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Renzo Piano’s £100m Bermondsey scheme submitted to planners

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Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RBPW) has lodged proposals for a £100 million mixed-use scheme on Bermondsey Street near London Bridge station with Southwark Council planners

The scheme, for Shard developer Sellar, stretches across two sites: 40-44 Bermondsey Street, currently home to the developer’s own offices, and a former warehouse building called Vinegar Yard. 

Under the plans the two sites, owned by the developer for a decade, will be linked by a new pedestrianised cut-through and deliver 14,864m² of office space and retail use. 

The proposal has faced early criticism over its size, with some local residents raising concern about the height of the extension to Vinegar Yard. 

However, according to Sellar the scheme has been designed to respect local views along Bermondsey Street and transition from its ’village atmosphere’ up to the revamped London Bridge Station.

At a launch of the scheme at Sellar’s HQ, the developer also explained how the design had evolved from an original height of 26 storeys to 16 (see image below). 

Under RPBW’s proposals the derelict interior of Vinegar Yard will be ’carefully dismantled and retained’ while a programme of inspection will be undertaken to identify interior elements that might be re-usable.

The Piano scheme is part of the wider St Thomas Street East Framework, a ‘co-ordinated approach’ by for four landowners – Greystar, Columbia Threadneedle, CIT and Sellar – rather than part of the formal planning process. 

It includes the redevelopment of 1980s office block Becket House on St Thomas Street by Columbia Threadneedle for a new commercial scheme, which is being overseen by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands.

It also includes plans for the redevelopment of neighbouring office block Capital House, opposite The Shard, the site where SPPARC Architecture’s controversial Quill student accommodation skyscraper was approved in 2010 but never built.

KPF Architects has now designed a 39-storey tower with an ‘origami-style’ façade for developer Greystar on the Weston Street site, currently being considered by Southwark Council.

James Sellar, chief executive of Sellar, said: ’Our proposals are designed to create an elegant and measured transition from the intimate scale and character of Bermondsey Street to the city scale of London Bridge.

’We aim to achieve this by extending the unique nature of Bermondsey Street through the creation of a new pedestrian route to the top of Weston Street populated by independent retailers and restaurateurs, as well as landscaped public realm.’

Subject to planning approval, work is expected to start on the scheme by the end of 2020.

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