Old Kent Road’s regeneration has been ‘significantly changed’ to reflect a ‘green recovery from COVID-19′, as a fresh consultation on the plans is set to begin in early 2021.
Southwark Council says revisions for the huge project were based on community feedback since the last major consultation in 2017, and take into account the council’s refocused priorities from the pandemic.
As the News has extensively covered, key issues included the height of proposed tower blocks, loss of industrial space, and fears the scheme would raze what little heritage buildings are left in the area but have been hitherto without formal protection.
The scheme, which is expected to create 20,000 new homes, is also largely dependent on the Bakerloo line – and until last week was still in doubt.
Latest proposals show a current breakdown of ‘at least’ 5,000 new homes for social rent; leaving 7,000 ‘affordable’ and the remainder at market price.
The new plans detail 10,000 additional new jobs; two new tube stations; net zero carbon status by 2030; a new heat network; five new conservation areas; a youth facility; a new health centre; new parks and green spaces; and a new secondary and two new primary schools.
Cllr Johnson Situ, cabinet member for climate emergency, planning and transport, said: “We long knew we needed to be ambitious if we wanted to meet the need for more social and genuinely affordable housing in London, while also increasing employment opportunities and designing new neighbourhoods that deliver new open spaces, community facilities, improvements to air quality and a shift to sustainable travel like walking and cycling.
“In the wake of the pandemic, these priorities have crystallised further to form a vital part of our green recovery from COVID-19.
“I’m particularly proud that Southwark is leading the way as one of the first local authorities to make a firm commitment to deliver a carbon neutral Area Action Plan.
“The Old Kent Road Area Action Plan meets all these needs with a refreshed focus on connecting communities, effectively building two brand new town centres along the Old Kent Road under which the Bakerloo line extension will run.
“We are grateful to the thousands of local people who have spoken to us about the plans over the past three years, helping us understand their concerns and priorities.
“We looked at the demand for affordable homes and in consultation with the community, we’ve already approved nearly 8,000 new homes in the area with 38% being genuinely affordable. This is the highest average being delivered in the whole of London, putting us on track to surpass the action plan’s policy that at least 35 per cent of new homes will be affordable.
“This revised version of the plan has taken into account issues raised in earlier consultations, especially around creating a greener, healthier environment.
“The latest version includes a new cornerstone policy which means the development of Old Kent Road will be net carbon neutral by 2030, as well as plans for development in the area to be car free.
“We have also included a map and more information about how new developments will link to the district heat network, significantly reducing carbon emissions and lowering local residents’ energy bills.
“We recognise the importance of business and industry in the Old Kent Road, contributing to the local economy and unique industrial heritage of the area.
“This final draft of plans outlines how we will double the number of jobs from 10,000 in earlier drafts to 20,000 with many paying the London Living Wage, as well as proposing five new heritage conservation areas which identify and protect from development all listed and locally important buildings.
“We’ve also included a new policy that sets out how the Old Kent Road will evolve from a place to pass through to a destination boasting an innovative mix of commercial, residential and leisure uses at a scale not previously seen in London, integrating new with old.”