360 LONDON, Newington Butts
No1 Churchyard Row, Walworth SE17 aka The Rowton House and then the London Park Hotel. This Victorian working mans hostel that sat next to St Mary Newington gardens was demolished in late 2007 to clear the land for the preposed erection of 360-London aka yuppie flats. Almost beautiful (esp. before the original cupolas were removed in the 1970′s), this building added much to the area for those who have lived here a long time.
The above photo adds in a poetic accident for those inclined to such moments.
360-London is another 44 storey tower with 470 residential units (‘affordable’ units now scaled back to 30%). Described by the developers as ‘the jewel in the crown’ of the Elephant redevopment, it’s also described as ‘rising elegantly’ from the site of the old London Park Hotel. If you click the photos, you can make your one mind up on ‘elegance’.
The whole development was backed by the Government regeneration agency English Partnerships (now renamed Homes and Community Agency) who had bought the site for £18 million with the express intention of developing affordable homes for key workers. It is these units that have taken the biggest hit with 43 keyworker homes knocked out in the new plan. Social housing is marginally increased from 29 to 35 homes. Private homes will now increase from 282 to 319 units. The Council, who sold part of the site to English Partnerships, commented that ‘a lot of money has gone round in a big circle and the net losers will be the people who need help the most. This ‘dreadful irony’, as they put it, will not be lost on regular readers of this page. First Base in further irony has been described as ‘an innovative affordable housing company‘. (2007) Due to be complete Spring/Summer 2010 ha ha.
Late 2009: BD – The Architect’s Website reports that “Meanwhile a Richard Rogers-designed skyscraper for an adjacent site, the 44-storey 360 London (pictured), also remains stalled due to “challenging market conditions”. A spokesman for developer First Base was unable to give a start date for the residential scheme, which was granted planning permission in September 2007, but said that the developer remained “focused on delivering what we believe to be an exceptionally designed scheme and an extraordinary project”. This is also bad news for Southwark Playhouse who, as part of planning gain, were to open a brand new theatre in the development!
December 2010: These little posters were placed on the hoarding around the site under every window that looks into the empty place. The text seems part inspired from the words we posted above. It reads:
‘This development site was backed by the Government regeneration agency English Partnerships who bought the former London Park Hotel site for £18 million of taxpayers money in 2006. The express intention of English Partnerships hand-out was for the building of ‘affordable’ homes for keyworkers. As a result of what they call ‘challenging market conditions, the 159 ‘intermediate affordable’ units have now been reduced to 116 and the number of private apartments has been increased from 282 to 319. All of this agreed by Southwark Council when the planning permission was renegotiated in 2008. The site lays empty to this day…
REGENERATION RIP-OFF…VIEW HERE‘
It’s worth adding something briefly about the Homes and Communities Agency which was brought into being under the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008. Essentially a merging of the old English Partnerships and The Housing Corporation, it began it’s life in December 2o08 with a mandate to boost the housing economy. Private Eye (Oct 2009 No.1246) writes: ‘Accounts for English Partnerships…posted in July 2009…showed that EP made a £492 million opearating loss in its last eight months and saw 320 million quid wiped off the value of its land bank. ..The housing market saw EP’s sales receipts plummet from a healthy £328 million the previous year to a measly £32.9 million in 2008. It was forced to beg the government for an extra £67m of funding on top of the £64m it had already received…three of EP’s top brass walked away with redunancy payments totalling £277,000.” Regeneration rip-off indeed!
JANUARY 2012: “A competition to select a developer to revive a stalled project to build a 44-storey tower at Elephant & Castle is about to be launched by the Homes and Communities Agency and the Greater London Authority“. See here for new story from InSE1 site.
SEPTEMBER 2012: “Five months ago the London Park Hotel site at Newington Butts passed into the hands of the Greater London Authority when it took over the London land-holdings of the Homes and Communities Agency. Originally a joint venture between English Partnerships and First Base, the 44-storey tower designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners was approved five years ago but due to the economic slump the publicly-owned land has lain dormant ever since. The Mayor is calling for expressions of interest from potential developers of the 0.49 hectare site“.
From here. We wonder what sort of deal local people will get from this sorry saga of public money buying a site for redevelopment. The original plans watered down reducing the number of ‘affordable homes’ and then nothing happening for 5 years. Now the GLA wants to see it happen. Will the chosen developer pull the ‘no affordable housing’ scam as we are seeing with Oakmayne and more recently Lend Lease for their new St Mary’s Residential site on top of the Leisure Centre. Keep ‘em peeled. Will post news as it comes.