Octavia House consultation extended until 20 December


December 3, 2013 by Juha Repo

The consultation period for the new development called Octavia House has been extended from 5 until 20 December.

The proposal is for the site in 235-241 Union Street, in the junction with Nelson Square. The exact proposal is

Redevelopment of 235-241 Union Street (Octavia House), including garages and substation to the rear and adjoining Network Rail land to provide a 14 storey building (max.building height 44.2m AOD) for the London Centre of Contemporary Music at basement, ground, first, second, third and fourth floors (Use Class D1), a ground floor cafe (Class A3), and 55 residential units (Class C3) across the fifth to fourteenth floors including associated cycle parking, one on-site car parking space; re-provision of 8 garages and landscaped public realm.

The plan will involve demolishing the current red-brick building on the site as well as garages used by residents of Applegarth House. Eight garages are to be replaced according to the submitted plans. The site itself is in a very tight place and adjacent to the only road leading into Nelson Square. A considerable disruption to Nelson Square residents can be expected during the building works.

The proposed building is considerably higher than any surrounding buildings,.

BARD has already submitted the following statement to Southwark Planning about this proposal:


1.    In terms of overall design a majority were positive about the 2012 proposal and disappointed that the revised offering was back to the “cubist” format which seems to be being reflected in new buildings everywhere in one form or another and Southwark Planning’s default preference.

2.  How much of the proposed new housing is affordable/ social housing?  Does it reach the minimum proportion required by Southwark’s planning policy or does it fall short? Far too often recently, applications have been approved by the Planning Committee without the proposals reaching the minimum standard?

3.    There are still considerable reservations about the height and bulk of the new proposal. It really is shoehorned into this small site and still far too high. 14 stories, if that’s still the plan, are well in excess of the height of surrounding structures and contravenes planning policy for heights in the area (both existing policy – seven stories  and affirmed in the draft SPD for Blackfriars Road).


“Southwark planners have already required the developer to reduce height from 18 to 14 stories but why is even this seen as acceptable?”

4.    Concerns over access to Nelson Square for vehicles of all kinds, loss of light and other amenities, including access, at Rowland Hill House on Union Street and the impact on the community garden immediately to the south of Octavia House. The developer doesn’t seem to have any proposals for creating new open green space – the proposals actually seem likely to result in a reduction in this area!

5.    The loss of the garages behind the site in order to develop it. There is a particular issue here about personal security. Construction over the garages would replace the open space which currently gives access from Union Street to Applegarth House, with a narrow, closed-in, dark alleyway. This is a threatening prospect for many residents.

6.     General worries, which include impact of building on this compact site and how essential services/ access to Nelson Square will be managed during construction.

19 Nov 13

The London Centre of Contemporary Music proposal has been given the name Music Box.

As the Southwark Planning site has so many documents for this proposals we have picked a few artists’ impressions and plans from them:

BARD encourages all local residents to make their views known to Southwark planning quoting the proposal number 13/AP/3815 and comments and objections should be sent to planning.applications@southwark.gov.uk by 20 December 2013. Read our guidelines for successful objections from earlier this year here.


2 thoughts on “Octavia House consultation extended until 20 December

  1. […] Comments can still be submitted to Southwark Council all the way until the application is presented to committee, probably in April. See our previous article on Octavia House.  […]

  2. […] have been given the following computer generated images of the proposed development at Octavia House, in the junction of Union Street and Nelson […]

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