Southwark's council leader Peter John hailed the success of Southwark magazine at its launch event on 19 September, issue 17, which focuses on the establishment and continued success of a myriad of music venues and open spaces and how the council is developing skills and supporting people into employment.
Held at recently opened music venue Omeara in London Bridge's Flat Iron Square, around 80 attendees including members of the council, developers and consultants came to hear about ongoing opportunities for investment in the borough.
Keynote speakers at the event were: Southwark Council Leader Peter John, Flat Iron Square director Benjamin Scrimgeour and Alumno Development director David Campbell. They were introduced by Southwark Council's director of regeneration, Steve Platts.
John hailed the success of the council's jobs programme: "We made a commitment back in 2014 that we would create 2,000 apprenticeships and 5,000 new jobs and I am pleased to say that we are going to hit that target in May next year.
"It's a story that’s clearly relative to the investment that continues to come into our borough, and the support that you continue to give us."
He also mentioned the planned £2 billion Canada Water regeneration project, for which an agreement had been signed in the cabinet meeting that afternoon. Further details will follow.
Benjamin Scrimgeour, director of Flat Iron Square, revealed his long affiliation with the arches in London Bridge: "I first came to Southwark in 1987 as a very young man, and started a commercial mushroom farm, under these very arches. And I am pleased to say that things have changed very much for the better."
Omeara was established by Ben Lovett of indie band Mumford and Sons. Describing the vision for Flat Iron Square, Scrimgeour said: "The whole ethos for me, the Flat Iron Square team and Ben Lovett, [was that] we wanted to create a tolerant and relaxed communal space where visitors and locals alike can eat, drink and be merry."
David Campbell of Alumno Developments, said: "Southwark really attracts the best people to work with" In 2016 Alumno completed a £13 million redevelopment of the former Southwark Town Hall site on Peckham Road into student accommodation, a theatre, artist studios and cafe, in collaboration with Camberwell College Of Arts in 2016.
The developer is currently seeking pre-planning permission to build a student halls of residence in Bermondsey.
Speaking exclusively to Southwark magazine, Campbell spoke about the organisation’s relationship with the council: "Although it wasn't in the grand strategy to focus on Southwark, in our early years we had opportunities in Southwark, which following conversations with the local authorities and stakeholders, allowed us to make the right steps and progress schemes that in a way allowed us to develop as a company.
"It just so happened that at that time – and I'm going back 10 years ago – Southwark was an open and welcoming borough in the sense of investment, and for a young company like ours, that was incredibly attractive."
John also referred to the recent terror attacks at London Bridge, praising how resolute Southwark businesses were in the aftermath of the tragedy. He encouraged the delegates to give their patronage to local traders, stating that the borough would "not be beaten by terrorism".
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