Southwark Council’s Cabinet has approved the purchase of a plot of land for redevelopment at 711 to 717 Old Kent Road.
Most of the site hasn’t been occupied for more than a decade and it presents a good opportunity to build much needed new housing and provide more space for business in what is now a central part of the Old Kent Road regeneration area.
The site, which is bounded by Old Kent Road and Devon Street, includes a handful of buildings and a large yard. The council estimates that more than 200 flats could be built on the site as well as more than 16,500 sq ft of commercial space.
The edge of the site facing Old Kent Road includes an old parade of Victorian shops. This four-storey terrace, which has stood empty for years (and was bricked-up in 2019) will be retained as part of the council’s commitment to preserve local heritage.
The council intends to use Future High Streets funding to refurbish the shops and bring them back into use as retail units – hopefully including a new community cafe or pub. The floors above could be converted for workspace, training or educational use. Having been shortlisted earlier this year, the plans will form part of a more detailed application to the Future High Streets fund to be submitted in April 2020.
The council has been buying land in the Old Kent Road area for several years. In the last two years, alone, Southwark has purchased more than 32,000 sqm (3.2 hectares) of land to ensure that all of the new infrastructure promised in the Area Action Plan – including new housing, workspace, leisure and parkland – can be delivered.
The purchase of the site was approved by Southwark Council’s Cabinet at a meeting yesterday (17 December).
While the shops could be brought back into use relatively quickly, it will still take a couple of years before the rest of the site (currently owned by Folgate Estates) can be redeveloped. However, the council will ensure good, temporary use is made of the site in the meantime.
Read more about the benefits of regenerating Old Kent Road