On Tuesday of last week Southwark’s planners announced a retreat from their most extreme high-rise plans for Bermondsey village.

The announcement came in the one and only public meeting scheduled for the re-consultation on the key SPD that seeks to facilitate the Sellar high-rise plans for Bermondsey village, held at the Village Hall.

Taken aback by the large attendance of local residents incensed at the secret deals with Sellar to pave the way for a high-rise wall of buildings the length of St Thomas St and into Bermondsey St, Head of Planning Policy, Simon Bevan quickly played his best card in an attempt to defuse the situation. Before the meeting got properly underway he announced that any high-rise plans would not now include the two Sellar owned sites at the top of Bermondsey Street.

Where this leaves Sellar and his proposed three Shard satellites is a matter of speculation. As is the impact the decision will have on his financial position: He paid way over market value for the two sites at £11.25m. It would seem to leave the company in which they were bought, Sellar Properties (London 1), confronting huge losses and clearly insolvent. What will his Irish Banker’s have to say, we wonder.

Although encouraging, this development still leaves much to be done to drive back the planners high-rise ambitions and our subscribers are urged to write letters to Southwark Council in response to the SPD and also the ‘Quill’ proposal that is currently in consultation. Time is short and we are posting up some form letters for the purpose. However, as always, personal letter are preferable.

There is a lot to report and more news will follow soon. The BVAG site should also be progressively more central to the campaign as it has now broadened beyond the Sellar plans to a wider platform. BSTOWERS subscribers will be automatically added to the BVAG.NET mailing list.

Please download the letters to Peter John here and add your own comments if you wish to:

(1) SPD-Quill Letter to Peter John

(2) SPD-Quill Letter to Peter John

(3) SPD-Quill Letter to Peter John

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Southwark Council’s public meeting on the Bankside, Borough & London Bridge Planning Framework will be at 6.30pm on Tuesday 12 October in the Bermondsey Village Hall, Kirby Grove.

The meeting will be chaired by the Cabinet Minister for Planning Policy, Cllr Fiona Colley and the Head of Planning & Transport at Southwark Council, Simon Bevan. There will be a presentation on the draft Borough, Bankside and London Bridge Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) followed by a question and answer session.

The BVAG/BStowers will be asking for clarification on the following issues:

• The extension on the tall building zone that overlaps the Bermondsey Street Conservation Area
• Sellar’s proposals for 3 tall towers at the top of Bermondsey Street
• The Quill – the proposed tall tower on Weston Street

Once adopted the planning framework will be used to decide if planning applications in Bankside, Borough and London Bridge should be approved, so it is crucial that the local residents who are interested in the future of this area attend the meeting and share their views.

For more information on the SPD see www.southwark.gov.uk/bblbspd

The closing date for objections is 5pm Friday 29 October

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