I know this development has been discussed here before, but could not find the thread even on the search. Seems like it is now going ahead, one of the oldest building is sadly being demolished right now, it is the building on the left in this pic:
Wondering if the development is actually now going ahead, or are they just creating another empty plot to Blackfriars Road? There seems to be loads of new recent planning applications for this plot though.
Scaffolding has also gone up around the old Lloyds Bank building on the other side of the road, not sure what is going on there?
The demolition of the corner building is merely so they can say that the planning permission has been 'implemented' and therefore will never expire.
Normally demolition doesn't count as implementation (as in most cases you don't need permission to knock down a building), so developers have to dig a trench or sink a pile or something to constitute a 'material operation' towards the construction of a scheme.
However, leading planning lawyer Christopher Katkowski QC [url=http://planningonline.southwarksites.com/planningonline2/DocsOnline/Documents/211436_1.pdf]argues here[/url] that as the secretary of state specifically mentioned demolition in her decision letter approving the 20 Blackfriars Road scheme, knocking down the corner building is sufficient to allow the developers to 'bank' the planning permission indefinitely.
What's even more odd - to me anyway - is that I've watched the building apparently being demolished by hand! When the demolition crew began they were on the roof pushing the brick walls down. Can't seem to come up with any logical reason for that, but no doubt there is one!
The site is expected to be sold through the same agents that sold One Blackfriars across the road – the owner was waiting for that site to sell to test the water... rumoured to be coming to the market in the next few months, and certainty over the validity over the planning permission, as per James’ post, would make a sale much more likely.
The last owners of the site had trouble with the bust Irish banks that lent them money for this and this site along with another one they owned up in Old St were supposed to have been put up for sale well over a year ago. The Old St one had definitely been sold but I have no idea if this one had.
You would think whoever owns the site would be very keen to build here considering all the other sites now active.