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Mayor set to approve KPF’s reworked Bermondsey biscuit factory scheme

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KPF’s reworked £500 million Bermondsey biscuit factory scheme, originally rejected for a lack of affordable housing, is set to be approved by the London mayor today 

In May, Sadiq Khan called in the 6.2ha scheme near Bermondsey Tube station after Southwark councillors unanimously voted against it.

Southwark said developer Grosvenor’s original proposal of 1,342 rental flats, with 27.5 per cent of the units to be let at below market rates, came in below its policy target of 35 per cent affordable.

Grosvenor admitted its plans were ‘not good enough’ and returned with a taller proposal that would increase the total number of homes to 1,548. 

This increase will allow developers to hit the 35 per cent affordable target with 140 ‘social rent equivalent’ and 342 discounted rent homes – an offer that GLA’s planning officers have now decided they are happy with.

The officer’s report says the housing proposed is of a ‘high quality’, and of ‘an appropriate density and mix for the location’, taking into account the characteristics of the site.

The report will be considered at a City Hall public hearing today (21 February).

The redesign means the height of the towers along the viaduct has risen from one to seven additional storeys. The scheme will still deliver a replacement secondary school designed by Cottrell & Vermeulen Architects.

The original plans were rejected after Southwark 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.

Southwark Council said despite the revisions it was still not happy with the plans. Planning chief Johnson Situ said: ’The council’s planning committee refused this application last year because, among other reasons, it offered far less social housing than we require in our planning policies.

’Whilst there have been improvement, as far as we can see this has not changed enough so we still do not think this is a suitable as it fails to meet council policies.’

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.

 

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