Colechurch House: Foster plans for London Bridge site approved

Plans for a major development of a landmark site at the southern end of London Bridge have been approved by Southwark councillors.

Colechurch House: Foster plans for London Bridge site approved

Developers CIT won the backing of Southwark's planning committee for the redevelopment of Colechurch House – which sits to the north of Duke Street Hill and south of Tooley Street – at a meeting on Wednesday evening.

Planning officer Terence McLennan told the committee that the existing Colechurch House – which dates from the 1970s – is of "low architectural quality and hampered by a lack of active frontages".

He said that CIT's proposed development would create office space for more than 3,000 people, as well as two auditoriums for Southwark Playhouse with capacities for 250 and 150 people.

The office element of the scheme will be raised up to allow a covered park to be created at ground level.

Recommending approval of the scheme to councillors, Mr McLennan said that "the development is an elegant and highly articulated design that is exemplary in many respects".

The existing concrete footbridge linking London Bridge Walk and London Bridge Station across Duke Street Hill will be replaced with a new structure.

The council received 14 objections and 156 letters of support for the scheme. Unusually for a development at such a high-profile location, no objectors addressed the committee and no ward councillor spoke at the meeting.

Steve Riddell from developers CIT told councillors that the existing Colechurch House is "well past its economic life".

He said: "We identified that this is a really important site with the potential to transform the northern gateway to London Bridge.

"It therefore demands an exemplary architecture and the kind of innovation that Foster & Partners can bring."

Mr Riddell confirmed that CIT would find a way to ensure that Peter de Colechurch – who led the building of the medieval London Bridge in 1176 – continued to be remembered and acknowledged on the site.

Members of the planning committee resolved unanimously that planning permission should be granted.

Welcoming the decision, Tim Wood, chair of Southwark Playhouse, said: β€œThis is a hugely positive result, which will bring us back to London Bridge with a brand new, purpose-built venue that provides us with much needed capacity, critical to ensuring the future of our organisation.

"We look forward to inspiring and showcasing the next generation of storytellers, theatre-makers and performers, as part of an industry-defining sustainable development that will bring a range of benefits to the local area."

Tags: Planning & Development, Southwark, Politics & local government

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