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Walworth Society society lobbies to save buildings from bulldozers

In the run up to May’s local elections, heritage campaigners are lobbying for greater protection to be given to historic buildings across Southwark.

According to the Walworth Society, historic buildings outside set conservation areas, or without a grade listing, can be demolished or redeveloped.

However, they could be given extra protection if they were added to a ‘local list’ of historic buildings mapped by the council.

The group says around half of local authorities across England have created their own list, cataloguing buildings of interest.

The society says it is calling on the new administration in Southwark to create a list of unprotected buildings, and create a policy for looking after them.

Jeremy Leach, chair of The Walworth Society, said it wanted the policy to be adopted no later than May 2019.

He told the News: “In Walworth alone in recent years we have lost buildings like The Crown public house in Brandon Street and the terrace at the top end of the Walworth Road, which is almost the last vestige of pre-War Elephant and Castle.

“The famous Piccadilly Circus of the south has no protection either.

“Creating a ‘local list’ can help give some protection to the many buildings like this all across Southwark.

“It can be a great way of involving local people in learning more about the history of this fascinating borough.

“We are asking candidates from all of the parties to agree to create a local list if they are elected on May 3.

Benedict O’Looney from the Peckham Society, and chair of Southwark’s conservation areas advisory group, said: “There is so much of real beauty and interest to Southwark’s townscape beyond its listed buildings and conservation areas. Even in our Rye Lane conservation area we are still losing significant buildings.  Southwark has great historic and contemporary townscape, of national significance.  We need to do much more to protect it.”

A council spokesperson said: “We are considering the request from the Peckham and Walworth Societies to establish a local list.

“However, we have already designated conservation areas that provide the most effective protection to buildings and streetscapes across the borough.

“The council is currently working with the Walworth Society to consider conservation areas in parts of the Old Kent Road Opportunity Area, to ensure that important non-listed heritage assets are recognised and protected.”


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