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Ruby Triangle: Bermondsey bar owner concerned that Old Kent Road tower blocks could put him out of business

The owner of a bar and nightclub in south Bermondsey is worried that two big new housing blocks set to go up next door could put him out of business.

Ruby Lounge, on Ruby Street just north of the Old Kent Road, has been in business since 2004. But owner Stephen Kakooza thinks that the 262-flat complex, split across a nineteen-storey tower and a ten-storey block, could spell the end for him in Southwark.

“We chose an industrial area because we thought that would be a good environment for our business, we wouldn’t be disturbing anyone living nearby.

“If you buy a flat and you’re living next to a nightclub, there’s going to be lots of traffic coming, people coming in and out. No matter how good you are, people might be having one too many to drink and they could make a bit of noise, and the neighbours will complain.”

The new blocks, which include 64 social rent flats, were approved in November this year. Mr Kakooza’s objection was explained away in the council planning officers’ report approving the development, who claimed that the noise would be less of a problem because the flats would only start on the first floor.

Officers added that the development would be “more compatible” with the council’s future vision for the Old Kent Road than the bar.

The development forms part of the much wider Old Kent Road area action plan, in which the council plans to get 20,000 new homes built in the area north and south of the bustling thoroughfare.

Southwark previously said that the Bakerloo line extension was crucial to delivering half of these, but despite Transport for London shelving these plans the council has said it is still pushing ahead with its plan for the area.

The 262 home development will form part of the so-called Ruby Triangle, made up of 1,152 flats across five buildings, as well as a public park.

Developer of the new block Urban & Provincial, said: “Working closely with the London Borough of Southwark and our development partner Avanton, we are currently proposing to deliver a new public park, a further 260 residential units and circa 20,000 sq ft retail and workspace.

“Our proposals also include 40 per cent affordable housing delivering much needed family homes in the Borough of Southwark. The scheme also hosts various shared spaces such as roof terraces, landscaped gardens and ‘communal hubs’ to foster a spirit of togetherness and family.”

A council spokesperson said: “As a local planning authority, we have statutory procedures in place so that all applications, including objections and supporters, are heard fairly. When our Planning Committee considered the proposal for 651-657 Old Kent Road last June, members considered the impact of the development on surrounding businesses.

“The owners of Ruby Lounge were consulted and their objection was reported to the committee ensuring an informed decision was made. To minimise the likelihood of noise complaints, conditions relating to the ‘agent of change’ principle were attached. This means the developer is responsible for managing noise levels within new homes, not the surrounding occupiers.”




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