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Allies and Morrison’s Elephant and Castle tower rejected

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Allies and Morrison’s application for a 43-storey residential in Elephant and Castle, south London has been thrown out by planners

The 137.5m-tall housing-led project for developer Oakmayne was unanimously rejected by members of Southwark Council’s planning committee following a marathon meeting yesterday (11 October) which closed after midnight.

Among those opposing the development was neighbouring nightclub Ministry of Sound.

The scheme was refused against planning officers’ recommendations because of concern over its social housing provision, compliance with the London plan and viability.

Noise concern was the ‘lesser’ reason for refusal, according to a council spokesperson.

Ministry of Sound has been a long running objector to the scheme which it claims could force it to curtail its commercial night club operations if future inhabitants complain over noise.

Yesterday the night club unveiled an alternative mixed-use office scheme by Marks Barfield Architects which it claimed was a viable alternative to Oakmayne’s plans. One option proposed by Marks Barfield is to retrofit Eileen House, the current building on the site.

Marks Barfield Architects' alternative Eileen House retrofit scheme

Marks Barfield Architects’ alternative Eileen House retrofit scheme

Ministry of Sound chief executive Lohan Presencer said: ‘We are incredibly pleased that committee members have applied proper scrutiny to all the aspects of the application and its relation to planning policy.

‘Members have arrived at the correct decision and now is the time for all concerned to come together to find a positive vision for the regeneration of the Elephant and Castle. Ministry of Sound wants to play a key part in this.’

Ministry of Sound said it was now contacting developers with a view to further pursuing Marks Barfield’s scheme.

A nearby 22-storey skyscraper scheme by Panter Hudspith Architects, which won planning in June, was set to go before the committee again last night but the agenda item was abandoned when the meeting ran late. Ministry of Sound is seeking reappraisal of its consent.




Councillor Fiona Colley, Southwark Council cabinet member for regeneration

The Eileen House site is a prime location in central London, and in the Elephant and Castle regeneration opportunity area. Any improvement to this area would be of great benefit to local people. We’re very keen to see a development go ahead on this site and will be looking into the next steps forward.


Oakmayne chair Christopher Allen

We are both confused and bitterly disappointed by the planning committee’s decision, which was made against their own officer recommendations and the weight of expert evidence in support of Eileen House.

It is a bitter irony that the committee cited provision of affordable homes as one of the key reasons for refusal, as their decision has now cost the people of Southwark £16m worth of 80 affordable homes, as well as an extra £4.25 m worth of public realm improvements and wider benefits for their own designated Enterprise Quarter.

The so-called Enterprise Quarter has, as a result, now lost 30,000 sq feet of modern office space creating 230 jobs and 300 full time construction jobs over three years created by the construction of this world class exemplary piece of architecture.

What will remain is a 1960s obsolete eyesore and the area, which desperately needs regeneration, will continue to stagnate. This is a huge setback for the Enterprise Quarter, and must be disappointing for the people of Southwark who desperately need more homes and employment opportunities.

We are currently considering our options.



  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • 'Thrown out by the planners' - no, thrown out by the councillors, and the Ministry of Sound seem to have the same power to impose a 'cordon sanitaire' that is historically associated with the Ministry of Defence's attitude to development near dangerous munitions storage sites. Perhaps the Ministry of Sound should relocate to an industrial estate where they'll disturb no-one.
    Planning blight by an airport or NATO base is one thing, but by a nightclub?

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