Student accommodation could be built above Southwark Tube Station

TfL has revealed that it is considering dumping its approved office block scheme for the Southwark Tube Station site in favour of a student accommodation scheme.

Student accommodation could be built above Southwark Tube Station
The office scheme approved in 2021

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the opening of Southwark Underground Station as part of the Jubilee line extension.

Although an over-station development was always intended for the corner of Blackfriars Road and The Cut, a quarter of a century has passed without any scheme reaching the point of construction.

Three years ago Southwark councillors approved Transport for London's plans for a 17-storey office block, and the scheme was later added to a cluster of TfL-owned sites to be developed by Helical.

Now TfL has revealed that Helical has recommended that the office scheme is scrapped in favour of a development of student accommodation with 429 bedrooms.

News of the potential change of plan has been revealed in a report by Graeme Craig, chief executive of TfL's Places for London subsidiary, in a report to the land and property committee of the TfL board.

"Based on its remit to maximise both shareholder and social value, Helical, as appointed development manager together with the consultant team, has reviewed the development options," wrote Mr Craig.

"Helical recommends that the joint venture consider progressing a mixed use purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) and affordable housing scheme."

Mr Craig added that Helical's proposal is for "a new PBSA building comprising 429 self-contained student rooms above the station [and] a separate building comprising 40 new affordable homes in a second, standalone building adjacent to the station – these homes would replace the London Borough of Southwark’s previous proposal to develop 25 homes immediately adjacent to the OSD site".

According to Mr Craig, "The delivery of affordable housing and PBSA will help to alleviate pressure on housing in London through creation of additional homes and diverting demand for student accommodation away from private housing.

"The buildings’ massing, configuration of uses and design will complement the adjacent Styles House apartment block and Southwark station."

The revised scheme would resolve the stalemate with the adjacent Styles House site

He added that the alternative student scheme would result in "an enhanced pedestrian experience of a more generous public realm, including its surrounding streets, Isabella Street, The Cut, and Joan Street, which will be retained instead of stopped-up and developed".

Mr Craig concluded: "The joint venture will continue to assess the implications of a PBSA scheme at Southwark OSD. Subject to discussions, once the joint venture has issued a revised business plan for shareholder approval, we will assess the required changes to the agreements authorised by the previous approval and new approvals will be sought as required, in accordance with TfL standing orders."

Southwark Council was forced to shelve its plans to build 25 new council homes alongside Styles House, on a site adjacent to the tube station, after it emerged that the approved design wouldn't meet updated fire safety regulations for tall buildings.

Tags: Transport, Planning & Development, Greater London Authority, Southwark, Politics & local government

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