Southwark resolves to grant planning permission for residential tower alongside Shard

Out-Law News | 05 Nov 2014 | 4:30 pm | 1 min. read

Southwark Council has resolved to grant full planning permission for plans to build a 148-unit residential tower alongside the Shard, near London Bridge London Underground station in central London.

The Renzo Piano-designed scheme proposes the replacement of two four-storey office buildings on London Bridge Street and St Thomas Street with two linked, predominately residential towers, 16 and 26 storeys in height, respectively.

The new towers will house 148 one- to four-bedroom apartments under the scheme, 30 of which may be serviced apartments. Off-site provision of 35% affordable housing, amounting to 188 habitable rooms, has been proposed, with a fall back contribution of £18.8 million having been recommended should off-site delivery not be possible.

The plans include around 1,300 square metres of flexible retail space, with two units proposed at the level of the concourse to London Bridge station and a single large retail or restaurant unit at St Thomas Street level.

A 300 sq m communal roof garden is proposed for the sixteenth floor, with a further roof garden serving the 26th floor apartment. The scheme also includes improvements to the public realm between London Bridge station and St Thomas Street and basement parking for 28 cars.

The scheme would result in the loss of 3,500 sq m of office space, in contravention of local planning policy. However, a planning officer's report noted that 450 sq m of the existing office space had lain vacant at the site for over a year, and that documents produced in support of the application had found that including replacement office space within the development would result in non-viable office accommodation and the removal of most of the proposed public space.

"The proposals for a mixed-use residential and retail development, with active ground and concourse level uses, is supported and will complement the recent office and commercial developments at The Shard and The Place, as well as the ongoing improvements at London Bridge station, and overall provide a well balanced mix of land uses around this key interchange," concluded the officer's report. "The proposal is a high quality scheme and it is an exceptional and iconic piece of architectural design that will complement its historic and civic setting."

The proposals were on the agenda for a meeting of the Council's planning committee yesterday, having been recommended for approval, subject to a planning agreement and approval from the mayor of London, in the planning officer's report.