A 27-storey office block across the street from London Bridge Station has been given the green light – an increase of twenty floors on the building currently on the site.
Developers EDGE got the go-ahead from Southwark councillors at the planning meeting on Tuesday evening (20 July) for the block on the site of Becket House, a seven-storey building which holds a Home Office immigration centre.
Home Office plans to move to the Royal Docks in Newham fell through unexpectedly and EDGE have agreed not to begin work on the new building until a new site for the immigration centre is found.
Planning officer Terence Maclellan praised the design benefits of the St Thomas’s Street scheme and said that Becket House had limited architectural quality.
Officers said in their report, submitted before the meeting: “The design of the new office building is considered to be of the highest quality befitting of a building of this scale in such a central London location where the standard of new development architecture is one of excellence.”
The block would have room for 1,900 office workers, as well as some shops on the ground floor. Nearby Melior Park would be expanded as part of the plans.
Representatives of some local groups spoke at the meeting to oppose the project, arguing that the building would be too tall and the design was out of character for the local area.
Locals sent some 75 letters of objection to the council ahead of the planning meeting, as well as twelve in favour.
Planning officers noted that “the daylight/sunlight impacts on a small number of residential properties closest to the site are significant.”
One comment on the planning application called the plans “clumsy and ugly”, arguing that the building would “dominate the area”, despite the Shard being nearby.
“The charm of old Bermondsey and in particular Bermondsey Street will be massively affected with this dominating the skyline and will be visible from all the lovely little parks close by.
“Bermondsey Street is successful because of its old world charm.Our heritage sites need to be protected by overdevelopment in the area.”
It comes after developers CIT submitted plans for a 97-metre tower on nearby Vinegar Yard in May this year.