Plans to transform Landmark Court given the go-ahead at virtual planning committee


U+I and Transport for London (TfL), working in partnership, have been given the go-ahead by the London Borough of Southwark to deliver a new mixed-use development that will provide new homes, shops, retail and workspace on the empty site on Southwark Street.

The decision, which was made at a virtual planning committee on 15 June 2020, also secures the future of the historic Crossbones Graveyard and Memorial Garden, one of London’s most extraordinary historic burial grounds.

The plans, designed by local architect Allies and Morrison, will transform the site near London Bridge station and Borough Market from an under-utilised space to a local cultural and social hub where people will want to live, work and visit.

36 new homes will also be provided within the development, with 50 per cent affordable, including 12 new homes available at social rent, creating a diverse and economically sustainable community that will allow people and businesses to thrive.  

Sitting between Southwark Street, Redcross Way and Union Street, the site will create a new commercial centre for Southwark, providing more than 200,000 square feet of commercial space for restaurants, cafés, retail opportunities and flexible small business workspace.

The site will contribute to the local economy through the new commercial facilities, as well as by creating more than 1,850 jobs once complete, which is especially vital given its location within an opportunity area and Central Activity Zone near London Bridge station.

Small and medium businesses will also be encouraged to take advantage of the new hub through the provision of 10 per cent affordable workspace. This builds on U+I and TfL’s reputations for supporting new and developing businesses. As a landlord, more than 85 per cent of TfL’s tenants are small or medium businesses.

A range of public realm improvements, including new pedestrian routes, will be delivered to help the local community explore the new businesses and bustling market stalls and reinstate some of the medieval yards and lanes of historic Southwark. These lanes will be lined with shops, cafés, restaurants and market stalls to bring activity during the day and evening. Smaller retail units are also included to support and encourage accommodate small independent traders. There will also be a new community garden and play space for members of the public to socialise as well as more new cycle spaces.

Importantly, the development provides a package of support for Crossbones Graveyard and Memorial Garden, securing the long-term future of the historic burial ground, which was estimated to hold the remains of some 15,000 people when it was closed as a paupers’ graveyard in 1853. Today, the graveyard has become home to a garden of remembrance, which has evolved over two decades as a contemplative space dedicated to those on the margins of society.

Under an agreed package of support delivered through the development, TfL and U+I have committed to working with Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST), Crossbones Forum and the Friends of Crossbones to safeguard Crossbones Graveyard and Memorial Garden. This includes a promise to not develop on Crossbones Graveyard and Memorial Garden and to deliver enhancements and a management plan, including longer opening hours and funding.

Landmark Court has been designed as a varied collection of contemporary brick buildings, sensitive to the scale of their surroundings and full of references to the Victorian industrial and commercial architecture of the area. 15 Southwark Street, which dates from the 1860s, will also be restored as part of the development.

Richard Upton, Chief Development Officer at U+I, said: “These plans represent the final piece of the puzzle on the Southwark Street. This site has been a blot on an otherwise vibrant and successful High Street, but now we can bring forward a development that will stitch the streetscape back together, providing contemporary workspace, homes, shops and restaurants, all set within a carefully considered masterplan that reinstates the medieval lanes and yards of Southwark.

“From the outset we were also determined to secure the future of Crossbones, which really is one of London’s extraordinary hidden places. Our plans ensure it will not only be preserved, but enhanced, so that more Londoners can discover its history and honour its continued purpose as a place to remember and respect those on the margins of society.”

Chris Townend, Head of Property Development at TfL, said: “We are excited to have been given the go-ahead to start delivering our plans in Southwark, which will create a vibrant hub for the community, with buzzing market stalls, cafes, restaurants and workspaces. The plans will deliver new much-needed affordable homes while preserving Crossbones Graveyard and Memorial Garden.”

Charlotte Gilsenan, CEO of Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) said: “BOST is pleased to see Crossbones Graveyard protected for the long-term, and we are proud to continue to steward the garden for many years to come. U+I and TfL have worked closely and collaboratively with Friends of Crossbones, Crossbones Forum and BOST to take forward the community-led vision of a peaceful green space in the heart of Borough. We are excited to see the improvements to come and welcome many more visitors to this hidden gem.”

 Alex Wraight, Partner at Allies and Morrison, said: “Our design work started with a genuine and acute appreciation of the value of the local character. Landmark Court's history is a complex and fascinating tapestry encompassing market gardening, religion, extremes of poverty and wealth,  brewing, manufacturing, coaching inns, merchant trade, markets, fairs, transport infrastructure and artistic creativity. Multi-layered and created through centuries of successive boom and bust, it is a precious resource to be treated with immense care and dignity.

“Our scheme seeks to build upon these incredible assets with an outward-looking, public realm driven masterplan that knits into the surrounding urban fabric. An apparently informal cluster of buildings is carefully tuned to define a richness of spaces, a fitting contemporary response, in their scale and character, to the beautifully robust mercantile buildings of the area.”

These proposals form part of TfL’s housing programme, which will provide 10,000 homes across the capital as well as a commitment to deliver 50 per cent affordable housing across all sites brought to the market since May 2016. Construction has already started on almost 1,400 homes in the capital, as the programme continues to build momentum.

You can read more about Landmark Court here.