"Exciting times" for massive Southwark plans

By Natalie Vincent - Thu 6 September 2018, 12:12 pm

Southwark is in "very exciting times" and "unchartered territory", according to Southwark Council's head of regeneration, Steve Platts.

Image courtesy of David Fernandez, 2018

Speaking at a networking evening held at Printworks in Surrey Quays last night, Platts and council members met with developers and consultants to highlight the Canada Water masterplan project.

They were also celebrating the publication of the 19th edition of Southwark magazine, published by regeneration specialist 3Fox International.

Other speakers at the event included Southwark Council's cabinet member for growth, development and planning Johnson Situ, British Land’s head of operations at Canada Water Emma Cariaga, and its head of Canada Water development, Roger Madelin CBE.

Platt spoke about his involvement with the masterplan - which began in the late 1990s with the dissolution of the London Development Corporation - that is set to turn the area into a new town centre generating 20,000 jobs and 3,000 homes.

He said: "A lot of the assets you see here, including Printworks [were] transferred to Southwark. Since that time, we have been working on the regeneration of Canada Water and the latest phase is our partnership with British Land; the masterplan that has come forward is incredible and will really put Canada Water on the map."

Situ highlighted the importance of public consultations in new schemes. He said: "Speaking to as many people as possible is crucial in delivering schemes that work for everyone.

"Leading up to the May [ 2018 local] election,we were able to talk about new libraries, leisure centres, the number of jobs we are creating, new homes and the investment in parks across the borough. Much of that would not be possible without the partnership work with people in this room."

Situ added: "We want to ensure that regeneration development benefits our residents, including existing residents and new ones coming into the borough. We have a great community in Southwark on existing council estates. We want [any] changes and investment [to] see direct benefits to them in terms of jobs and the environment they live in."

Cariaga focused on the popularity of the Printworks club venue, which hosts daytime weekend raves. The 5,000-capacity hotspot is the former printing press of the London Evening Standard, The Daily Mail, and Metro newspapers that closed in 2013.

She stated: "Over 300,000 people have come to Printworks [during] the last 18 months…as you walk around there is something about this type and nature of building that is captivating; certainly, the people who want to come dancing on a Saturday afternoon do.

"With our programme of events we have reason to think this building has a longer future than just a daytime rave venue - possibly as a cultural venue."

Madelin praised the council's "clear" planning policy: "Why is Southwark as a council and a place so different and so much better in my view? There is a very clear vision in Southwark as to what they want to do. It is a very clear planning policy for this new urban centre at Canada Water; read the action plan - it is genuinely one of the most intelligent, visionary and pragmatic planning documents I have read.

"When people say that they have the most exciting urban regeneration project in London, they’re wrong. I say, 'Find another one, and prove me wrong - you won’t'."

Cariaga added: "Canada Water is absolutely part of our strategy to invest in London; we are confident in London, we have a great balance sheet, and an absolute passion to make this the most outstanding place for Southwark and the residents that live here."