A controversial new Southwark Council office building due to be built in Peckham could now be completely scrapped after seven years of wrangling with residents.
In a press release sent today (June 18), Southwark Council confirmed it had written to residents in Queens Road confirming work had now been paused while it considered ‘alternative solutions’.
The idea for building – known as Queens Road 4 – was first developed in 2013, aiming to create new office space for frontline children’s and housing services.
Its latest iteration was due to go to planning committee in June, and if approved opened in 2022.
An existing council building on the site just opposite Queens Road station, was demolished to make way for the new build.
But a long-running campaign from residents had lobbied against the project from the offset, with everything from the size, design, and location proving divisive.
The council conceded enough to change architects and make revisions to the building – and promised to avoid some youth services from being provided at the location, over fears of rival gang members coming into contact.
In a statement, the council said the review had come as a result of COVID-19, forcing all major projects and expenditure to be reassessed.
This is both due to a widening budget gap due to falling council tax and business rates income, and the move to working from home due to lockdown and need to social distance.
Councillor Kieron Williams, the cabinet member for housing management and modernisation at Tooley Street, said: “Given the huge impact of COVID-19 on our communities and the council, it is right that we pause to reconsider how best we can deliver essential services to residents in safe and welcoming surroundings.
“We will be looking at other options for the Queens Road site and will continue to work with residents to develop any new proposals.”