EARLIEST DEVELOPMENTS IN WALWORTH 1999
The earliest redevelopments happened around 1999 / 2000 and were concentrated on the extreme eastern edge of Walworth close to the New Kent Rd. The run-down Georgian terrace that fronted New Kent Rd at Balfour St was re-jigged alongside with an added community of 8 faux C18th townhouses behind. This was probably the first gated new build to arrive in Walworth. Nearby, the old Geoffrey Chaucer school annexe on Searles Rd was converted by Sapcote Real Lofts into the gated The Paragon faux-lofts development. A 2 bedroom flat there now goes for £500,000 (Feb 2010) . Another Paragon flat with garden goes for £750,000 (Oct 2008). Round the corner, The Globe pub in Darwin St was converted into 6 flats. Before the real E+C goldrush, these and other nearby streets of Victorian terrace housing were the first to be bought cheap by newcomers to the area.
The next developments around Walworth were on Liverpool Grove with the conversion of the old Telephone Exchange by Oakmayne into posher flats (£395,000 for a flat in 2005, £415,000 in Oct 2008). Also the old Sutherland Chapel around 1999/2000. At the same time local pubs began to give in to the madness.
The Queens Head on Amelia St was closed and re-jigged into a hotel, Southwark Council being keen to grant planning applications to hotel developments to cater for the knock-on increase in tourism from the Tate Modern and other sundry entertainments. The Giraffe on Manor Place was closed in 1999 and later knocked down. Despite some promises of planning gain by a proposed new development, nothing has happened there. It remains today a half-derelict shell, speculating on it’s future land value perhaps?
The Duke of Clarence further up Manor Place was similarly closed in this first wave of smaller private developments, reinventing itself as the Duke of Clarence Yard residences in 2005 – ‘7 luxury apartments, 3 luxury penthouses…bringing colour to life’. Last time we looked, life outside the flats was still very much in colour to our eyes. Anyhow, 2 bedroom flat in The Duke – £420,0oo.
UPDATE Sept 2012: Here is the development coming into its final stages at the old Giraffe pub site on Penton Place. Planning permission was granted in 2008. It’s now 2012. So five years later and the benefits promised to the local community at the time whose local pub this was have not been forthcoming. Just another backstreet new build of 8 x 2 bedrooms and 1 x 1 bedrooms. No family flats, just flats for single people or couples. Lost also to history is the reason why the pub was called The Giraffe – because the Surrey Zoological Gardens that were very close was the first place in the UK to display giraffes!
Other locals lost over time have been the conversions of Two Eagles, Austral St, The Faunce in Faunce St, The Victory in Barlow St, The Duke of York in Bagshot St, The Station Tavern in John Ruskin St and the long-closed The Archduke Charles in Rodney Place, only recently demolished in 2007 to create a prospective building site. This site is now listed as a ‘Development For Sale’, asking price £1,500,00 (Feb 2010). The Station Tavern in John Ruskin St was demolished in 2002 and a new apartment block opened in 2004. The Thomas A’Beckett, long time closed, is now up for sale at £1,800,000 (Feb 2010).
The Unite development was built on Walworth Rd opposite the Heygate Estate around 2004. Sold on the basis of it being a development for ‘key workers’, it ended up primarily as a student dorm for local colleges. It’s a good example of the goldrush mentality developing round here where any piece of land, ruined building or landmark is being speculated on in the run-up to fabled massive ‘regeneration’. Unite, ‘the UK’s largest student housing provider by bed numbers (40,000), outperformed all other non-listed UK property funds during 2012’. Financial Times, ‘Student housing is top property asset’. November 4, 2012
Intergalactic Arts Studios, a community arts space at 31 Morecombe St, was evicted around 2000 with demolition following the next year. More fake Georgian townhouses were opened on the site in 2002. The old Silverthorne Secondary School building on Albany Rd was converted to yuppie lofts by 2003. A 2 bedroom ‘apartment’ there was priced at £360,000 (Oct 2008) and another 2 bed was, five years later, £359,950! (November 2012). The blurb is hilarious putting the property in residential Camberwell although it’s in Walworth. They also say that it’s just off Old Kent Rd. It is but a long way off, no?. The nearest transport, they say, being Peckham Rye train station and Kennington Tube i.e not very near! The overall plan, granted in 2001, was for ‘Change of use of existing school building to 36 flats. Erection of 3, two storey terraced houses and part 4/part 3 storey block of 13 flats fronting Albany Road and 41 parking spaces‘. All those new homes are now up:
In The Guardian’s ‘Let’s Move To’ column of October 2003, prospective buyers into Walworth could expect to find ‘Sarf of the river – Fruit ‘n’ Veg ‘n’ Diamond Geezers’ who were ‘full of beans’. The bad side of what one might face was that it was ‘not on tube or rail’, you would have to ‘hunt hard for good schools’ and there were ‘localised patches of high crime’. The benefits however were the cheap to buy Victorian terraces – ‘it’s not very glam but just look at the prices’. Those tempted to live among us however should ‘steer clear of the estates: cheap but not good investments’. Around 2006, the long closed-down Cop Shop on Carter Street was finally shabbily redone as expensive flats. Handy though if you want a Doner from the close-by kebab shop.
An empty warehouse at 40 Merrow St (subject to arson) in 2002 was then redeveloped as 5 ‘townhouses’ with a block of 9 flats behind as Balmoral Court and Spectrum Place. East Gate Developments Ltd have recently completed a ‘secure gated development’ of 13 ‘luxury’ flats for rent on Flint St, nr East St. The basis of this is a converted coach house and a new 3 storey building.
Lift + Hoist Co. on Merrow St – Old and still old (with Telford Homes hoardings)
June 2011 -being developed!! / November 2012 – terrible soulless conversion with grey Trespa panels just like every other new build!
June 2010: Two other Walworth sites now sit vacant and prone for redevelopment. The industrial premises of The Lift & Hoist Co at Merrow St / Queens Row that we had photographed a long time ago. Surely it could not be long before it was demolished and new residential was put up? As we speak, a fence that now boards off the site reads ‘Telford Homes’, one the companies behind the massive residential new builds around the Stratford Olympics site and also 2 new schemes at Queens Rd, Peckham. Planning was approved in 2003 for the creation of ’14 self-contained flats’ of 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms.
Later: Was squatted and used as a social centre with lots of events and parties before being evicted by London and Quadrant Housing Association. Now done up as flats a 1 bedroom place on 1st Aug 2012 was up for rent at £1,235 per month. A two bedroom is £300 a week. Looks like this inside your dream kitchen and living room:
Horsely St empties
Round the corner on Horsley St sits Church Army Housing Ltd’s two empty blocks, each block sealed off with security grills for many years or more now.
(AUG 2012: Been recently turned into short-life flats now via Westminster Housing Co-op who secured a 5 year lease from Freshwater Developments who had bought the properties)
Other large more recent conversions on New Kent Rd are the Charlotte Court re-jig on and the forthcoming ex-hotel Driscoll House revamp by Oracle Homes. (Aug 2012: Seems like the Oracle Homes scheme bit the Old Kent Rd dust. Driscoll House re-born once again as a hostel called The Rest Up!)
WALWORTH: The big developments
Since 2006, several bigger projects were begun around the top end of Walworth Road. Crampton St in Walworth (where 56a Infoshop) is located, has now undergone yuppiefication. Oakmayne Properties has built 2 large developments in the area, the dumbly named South Central East and O-Central. South Central East is ‘secure gated community’. O-Central isn’t gated. To aid good cheer to local residents, the first thing they did was to cut down trees, remove the local phone and Post Box! Grafitti appeared a few days after the theft of local amenities: ‘What happened to our phone boxes? Dem they got taken! Greedy Developer Bastards‘.
• Here you can see the yuppie fortress of South Central East risen beyond the train tracks on Crampton. ‘The Elephant starts here. Cool pads from £249,995’ says Oakmayne . Get out ya wallets – South Central East, London SE17 Only £415,000, 2 bedroom apartment (Sept 2006). NOW: 2 bedroom flat in South Central East up for rent at £425 per month. The architect Piers Gough had this to say in the Independent’s article ‘Southwark: Britain’s Hippest Borough’: “Another of ours, this time in the Elephant and Castle. It’s a zinging green residential building that looks pleated, like a piece of Issey Miyake clothing. The straps of balconies look almost like elastic“. *-(
It really is a RIP-OFF!
Oakmayne Properties advertising wheeze for the South Central East flats was to put up an advert on the Walworth Rd that read ‘If you want to make real money, invest in The Elephant’. Stuck to the poster was 300+ fivers which local people then ripped off in a frenzy. This crass 80’s Thatcherite money-madness is probably the last thing local people in The Elephant need. A few crumbs from the table and the continuing myth that the development will aid local people. Next you can see the architect’s plan for O-Central on Crampton St. As you can see it recreates not a ‘historic tree lined boulevard’ that never was, but a large building that blocks rare and precious daylight from the council’s Pullens Estate. What has ended up on Crampton St is not a set of buildings that sits well with the tenement flats of The Pullens but cheaply built wood-panelled buildings.
The topping out ceremony for the Crampton St flats was undertaken by England and Chelsea skipper John Terry who announced on TV that he had begun purchasing a portfolio of properties in the area. The private block (83 Crampton St!) now rents for £350 per week for a two-bedroom (Oct 2008). Alongside the Penthouse flats overlooking three local council estates are corporate rentals, buy-to-lets and private buys. The social housing blocks (Oster Court and Flamingo Court – where do they get these names from?) barely merit any architectural finery at all. Eventually the offices at the bottom of the all blocks may open up. So far, they are still mainly empty, awaiting business tenents. The last two pictures show the difference in the yuppie flats (niceglass Juliet balconies) and the Housing Association blocks (grim steel grill balconies).
Oakmayne tells us local residents – ‘Elephant & Castle is now definitely on the map. The regeneration has now started‘. It’s always been in our A-Z though!
WALWORTH READY FOR NEW INHABITANTS:
• http://www.findaproperty.co.uk – Property for sale in London SE17:
Hectic would be a good word for SE17…
‘...The strong working class element to the district has prevented gentrification in an area that geographically would make it a prime candidate. Compensation for being the planners’ guinea pig is the community spirit which puts most of the rest of London to shame. There are seemingly violent mixes of housing in SE17. Unexplained survivals from Georgian times meet partial Victorian terraces and in their lee are low and high rise flats and the full panoply of post war varieties. The effect is not charming as in Forest Hill to the south and the small scale tactical plans obviously had no time or money for a strategic appreciation of how the whole would appear…Between Walworth Road and Old Kent Road we have the Sixties/Seventies brutalist paradises of the Heygate Estate by the Elephant and the Aylesbury Estate by Burgess Park. The Aylesbury has been saved from full scale demolition but much of it will still go. The Heygate was due to be completely wiped off the face of the earth but the collapse of the Elephant & Castle regeneration plan in 2002 will have put such ambitious schemes in jeopardy….New life is flickering here in the conversion of a school, a pub, some new housing and the rebuild of 68 Victorian terraces with all mod cons…SE17 is obviously proving the hardest nut to crack for gentrification. Even the East End is succumbing faster, and if Walworth falls then nowhere can be immune. The upside to all this is to find perhaps the last sizeable chunk of inner London that is still fairly cheap, and first-time buyers, on to a good thing here, will have a whale of a time hunting through this fascinating area‘.
• onionbag blogger Thursday 29 April, 2004
‘The Aylesbury Estate in Walworth is a contradiction of style and sorrow. There is beauty to be found in the thirty year old blocks, and then with the disappearance of the sun behind a cloud, the old estate emerges as a much murkier proposition. Covering the size of a small town, the Aylesbury is symbolic for giving Blair a bloody nose with local democracy standing up to grandiose Whitehall planning. Mr Tony chose the Aylesbury as a platform to launch his Social Exclusion speech shortly after the ’97 election. Seven years later and the estate is still standing, even looking liking to outlast Tony, Tony, Tony…Back in ’99 the proposal was to completely demolish the 2,700 homes on the estate and build new private sector managed accommodation, 1,300 of which would be sold off for profit. That’s a bit like the landlord in your local pushing past you and causing you to smash your pint glass on the floor, and then he has the cheek to charge you for a new one. The residents were given the choice of allowing the private sector to rip up their protected local authority contracts (and allow big business to provide half the service at twice the cost), or carry on building their own community without fat cat interference. The 70% NO vote back in 2002 proudly told the private sector to piss off back to the City – a euphoric rejection of New Labour’s flagship ‘Third Way’ regeneration programme.
Housing 10,000 people on a site that is only half a mile from the pinstripes of the City of London, the Aylesbury remains the largest estate in Europe. Bolted together by a series of bridges and walkways, the landscape around Walworth is forever changing and provides you with a new perspective with every turn…Despite the recent upsurge in celebrating the local community, Walworth is ripe for gentrification. With the bulldozers now not moving in, it is only a matter of time before the Bright Young Things from the City enclave around SE17. Old school buildings are already being converted into loft space. Google Aylesbury and a page of poxy Estate Agents are thrown up. Transport may stave off the takeover though; without a tube connection from some shitty Soho lifestyle bar, the upwardly mobile remain ironically stranded. You may be able to read a tube map Tallulah, but I bet you’d be lost trying to get your pretty little airhead around the fine art of planning a South London bus journey across town‘.
These days we regularly see signs for ‘Luxury Flats’, mainly conversions above the shops on the main drag or tucked down side streets. This is a classic – a penthouse at 263-65 Walworth Rd above Factory Stock Clothing Warehouse? ‘Only minutes from The City!’. Or the cheaper one bedroom flat £225 per week. Nice!
And a ‘luxury’ 2 bedroom flat on Merrow St going for £290,000 (Oct 2008). Looking out of this window, you can see the three golden balls of the pawnbrokers that you live above attached to your new flat.
• COMINGS AND GOINGS ON WALLY RD
October 2008: New to open on Walworth Rd: A brand new Tesco Express that replaces Fads DIY store. Another bookies replaces the old Kings Head pub at Manor Place. The friendly Hindu family-run photographic shop, closed because the landlord raised their rent by tons, is being turned into a Credit shop – loans against wages etc. Wimpy has shut, as has the family-run Stationary shop. If the infamous Walworth Surplus Stores shop goes then it’s definitely all over! We are taking bets on who will be the first coffee-chain to open in The Elephant area.
More recent changes: A1 Stores closed down (end of an era). Liam O’gs has become Banana Bar. The launderette on Manor Place is boarded up too. A lot of the clothes shops seem to be undergoing liquidation sales or have signs up saying ‘Lease For Sale’ (as does Pizza Hut and the Chinese Buffet place) although a welcome new addition is the African restaurant near St Peters.
May 2010: Pizza Hut gone (now opened up us Cex). Flower Shop gone. New Brazilian shop opens.
Sept 2010: New Tesco Express store at old Jackson’s Furnishing store (second one in Walworth Rd). Cash Converters opened up.
WALWORTH RD’s ONLY GARDEN SPACE – WORTH SAVING!
8th November 2010
17th November Update: Planning decision deferred at Community Council Meeting. See here.
‘The space in front of Carter Place Police Station on the Walworth Road has been a garden ever since the land was enclosed. It is unique in being the only green space along the Walworth Rd that has never been developed…When the local police moved from the site, the garden was bought by a developer and they have been trying to build on it ever since. Local people and Councillors have successfully fought this so far, but we are now coming to the showdown to try to stop our garden being obliterated under a massive and completely inappropriate development of shops and flats (see image below)…We have an alternative. Help us to get the site protected so that it remains as a garden for the people of Walworth and Southwark to enjoy once again’.
The local campaign to preserve Carter Place Gardens ask all those who support the fight to do two things:
1. Sign The Petition.
Please sign our petition at: http://www.gopetition.com/petition/40056.html
2. Fight The Planning Application.
If you can find an extra few moments then you can really make a difference to this campaign by emailing the Council at firstname.lastname@example.org and telling them you would like to see the garden preserved and not developed. Don’t forget to quote the planning application number 10-AP-2796 in your email.
More historical details and reasons why Walworth Rd needs to preserve it’s only garden space can be found here: SAVE CARTER PLACE GARDENS
It would be great to return Carter Place Gardens to its former splendour as seen here in a postcard from 1957.
March 2011: The Temple Bar and The Beaten Path pubs have closed. Further up the Camberwell end, T-Bar has closed and lease is up for sale. One of the Greggs has closed alongside Warehouse Fashions and a few more clothes shops. Kennedy’s still empty. About 12 empty retail units now.
June 2011: Photos of the empties – The Beaten Path, numerous clothes shops, Greggs, William Hill (old site), Temple Bar (R.I.P)
STUDENT DIGS DIGGING IN…Summer 2011
The new Fresh Student Living site is nearly ready on the site of the old Petrol Station of many years ago now. Originally The Council refused this development planning permission (Sept 2009) but a planning inquiry overturned this in July 201o. The Appeal Decision makes interesting reading although it’s 20 pages. Full of useful stuff though. Click here to download PDF of Walworth Rd Student Housing Report.
Despite numerous things that fell flat of existing council policies the student housing was built anyhow. Student housing in the Elephant & Castle takes away sites for new housing of which 4200 new ones are proposed for the area. The Council had already declared that:
“1. The proposed development of student accommodation is an inappropriate use of the site and fails to provide a balanced and integrated mix of residential accommodation across the full range of private, social, key worker and other affordable housing and a range of unit size in particular family housing within the Elephant and Castle Opportunity Area as required by the Policy 6.1 of the adopted Southwark Plan. (link here)”
and also from the same report:
“2. The proposal is unacceptable as the need for the proposed student accommodation has not been demonstrated contrary to the Policy 4.7 of the Southwark Plan.”
Southwark’s Planning Committee on 8th Sept 2009 had already said about this development that:
“52. Under current policy the evidence appears to demonstrate the need within Southwark to satisfy policy.4.7, though the Residential Design SPD does request that a letter be supplied by a local education establishment and this has not been provided“.
‘55. The applicant has advised that borough based Universities such as University of the Arts and Kings College London have confirmed that they have an active requirement for Student Accommodation in Southwark, but they have been unable to confirm take-up for this scheme from a specific local education establishment in the form of a letter.”
So, anyhow, this is how things get built in Southwark!
Dashwood Studios, as the student digs, is called is now fully booked. £220 a week for a single room. You could say that this is another housing site now made unavailable for building the promised affordable housing for those Heygate Tenants who signed up for Right To Return. The above Report gives figures of 250 folks who had made this request as of February 2010.
The next phase of studentification(*) is mooted for Hampton St, the curent site of the taxi washing and mending place amongst other old Walworth light industrial building of yore. You can see the alliance between University of London Arts (includes the London College of Communications at The Elephant) here. Lots of plans and specs and all that. Also promised on top of the flats are ‘incubator units‘ for ‘new companies‘.
The brochure reads ‘by building accommodation close to the University, we can reduce pressure on homes for local people and families‘. How does this work exactly? Even the Universities UK report on Studentification remarks that common problems of the increase of students in an area are the ‘inflation of property prices and a change in the balance of the housing stock resulting in neighbourhoods becoming dominated by private rented accomodation and houses in multiple occupation and decreasing levels of owner-occupation‘.
Added in to this is an increase in the population of residents who are only in the area for a few years before passing on. The report praises many positive effects of studentification however we see many of these as problematic: more pubs and clubs for a late night economy, change of local shops into cafes, venues etc, demand for student housing is stimulus to private rented sector leading to house prices rising, growth in buy-to-let properties etc. And these are the positives! The negatives are called ‘challenges‘ in the report – increase in questionable behaviour in the streets, crimes rate rising (burglary, robbery, vandalism) and insurance premiums rising, decreased demand for local servives leading to closure, student bars and pubs have detrimental affect on residential amenities, decrease in family housing due to conversion of houses to student flats, temporary nature of students in an area leads to disincentives in respecting the older population and the communal obligations expected by different social groups….
Dashwood Studios Update: 13th October 2011
Category: How Investment works in the local area:
HAMPTON ST plans
A consultation exercise was held in November 2010 locally and you can see the newsletter here.
We put in a picture of the now defunct Beijing Chinese Take Away on Hampton St, our long term food emporium of choice. R.I.P.
(*) Studentification is such a funny term but it’s official, it first being used in this paper, so it must be real!! – Darren Smith, ‘Patterns and processes of studentification in Leeds’, Regional Review 12:1 (2002). Studentification is described as ‘the substitution of a local community by a student community‘.
WALWORTH RD September 2011
Work going on at John Smith House, Walworth Rd bringing us a nice hotel and restaurant. The Beaten Path is risen again as ‘Buy N Buy’, a local supermarket. The closed Nationwide has planning in for a Ladbrokes (how many bookies is that now?). The Temple Bar has been painted green. Only days to go before we find a new sign on the front announcing…what? Pound Shop? Supermarket? We are holding our breath!
WALWORTH RD October 2011
Chatelaine House redevelopment plans now in
Top end of Walworth Rd, near the Tube init, is always going to be a goldmine for developers. Now the old Council Chatelaine House, 182-202 Walworth Rd where the chemists, Afro World Superstore, the hairdressers and McDonalds is, could be the next thing to be demolished. New shops and 77 new flats are preposed to replace the old offices and storage places. Planning Application in at the Planning Dept now:
Demolition of the existing building and the erection of a part 3 storey, predominantly 5 storey building (double height ground floor commercial space) comprising 3,800sqm of use class A1 (retail), A3 (restaurant and cafes) and B1 (business) floor space at ground floor level, and 77 residential units (2 x studio, 20 x 1bed, 47 x 2bed, 7 x 3bed and 1 x 4bed), with associated landscaping, play space, cycle parking and 4 accessible car parking spaces.
Less affordable housing is required as the site falls in the Elephant & Castle Opportunity Area. At Southwark Notes, we are loving it! What a crazy plan and what a Rip-Off Charter that really is. They want to stimulate mixed and balanced communities! Nice! What does it all really mean. We know you already know the answer to that one! We will give a (rubbish) prize to the first person to predict which chains will occupy the new retail spaces? Drop us a line at our email address.
Chatelaine House has was built less than 40 years ago and now it’s time has come! What is the life expectancy of this new development? Round the corner is the old and empty Coroners Court built in the 1890’s and still standing if a bit and neglected! Is this also owned by a developer? Ready to be demolished and new flats built with an expected life of less than 40 years?
October 2012: There was an internet hubbub about what new and exciting store would be coming to Walworth Rd now that the big Blockbusters has closed down. First rumour was that Pizza Express would be opening up. Then we heard an excited and expectant murmur that it would in fact be a Waitrose. Pictured below is the new up and coming resident:
November 2012: Originally given planning permission back in October 2007, this 0.302 hectare site behind the East side of Walworth Rd has just been sold for ‘well in excess of the £4m guide price‘. Planning permission for ‘erection of a part 2, part 4 and part 5 storey building to accommodate 54 residential flats and 871.1sq.m of Class B1 (office/commercial) floorspace‘ was renewed from March 2011 on the site where nothing had happened in the five years in between. The site is off Walworth Rd down an alley between Mama Thai and Carphone Warehouse.
Kingsbury, the consultants who secured the sale wrote: ‘Kingsbury were appointed by the owners of a key regeneration site within the London Borough of Southwark to carry out a disposal. The site, located on the Walworth Road, benefits from planning consent for high density residential development but also offers potential for a range of alternative uses. Following a short open marketing process, a number of offers were received from a cross section of operators, with private sector developer Goldcrest proving the successful party and quickly exchanging unconditional contracts well in excess of the £4m guide price‘.
Goldcrest has already been the owners and then sellers of 120 – 138 Walworth Rd, where the new Dashwood Studios student flats are. In September 2010 they flogged that land to Watkin Jones Group, specialist in student housing.
You don’t really know the site is there unless you’re going to one of the small businesses there. It marks a significant point in Walworth’s development history, we think, that this kind of residential development seeks to fill hidden away land. It reminds us of Long Lane in The Borough which seemed to accommodate loads of new developments in all sorts of old warehouse yards, car-parks and empty sites. Yes, Walworth is now desirable! Question is, will this project actually get off the ground and be built or will it sit vacant for another few years before Goldcrest turn it around for more profit (as is their business)?
Interesting anyhow of one of the few examples of discovering land sale values locally. £4m+ gets you 0.302 hectares of prime Walworth Rd land with Planning Permission for a high density residential and commercial development.