Consultation extended: 96 metre tower for St. George’s Circus (updated)


October 29, 2014 by Juha Repo

UPDATE 29 October 2014:

A re-consultation has been opened on this planning application. The application has now been amended with the following changes:

The following revisions and additional information have been submitted in support of the planning application and accompanying Environmental Statement:

-Revised residential accommodation mix, including increase in provision of three bedroom affordable units from 3 to 8 units (total number of units remains at 336);

-Revised floor plans and elevations showing minor non-material changes to reflect changes to the residential unit mix;

-Ardent Technical Transport Note / Addendum (P750-019) detailing amended servicing strategy and changes to basement access ramp and basement layout;

-Additional Townscape View from within Tower of London World Heritage Site towards the development site;

-RBA Acoustic Report Addendum (16 September 2014), detailing further acoustic monitoring on Library Street; and

-URS Letter Statement of Environmental Impact Assessment Conformity (dated 18 September 2014)

A copy of the Environmental Statement on disk can be obtained from the Case Officer (or a paper version on request with a charge payable).

This re-consultation period starts on


and ends on


Despite some earlier misunderstanding caused by the ambiguous information from Southwark council, the comments will be received via the email or letters, or a MySouthwark web form on the Southwark Council website.

Application number: 14/AP/1862

Also support the new wider campaign


Things are moving so quickly in our area, that we have had little chance to inform about the latest major development proposed for Blackfriars Road. This time it is a proposal by Barratt Homes to replace the dilapidated 60’s office blocks on the southeastern side of St. George’s Circus. The consultation will end on Friday 2 August so we all need to act soon if we want our objections registered. The number for this is application is 14/AP/1862.

A few of us went to the public consultation after our May BARD meeting last year. Here we saw the plans which included a 30-storey tower just off St. George’s Circus, opposite the obelisk. Many of us placed our objections to having a building of such a height in this bit of Blackfriars Road, as we felt it was totally out of proportion for the site. Also it is against Southwark approved policy of high buildings from 2009 (downloadable PDF document inside the link), where is stated tall buildings would be allowed in the Northern end of Blackfriars Road, and thus not suitable south of The Cut/Union Street. Yet again this proposal is right at the southernmost end of Blackfria Road. Also we heard the representatives from Barratt telling us in last year’s consultation that there was no way they would consider this development viable without the tower.

Of course we soon knew we were fighting another lost battle, as Southwark Planning (with the Labour councillor majority votes) pushed through the disputed Blackfriars Road SPD where the council accepted that this was a landmark site, where a tall building could be built, ignoring the policy. It was also put to the council’s scrutiny committee which upheld the decision.

The revised plans were then submitted to Southwark Council, and after the consultation one of the tall buildings next to the proposed 30-storey tower was removed from the plans, and the tower itself was reduced by three storeys, to 27. So it must have been clear from the consultation replies that there was a wide objection for the towers on the site, as they did remove one, albeit it the smaller one. And they could argue that the bigger tower has been reduced by three storeys, but overall, the proposed development is still very much out of proportion of anything in this part of the borough and will of course later be seen as a precedent to increase the building height nearby, as we have seen in the case of nearby Valentin Place.

How to object/comment on a planning application

There is a new method of posting your comments to Planning applications  by filling out the online form on the Southwark council website. The forms can be found via this link and you have the possibility to use your MySouthwark login (which can be used to pay e.g. for your Council tax and rent) or just use the form without registering. The form is very easy to use, you just need to fill in the number of the application and then you choose whether it is an objection, support or comment and so on.

Comments can be still be sent via email by quoting the application reference, e.g. 14/AP/XXXX in the subject line and sending to You may also use the post, hand delivery, etc to send us your comments. Postal address is PO Box 64529, London SE1P 5LX, and of course you also need to note the application reference here.

Please not this the email address further down the planning application page on the council website, in the column “Neighbours and statutory consultation”, not the first one you’ll see on the page!

The end of the consultation period for this development in 128-150 Blackfriars Road is 2 August 2014. Southwark Council will however still receive comments from each planning application until the time the application comes to a Planning Committee meeting to be decided. In this case it may not happen until September or even October. But if you want your comments to be included in the planner’s report o the committee they need to be in about 2 weeks before the meeting. Any comments received later will be added to the Addendum report on the night, or even be reported verbally if they have missed the Addendum report as well.

So anyone who feels that the proposed tower of 27 storeys is inappropriate for the location, and against council policy, and could be seen as a precedent for further high-rise development, should act fast.

Please take some time to read our previous post on what can be considered valid objections for a planning application.You will need to refer to correct terms to have any chance of being considered in the decision process.

We are adding two images from the planning documents which we feel represent best what the impact of this proposed development would be like for Blackfriars Road.




One interesting document to see how the proposals have progressed, with constant discussion with Southwark planners is here. It would seem they developers first proposed something that was mostly in keeping with the building height in the location. Questions could be asked whether it was actually Southwark Planning who suggested that this might well be one of their “landmark” sites where they wanted high towers to help people navigate in the borough? In any case the proposals have been, like most in the borough, discussed in detail with Southwark planners and revised several times, so it is yet again very unlikely the planners will oppose this development, or that the planning committee majority would vote against it, as they very rarely do these days.

But despite the bleak outlook for any success in changing or stopping the developments, our opinion should still be registered as this is still just about the only way to use our democratic right to voice our opinions in what gets built in our neighbourhoods. I think most of us agree that almost any development would improve this run-down site, but the obsession for high towers is what has angered many. It is also worth noting that according the planning documents this development would provide only around 26% affordable housing, far below the recommended 40% and the minimum of 35%. Unfortunately this also seems to be commonplace in Southwark and falling below the affordable housing policy has not been a ground for refusal by the planning committee.

Note! This article has been edited 25 July to correct misinformation about how Southwark receives comments to planning applications based on the comment from Gary Rice, Head of Development Management, Planning, Southwark Council below. Also the consultation end date has been edited to reflect the one on Southwark Planning website. 


11 thoughts on “Consultation extended: 96 metre tower for St. George’s Circus (updated)

  1. To clarify the misinformation about how Southwark receives comments on applications, comments can be sent via email by quoting the application reference, eg 14/AP/XXXX in the subject line and sending to You may also use the post, forms, hand delivery, etc to send us your comments. The consultation closing date is always a source of confusion and concern for residents. It is and continues to be the Council’s practice to accept late representations (those received AFTER the minimum stator notice period has closed, i.e. 26 July) up to the data of decision. As this matter will not be reported to planning committee until sometime in September (or possibly not until October) there is no rush. Reports are cleared approximately 2 weeks before the committee date, so if you want your comments to be included in the officer report, then get them to us no later than 15 August. Otherwise any comments received after that point will be reported to the committee in the Addendum report on the night. Officers also report orally very last minute comments that miss the Addendum report.

    If you have any questions, please contact me directly at 0207 525 5437. Thanks, Gary Rice, Head of Development Management, Planning, Southwark Council

  2. Jack says:

    I live (literally) over the road and while I wholeheartedly welcome the redevelopment of this under-used and unloved site I share the concerns about the inappropriate nature of having a tower in this location. As mentioned, previous proposals have demonstrated a redevelopment scheme is viable without this element so one can only think this is being encouraged by the recently adopted SPD.

    It is a real shame because reading the Design and Access Statement the quality of the rest of the scheme is superb, particularly the attention to brick types and their detailing; the architects have clearly spent a lot of time on this. But the tower doesn’t fit, it contrasts jarringly with the Peabody Estate opposite and competes with the listed obelisk itself which is supposed to be the way-finding marker for this lower scale end of Blackfriars Road.

    Sadly I share the feeling that the decision is already made, with Barratt having gone through extensive pre-app sessions and public consultation the council would presumably find themselves in tricky waters if it were now to be rejected. Unless Mr Rice and co. were to Condition the removal of the tower. Fanciful thought.

  3. Tim Jerram says:

    You’ll have heard the news that the Times is moving to Southwark. Not only that Sky News has taken up residence at the Baby Shard. That happened a while back. The Financial Times is of course already located by Southwark Bridge – on the river. Clearly Murdoch has his eye on the area! He must like rivers and markets and areas with splendid character. I wonder if this will start a stampede? Of course all his workers will need new housing and appropriate leisure facilities. I doubt that I shall soon be able to step outside my front door!

    • Tim Jerram says:

      favourite comment: glitter, glitter, all that glitters is not gold….

      • Tim Jerram says:

        Actually you know, this area wouldn’t half suit The Sun…. low crime, ‘historic’, and not too snobby… yet! I bet Sun journalists will feel right at home drinking lager and watching the river next to the Golden Hynde!

  4. Tim Jerram says:

    Just think, we might even get Sam Fox roller-blading up and down borough high street – in her leotard and black shades, with her mercedes in tow…. you know, the tasteful one with black leather seats and those funny headlights…..! Second favourite quote: Something wicked this way comes…..

  5. Tim Jerram says:


    “London Bridge, the new Chiswick Park” – new home to the lily-white newspaper and chip-wrapper trade (naturally), replete with industry hookers and rent boys on tap, and their die-hard drug habits. Scandal, oysters, champagne and soft porn for sale at the ‘new-look’ Borough Market. STOP PRESS!!!!!: Al Fayed plans a Royalty-bashing ‘Harrods Local’ on Park Street. You can even moor your stylish yacht decked with a white plastic radar at St Katherine’s Dock just round the corner at Tower Bridge!

  6. I wish to pick up on the fact that on 25 July 2014 Mr Rice talked on this forum about correcting “misinformation” regarding what BARD had said about the methods by which people can comment on applications. On the SE1 forum he had commented: “I’m not sure from where this misinformation springs!” so we can assume that he believed it to come not from his own department but from some other source.

    When I returned from a few days break and caught up with this post, I was very concerned to see this type of word being used by Mr Rice. This prompted me to write a detailed reply to him on the SE1 forum, which quite clearly demonstrated that there had been no “misinformation” whatsoever, and that it was in fact Mr Rice’s own letter to me dated 03/07/14 regarding the Barratt application that had sparked off the whole debate, because in that letter the only options given for sending in comments were the new online form on Southwark Council’s website, and letters by post.

    Fellow forum members can read my reply to Mr Rice here:

    I have now been waiting for over a week for Mr Rice to check the letter he sent me regarding the application, and to respond to my post on the SE1 forum.

    So far, nothing has been forthcoming.

    BARD had very courteously apologised for the so-called “misinformation”, but as my SE1 post clearly shows that there had in fact been no misinformation, I think an explanation is due from Mr Rice as to why his letter of 03/07/14 had only included two methods of making comments.

    The large and long-established communities of residents in this area have demonstrated time and again that they care deeply about where they live, take the trouble to keep up with a wide range of local issues, are highly informed about developments and articulate their concerns based on facts and a clear rationale. I therefore think that we deserve better than to read unfounded comments about “misinformation” and I’m sure Mr Rice will agree that an apology from him on this forum would be fitting.

  7. Chris says:

    “The only thing you can rely on in life is Change” Great Development and Great for Blackfriars road It’s an insult when i walk trough this historic road to see dull empty dirty spaces for drunks and layabouts pissing and puking around St Georges circus etc the building there at the moment is around 10floors so you there are no views for anyone to miss -But instead better views of the our wonderful city. more jobs more homes and more security will be felt in the area

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