Forthcoming changes to planning laws meant to accelerate growth and development could result in commercial spaces in Bankside, Borough and London Bridge being changed to residential properties without needing to gain planning permission. While these changes to the General Permitted Development Order (GDPA 1995) may be needed to prompt development in parts of the country, they may result in unintended consequences for Bankside.
Peter Williams, Better Bankside CEO, outlines the concern, “Economic growth here over the past decade has cemented Bankside and London Bridge as business and leisure destinations of choice. Development opportunities are significant far beyond our local BID boundaries, bringing the benefits of investment to the wider borough as well as to London and the UK. There are also very few sites left in London that are capable of delivering large-scale development that this area still can. It is therefore essential that the mix of uses continues to support the attraction of the area, and that the balance isn’t shifted in a way which results in unwanted change to the nature and character of the locality.
The pace of development in north Southwark, together with emerging work on Neighbourhood Planning in both BID areas, has emphasised to us the existing challenges of delivering vibrant and sustainable urban neighbourhoods in a world city. “
Better Bankside, along with neighbouring business improvement district Team London Bridge, is therefore considering supporting Southwark Council and the GLA’s argument for this area to be exempt from these planning changes, along with the rest of the Central London Activity Zone.
Whilst recognising the potential advantages that changes to the GDPO could result in generally and remaining committed to the aspiration of securing further growth, given the specific, and unique circumstances here, we believe that the arguments for an exemption of Southwark within the CAZ should be carefully considered.