A collection of office buildings and vacant sites have been snapped up Barratt’s the housebuilders to create a wall of residential redevelopment and one tall building.
Currently there are three office buildings at the south end of Blackfriars Rd as it approaches St George’s Circus. The existing buildings – Erlang House, Mill House and Millcote House – provide 13,500m2 of office buildings capable of employing around 1,100 people. They are currently used as temporary artist's studios.
These would be replaced by 5 blocks containing 336 flats, 4 small shops, 4 large cafe/ restaurants, and 2,500m2 offices stuffed in at the back for policy compliance, plus a “new neighbourhood public space” and additional trees, 755 cycle park spaces and 79 car parking spaces.
Waterloo has lost over 120,000m2 of offices in the past decade to hotels, student accommodation and swanky residential development with virtually no affordable housing. We have had permission for 35,000m2 replacement of offices, leaving a net loss of 85,000m2, floorspace which would have provided jobs for around 7,000 people.
Neither Southwark, Lambeth nor the GLA seem to care about this massive haemorrhaging of jobs for local people, preferring extraordinarily expensive flats for overseas purchasers instead. 57% of new residential in central London was purchased off-plan by overseas clients in 2013 according to a recent report for Centre for London. Of these a considerable proportion are being rented out – with rents rocketing in central London – but the rest are kept intentionally empty, as an investment.
23 of the flats will be shared ownership, and 56 will be affordable rent (set as 80% of market rent), so available to households earning between £60,000-70,000 per year. Amenity space for the residents and their children – if there are any – will be in balconies and communal roof gardens for toddlers.
Although the design breaks the development into 5 main blocks, in fact it creates a wall of development with one tall element rising to around 90m (300 ft), much of it in glazed brick, and metalwork with Islamic patterning.