OBVNF Meeting 19 July: NSP53

 Forum Meeting

6.30pm Wednesday 19 July

 Globe House | Corner of Bermondsey Street & Crucifix Lane  

High-rise -v- Heritage
in Bermondsey St/St Thomas St

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For the past few weeks at our information point in Globe House we have informed and consulted widely on the Council’s plans for St Thomas St/Bermondsey St.  Unsurprisingly, their high-rise plans are no more popular now than they were when Sellar came up with his original version – the three Shard satellites – in 2010.

Following the consultation the Forum now needs to consider our next steps towards protecting this area from insensitive development.  We have invited the Council to send a representative to the meeting who can explain with some greater accuracy than the hopelessly vague NSP 53 wording, what they are seeking to promote.  Presently they can’t even explain how they worked out the ‘site’ area,  particularly whether it includes demolition of the Vinegar Yard warehouse to make way for high-rise and whether it includes wiping Vinegar Yard itself and the eastern end of Snowsfields off the map as public roads. Network Rail, who own the former St Thomas St car park, and James Sellar, who owns the vinegar warehouse and 40-44 Bermondsey St, have also been invited to attend.

Important on the agenda will be the launch of our planned local list of buildings to be protected and the broader concept of places that go beyond individual buildings and which should be extended a more generalised form of protection.  The ‘placemarks’ initiative, led by BSAP, is currently underway and our subscribers are invited to go to the website and nominate any places of their own for inclusion: www.bermondseyplaces.uk.
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A provisional list of local buildings of significance to the area’s character will be presented at the meeting, specifically in the St Thomas St/ Snowsfields/north Bermondsey St area.  Further nominations will be welcome and we will be aiming to extend the area of coverage in the coming weeks to the whole of the OBF area – and the original area from which the Council excluded the Forum.

At the meeting we will be considering the preservation of the Vinegar Yard warehouse in the context both of local listing and potentially its designation as an Asset of Community Value [‘ACV’] (a designation established under the Localism Act).  We have written to Simon Bevan, Head of Planning, asking him if he knows of any reason why it cannot be designated as an ACV.  One of the implications of such a designation is that there would arise a community right to buy the building in the event that it is sold by the present owner. If Sellar’s high-rise ambitions do not come to fruition such a sale is likely.

All welcome.