While Ken Livingstone hesitates over whether to take up residence in Foster and Partners' Greater London Assembly (GLA) building at London Bridge, plans are pressing ahead to revitalise the area around it.
Landscape architect J & L Gibbons has drawn up a 90-project framework for the Pool of London Partnership which wants to revitalise the run-down area which stretches from Tower Bridge to London Bridge and south to Bermondsey. The area is already home to highprofile schemes such as the £400 million redesign of London Bridge Station, the CIT Group's More London Bridge development which includes the GLA building and the proposed Broadway Malyan Tower.
Under planning law, all these schemes will have to provide finance for other infrastructure projects in the area. The Pool of London Partnership which comprises CIT, London Borough of Southwark, Railtrack and the Corporation of London, among others, has been set up to manage these developments and bid for SRB funds which will be allocated in early autumn.
Projects worth £18 million have been proposed for the Alfred Salter housing estate at the south-eastern end of the site and these include plans to open up unusable spaces between housing blocks which are taken up by patches of grass and car parking.
One such project at the Beormund Centre includes the creation of an outdoor dance space and the relocation of the centre's cafe to face out onto the public space. A similar policy of opening out inward-looking facilities within buildings will be applied to the Fisher Club community centre.
'We will be opening up the community centre onto the open space to allow the kids to spill out, ' said partner Johanna Gibbons.
'Currently the building is extremely introverted, which doesn't help solve the main friction in this area which is between the youth and the elderly.'
The practice has also tackled pedestrian penetration under the railway viaduct which carries trains into London Bridge Station which cuts through the site and, Gibbons says, acts like a 'Berlin Wall'. The dank railway arches under the viaduct will be illuminated at the least and a more radical proposal includes planting trees around the entrances to the arches to soak up the moisture and create a mossy landscape.
Gibbons said the string of projects forms a framework from which schemes can be selected and put forward for funding incrementally. The framework includes a list of planned projects in the area and their status on funding applications, who is running each project and their progress. It is an attempt to produce a coherent approach to the many needs of what Gibbons calls 'an extraordinary district of London'.