The Liberty of Southwark

Transforming a historically-rich London site

The Liberty of Southwark, a 1.7-acre derelict site, is a rare opportunity to transform a vacant site, rich in history and local folklore, right in the heart of Bankside.

U+I were appointed by land owners Transport for London (TfL), in May 2017 to deliver a mixed-used development for this £200 million public private partnership project. Working together in partnership, U+I and TfL, plan to transform the site near Borough Market, from an under-utilised space to a local cultural and social hub where people will want to live, work and visit, providing new jobs and new housing in Southwark.

The Liberty of Southwark will provide more than 200,000 sq ft of new office space, plus shops, restaurants, cafes, flexible small business workspace and new homes. This will bring more than 1,850 new jobs to the area and 36 new homes, including 9 for social rent and a further 3 for discounted sale, equating to 50% affordable housing (by habitable room).

New pedestrian routes through the site will reinstate some of the medieval yards and lanes of historic Southwark, an approach strongly supported during public consultation. These lanes will be lined with shops, cafes, restaurants and market stalls to bring activity during daytime and the evening. Smaller retail units have been provided to encourage small independent traders, another key local priority.

The scheme has been designed by local architects Allies and Morrison, as a varied collection of contemporary brick buildings, sensitive to the scale of their surroundings and full of references to the historic Victorian industrial and commercial architecture of the area. 15 Southwark Street, derelict for many years, will be restored as part of the development.

Crossbones Graveyard, a post-medieval burial ground adjoining the site, will be safeguarded from development in the long-term. Today, it is home to a garden of remembrance, which has evolved over two decades as a contemplative space. U+I and TfL will continue to work in partnership with Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST), Crossbones Forum and Friends of Crossbones to deliver enhancements and a management plan for Crossbones, including longer opening hours and funding.

On Monday 15th June 2020, the proposed plans for this scheme were given the go-ahead by the London Borough of Southwark. The decision, which was made at a virtual planning committee, also secures the future of the historic Crossbones Graveyard and Memorial Garden. Works are due to begin in Q4 of 2020, with practical completion expected in 2023.


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