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Khan calls in KPF’s rejected £500m Bermondsey biscuit factory scheme

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London mayor Sadiq Khan has called in KPF’s proposals for the £500 million Bermondsey scheme rejected by the local council over its lack of affordable housing 

In February, Southwark councillors unanimously voted against the Grosvenor-backed scheme proposed for the 6.2ha former biscuit factory near Bermondsey tube station. 

The so-called Bermondsey Project would provide up to 1,342 private rented sector (PRS) flats, plus 10,000m² of office space, retail and leisure space and a replacement secondary school, all in buildings up to 28 storeys high.  

The council became locked in a dispute with Grosvenor over the affordable housing contribution for the scheme. The developer argued that the most it could offer was for 27.5 per cent of the units to be let below market rents, but the council’s independent viability consultant disagreed. 

Southwark said the offer came in below its policy target of 35 per cent affordable and the discounted units would ‘not realistically’ allow for any significant provision of social rent or London Living rent units.

The hybrid application included detailed permission for 16 new buildings, including a proposed 600-place secondary school by Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture at the heart of the neighbourhood. 

Grosvenor appointed KPF as lead architect on the project following a review of its design team, effectively replacing Karakusevic Carson, which had been appointed to that role in 2015.

Commenting on the call-in, Grosvenor’s Simon Harding-Roots said the developer was committed to creating a ‘diverse neighbourhood’ in Bermondsey.

He said: ’We believe in the value of diverse neighbourhoods and we take our role as a responsible landlord, providing opportunities for many people, not just a few, very seriously.

’Today our site is a largely neglected, fenced-off area, which provides no homes, facilities, open spaces or significant employment opportunities for the borough.

’With the GLA, Southwark Council and local stakeholders we will work to bring both much-needed new homes and the many additional benefits of our proposals to Bermondsey.’ 

Southwark Council has been approached for comment.

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