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Council sets up Old Kent Road planning & regeneration team

Southwark Council has set up a team of planning and regeneration officers to lead the reinvention of the Old Kent Road.

Colin Wilson, the Greater London Authority's strategic planning manager, has been seconded from City Hall to 160 Tooley Street for the next two years to lead the new team.

The Old Kent Road and its environs are designated as an 'opportunity area' in London's planning policy, with the expectation that 20,000 new homes will be built.

It is this large-scale development which will largely fund the Bakerloo line extension.

"Southwark aims to turn the Old Kent Road into a collection of neighbourhoods of the highest quality," said Cllr Peter John, leader of Southwark Council.

"There will be a high proportion of affordable homes, great opportunities for employment, training and business development – everything that is needed for the prosperity and well-being of the new residents, plus substantial benefits for the surrounding areas in a large part of the borough.

"I welcome Colin to this secondment as a vastly experienced planner who will be able to inspire all of our team and our partners to deliver our vision for our residents."

Colin Wilson said: "I am very pleased to be given the opportunity to lead the creation of a new part of Central London that has the potential to contribute so much to the people of Southwark and to London's continued growth as a great world city.

"The area has significant and underutilised land assets, the redevelopment of which could provide large numbers of homes and new jobs in an exemplary urban environment and the means to deliver the Bakerloo Line extension to Old Kent Road and beyond into Lewisham.

"There has been a lot of talk about 'Smart Cities' and Southwark has recognised the potential to be pioneering in the way in which it plans for and engages with local communities, developers and the broader public sector, and I have been very lucky to have been given the chance to help Southwark deliver on these ambitions."

Southwark and the GLA's plans for the Old Kent Road have generated some criticism, including from small businesses which fear they will be squeezed out. A group called Vital OKR has been formed to represent their interests.

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