TfL backs tower plans for Southwark sidings

By Jim Dunton - Fri 24 January 2014, 1:00 pm

Transport for London has given its support to early-stage proposals for a new tower block to be built above tube-train sidings off Lambeth Road.

A new planning masterplan for the Blackfriars Road corridor suggests that the 1.2 hectare open sidings site could house “a tall building of up to 70 metres” in height, and the capital’s transport bosses have approved the idea in principle.

The London Road Depot, which accommodates around 10 tube trains overnight, is one of 54 sites detailed in the Blackfriars Road Supplementary Planning Document, which Southwark Council’s cabinet is due to endorse.

Observations submitted by Transport for London (TfL) said that its property wing “supports the principle of development on the site”, adding that its current use “does little to contribute to the SPD’s aspiration of a strategic gateway“.

However the response warned that as there were no plans to relocate rail operations from the site, its future development could “only be achieved with the construction of a decked structure“ above the tracks.

TfL said such practicalities would incur “significant abnormal costs” that would render a low-density development “unviable” for the site.

“To ensure the development aspirations for the site can be realised and a viable scheme delivered, planning policy support is required for a tall structure at this location,” it said.

“Without the support of this policy position, there is no degree of certainty that a tall scheme would be considered acceptable on the site.

“The site represents an excellent opportunity to bring forward significant development in a sustainable urban location.

“In addition, the site is situated in the prominent location of St George’s Circus between Blackfriars Road and One the Elephant, thus any future development scheme on the site has the potential to provide a landmark building acting as a strategic gateway between these locations and the ability to contribute positively to the local character of the surrounding area.”