OBVNF Meeting 18th October: Local List, Site Briefs and Area Extension


6.30pm Wednesday 18 October

 Globe House | Corner of Bermondsey Street & Crucifix Lane
On the agenda
Local List 

St Thomas St Site Briefs and the Southwark Plan 
Area Extension

Local List
Nominate your favourite local buildings

Following the introduction of the ‘Local List’ at the last forum meeting we now need to get some momentum from the Council with its development. A nomination form and a copy of the working list are both available from the OBF website:


Please take a moment to nominate some further local heritage assets and/or to help fill in the details for those which have already been identified. At the meeting we will discuss ongoing nominations and selection criteria. In response to our policy proposals  to the Council last year they indicated support for the idea of a local list and we have now asked for clarification on how they see the Local List developing.  They have been invited to attend this meeting but at the time of writing they have not responded.

obvnf18oct3 Area Extension
Three weeks ago we submitted an application to extend the OBF Area. Our long-standing followers will be familiar with the history of the Forum’s Council-imposed area boundary but for the benefit of new subscribers to our mailing list (who may have signed up at the Bermondsey St Festival) we will review the argument for recovering the key parts of our originally proposed area.  Cooperation from the Council permitting, we will update the group on the progress of the application.

St Thomas St site briefs

Closely related to the area extension application – and following up on our extensive consultation on the Council’s aspirations for St Thomas St (‘NSP53’) – we will be discussing the development of site briefs for the crucial St Thomas St sites. These will become the focus of intense developer interest once the Station is completed and Network Rail ceases its temporary use of the former car park site.  This is now only about a year away and it is a safe bet that, on the quiet, the Council are already cosying up with prospective developers and looking to prepare the ground for high-rise schemes and the demolition of (our listed) Becket House and what should be the iconic Vinegar Yard warehouse.

How can we create a coherent imaginative working vision for the south side of St Thomas St?  And how can we force the Council and prospective developers to have regard to local opinion on the treatment the key sites?  From proposed uses to massing and architectural detailing, what should be the community brief that binds together and protects St Thomas’ Street, the Vinegar Warehouse, the Horseshoe Pub and the Melior St garden? A framework for a development of a working brief will be presented for discussion.

In dealing with specifics and representing real local knowledge and opinion OBF Site Briefs can offer what cash- and target-driven Council Area Visions cannot. What other sites in the neighbourhood would benefit from OBF site briefs? And crucially, how do we make the Council respect local opinion?

And Finally
Here’s some salt for the wounds of those who supported BVAG since the challenge to Network Rail and the Council over the needless demolition of the London Bridge trainshed and the South Eastern Railway Offices on Tooley St.  BVAG’s case was that the reason for the heritage carnage wreaked by the Grimshaw-designed station was the determination of Network Rail (and the DfT) to fund the low-budget scheme with the creation of a massive retail premises rent roll.  Network Rail told the Administrative Court – right up to the Court of Appeal – that nothing of the sort was afoot and that there was to be absolutely no increase in retail space at the station as compared with its former incarnation.  That blatant deceit complemented their claim that they had to build the station around the London Dungeon because they couldn’t touch the unassailable lease they said owners Merlin Entertainment had on tens of thousands of square feet of the viaduct.  The latter deception was long ago exposed when, under the Freedom of Information Act, we got a copy of the expenses claim (redacted of the figures) they had long before made to the DfT for the buyout.  Now they are getting close to being unable to continue to conceal the retail-rent driver of the heritage wipe-out here are their first public pronouncements that they took the Courts for a ride.  In reality the Court of Appeal BVAG went before was just not interested in the evidence when they had a government department to protect; that Network Rail obviously couldn’t be lying was the only axiom they needed to support their decision (and costs order) against us.

There was a time when Court of Appeal Judges weren’t ready to protect the public sector establishment no matter what.  Not any more.

Photographed in the emerging London Bridge shopping Mall

OBF meetingsare open to all  – All welcome


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Planning policy notification: Local Development Scheme (LDS) 2017 update


Southwark Council has prepared a new Local Development scheme (LDS). The LDS sets out the timetable for preparing Southwark’s development plan and supplementary planning documents from July 2017 to December 2020. This will replace the previous Local Development Scheme which was published in August 2014.

Since the last LDS, a number of changes have been made to the document. This document now includes:

  • An updated New Southwark Plan timetable
  • A Gypsy and Traveller Development Plan document timetable
  • A new Opportunity Area Framework/Area Action Plan and possible Supplementary Planning Documents for Old Kent Road. These provide additional guidance for the development that is to take place in this area;
  • New SPDs for Householders and Commercial;
  • Updated SPD timetables for Residential Design Standards, Heritage and Affordable Housing;
  • A 3 year review of Community Infrastructure Levy and an updated CIL/S106 Supplementary Planning Document to respond to keep the financial requirements updated;
  • A review date for the Statement of Community Involvement to ensure that the digital by default strategy is taken into account in consultation.

Some supplementary planning documents are rescinded or removed as they are now out of date.

For more information about the LDS as well as the supporting documents, please follow this link.

Should you have any questions about the LDS please contact us by email planningpolicy@southwark.gov.uk ; or by telephone on 0207 525 5471.


Kind regards,

Planning Policy Team

Southwark Council

Team London Bridge: Job opportunity for residents

We’ve just opened an event/community space at our office and there’s an ad hoc job opportunity available that some of your residents might be interested in – details below.

Team London Bridge are looking for candidates who live max 15 minutes away from our office (1 Melior Place, SE1 3SZ) and are interested to work on an ad-hoc basis. The work predominantly involves opening up or locking our community space for when we have bookings that are taking place outside of regular office hours. 

This is suitable for individuals that are looking for an extra income around their existing jobs, studying or if retired – the hours involved would be early in the morning or late in the evening, especially on weekends and occasionally during week days too. We cannot guarantee a minimum of work hours per month, as it all depends on whether there are bookings for the space.

More details about the role here, and if interested, please liaise with our colleagues Sam and Sonia at EmploySE1. Deadline 5th September 2017.

Kind regards

Henry Johnstone

Business & Operations Manager

Team London Bridge