London walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman and Southwark cabinet member Richard Livingstone dropped by to inspect the new cycle track on Tuesday.
Cllr Richard Livingstone, cabinet member for environment, transport and the climate emergency, said: “We’ve worked closely with TfL on this and the roundabout’s new, wider pavements, which will help pedestrians feel safer too.
“I hope that the new roundabout and the imminent completion of Cycleway 4 along Jamaica Road and Tooley Street, will encourage people to take to Southwark’s streets, both on foot and by bike.”
Roadworks continue on the remaining section of Cycleway 4 along Tooley Street and Jamaica Road.
A decision on the ‘Rotherhithe Movement Plan’ – including the Lower Road section of Cycleway 4 – is expected to be made by Southwark Council’s cabinet this summer.
The London Assembly transport committee has written to Transport for London in the wake of the cancellation of the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf bridge to urge them to review and improve their business planning process, so that under-funded and undeliverable projects are not progressed as a result of unrealistic engineering proposals and low cost estimates.
The committee has also sought further detail and clarification on the proposed ferry service.
Budget projections for the bridge project soared from £120-£180 million in November 2017, to £463 million in March 2019 and now latest estimates stand at exceeding £600 million.
Navin Shah AM, chair of the Transport Committee, said:“How did TfL get its sums so wrong? This major infrastructure project is key to unlocking this part of east London in terms of active transport links, jobs and homes.
“A ferry service between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf is a much cheaper alternative, but we have questions over its cost, frequency, commencement of the service and whether it will be free to use.”
“TfL must improve how it costs major infrastructure projects and ensure that projects of this kind have realistic costings and plans, so that Londoners are not continually disappointed time and again.”
British Transport Police have released CCTV images after a robbery at Canada Water Station.
The incident happened at 11pm on Saturday 25 January. Two men are reported to have approached the victim and intimidated him into handing over £20.
Officers would like to speak to the men in the images who may have information that could help their investigation.
Anyone who recognises them is asked to contact BTP by texting 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 40. In both cases, quote reference number 297 of 26/01/20. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Plans for a new cultural venue at The Blue – including a three-screen cinema – have been announced by Southwark Council and Really Local Group.
Councillors went public on the plans at the South Bermondsey Ward Forum on Monday night.
The new venue in the former Thorowgoods store will be an all-day community space with a three-screen cinema, coffee shop, bar, informal co-working spaces and a food and craft hall.
Ticket prices are intended to be affordable: £6.50 to watch a film and £13 for live events.
Preston Benson, founder of Really Local Group, said: “We are very excited to enhance the cultural infrastructure offer in a borough with an established craft and music heritage.
“Working with Southwark Council, we hope to be able to curate a new ‘cultural quarter’ for the town and secure collaboration opportunities with local independent businesses, artisans and traders.”
South Bermondsey councillor Leo Pollak, who is Southwark’s cabinet member for new homes, great estates and social regeneration, said: “After years of working to improving the mix of shops and stalls at the Blue, and intervening on the sale of Thorowgoods, we are hugely proud to have secured a three screen cinema, community events and exhibition space and an affordable food market showing the best of local producers.
“We were greatly impressed by Really Local Group’s approach, and I’m confident this will become a major new arts centre for the north of the borough, and a game-changer for the Blue.
“This not only underscores our commitment to healthy thriving high streets across the borough, but the importance of municipal interventions high streets that need a ‘curatorial’ steer while getting the tone balance and affordability right. Bring on the Summer of 2021!”
The Thorowgoods scheme is subject to approval by Southwark’s cabinet and the grant of planning permission.
As a local business with its founding roots in Rotherhithe, Thames Clippers is supporting Rotherhithe Illuminated! – a community-led legacy lighting scheme – with a donation whilst also urging other local organisations and residents to donate if they can.
In commemoration of Rotherhithe’s key role in the Mayflower story – Rotherhithe Illuminated! will shine a new light on this historic part of London, illuminating elements of five historic buildings.
When lit, the spire of St Mary’s church and the chimneys of Thames Tunnel Mills and Brunel’s Engine House will be visible from Tower Bridge, London Bridge and from across the river in Wapping.
People travelling along the river on-board Thames Clippers boats at night will be able to enjoy the installation, increasing community and cultural awareness.
2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage to the new world. The Mayflower was captained by local resident, Master Christopher Jones, and Rotherhithe was also the ship’s home port.
Whilst organisations like Thames Clippers and Port of London Authority (PLA) have already contributed significantly towards the £95,000 overall cost of the project, £35,000 is still needed to complete the project, for which a public JustGiving page has been set up.
Bermondsey’s Compass secondary school could finally move in to its own purpose-built building in 2023 – eight years later than planned – after a development agreement was signed with developer Grosvenor.
The Compass free school currently occupies part of the old Scott Lidgett / Southwark College building in Keetons Road.
He said: “We signed the development agreement yesterday [Thursday] so we believe we have a cast iron guarantee that the school will be built.
“As I hope you’re aware, the decision was very recently taken that the school will be built with funds provided by the Department for Education.
“They are responsible for sourcing the tenders using the expertise acquired elsewhere.
“We are as confident as we can be – having signed my life away for an 800-page document that I confess to not having read comprehensively …
“When we were given approval to open it was on the basis that the Department for Education owned the site and were buying it from Lewisham College, and that we would move into a new school in 2015.
“So it won’t surprise you to know that the target date is now eight years later and we have paid considerable attention to securing confidence that this thing will actually happen on the date that is forecast in this new arrangement, and which is in the development agreement that I signed on behalf of the school yesterday.”
Plans to build more than 1,500 new homes on the site of the former Peek Freans biscuit factory in Bermondsey – in buildings of up to 35 storeys – have been given the green light after London’s deputy mayor overturned Southwark Council’s decision to block the scheme.
Grosvenor, the property firm owned by the Duke of Westminster, bought the Biscuit Factory and the former Southwark College site in 2013.
Its planning application for a build-to-rent development on the 5.4 hectare site was rejected by Southwark planning committee in February 2019, before the case was ‘taken over‘ by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
A public hearing was convened at City Hall on Friday morning, with the final decision placed in the hands of deputy mayor Jules Pipe.
Jules Pipe said: “The site has the potential to deliver more than 1,500 new homes in an area of London with a high demand for affordable housing, close to transport links and central London.
“It will also provide new facilities for a secondary school which is currently housed in dated buildings.
“Overall, it would make a significant contribution towards the regeneration of this part of Bermondsey. Having considered all the evidence available to me, I have decided to approve this application.”
The hearing was told by GLA planning officer Justine Mahanga that revisions to the scheme in the past year had overcome all of Southwark’s reasons for turning it down.
A key change is the revision of the affordable housing offer from 27.5 to 35 per cent – representing an additional 160 affordable homes.
Grosvenor has also increased the height of the proposed buildings, with the tallest now 35 storeys compared to 28 storeys in the proposal rejected by Southwark.
Senior Southwark planning officer Yvonne Lewis addressed the deputy mayor to argue that while the changes were welcome, they didn’t go far enough to meet the council’s concerns on design or on the affordability of the housing.
South Bermondsey Labour councillor Leo Pollak spoke to “recognise and applaud” the most recent changes, but warning that the scheme still had the potential to exacerbate economic divides either side of the railway line.
In his remarks North Bermondsey Lib Dem councillor Hamish McCallum criticised the tall buildings proposed by Grosvenor which he described as “wildly out of step with the local context” and warned that even the affordable homes would be out of reach to many of his constituents.
Jerry Flynn of the 35 Per Cent Campaign questioned the lack of detail in the public domain about how the tenancies for the affordable housing would be managed and renewed, whilst Harpreet Aujla of Southwark Law Centre suggested that given the scale of Grosvenor’s expected profits from the scheme, it was reasonable to expect them to comply with policy on affordable housing in every detail.
Speakers in favour of the development included local fishmonger Russell Dryden of the Blue Bermondsey BID, who – after sharing childhood memories of scrounging broken biscuits from Peek Freans – said that “the proposed development will complement and align with our aspirations” for The Blue.
Douglas Lewis, chair of the Compass School – which will gain a new building as part of the scheme – said: “We fully support this application and encourage you to approve it”.
Shannon Donovan of Bermondsey Community Kitchen added: “”These homes will provide an influx of residents who can use The Blue for their local spending.”
Sheila Taylor, chair of Cherry Garden Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said she had been “deeply disappointed” by Southwark’s refusal of Grosvenor’s planning application and welcomed Mayor’s intervention and the tweaks to the scheme that have happened since.
She said that the Biscuit Factory in its current state represented an “empty hole” in the middle of Bermondsey.
The final speaker to address the hearing was Simon Harding-Roots of Grosvenor who stressed his company’s long-term commitment to Bermondsey and that his scheme would “breathe new life into this brownfield site”
He said that Grosvenor had taken care to ensure its plans would integrate well with Bermondsey’s existing communities, with “no fenced-off areas, no gated communities” and “five acres of space open to the public” including a rooftop terrace.
The City of London Corporation’s charitable funding arm, City Bridge Trust, kickstarted the year by making £5 million in grants to help tackle disadvantage in the capital.
SE16’s own Bede House Association is one of the beneficiaries, receiving £260,000 for a project breaking cycles of domestic violence through counselling and legal advice.
Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said:“London’s charities are working hard to fight inequality and disadvantage, improving lives, boosting employment, and reducing isolation.
“We want to help build a capital city where everyone can thrive.
“Nearly one third of Londoners are living in poverty, and over one million of those live in a working family.
“Together we aim to consign these statistics to the history books.”
City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of the City of London Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates. It is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital. The Trust has awarded around 8,000 grants totalling over £400 million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the City Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.