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Tuesday 11 May 2004 12.05pm
Great news re the Community Centre project - for a long time there were fears it would end up getting 'made over' by developers.

Now - on the subject of sad, neglected buildings - does anyone know anything about the couple on the east side of Borough High Street near an alley that leads to Guys [I heard they may belong to the hospital] that have been sealed up and unoccupied for at least as long as I have lived in the area [about 6 years]. At street level they were formerly 'shoe fayre' and another name I forget.
Tuesday 11 May 2004 1.28pm
Yes, they are owned by the body that owns Guys (although it may now be United Medical and Dental Schools or whatever they are called these days). A few years ago, when people started to get interested in this area, they put the rent up by a huge amount (tripled I believe but that may be rumour) with the result that the tenants, shoe shop etc moved out and no replacements found. The buildings have been allowed to run down, and this has been exacerbated by the owners demolishing a bit of timber-framed building to enlarge the entrance to Nags Head Yard for a one-way scheme that has since been abandonned, largely due to being delayed and messed about by Southwark Council's traffic people. The timber-framed building was, to be fair, falling down anyway and not much use, but at least it wasn't as ugly as the huge metal gates which I thought were meant to be temporary. Southwark Planning enforcement section seems to do nothing about getting the gates sorted out, or about the fact that commercial vehicles use the other entrance to that yard all night when they are not meant to start till 7am - which I have repeatedly reported, as it wakes me up - I live directly opposite.

After the buildings were vacated and run down, a planning application was submitted to demolish them and replace with modern ones. Several people including the Conservation Advisory Group objected, saying that the buildings should be renovated rather than demolished, and the application was refused.
Tuesday 11 May 2004 5.17pm
There are a row of derelict houses along Southwark Bridge Road opposite Marshalsea Road which have been empty for as long as I can remember - perhaps since when I first lived here 20 years ago. I hate to see perfectly good buildings decay through neglect and a couple of years ago traced the owner and offered to buy one to turn it back into a family house, - something for me to do at the weekend, and I am always banging on about the lack of larger housing in the area suitable for families with children.

I was politely turned down, - like so many other derelict properties, these are owned by absent landlords, waiting for a development opportunity to fall into place. - and it always involves demolition of the existing buildings once they can't be saved. (Two bed contemporary flat anyone, start on site just as soon as a delapidated Victorian terrace collapses)
Tuesday 11 May 2004 5.49pm
TUMJ, I had wondered if the owners were neglecting the buildings until they are declared dangerous structures and have to be demolished - then replaced by the sort of bland 5-6 storey office block that section of the High street is so notable for.....from what you write, it would seem the situation is stalemate. A pity - that section of the street [on both sides] is devoid of any interesting street frontage.
Tuesday 11 May 2004 6.00pm
There was an item on London Tonight last night about moves to force owners of empty housing to bring it back into use.

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Tuesday 11 May 2004 8.35pm
Im surprised that these houses are not taken by squatters. Or am I too Dutch now? In Amsterdam owners of empty housing are indeed forced to bring it back into use. And not only that, but they need to make it affordable too.
Tuesday 11 May 2004 8.40pm
I'm not sure, perhaps the saintly JH could elucidate, but I am under the impression that as both rows of houses are in conservation areas, the owners are obliged to keep them up, and that a small amount of funding could be available for this. If true, its obviously (again) not being enforced. Anyway whats the attraction of a small bit of funding when you can sell the land for development or develop it yourself.
Friday 21 May 2004 11.57am

I'm not sure whether you were referring to 129-143 Borough High Street but without walking past it, I think it's roughly the same area. Full planning permission was granted on 7 May including restoration of existing buildings at 129-131 and 141-143 and demolition of 133-135.


Friday 21 May 2004 12.17pm
Doesn't Holland sound ace?

"I knew I was cured"
Friday 21 May 2004 5.53pm
Interesting. I never saw any site notices during the last year. Obviously no-one else did either, as it was determined under delegated powers.

I find it difficult to work out from the text which buildings will be restored and which demolished. Anyone been down to look at the plans?

As I say, I'm not sure what exactly has been granted here, but overall, I feel that the character of Borough High St has not been well protected by Southwark Planners. The character of the medieval inn-yards has not been kept, indeed many of the yards have been totally swept away. Also most of the Victorian shop fronts have been removed. The 'Chicken Shack' was the last straw as far as I am concerned. Sad.

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