBAO. BRUSSELS. BUCHAREST. CASABLANCA. GRANADA. LISBON. MADRID. MEXICO (D.F.) PALMA DE MALLORCA. PORTO. SAN SEBASTIAN. SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA. SAO PAULO. SEVILLE. VALENCIA (SPAIN). VALENCIA (VENEZUELA). VITORIA. ZARAGOZA. 20 Dock Street, London E1 8JP UK. Tel +44 207 360 7505 Fax +44 207 360 7501

www.idom.es

www.acxt.net

Bermondsey Spa Regeneration Area Site J: 49 units Mixed use Housing Development, London Client: Wharf Developments Ltd.

Southwark Issue Two

12 13


Southwark: a regeneration story From the £1.5 billion Elephant and Castle scheme to the Bermondsey Spa, Bermondsey Square and Canada Water projects, Southwark Council’s vision of a brighter future for the inner London borough is finding its expression. But change is not confined to headline hitting ventures, nor is it yet complete; the regeneration department is already looking ahead to the next big scheme – so watch this space. But for the moment at least, existing plans are challenging enough to keep everyone busy. Elephant and Castle (featured on pages 33–43) would be a headline-grabbing scheme in any borough. But Southwark Council is equally excited about the £500 million mixed-use Bermondsey Spa regeneration, spanning 20 development sites and 200,000 square metres. The project aims to deliver new and better homes, shops, health centres, community facilities and open spaces for local residents. At present, 13 sites are at various stages of planning or construction with an overall completion date for the scheme of 2011. Southwark Council has just appointed Glenn Howells as urban designer for the 36,425 square metre site C, the largest within Bermondsey Spa so far. ‘We invited development teams to submit options for the entire site,’ says Southwark Council’s principal projects surveyor, Tim Thompson. ‘From the outset it was envisaged that this area would have a village-type feel.’ Proposals for site C should be ready by autumn following consultation with local people. Elsewhere, preparations have just started on plans for retail and housing units facing onto Spa Road at site G. ‘We are looking at how to take this development forward,’ says Thompson, ‘and will liaise extensively with commercial and residential tenants Southwark Issue Two

14 15


Hyde Housing

on the best approach.’ Over on site D, Hyde Housing, with architect Levitt Bernstein, is in detailed consultation with local residents and aims to submit a planning application for 160 new homes by the end of the year.

��������������������� ����������������

Meanwhile, construction is under way on site A, another Hyde Housing-led development of 73 new homes and an eight–doctor GP health centre. Due to be completed towards the end of next year, over 40 per cent of the one, two, and three-bed apartments will be reserved for affordable housing and keyworkers. Likewise, the £2 million redevelopment of Spa Gardens by Broadway Malyan, which includes a new community facility that will be managed by the play services team in the council’s education department, is due to open early next year. The centre will be split in two - an early-years area and a play area for school aged children. ‘We have designed the community facility very much with its purpose in mind,’ explains Peter Marshall of Broadway Malyan. ‘For instance, the building is clad with cheerful coloured tiles.’ Bermondsey Spa residents will also benefit from the refurbishment of the Salmon Youth Centre. Phase one of rebuilding work, to be completed next summer, will include a state-of-the-art sports facility, performing arts centre, learning and enterprise hub and accommodation for staff and volunteers. Towards the north of Bermondsey Spa, enabling work has started on five linked sites around old Jamaica Road to deliver 627 homes – divided equally between affordable, key worker and

private accommodation – a health centre, commercial space and a small supermarket. ‘Over 200 apartments will be built in first phase,’ says Iain McPherson, principal development manager at Hyde Housing which owns the site. ‘We are now working closely with Southwark Primary Care Trust and Levitt Bernstein on the second phase of the project which will deliver a nine-doctor GP surgery and 103 apartments.’ Talks have also begun to select a supermarket operator, part of the third phase of development. Meanwhile, Hyde has set up a number of programmes offering local residents access to training for a career in the construction industry.

‘We are now working closely with Southwark Primary Care Trust and Levitt Bernstein on the second phase of the project which will deliver a nine-doctor GP surgery and 103 apartments.’

Southwark Council’s one-stop shop opened at Bermondsey Spa at the end of May, allowing residents to deal with many of their council-related needs during a single contact. For a full listing of all of the sites at Bermondsey Spa, see www.southwark. gov.uk/regeneration It’s fitting that the one-stop shop is the first section of Bermondsey Spa to be completed. As Steve Platts, Southwark Council’s head of property, says: ‘One of the complaints often levelled at large scale development is that local people don’t see the benefits until it is all complete and this is a concern we are addressing.’ He points to another of Southwark’s mammoth regeneration schemes at Canada Water as an example. Among the first elements of the 162,000 square metre mixed-use project to be delivered will be a new public library and community resource centre. Architect Piers Gough of

����������������������������� ����������������������

Southwark Issue Two

16 17


������� and �������� ����������

likely to be redesigned and expanded. Canada Water will also deliver around 2,000 new homes of varying types and tenures, along with 9,000 square metres of office, business start-up and live-work space. ‘The location is brilliant,’ says Gough, noting the area’s fast and efficient transport links to the West End, Canary Wharf and the City via the underground Jubilee Line. ‘Public transport is very, very strong. At present the area is undercooked, but the potential is great.’ BL Canada Quays is now embarking on an extensive public consultation process. Canada Quays chairman David Taylor explains: ‘We are progressing in two stages open consultation where everyone in the community is welcome and through more focused sessions with, for example, local youth and voluntary sector groups. This way we should be able to address the questions, anxieties and suggestions that people have.’ For more on Canada Water see pages 8 and 9.

��������������������������� ��������������������������������� �������������������������������� ��������������������������������

��������������������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������������������ ������������������������������������������������������������������������������ ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������ ��������������������������������������������������������������������������� ������������

‘Bermondsey Square has been occupied continuously since Roman times.’

������������������������������������������������������������������������������ ����������������������������������������������������������

������� and �������� �������

��������� ��� ����� �������

����������

��������������������������������� �������������� ������������������� ������������������� ���� ����������������������� ��������������������������

Southwark Issue Two

CZWG is designing the building, which is due for completion by 2007. Plans are at an early stage but Gough has grand ambitions: ‘A library now has to build on the spectacular example of Peckham Library [Will Alsop’s Stirling Prize winner],’ he says. ‘In Peckham, Southwark commissioned one of the great libraries of our time. It showed that they don’t have to be stuffy or Victorian and that they aren’t just for dusty old people.’ It’s great, he adds, that the council is pushing schemes that encourage learning. Canada Water’s regeneration is being led by British Land and Canada Quays (BL Canada Quays). Plans revolve around an old dock basin where the water’s edge will come alive with new cafes and restaurants. This will link to the library, new leisure facilities and retail outlets, while the existing shopping centre is

Over at the Bermondsey Square regeneration, progress has been altogether more gruesome: the Urban Catalyst-led team has discovered 56 bodies during its complex architectural investigations. The 13,940 square metre scheme sits above the 10th Century Bermondsey Abbey, which shares the same scheduled monument status as Stonehenge. ‘Bermondsey Square has been occupied continuously since Roman times,’ says project director Alistair Gaskin, who believes that the bodies date between 1690 and 1720. ‘They have all been reburied in East London Cemetery,’ he says. More will be known about the Southwark residents of those times when the forensic scientist’s report is published. Back in the 21st Century all is well. The development will be home to around 60 apartments, some commercial space, a boutique-style hotel, restaurants, a small supermarket and an arthouse cinema and film production company run by locally based Shortwave Films. Work is about to begin onsite, following the appointment of Galliford Try as main consultant/building contractor in May. Bermondsey Square is likely to be complete by spring 2007.

18 19


Urban Catalyst had hoped to open the development by the end of next year but complex technical issues including noninterference with the abbey ruins have seen the redesign of building foundations and work has also been phased around the weekly antiques market which continues to operate onsite. When complete, Bermondsey Square will provide the market with a new, modernised home.

OVER 20 YEARS OF REGENERATION IN SOUTHWARK

North of Canada Water at Russia Dock Woodlands, Barratt East London has lodged a planning application to build 268 residential units, a new GP surgery and replace an old hall with a new community centre on 22,000 square metre site, ‘Downtown’. A commercial let will be built into the community centre helping Southwark to pay for local schools’ use. And what attracted the housebuilder to the scheme? ‘The location: Rotherhithe is a great area and the Downtown site is close to the park [Russia Dock Woodlands]. Transport links to the city and Canary Wharf are very good,’ says Barratt East London planning manager Ian Gorst.

Barratt has been helping to regenerate Southwark virtually non-stop since 1984 Computer generated impression of The Galleria

NOW... THE GALLERIA IN PECKHAM Our latest project is a classic example of the innovative approach we bring to all our developments, blending quality, affordability and forward-looking design. In Peckham, as part of a unique partnership with Acme studios, Barratt is building 47 affordable studios exclusively for London artists who would otherwise have no hope of buying or renting suitable space. In fact, we designed The Galleria with the concept of ‘affordable workspace’ specifically in mind – an idea welcomed by Southwark Council because it combined regeneration with mixed-use development and job creation. The project also offers homes for sale and for affordable occupation by local people.

For further information please contact Barratt East London on 020 8522 5500

Barratt Southern Chairman Clive Fenton says: “This is a very exciting project for us. There is undoubtedly a desperate need for affordable and properly-designed studio space for artists in London, and we are convinced of the cultural, economic and social value of a project like this. It’s already clear that our residential buyers at The Galleria enjoy the idea of a having a small colony of working artists as their neighbours. Like the contemporary design of building and the location, the studios will be seen as one of the development’s attractions.” Jonathan Harvey, co-director of Acme Studios, says: “This partnership with Barratt provides a vitally important model with enormous potential. This is not just a sustainable mixed-use scheme where the artists’ workspace may actually add value to the homes on sale, but also an example of how affordable workspace can be provided in London, where soaring land values have put rents beyond the reach of many artists.”

www.barratthomes.co.uk

Overall, it’s a staggering amount of regeneration. ‘The challenge for us is the amount of change we can sustain at any one time,’ says Steve Platts, from a position which must inspire the envy of planning departments around the country. ‘It’s controversial, change always is and construction can be disruptive.’ He is mindful that the driving force behind Southwark Council’s regeneration plans – which began in earnest ten years ago – is always to create a better environment and improved life chances for the borough’s 250,000 residents. To this end, the inclusion of parks, schools and health centres will always be prominent in its schemes. As Southwark Council’s executive member for regeneration Richard Porter puts it: ‘The key purpose of regeneration is not to knock down buildings but to provide good housing, schools and services that will strengthen local communities.’ Southwark’s population is set to rise to 400,000 by 2035 and social services will need to reflect this growth. Likewise,

Southwark Issue Two

transport infrastructure improvements such as the Jubilee Line Extension, the East London Line and the proposed tram line that will link Camden with Peckham and Brixton via King’s Cross and Waterloo have emerged as both catalysts for and necessities of development. That said, the regeneration of Southwark still has a long way to go, with new areas likely to be considered for development over the coming years. ‘On schemes such as Bermondsey Square, Bermondsey Spa, and Canada Water, much of the hard work has already been completed from our point of view and they are in the hands of the development teams,’ says Platts. He reveals that attention will soon be turning to other locations in the borough: Old Kent Road (‘lots of developer interest and opportunities in conjunction with the proposed £160 million waste management facility’) and Peckham town centre (‘we’ll be consulting this year on new business and retail prospects there’) are just two. Meanwhile, Councillor Porter believes that the proposed Peckham to Camden tram will act as a real catalyst to further regeneration in the south of the borough. Like we said – stay tuned.

Bermondsey Spa 2,000 new homes, more than 25 per cent affordable/new health facilities/ a dental practice/more than 26,000 square metres of re-landscaped open space/car-club spaces/108 secure bicycle parks/new one-stop shop and council offices/new retail including a supermarket. Bermondsey Square 60 apartments/commercial and leisure space/boutique-style hotel/ supermarket/arthouse cinema/ film production company. Canada Water 2,000 residential units/more than 9,000 square metres of retail and leisure/more than 9,000 square metres of commercial space/ regenerated public realm/new library and community facility.

20 21


Regeneration gets theatrical

While lovers of musicals might head straight for the West End, theatre goers with savvy know that Southwark’s theatre scene offers, arguably, the most diverse and exciting artistic experience in the capital. The borough is home to world famous names such as Shakespeare’s Globe and the Young Vic, while smaller independent venues like the Southwark Playhouse, Union Theatre and the Mernier Chocolate Factory have attracted critical acclaim for the variety and quality of their productions. And now Southwark is set to have another, very special addition to its drama fraternity when the Unicorn Theatre for children opens at More London later this year. Alongside museums and other cultural experiences, the regeneration potential of theatres has long been recognised. ‘It’s true that developers follow artists,’ says Tom Wilson, education director at Southwark Playhouse. Although, as he points out, history also shows that the arrival of developers often drives out the artists who attracted them in the first place. In the case of Southwark, however, it seems that commercial developers are relying on the borough’s cultural surroundings when marketing their schemes. Blackfriars Investments is selling its 27,800 square metre Palestra Southwark Issue Two

office building on Blackfriars Road to potential tenants, not just as high quality commercial space, but as an exciting destination with great transport links and a thriving entertainment scene. Jonathan Turk, Land Securities development director at its mixeduse Bankside 123 development, says: ‘Bankside is well serviced by a wide range of retail and leisure amenities. The Royal Festival Hall, the Royal National Theatre, Oxo Tower, Tate Modern and the Globe Theatre – all fronting the River Thames – are within a short walking distance.’ But theatres aren’t just a catalyst for change; they play an active part in the entire regeneration process, especially in terms of community involvement through open days, education and workshops. ‘We are part of the community in the same way that regional playhouses are, which is quite rare in London,’ explains Juliet Alderdice, chief executive of Southwark Playhouse. ‘Part of our commitment to working in the community is celebrating the past and looking to the future.’ The theatre tries to cover works of local significance – this summer’s ambitious open air production of The Canterbury Tales is one such example, a play based on the recent Thameslink inquiry is another.

‘We always have one Shakespeare production each year,’ says Alderdice. ‘Where possible we perform in local schools and last year 800 pupils came to the theatre for free to see Romeo and Juliet. We also work with the Blackfriars Older People’s Group.’ Of course, the Playhouse doesn’t just cover Southwark-inspired pieces; it presents the wide range of works needed to retain its national profile. ‘The West End is crowded, touristy and expensive,’ says Alderdice. ‘We offer a different quality of experience. People can come here for a night out as lots of bars and restaurants have sprung up.’ The Playhouse was, along with husband Wilson, her brainchild and something of a trailblazer. ‘When we came here 12 years ago there weren’t really any other theatres although Sam Wanamaker had just got permission for the Globe.’ Wanamaker died in 1993, four years before the realisation of his life dream to see the Globe Theatre return to Bankside. A faithful reconstruction of the open air playhouse of the 16th century, the Globe – with a season running from May to September – has become an international icon and a major tourist attraction. But despite its worldwide appeal, Wanamaker firmly 22 23


‘The cultural offer we have here is fantastic. The many theatres, not just close to Bankside, but throughout the borough – such as the Blue Elephant in Camberwell and the proposed new theatre in Peckham – really raise the profile of Southwark’

believed that the Globe should serve the local community. Over 70,000 people every year participate in its programme of workshops and courses and one of Wanamaker’s last instructions was to lower the perimeter wall around the Globe so children would be able to look in. ‘The cultural offer we have here is fantastic. The many theatres, not just close to Bankside, but throughout the borough – such as the Blue Elephant in Camberwell and exciting cultural proposals in Peckham – really raise the profile of Southwark,’ says the council’s executive member for regeneration, Richard Porter. ‘The arrival of the Tate Modern was perhaps the real turning point. We are way ahead of our neighbouring boroughs and the growth of our cultural sector has not only attracted more developers to the area but it has increased the overall sense of pride too.’ Paul Evans, Southwark Council’s director of regeneration, believes that the council can help to encourage creative industries and points to the imminent arrival of

the £12 million Unicorn Theatre at the More London development as one such example. As More London development director Liam Bond confirms: ‘In addition to an attractive transaction, below market cost, we have also contributed £800,000 via the section 106 agreement.’ He believes that the Unicorn will bring a more diverse customer base as well as colour and life to the scheme. Set to open later this year, the Unicorn is dedicated solely to producing high quality children’s theatre. Founded in 1947, the world renowned company has not had a permanent home since it vacated the Arts Theatre in London’s West End in 1999. The Unicorn searched ‘high and low’, viewing over 100 sites, throughout the capital, for a suitable site before settling on Southwark. ‘Southwark is a vibrant, central location and we are delighted to be a part of its regeneration,’ says marketing director Emma Simon. Following a Europe-wide competition, Keith Williams Architects was appointed to design the scheme,

which will comprise two auditoriums, education rooms and rehearsal studios. Artistic director Tony Graham describes the look as ‘rough but beautiful’. Over 100,000 children are expected to enjoy the theatre’s productions and education programmes. ‘For the first time since Unicorn was founded we will be in charge of our own destiny. We will be able to expand our work many-fold and, very importantly, we will be able to present work all year round,’ says Simon. ‘We can guarantee that almost every weekend we will be offering parents and children something wonderful to experience in our theatre.’

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

24 25


Zandra Rhodes on Southwark

Two years ago, legendary fashion designer Zandra Rhodes – who rose to fame in the 1970s for her colourful creations and equally colourful hair – realised a lifelong dream with the opening of the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey, dedicated to showcasing contemporary fashion design. It recently presented the first major British retrospective of her work, ‘Zandra Rhodes: a lifelong love affair with textiles’. Here, the amiable Rhodes discusses her battle to establish the museum, her views on Southwark and her advice for mayor Ken Livingstone. You struggled for years to create – and especially secure funding for – the Fashion and Textile Museum; did you ever consider giving up? We haven’t really had financing. We’ve received no public money at all, which is terribly sad. We were turned down for Lottery funding at the very start and then three times for Arts Council funding. I’ve used my own money and that of my partner [US businessman Salah Hassanein] who trusted my vision. I’m not the sort of person who gives up. Once you have done something like sell your own house to fund a building, you really have to stand by the idea. Why did you persevere? I haven’t known anything other than struggle so I don’t know what to say to that. It was always a dream to represent British fashion and promote the work of our designers. There are so many British designers such as Bill Gibb and Jean Muir who could easily be sidelined and forgotten if no one set out to remember them. Why did you choose to locate the museum in Bermondsey? Southwark is a fab place to be. I had a lot of artist friends in Bermondsey and at that time it was very economical. It has a

Southwark Issue Two

Sweeney Todd feel to it. The Victorians built the railway overground and that sealed the area and, to a certain extent, protected it. You are working with Southwark Council’s tourism department to attract more visitors to the area; what can be done to achieve this? There is always lots of dialogue, but dialogue doesn’t always lead to the next level: action. I believe the more people who take note the better, which is why I do publicity all over the world from the USA to Russia to promote the museum. As a sometime resident of Southwark, what do you think of plans for the borough’s regeneration? Places like More London and the South Bank look fabulous. Also, the local community in Southwark hasn’t been destroyed. I do think the mayor [of London Ken Livingstone] should walk around the area. I think he’s got palsy, he’s never walked down my street and I’ve asked him [to the museum] several times. It’s only a few minutes away. What part do you think museums can play in the regeneration process? Well, we contribute in the sense that people are coming into the area to visit the museum – cafes and shops spring up around it. There is also the fact that it is a lovely building. Local residents have told me how much they love the museum, so it boosts local pride too.

schoolchildren created tapestries for London Underground and they were displayed in Borough High Street. What do you miss most about the area when you are in the United States? Walking around Southwark. I conducted a walking tour for Visit London in July. [Did they give you a guide of what to say?] No, they got Zandra Rhodes’ historical facts! How was your recent retrospective exhibition received? Very well. Who is the most beautiful woman you have dressed? Lots – Lauren Bacall, Princess Diana, Diana Ross… What fashion advice do women most frequently ignore? Women should look at what is in fashion and edit it to suit them. For instance, if you are middle aged and fat don’t have bits of skin bulging out of your clothes. That said, I don’t think people should ever give up experimenting. Advice for a Fashion and Textile Museum curator of the distant future: how Zandra Rhodes would like to be remembered… As an original designer with something to give the world. But the world will be the judge of that. And, of course, leaving behind the monument of the Fashion and Textile Museum.

Is engaging with the local community important? How can it be achieved? We’ve managed to involve local schools and people. The museum runs afterschool children’s projects like the Curation Club and the Fashion Club. There have been a number of very successful schemes. Last year, local

26 27


Up, up and away

By 2009, Southwark could be home to Europe’s tallest building. Sellar Property Group’s 310 metre-high London Bridge Tower, known as the ‘Shard of Glass’, promises to be a fabulous new 70-storey landmark when and, crucially, if it gets built. Although Southwark Council has always supported the plan, industry cynics highlight uncertainties in the lettings market as that other London icon, the Swiss Re tower, struggles to attract tenants. They question the rental values required to support such an ambitious scheme. But the Shard took a step towards confounding its detractors earlier this year when Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts signed a 30-year lease agreement to occupy floors 34 to 52. The 195-room Shangri-La at London Bridge Tower promises to offer (at 42 square metres a room) some of the largest guest accommodation in the capital, alongside the entertainment, recreational and conferencing facilities usually associated with five-star luxury. The deal concludes a decade-long search by the group to find a location for its first European hotel and further underlines the strides that Southwark has made towards regeneration. After all, it has one of the world’s top hotel groups singing its praises. According to Shangri-La: ‘With the City of London minutes away and Canary Wharf easily accessible, the location is ideal for the business traveller. It will also be a convenient base for leisure travellers to explore London, situated close to key tourist attractions, such as the Tower of

London, St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye and Shakespeare’s Globe. London Bridge Tower will have direct access to a key transport interchange providing extensive mainline railway, bus and underground stations.’ Sellar Property Group professes itself ‘delighted and honoured’ by the signing. Shangri-La will occupy 18,600 square metres of the 83,600 square metres available, but at least one other major tenant is needed to secure the 40 per cent pre-let required before construction can begin. Chairman Irvine Sellar refuses to be drawn on other potential clients, but confirms that negotiations are under way. Following a high profile public inquiry, the Shard, designed by internationally renowned architect Renzo Piano, gained planning permission in November 2003. Supported by Southwark Council and the deputy prime minister John Prescott, but opposed by English Heritage, the plan is ambitious: a mixed-use structure blending commercial, residential, retail and leisure elements with interaction with the public realm, including access to a viewing gallery on floors 65 and 66. Impressive as it is, London Bridge Tower forms part of a wider trend towards tall structures in Southwark following mayor Ken Livingstone’s London Plan of February last year. In the last issue of Southwark, John East, head of planning and transport, revealed that the council was to hold workshops on its impending tall buildings framework. The area under examination

Southwark Issue Two

28 29


‘With the City of London minutes away and Canary Wharf easily accessible, the location is ideal for the business traveller.’

extended from London Bridge west to the boundary with neighbouring borough Lambeth, and south to Union Street and includes a significant number of current tall building proposals (see box). ‘It was fascinating,’ says Julie Greer, Southwark Council’s design and conservation manager. ‘We held three workshops in total. The first was at the Tate Modern for professional stakeholders, the second was for residents and the third, at architect Allies and Morrison’s office, brought the findings of the two groups together.’ The roll call of around 50 attendees at the industry workshop included planning consultants, regeneration bodies and architects, housebuilders and developers. The participants divided into groups

Shangri-La plans to offer some of the largest hotel rooms in the capital.

to discuss the issues surrounding tall buildings. The results were a pleasant surprise to Greer, who expected more self-interest from the private sector. There was broad agreement on a number of points: the importance of high quality design; that tall buildings should have a positive impact on the civic realm and create public spaces; that a slender profile is preferable (therefore residential towers are generally more aesthetically successful than commercial ones with larger floorplates); that due to the socioeconomic changes over the lifespan of a building it should be capable of conversion from one use to another; and that public access should be available wherever possible.

level,’ says Jason Parker of architect Make, which is designing the four-storey extension and recladding of the 30-storey King’s Reach Tower on Stamford Street.

‘It was useful to look at tall buildings development in the borough on a macro

Unsurprisingly, the residents’ workshop had different concerns. There wasn’t as much enthusiasm for tall buildings, although many attendees felt that they are inevitable. ‘As one resident put it: ‘they don’t have to be that tall’,’ says Greer. Baker, who attended both the industry and the resident workshops, said he found local people surprisingly positive. ‘The greater the consultation on these issues the better,’ he says. ‘That way, everyone has the chance to be heard and to benefit.’

Among the buildings Southwark could become home to: Sellar Property Group: London Bridge Tower, 310 metre, 70-storey, mixeduse building designed by Renzo Piano and scheduled for completion in 2009. Status: approved. Beetham Organisation: 215 metre high mixed-use tower designed by Ian Simpson Architects just 50 metres from the River Thames on Blackfriars Road. Status: pre-application. Land Securities: 20 Blackfriars Road designed by Wilkinson Eyre, the 176 metre-high office block would have 35-storeys. Status: pre-application. Capital & Counties: King’s Reach Tower. Architect Make (founded by Ken Shuttleworth and John Prevc) hopes to reclad and add four storeys to the 30-storey Stamford Street building. Status: planning application lodged. Land Securities: Bankside 4 (Southwark Street/Summer Street) Richard Rogers Partnership has been commissioned to design a landmark residential scheme. Status: pre-application. Multiplex: Residential tower at Park Street by Eric Perry. Status: planning application lodged.

Generally, the group was against the inclusion of affordable housing within commercial/residential towers. It also felt that artificial boundaries (i.e. those between boroughs) are often unhelpful and similarly that, over a certain height, restrictions on extra storeys are irrelevant. As workshop attendee Paul Baker, director of architect Wilkinson Eyre, points out: ‘If a height cap is introduced there is the question of density; you could end up with lots of 12-storey towers and that is certainly not ideal.’

One important area of consensus between residents and professionals was that the northern area of Blackfriars Road, from Southwark tube station to the Bridge, is the most appropriate place for tall buildings in the area. And, indeed, this is where most of the proposed developments are clustered. However, as Parker points out, a policy of promoting mixed-use buildings is probably the wisest option both socially and commercially to prevent ‘an office ghetto’. Greer says that Southwark Council’s decision not to begin drafting the Tall Buildings Strategy until after the workshops shows its willingness to debate the issue and consider external opinions. The strategy is due to go out for consultation later this year.

Southwark Issue Two

Sellar on the Shard Sellar Property Group chairman Irvine Sellar shares his thoughts on what he has called ‘London’s most important planning consent in modern times’: Q. How did the idea for London Bridge Tower take shape? A. Originally my partners and I acquired Southwark Towers, which is the name of the existing building on the site, as an investment property. It was, and continues to be, occupied by PricewaterhouseCoopers on a long occupancy lease. We realised the building [originally developed in 1972] had considerable development potential. Shortly after we purchased it the government, supported by Ken Livingstone, announced that it would encourage high density developments next to and over major transport hubs. Q. Why is it important to you that London Bridge Tower is Renzo Piano’s first UK building? A. From the outset we believed that the site and its location were of huge importance both to Southwark and London. As a consequence it needed an architect who could produce a design that we could all be proud of. Renzo was a natural choice not only for his reputation and creative flair but precisely because he had

never designed a building in the UK. London Bridge Tower allowed him to fully exercise his creative talents and I believe we have a world class building that is already becoming an international iconic landmark – and we haven’t laid a brick yet! Q. It allows for extensive public access to the building’s upper levels – why? A. We feel this building should be fully accessible to the residents of Southwark and surrounding areas, as well as the capital at large, together with tourists from the UK and around the world. We believe Londoners especially should have a right of accessibility and ownership. Q. How would you describe your relationship with Southwark Council? A. We found Southwark Council a constructive and positive body that was both encouraging and supportive in helping us to create what we believe will be the capital’s most iconic building since St Paul’s. Southwark proved to be a first class authority to work with. Q. Is this Sellar Property Group’s most daring project to date? A. This would be anybody’s most daring project.

30 31


‘We have a fantastic variety of backdrops; from the Southbank to industrial land, to housing estates and parks.’

Filming in Southwark Woody Allen might be more closely associated with the neuroses of New York’s intelligentsia than the regeneration of London boroughs, but the film director, along with a host of production companies, is playing an important – albeit supporting – role in Southwark’s multi-billion makeover. Southwark Council’s film officer Andrew Pavord reveals that the borough is a magnet for cinematographers. There have been more than 550 days of filming in the borough since he joined the council last November. The area has enticed big screen names like Allen [who filmed much of ‘Match Point’ in the borough], Guy Ritchie [whose latest Brit Flick ‘Revolver’ was shot in Southwark] and Gurinda Chadha [of ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ fame, who is filming the romance ‘Mistress of Spice’ on the South Bank]. Southwark also sets the scene for hit BBC shows Spooks and Hustle, among others. ‘We have a fantastic variety of backdrops; from Bankside to industrial land, to housing estates and parks,’ says Pavord, by way of explanation. ‘We also have a range of great buildings from new office blocks to centuries-old churches.’ He believes Southwark has the edge on other boroughs by making the filming process as simple as possible. ‘Our ‘notice to film’ period is very short – just 24 hours. In some boroughs it Southwark Issue Two

takes up to eight days. We also provide parking permits quickly. Some boroughs ask for the number plates of vehicles in advance, which just isn’t realistic.’ Filming in Southwark generates revenue, not only for the council but for local businesses. The BBC spy drama Spooks is estimated to have spent around £4 million in Southwark since filming began on the first series. So how much can the council itself expect to collect? With less than a year in the job, Pavord is reluctant to hazard a guess at future earnings potential. As for 2004: ‘I would say we earned more than Lambeth [which he estimates took around £80,000] but less than the City [around £200,000].’

The Aylesbury and the Heygate Estates are in almost constant demand from production companies looking to capture inner city living. Pavord praises the patience of residents and reveals that recent improvements have seen filmmakers spraying their own graffiti, which is of course removed immediately. So is the regeneration process actually working against Pavord? ‘Not at all,’ he laughs. ‘I am here to generate money that will benefit the borough.’ That is the point after all.

32 33


Issue One

����������������������������������������������������������� ����������������������� ����������������

����������������������������� ������������������

Catch up with the latest news from the regeneration Social housing for the 21st Century

elephant &castle

������� ��������

Summer/Autumn 2005

35


elephant & castle issue one

An urban regeneration programme, working in partnership with local people and businesses, that will fulfil Elephant and Castle’s potential as a thriving quarter of central London.

Over the next ten years, Elephant and Castle will be completely transformed into a vibrant, successful, mixed-use urban destination. Southwark Council’s vision is to create a place that: — has its own clear and positive identity that builds on the strengths of the area, including excellent transport links and a close proximity to central London — supports a successful and diverse mix of affordable homes, shops, businesses, and high quality recreation and cultural activities — creates opportunities for all local residents, and ensures that they are a key part of the transformation of the area — improves the life chances of individuals through enhancing health, educational achievement, skill levels and employability — shifts the emphasis, and gives priority to, pedestrians, public transport and cycling, rather than cars — is safe, and free of the fear of crime — is clean and well maintained — has a high quality, accessible and integrated public transport system — has an integrated network of high quality green spaces that draws people into and through the area by improving its appearance and encouraging activity — provides for the economic, educational, cultural and social needs of a diverse mix of existing and new residents Southwark Council is on track to find a commercial partner in 2006 to help us turn the vision into reality. For more information, see www.elephantandcastle.org.uk or phone the development team on 020 7525 4922.

news

news Seven shortlisted in commercial developer selection process Southwark Council’s search for a commercial partner for its £1.5 billion, mixed-use regeneration of Elephant and Castle moved closer to completion in June when the seven shortlisted developers/consortia were announced. They are: — Key Property Investments Ltd – a joint venture between St Modwen Property and Salhia Real Estate — Lend Lease Europe Ltd — Oceancrest – a consortium of Blackfriars Investments, Elliott Bernard, The Lefrak Organisation, Royal London Asset Management and Bank of Scotland — Canary Wharf Group plc — Prudential Property Investments Ltd — Multiplex Developments Ltd — Taylor Woodrow Developments Ltd Commenting on the process, Elephant and Castle development director, Chris Horn, said: ‘It has attracted an immensely strong field and this means that we can expect a really strong competition through to final selection. Our commitment to achieving the most distinctive and exciting regeneration programme in London has been redoubled by the strength of the response we’ve received from the market. We look forward to exciting times ahead.’ A further shortlist of two or three organisations will be selected this winter, from which Southwark Council’s executive committee will approve a development partnership next year.

Elephant and Castle for beginners The £1.5 billion, 688,000 square metre, mixed-use regeneration at Elephant and Castle is creating a new city quarter for one of London’s most exciting – and underdeveloped – locations. Just a short walk from the City, the area is currently characterised by uninspiring 1960s architecture (including its infamous shopping centre) and a car-centric transport system that forces pedestrians into unappealing subways. However, Southwark Council aims to give Elephant and Castle back its heart with ambitious regeneration plans, including: — The demolition of the Heygate Estate, the infamous pink shopping centre and the subways. — The re-housing of Heygate residents in quality homes around the regeneration area. — The construction of over 5,000 new and replacement homes. — Re-routing the traffic system to give priority to pedestrians and public transport, including the proposed tram route. — The creation of over 4,000 new jobs — 75,000 square metres of new retail and leisure space. — Building a City Academy for Southwark. — Introducing new public areas, cultural and community facilities. — Constructing two landmark mixeduse towers.

37


Tibbalds

Planning and urban design advisors to Southwark Council on the regeneration of the Elephant & Castle

town planning sustainable regeneration urban design & masterplanning development frameworks & design guidance public consultation

Tibbalds Planning & Urban Design 19 Maltings Place 169 Tower Bridge Road London SE1 3JB T: 020 7089 2121 F: 020 7089 2120 mail@tibbalds.co.uk www.tibbalds.co.uk

elephant & castle issue one

news

39

news Elephant the ‘next big thing’ for property hunters Southwark Council has been saying it for years and, judging by the level of interest, many developers agree. But a little bit of celebrity endorsement never hurt an area, and Elephant and Castle is no different. So when TV property expert Phil Spencer tipped the regeneration hotspot as London’s next big residential location at the Evening Standard Homes and Property show earlier this year, it was no surprise to Elephant and Castle development director, Chris Horn. ‘Just ten minutes from the City, a stone’s throw from Waterloo and with fast, easy connections to the West End, Elephant is a very central and accessible location. This, combined with the exciting regeneration plans that we are pursuing over the next decade to create a dynamic and thriving community, makes it a great place to live,’ he said.

Culture under construction Construction work has started on a new £3.5 million arts and media centre on Southwark Bridge Road. Formerly a Victorian library, the now derelict building will be transformed, providing local people with opportunities to gain training for, and access to, careers in the creative industries. The centre will be managed by a local trust and will also have a dedicated space for community groups, a café and commercial space to generate income. It is due for completion in June next year.

Time to celebrate Elephant Impacts Local residents, the Elephant and Castle regeneration team and Southwark councillors gathered at the London College of Communication in June for a reception to celebrate the Elephant Impacts programme. Designed to deliver physical improvements to the Elephant and Castle area ahead of major regeneration work, the programme includes the cleaning and relighting of subways, refurbishment of bridges, feature lighting on a number of buildings, tree lighting and tree planting. Photographs were exhibited at the gallery to remind guests just how dramatic improvements have been. Speaking at the event, Councillor Catherine Bowman said that the programme had come in response to public opinion: ‘Much of the community felt the area offered a poor quality environment. Recent improvements address these concerns and inject a much needed vitality.’

Spencer, famed for helping house hunters find their dream property on television, said that Elephant’s proximity to central London and excellent transport links meant that it was a great investment prospect. And, judging by the ratings he attracts, he should know. Spencer said that he ‘looks for areas with potential of which this area has plenty.’

Rhianon Jenkins, senior project manager at Elephant Impacts, said that a relatively small investment had achieved a great deal. She pointed to lighting enhancements as an effective way to dramatically change the appearance of an area for a relatively small amount of money. ‘We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from local people,’ she said.

The average house price in Southwark is around £260,000 – against a Greater London average of around £290,000. With Elephant and Castle sitting below the borough average, it is a market with lots of potential for astute developers and house hunters.

Top: Phil Spencer Bottom: The new arts and media centre planned for Southwark Bridge Road


taking social housing into the 21st century

elephant & castle issue one

social housing

40

As a walk through any British town or city will testify, social housing and design excellence are phrases that rarely appear in the same sentence or, more importantly, in the same project brief. Decades of failing properties, constructed quickly and often with minimal architectural input, have created low standards and even lower expectations. But, as the £1.5 billion Elephant and Castle regeneration in Southwark is proving, social housing and high quality design are not mutually exclusive. With over 5,000 new and replacement homes planned for the 688,000 square metre inner London site, Southwark Council has adopted a groundbreaking approach. Design and build is dead.

In a drive to ensure striking urban design, and to ensure it throughout the 10-year redevelopment of Elephant and Castle, the housing association and architectural procurement processes have been separated. The housing association procurement is in its final stage; with five associations remaining from an original seven. Two of these will be selected in the autumn to manage the construction of homes on 14 designated sites and, ultimately, assume management responsibilities. In total, 16 architectural practices have been selected from more than 80 applications. The practices, which include both less experienced and more established companies, will form a competition panel to bid for housing sites as they become ready to develop. The council will then invite a handful to bid for each site based on their expertise, approach and style. In doing so, it hopes that each practice on the panel will get some work and that the competition will inspire the best quality designs (see page 42 for preferred architects and shortlisted housing associations). Proof of that will start to accumulate next year, when construction of the first phase begins. It will provide 1,000 replacement homes

for residents of the Heygate Estate, which is being demolished – along with the infamous Elephant and Castle shopping centre – as part of the overall regeneration scheme. Elephant and Castle development director Chris Horn believes the scheme will achieve new standards of social housing: ‘In the past, there has been a tendency to play the numbers game. I’m not being rude about other councils; I know that projects often have tight deadlines and involve large numbers of people, but this can foster a production line mentality,’ he says. ‘Issues such as design and sustainability can become less important, while other factors like budget and schedule take precedence. I’m not saying that we don’t face these considerations; they are just as pressing here, but we have always said there would be no compromise.’ Gone is the formulaic ‘design and build’ delivery witnessed elsewhere. By separating housing associations from the design process, the Elephant and Castle team is ensuring that each of the project’s 14 housing sites receives a fresh treatment. ‘It is a considerable undertaking, but we have started early with vigour and energy,’

elephant & castle issue one

social housing

41


elephant & castle issue one

social housing

explains Horn. ‘There will be no standard unit types and no palette book. Each phase of housing will receive the best design possible.’

particularly from the press. ‘What we are doing has been called groundbreaking and revolutionary,’ says Horn. Is it? ‘As far as we know, yes. If anyone else has held a procurement process this way, it hasn’t been reported to our knowledge.’

He believes the ‘mechanised and industrialised’ method adopted by some social housing schemes breeds poor quality: ‘Everything is purchased in bulk, from tiles to engineering contracts. So, you might be able to specify whether you want red brick or yellow brick, but you probably can’t change the windows or the roof. ‘That is a system at its worst – where architecture and design is a nuisance.’ Furthermore, he points out, most of these standardisations work in favour of the contractor, not the project. With forthright views and a groundbreaking idea, what kind of reaction has his new procurement process received? ‘Some people said we should accept that design and build come as a package, but if they think we are tilting at the windmill in chasing good design then that is their outlook.’ In fact the response to Southwark Council’s plans has been overwhelmingly positive. Horn says he has been surprised by the levels of praise the plans have attracted,

Rowan Moore, director of the Architecture Foundation, welcomes Southwark Council’s approach as providing ‘the potential for better quality housing’. ‘It’s especially important at Elephant and Castle as the high density of housing means that the scheme is quite challenging,’ he says. He praises the involvement of residents in the architectural selection process: ‘Social housing doesn’t always respond to user needs. Because the element of choice present in a private housing sale is often lacking, there can be a lack of contact between the designer and residents.’ For smaller architectural practices, the Elephant and Castle procurement approach offers a realistic opportunity to work on arguably the UK’s most high profile regeneration. ‘Our competition panel consists of both young, smaller practices and more established ones,’ explains Horn. ‘We set criteria that wouldn’t preclude anyone from the scheme through lack of

43

experience.’ Does he foresee any risk in using young talent? ‘There could be some areas where new practices might struggle,’ acknowledges Horn, ‘but you find that with big practices too. The beauty of our competition process is that if someone doesn’t make the grade, they’ll be off the list.’ The 16 practices on the architectural panel are preparing for action later this year. ‘We did hear that it was a unique way to procure social housing,’ says Nazar Sayigh of panel member Glas Architects. ‘It’s great to see the council take such an interest in architecture and good design.’ Reinhold Schmaderer of Glenn Howells Architects believes that the people involved in the scheme are more important than the structure of procurement. And, certainly, all of the architects, housing associations and the Elephant and Castle regeneration team display real excitement and enthusiasm for the task ahead. Proctor and Matthews, Andrew Matthews says: ‘It was interesting to see that the procurement process had changed. The regeneration team set design high on the agenda from day one. It sends a message that design is of paramount importance.’ Matthews, whose practice was involved in


The five housing associations in the Elephant and Castle procurement process are:

social housing

44

— Southern Housing Group — Homes for Heygate: a consortium of Hyde, Metropolitan and Hexagon — Urban Choice: a consortium of Family and Affinity — Horizon Housing Group — A consortium of L&Q, Guinness and Wandle

The 16 architectural practices bidding for Elephant and Castle are: — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Panter Hudspith Architects Glenn Howells Architects Proctor and Matthews Cartwright Pickard Architects Glas Architects Featherstone Associates Haworth Tompkins Loates-Taylor Shannon Limited de Rijke Marsh Morgan Niall McLaughlin Architects Riches Hawley Mikhail Architects The AOC Kmk Architects Ltd Metaphorm Ltd s333 Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

elephant & castle issue one

social housing

the Greenwich Millennium Village, is looking forward to creating the new Elephant and Castle. ‘The ghetto-isation of different tenure groups is not the way to make socially sustainable communities,’ he says. ‘Tenures should be mixed together, using architecture that isn’t repetitive. We produce domestic architecture that responds to the landscape around it and is contemporary, reflecting the way people live today.’

the majority of the Elephant and Castle regeneration, which includes extensive new builds, this is an empty car park that borders a conservation area, a listed town hall and a row of Victorian terraces. We have to fit the context as it exists and anticipate what the new context will be [once the nearby Heygate Estate is demolished]. We are creating a strong building that will complement, but not be subservient to, the town hall.’ He highlights the mass, colour and texture of the design as defining features. ‘Wansey Street has to act as a litmus test for the regeneration and we are confident of its success.’

The Elephant and Castle team has already tested the new procurement process with great success at its 31-unit Wansey Street scheme, designed by architect de Rijke Marsh Morgan (dRMM) and managed by Southern Housing Group. Work is progressing onsite, with the first residents arriving early next year. Horn says the Elephant and Castle selection team – and especially the area’s residents – admired dRMM’s approach to the complex site. It was important, he says, to choose a team that would deliver to Heygate residents the promise of ‘fantastic design’. dRMM’s vision is impressive, defying what is a technically difficult site. As Michael Spooner, project architect at dRMM, explains: ‘Unlike

45

‘Wansey Street had to set standards and it is our intention to build upon them,’ says Horn. ‘We took the approach that it was not a ‘housing association development’, but a first class housing development that happens to include a mix of tenures. We needed to produce something that exceeds anything that has gone before in terms of design and floorspace. And I believe we have. Why should social housing look any different from private housing? Why should your home radiate your perceived social status?’

The housing associations procurement process will be complete in the next few months when Southwark Council selects its preferred two assocations from the five that currently remain. By the end of this year, housing associations and architects will be selected to bid for the first 1,000 homes. A staggered programme of housebuilding and estate demolition will then continue until 2009. Horn says he has learned a number of things from the Wansey Street experience: that the architectural profession can rise to challenges; that it doesn’t matter if architects haven’t worked in the housing association sector before; that design and quality can be improved without affecting cost; and that ‘enthusiasm is infectious’. So is social housing really about to begin a journey towards image rehabilitation? Horn certainly believes that Elephant and Castle will set a precedent for the design of large scale social housing: ‘In urban areas you can’t replicate the built form across a large area; it has to change across blocks to allow for evolution. This is the approach we are taking: creating excellent individual sites but with an eye on the wider context.’

Regeneration timeline For the past two years Southwark Council has been perfecting its plans for the regeneration of Elephant and Castle. This ambitious and far-reaching programme should be completed by 2014. March 2002 Previous regeneration plans collapse after Southwark Council and its preferred development partner, Southwark Land Regeneration, fail to reach an agreement. May 2002 Southwark Council’s executive committee renews its commitment to the regeneration of Elephant and Castle. January 2003 Southwark Council publishes the Emerging Framework Principles for the future regeneration of Elephant and Castle.

June 2003 A draft Development Framework is published for public consultation.

May 2005 Second-stage housing partner shortlist.

2010 Demolition of the Elephant and Castle shopping centre.

February 2004 The Development Framework is adopted as supplementary planning guidance by Southwark Council’s executive committee after winning the support of 80% of the local community.

2006 Selection of a commercial development partner expected.

2010–2014 Construction of the Civic Square and start of development on the Heygate footprint.

June 2004 MAKE Architects are appointed to perfect the framework, ready for release to the commercial sector.

2005–2010 Development of the southern most part of the regeneration area including the Walworth Road extension, the Heygate Boulevard and St Mary’s Churchyard.

October 2004 The procurement process to find housing partners begins. Shortlist of six developers now selected. February 2005 Start of official European procurement process for the main commercial development partner.

Mid-late 2006 Start construction of early housing sites.

2006–2011 Phased demolition of the Heygate Estate and relocation of tenants to new social housing in and around Elephant and Castle.

2014 Regeneration of Elephant and Castle complete.

Above: The Heygate Estate will be demolished to provide new and improved housing for residents

Work powering ahead at South Central The first major private housing development of the Elephant and Castle regeneration is scheduled to complete its first phase later this year. Oakmayne Properties’ 280-unit South Central development will contain a range of accommodation types and tenures. The first phase of the £75 million project has been designed by Piers Gough of CZWG Architects. The 10-storey building has a tiered elevation and a glass and aqua façade, while each property has outside space. Or, as Gough puts it: ‘It’s a very strong building. Like a concertina with continuous ribbons of balcony like knicker elastic.’

Phase two, designed by Space Craft, is due for completion by autumn 2006. It will contain 180 new homes (44 of them affordable and likely to be allocated to Heygate Estate tenants) and 1,300 square metres of small business space. Elephant and Castle development director Chris Horn says the council hoped ‘but couldn’t be certain’ that the market would respond to its high aspirations for the area. ‘Oakmayne’s scheme is positive proof that the council’s confidence in the area is well placed.’


Eight years of progress

After the 1997 general election, Tony Blair chose the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark to make the first major speech of his premiership. Launching his commitment to tackle social exclusion, the prime minister told residents that he wanted to create ‘a will to win’ among the most deprived members of society and promised ‘there will be no forgotten people in the Britain I want to build.’ The Aylesbury was suffering from the types of social problems that can be found on large housing estates around the country: fear of crime, low educational attainment, high unemployment, rundown accommodation and poor health. As a result of the Blair visit, it has spent much of the last eight years under the media spotlight, often used as a symbol and a barometer of New Labour’s progress in addressing inner city issues. Critics say little has changed on the Aylesbury and outwardly, at least, the estate still looks pretty much as it did

Southwark Issue Two

in 1997. However, a focus on the lack of cosmetic transformation (schemes for which have been attempted) belies significant social achievements recently made in the area – but more of those later. Six years ago, the Aylesbury was designated a New Deals for Communities (NDC) area and received £56 million to tackle deprivation through the fostering of inclusive local partnerships. The Walworth estate’s most immediate chance for radical transformation came in 2001 with a proposal to demolish and rebuild its 2,700 homes, through stock transfer to a registered social landlord, and the construction of additional private homes. In a high profile ballot, residents voted against the scheme – opting to remain as council tenants – leaving the NDC and Southwark Council to rethink their plans. ‘After lots of consultation we opted instead for an alternative aimed at improving community safety,’ says acting director of Aylesbury NDC, 46 47


Steve Pearce. The result was a refurbishment programme which included concierge entrances for blocks and the demolition of walkways, perceived as a breeding ground for crime and anti-social behaviour. Work was due to begin last autumn when engineers acting for architect Levitt Bernstein discovered structural problems. Other maintenance issues came to light around the same time, some related to the government’s Decent Homes initiative, and work has now been halted pending a review by the council executive. Given these considerations, the executive is putting together a programme for the future of the Aylesbury Estate and is expected to report back in September. Meanwhile, work at the NDC continues on six key themes: education, health, physical environment, economic activity, community empowerment and community safety. Pearce observes that the media attention the Aylesbury attracts is something of a double-edged

‘We have established a transition scheme to help pupils progress to secondary school and funded learning support teachers.’

sword. ‘We are often to referred to as the largest estate in Europe [it has 7,500 residents] which isn’t true,’ he points out. ‘The profile of the Aylesbury has increased and this can have positive effects. However, negative press often doesn’t take account of the success that residents have achieved.’ The estate found itself caught in political crossfire again during the run up to the recent election. Following a campaign visit, Conservative leader Michael Howard was quoted saying: ‘Eight years on, people told me nothing has changed. The promises were all talk.’

‘The most recent MORI poll [which surveys 500 Aylesbury households every two years] found that fear of crime has halved.’

The Aylesbury NDC team would disagree. As Pearce points out, in 1999 only 13 per cent of children on the estate gained five GCSEs in grades A-C. By 2004, that figure had risen to 40 per cent – close to the national average. ‘Educational attainment at primary school level has always been good among children on the Aylesbury,’ comments Pearce. ‘We have established a transition scheme to help pupils progress to secondary school and funded learning support teachers. We have a ‘gifted and talented’ programme, and breakfast clubs to ensure kids have a good meal to start the day, as well as after-school activities, homework and revision clubs, and Saturday schools.’ But the children on the Aylesbury attend many different secondary schools, so can the NDC take credit for the GCSE pass rise? ‘What we can say, is that this dramatic improvement in exam results hasn’t happened in other places that aren’t running programmes like ours,’ replies Pearce. Crime and community safety is another area in which significant headway has been made. Fear of crime ran at around 60 per cent when the NDC team began its work. It started a series of initiatives to engage young people from increasing after school provision on the estate to supporting youth inclusion projects for young people ‘at risk’. Lighting improvements have also been made around the estate, while the NDC lobbied Southwark Issue Two

hard to secure a dedicated police team. Six officers are now assigned to the Aylesbury full-time while the NDC is part-funding a further 12 community support wardens providing more comprehensive provision than in many similar areas. ‘The most recent MORI poll [which surveys 500 Aylesbury households every two years] found that fear of crime has halved,’ says Pearce.

7,500 people who live there. What can be said is that with the proposed Peckham to Camden tram due to be in service by 2011, and the transformation of neighbouring Elephant and Castle likely to be complete, the Aylesbury will be at the heart of a more vibrant Southwark.

Some problems are tougher to crack: unemployment and economic inactivity are longstanding challenges. Yet, through back to work and training programmes, progress has been made. Unemployment has fallen from 16 per cent to below 12 per cent, although this is still four times above the national average. Much work has still to be done on the Aylesbury, but the progress of recent years deserves to be noted. Perhaps the crucial question is: how will the estate look a decade from now? That very much depends on the outcome of the council executive’s review and the wishes of the 48 49


Potters Fields park gets ready to bloom

‘We are creating a new destination at More London and we want to see the park become a similar world class standard’

Sitting between More London’s imposing 280,000 square metre office development and Tower Bridge, the area that today encompasses Potters Fields park has a rich and varied history. From the 17th century, when it was occupied by numerous potteries, up until 2004 when it gripped the world’s attention as the venue for David Blaine’s plastic box starvation stunt, the 16,000 square metre site has enjoyed many incarnations.

Following a competitive process, Edinburgh based landscape architect Gross Max was appointed to design the new park. ‘We have consulted extensively with local residents in preparing our plans,’ says director Eelco Hooftman. ‘The park will be used by lots of people, from those who work in the area to visiting tourists, and of course residents, so it has to cater to many different needs.’

The Gross Max team did, however, explore the site’s association with ceramics. ‘We went to archives, talked to archaeologists and looked at fragments. In fact, we discovered that potteries here made imitation Delft, which is very funny to me as I am Dutch,’ he says. This heritage is likely to be represented on the gates of the park, the creation of a ceramic bench and in its lighting.

Gross Max has responded to this And now it’s poised for another with work multifunctionality by creating ‘a transition on the new-look £2.6 million Potters Fields in atmosphere’ as visitors move through park set to begin later this year. Funding the park. The Tooley Street end will have has been secured through section 106 a ‘neighbourhood feel’ featuring intensive agreements with More London (which is planting and intimate spaces, while the developing the adjacent seven-building, park will ‘open up’ towards the River Foster-designed, office-led scheme) and Thames. A series of periscopes at different Single Regeneration Budget funding from heights will allow visitors to enjoy the Pool of London partnership. Both incredible views across to the City, and organisations are managing the project spaces dotted around the park will host alongside Southwark Council. a calendar of events. ‘At the start of the ‘We are creating a new destination at design process, we were accused – quite More London and we want to see the park rightly – of being too complicated,’ says become a similar world class standard,’ says Hooftman, who unsuccessfully proposed More London project manager Jim Watret. Europe’s longest picnic bench for the park.

���������������������������

‘Potters Fields park’s location alone means that its design has to be extra special,’ says Southwark Council’s framework and implementation manager Alistair Huggett. He reveals that the park is earmarked for trust status, thereby controlling much of its own budget and destiny. This would allow, for example, the appointment of a head gardener.

���������������� �������������������� ���������

�����������������������

����������

Hooftman has assembled an impressive team including world famous horticulturalist Piet Oudolf, the dpa lighting design company, Anthony Hunt Engineers and DLE Quantity Surveyors and Project Management.

����������

����������� ���������

���������������� �������������������� ���������

��������

����������

‘Potter’s Fields park has the potential to raise significant amounts of money for itself,’ says Huggett. ‘On the current site, the ice cream van alone generates £25,000 a year in fees. The new park will have kiosks and be available for filming and events.’ Jay Yeats, head of parks and sport for Southwark, believes Potters Fields park could become economically self-sufficient. Projected figures put running costs in the region of £100,000 per year.

If the final planning issues on Potters Fields park are resolved as expected, work should begin onsite within the next six months. Planting seasons permitting, SE1’s newest green space should open its gates by the end of 2006.

Not to be confused with Potters Fields Potters Fields park sits beside the 15,200 square metre Potters Fields site, which is currently the subject of a planning inquiry. Southwark Council were minded to refuse planning permission for a scheme by developer Berkeley Homes to construct eight cylindrical residential towers between 12 and 19 storeys high, stipulating instead that it be used for an educational or cultural facility. ‘The new park respects the boundaries of the Potters Fields site,’ explains Alistair Huggett, the council’s framework and implementation manager. ‘It will be able to cope with whatever happens there.’ A decision had not been reached on the fate of Potters Fields as Southwark magazine went to press.

Despite its potential to become yet another significant attraction for the borough, Potters Fields park is a relatively compact space. ‘Sixteen thousand square metres is actually quite small, more like public gardens; the average park is around 40,000 square metres,’ says Hooftman. Rocketing land values and limited space have seen the emergence of a new trend in park design. ‘Most parks in the UK were designed in the Victorian era and are large and expensive to maintain. The move across the continent now is towards smaller, more intense and well maintained parks.’

��������������������� ��������������������

������������

������������� �������������

��������������

������������ ���������

���������

�����

����� �����

�����

�����

����� �����

�����

���������� �����

�����

��

Southwark Issue Two

����

����

����

50 51


When Southwark Council embarked on a £12 million housing renewal project in the Bellenden area of Peckham eight years ago, it probably didn’t think that Vogue and Country Life magazines would come to call. But such has been the excitement generated by the ‘place making’ scheme, which has seen 1,200 homes upgraded and new shopping and restaurant hubs filled with eye-catching street furniture by celebrity artists, that this pocket of SE15 is enjoying unprecedented success and attention. The council now hopes to replicate these achievements with an ambitious 12,000-property scheme aimed at tackling high levels of rundown private accommodation and improving the lives’ of residents in neighbouring Nunhead and east Peckham. Early preparatory work on the new renewal area is due to begin this summer with the example set by Bellenden firmly in mind.

Learning from Bellenden

Although Bellenden has enjoyed critical acclaim, as Southwark Council’s housing director Keith Broxup points out, the impetus for the scheme originates from an altogether grittier story. ‘When the project began, our house condition survey highlighted that almost a third of privately owned homes in the area were either unfit for human habitation or in substantial disrepair,’ he says. ‘The ability of owners to carry out improvements was limited due to the fact that 37 per cent of households were on means-tested benefits.’

Using grants, the council began a programme of radical improvements ranging from replacing windows and heating systems to cleaning and restoring stonework, pathways and gardens. Abandoned properties were also brought back into use. In total, 1,200 of the 3,000 homes in the renewal area have been upgraded with two years of the current scheme remaining. The result is the renovation, not just of individual homes but of entire streets. In addition, shopping areas and public spaces have been rejuvenated, with the assistance of some rather famous friends, completing the neighbourhood makeover. As area renewal manager Roger Young explains: ‘We consulted extensively, speaking to residents about their aspirations and found that local people really wanted perceptions of the area to change. They also wanted to see environmental sustainability and the encouragement of local businesses and talent.’ Based on these findings, the team began to form plans, beyond housing repair, to transform Bellenden into a more vibrant destination. Young admits that the abundance of indigenous talent was certainly an asset. ‘We were having a public meeting with the market traders and businesses discussing public art and new street furniture,’ he recalls. ‘Someone asked why it had to be an either/or decision – why could street furniture not be art? We said ‘Fine, any ideas on design.’ Everyone turned to look at Antony and that was that.’ The Antony he is referring to is local resident Antony Gormley of Angel of the North and Turner Prize winning fame. Following that public meeting, Gormley went on to design the street bollards in the renewal area, which have become something of a tourist attraction.

Southwark Issue Two

52 53


And Gormley wasn’t the only local artist to get involved. Fashion designer, Fashion and Textile Museum founder and Bermondsey resident Zandra Rhodes renovated the shopping area on East Dulwich Road by redesigning the pavement, canopies, lighting and tree guards using her signature colour, pink; there is even a pink bus shelter. Internationally renowned artist Tom Phillips (who designed the queen’s jubilee coin) created mosaics, while John Latham (pictured right) produced an ‘exploding book’ sculpture. ‘I was happy to be involved,’ says Rhodes. ‘Since opening my own museum I am doubly aware of the importance of having nice pavements and the like.’ Keegans, RICS Regeneration Consultant of the Year for London and the South East, has been involved since the outset. ‘We are still working in Bellenden with plans for the renovation of Choumert Market,’ says director Peter Keegan. ‘The transformation of the area has been fantastic.’ Local feedback has also been overwhelmingly positive following Bellenden’s transformation. External recognition has come too with the area attracting substantial positive press coverage and also receiving a London Tourism Award two years ago. Now the council hopes to repeat this success in Nunhead and east Peckham. ‘The proposed renewal should tackle a number of issues high on residents’ wish lists, including reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, making the areas cleaner and greener and heating properties more efficiently at a lower cost,’ says Broxup. ‘Again it is felt that a relatively small investment will lead to impressive changes that can make a real difference to people’s lives.’

Tell everyone.

Nunhead and east Peckham have been selected as Southwark Council’s next housing renewal area partly because of the high levels of private housing in poor condition and also because of the relatively large number of pensioner households and those living with longterm illness. However, the renewal will benefit the entire community. As Richard Porter, executive member for regeneration at Southwark Council, and Peckham resident, points out: ‘The work in Bellenden was a great success and residents have told us they are thrilled with the results which have brought about a massive improvement. And it’s not just the homes themselves which have been given a facelift. If you take a walk through the area now you’ll see that there is a café culture developing there which has given the place some real character. We hope work in Nunhead and east Peckham will have equally dramatic results.’

‘We consulted extensively, speaking to residents about their aspirations and found that local people really wanted perceptions of the area to change.’

Tell us too. Please visit the website http://www.southwarkmagazine.com/ feedback.Html and complete the questionnaire. It will take less than 30 seconds and it could win you a case of champagne in our prize draw. 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, george@3foxinternational.com


Derwent Valley are proud to be involved in the regeneration of Southwark and are keen to acquire further refurbishment/ redevelopment opportunities.

Derwent Valley Holdings Plc 25 Savile Row London W1S 2ER Tel: 020 7659 3000 Fax: 020 7659 3100 www.derwentvalley.co.uk

Southwark #2  

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