Green light for 11-storey office building on Long Lane

Plans to redevelop the former Selected Rug Co building on Long Lane have been approved by Southwark councillors.

Green light for 11-storey office building on Long Lane

The former industrial building on the south side of Long Lane between Southall Place and Pilgrimage Street has been used for a variety of purposes in recent years including offices and as an immersive theatre venue.

A developer had submitted revised plans to Southwark Council after its 2020 scheme was rejected by a planning inspector due to its impact on Pilgrimage Street.

The proposed development is designed by architects Panter Hudspith.

The developer had lodged an appeal after the council failed to reach a decision on the scheme within the official timescale.

The scheme considered by councillors on Tuesday night was almost identical to the 2020 proposal except for changes to the southern elevation to address the planning inspector's criticisms of the development.

Senior planning officer Gemma Perry told councillors that the planning inspector had found that this was a suitable location for a tall building, and that the appeal had only been dismissed because of the Pilgrimage Street elevation.

Ms Perry explained that the developers and architects had modified the scheme, "creating depth and articulation across the upper floors".

The committee heard that the council had received 55 objections, one neutral comment and no comments in support of the latest planning application.

Council planning manager Dipesh Patel acknowledged that "there will be significant impacts" on the daylight in homes in Empire Square, but said this had been found to be acceptable by the planning inspector when weighed against the benefits of the development.

Pilgrimage Street resident Diana Wethered said: "It's such an overdevelopment of the site." She called for the proposed building to be revised to step back further from Pilgrimage Street.

Terri Weston of Empire Square addressed the committee to air concerns about the use of Southall Place to access the proposed basement cycle storage for the office building.

Carl Dawson, representing the Jersey-registered developers 74 Long Lane Ltd, told the committee: "Our proposal will deliver a new, modern, exemplary office space that responds to current market needs...

"A total of 475 employment opportunities will be created in the heart of the Borough, rejuvenating a brownfield site which is no longer fit for purpose."

He added that the process – including the planning appeal – had resulted in "a building that is sensitively but beautifully designed and complements the local street scene whilst delivering on sustainability objectives and encouraging job growth in the borough".

The planning officer's report included comments from the borough archaeologist who noted that there is "potential for [Roman] archaeological remains of national significance to be present on this site" and warned that parts of the scheme may need to be altered depending on what is found.

The committee approved the application with five votes in favour and one abstention.

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

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