One positive plan for Blackfriars Road – in the shadow of 42 storeys

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August 4, 2014 by Juha Repo

While we have repeatedly been disappointed in how Blackfriars Road is being developed, at least there is one planning application that can be seen as positive. The grade II list former bank in the corner of Blackfriars Road and Stamford Street (1 Stamford Street) is being proposed to become an extension to the existing Mad Hatter hotel next door.

There are planning applications (14/AP/1030 and 14/AP/1029) submitted to Southwark Council to change the use from offices to hotel rooms. The plans are respectful to the listed status of the building and the Historic Building Impact Assessment states that “this internal conversion as a whole is achieved without damage to the historic fabric of the Listed Building, and the reversal of some changes will be beneficial”.

This is in stark contrast for the recently approved plans for the former Maltina bakery building in Valentine Place, where only the facade will be retained – but of course that building hasn’t got a similar Listed status, even if it is in a designated conservation area.

But as the hotel and the old bank seem to be safe, it is all change for the rest: All the remaining parts of the same block (bounded by Stamford Street, Paris Garden, Christ Church Garden and Blackfriars Road) have been derelict for years and there are planning permissions for a new development comprising of an office tower of 23 storeys and a residential tower of 42 storeys.

See how the new tower would be visible from the river using the interactive map below from The Guardian (the last of the four maps).

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/ng-interactive/2014/mar/london-skyline-changing-now-future-pictures

Of course we have already lost the two other heritage buildings in this block – the former Paper Moon pub building and the office building next to Christ Church. It is understood the owners of the site demolished these two buildings just to keep their planning permission alive, as the works could now be seen having been commenced. See the LondonSE1 article with photos of the lost buildings and the public inquiry into the site. More in this article

Recently it was reported, again on the LondonSE1 website, on the forum, that this site had now changed hands and was bought by a Malaysian backed consortium. It is now unclear whether the new owners will go ahead with the approved plans or if they want to do something else with the site. There is a consent for 119 affordable dwellings in the approved proposal and judging by what is the practice elsewhere here at least this is likely to be renegotiated.

We will be keeping an eye on these developments. Maybe, for once, we could send in our support to the hotel plans and the get the beautiful old bank building back into use!

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One thought on “One positive plan for Blackfriars Road – in the shadow of 42 storeys

  1. Very good news for once and just goes to show that the balance between heritage and development CAN be struck where there is a will to focus on something other than bringing developers’ money into the borough, regardless of the cost to historic buildings and the long-established communities who came to live here when developers wouldn’t have touched it with a barge pole. We have made this area what it is and we deserve to be listened to.

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