Developers sought at Sitematch Bidders' Day

By Marco Cillario - Thu 17 November 2016, 3:48 pm

Small and medium-sized housebuilders were introduced to 10 Southwark Council-owned sites available for development during an event on 15 November.

Stephen Platts, director of regeneration at Southwark Council, speaks to developers at Sitematch Bidders' Day

More than 90 people took part in Sitematch Bidders’ Day, organised by 3Fox International, the company behind Southwark magazine, at Southwark Civic Centre on Tooley Street.

The audience heard about Manor Place, Kennington Enterprise Centre, Albion Primary School site, the civic centre on Albion Street, South Dock Marina, Southwark Park Road, Cherry Gardens School site, Abbeyfield Road, Beormund Primary School site and Riverside day centre.

The council is looking for developers to build new homes on these sites, which range in capacity from 10 to 193 units.

“Today it’s about how we form partnerships to deliver some of the 11,000 new homes we want to deliver by 2043,” said Stephen Platts, director of regeneration at Southwark Council. 

“We are trying to involve all developers, including small and medium-sized ones,” added Bruce Glockling, head of regeneration at the council. “We will set out very clear requalification criteria: we do not want to waste anyone’s time, so we want to be very clear about what type of development we want.”

Nnenna Urum-Eke, housing regeneration programme manager at the council, gave details on the sites brought forward for development:

  • The redevelopment of the Manor Place site is expected to include 60 homes, a health centre, a pharmacy, a cafe and a retail unit;
  • The demolition of Kensington Enterprise Centre is to make room for 33 homes and 450sq m of office space;
  • The Albion Primary School site will be redeveloped into a six-storey block with 50 residential units;
  • The civic centre on Albion Street will be demolished to provide 22 homes and a surgery;
  • At South Dock Marina, the council expects 193 homes, new marina facilities and the upgrade of St George’s Square;
  • Around 35 homes will be developed on the site of the day centre in Southwark Park Road;
  • After Cherry Garden School in Macks Road is relocated, 50 homes and 150sq m of retail space will be provided on the site;
  • Ten homes are to be built on Abbeyfield Road;
  • At the Beormund Primary School site, a developer is sought for 102 units;
  • On the site of Riverside Day centre, 40 homes are planned.

A certain amount of social housing is expected on most of the sites.

“We are working in an environment with a lot of uncertainty and a lot of risks,” added Platt, referring to the economical outlook following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States.

“But I have been in Southwark for over 22 years now and I know Southwark is very resilient: we are in a great location to access jobs and cultural facilities; we have great schools, which open up opportunities for our children in Southwark and London; we have invested a huge amount in our parks; we spend £3 million a year on our roads; we have invested more than £50 million in our leisure centres over the last few years, and we have opened facilities such as The Castle Centre: the quality is as good as any private leisure centre, but it’s a council’s facility.

“All this has created a fantastic environment, and people want to live in Southwark. So if you are to invest, invest in Southwark.”

Platts went on to present the major development schemes planned for the borough such as: Elephant and Castle’s new town centre; the Aylesbury Estate – to which the council is “still absolutely committed” despite the government’s rejection of the Compulsory Purchase Order for part of the scheme; London Bridge station – whose new concourse, now partially opened, “is going to be a game changer”; Old Kent Road – where the developing Area Action Plan envisages 20,000 new homes to create “basically a new town”.

“But big schemes are only a part of the story,” Platts concluded. “It’s also about smaller schemes to cater for our increasing population.”

On the three days following Bidders’ Day, the council invited each participant to a one-to-one 45-minute meeting to discuss specific sites among those brought forward for development.

This was the second Sitematch Bidders’ Day Southwark. The first took place a year ago and resulted in a contract for the delivery of 600 new homes.

“Sitematch Bidders’ Day Southwark is a fantastic example of how Sitematch is evolving in partnership with councils to encourage development,” said Toby Fox, managing director of 3Fox International.

“We started Sitematch working with Ealing Council to create a ‘speed-dating style’ day of introductory meetings between councils and developers, and it is going from strength to strength.

“Now, working with another terrific, innovative partner in Southwark Council, we have created a format that moves beyond introductory meetings and research to deliver transactions and give the housebuilding effort a shot in the arm.”

Southwark Council will attend the next Sitematch, taking place on 8 February 2017 at The Shard. To book your meeting, contact Josie Brewer.