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Southwark gets five new conservation areas along the Old Kent Road

Southwark Council created five new conservation areas near the Old Kent Road, one of the main areas for new housebuilding in the borough, at a planning meeting last week.

Conservation areas are protected by law because of special or historic architectural character and appearance. The council has to protect their character from being damaged by changes to the landscape. In practice this means that demolishing buildings becomes harder, and developers need special permission to do so.

All five new conservation areas are in Peckham and Walworth in the Old Kent Road opportunity area, where the council wants 20,000 homes to be built.

Some at the meeting were concerned that creating these new conservation areas could be a barrier to new developments in the area.

Cllr James Coldwell asked: “if the committee approves this conservation area, does this affect the projected number of affordable homes that the council will be able to build along the Old Kent Road in future, or not?”

Council planners said that “the designation of conservation areas has not affected the pipeline and the supply of housing” but instead “places a higher bar on design”.

The five new areas are:

Thomas A’Becket and High Street, at the northern end of the Old Kent Road, running from the former Thomas A’Beckett pub to the Peabody Estate at the junction with Mandela Way.

Planners describe it as  a good example of a traditional high street, with eighteenth and nineteenth century townhouses, [which] retains architectural remnants of a busy town centre.]

Thomas A’Beckett and High Street Conservation Area (Southwark Council)

Our heritage enhances new developments – protecting more of it on the Old Kent Road is a good thing


Yates Estate and Victory centres on the historic buildings around Searles Road, Henshaw Road, Chatham Street and Darwin Street to the south-west of the Bricklayers Arms roundabout.

Tooley Street planners say it is worth conserving because of its “mix of residential properties, schools, churches and former churches, evidence of former industry, all in one compact neighbourhood”, which typifies the area.

Yates Estate and Victory Conservation Area map (Southwark Council)

The Mission is to the south of the Old Kent Road, north of Burgess Park and centres on Pembroke House, the nineteenth century community centre founded by Cambridge University undergraduates.

Southwark Council said in its appraisal that the area “includes elegant streets of purpose built terraced housing for lower-middle and working class residents, fine and typical ‘board’ schools, still in use today, a surviving public house and landmark buildings including the former Flint Street police station.”

The Mission Conservation Area (Southwark Council)

Livesey, centred on the Grade II-listed Livesey Library in north Peckham, to the south-west of Peckham Park Road.

Planners recommended it for conservation because of its “high quality working class tenement housing above shops in fine terraces with largely intact original detailing, materials and architecture.”

Livesey Conservation Area

Kentish Drovers and Bird in Bush is centred on Commercial Road and Bird in Bush Road in north Peckham.

The area is ” typical of early residential development off the Old Kent Road with a mix of urban buildings fronting onto the main road with smaller scale cottages, industry and school buildings located on side streets”, as well as “intact early 19th-century terraced, semi-detached and detached properties with fine detailing and largely unaltered exteriors.”

These new conservation areas take the total in Southwark to 54.


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