Southwark Council, which is the freeholder of most of the land at Harmsworth Quays, has agreed to permit Associated Newspapers to transfer its leases to British Land.

A dispute opened up last summer after British Land announced that it was buying the site from the newspaper firm.

When the council initially blocked the assignment of the lease to British Land, Associated Newspapers threatened legal action.

The council now says it has received further information and is prepared to agree to the transfer, thus preempting High Court action by Associated.

According to a briefing note from British Land published by the council:

The redevelopment of the Harmsworth Quay [sic] site provides and exciting and unique opportunity to truly revitalise this area of the Rotherhithe Peninsula. An opportunity we firmly believe can and should be taken. Ideally we would envisage a coordinated approach with the proposals for Harmsworth Quays integrated with the adjoining sites, including the Decathlon site, Aviva leisure site and The Surrey Quays Shopping Centre.

The move paves the way for talks between British Land, Southwark Council and King’s College London about the establishment of a new university campus on the site:

Having seen the proposals put forward by King’s College for the site, BL have met with their representatives to understand their requirements and potential benefits. BL are enthusiastic about the possibility of a university campus and advantages it would bring to the area including direct employment opportunities. The inclusion of this facility could also have spin off benefits with increased demand for commercial space for associated businesses including those catering to students as well as increased retail demand and expanding the day time economy.

The new campus would complement KCL’s plans for new student accommodation on the adjacent Mulberry Business Centre site.

* See all the papers on the Southwark Council website

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