Site history

The Vinegar Yard site comprises 0.6 acres and borders St Thomas Street. A stone’s throw from London Bridge Station and Guy’s Hospital in an area undergoing substantial regeneration in line with Southwark Council objectives. We saw an opportunity to create a building that will support a new life science and innovation cluster

Rooted in history, St Thomas Street is a place where listed buildings, conservation areas and heritage meet some of London’s most iconic modern buildings: The Shard and London Bridge Station. It is place where established communities sit alongside the creative industries, a thriving and growing commercial, life science and innovation district, a medi-culture cluster and this new health science cluster. It’s a place filled with ambition, reflected in the site’s emerging allocation in the New Southwark Plan and its location within the Bankside, Borough and London Bridge Opportunity Area.

This dynamic history, mix of people and its ambition is key to what makes the place such a success today in in the future. Vinegar Yard needs to be a place that brings these people together, making the most of their talents, skills and ideas. Our plans respond directly to both this character and the planning context.

The site is currently home to our Vinegar Yard meanwhile use – which has been providing an eclectic mix of drinks, food, flea market and art since 2019. It’s a formula that works and we see an opportunity to give the arts and creative industries a permanent home here. 

Planning history

The most recent planning history for the site begins on 7 June 2020 when Southwark Council’s Planning Committee met to discuss CIT’s proposals for Vinegar Yard and hear from the local community. The scheme had been recommended for approval by Southwark Council’s officers and the principle of a tall building on the site was supported by the Council’s adopted and emerging planning policy. There were a number of written and oral representations made commenting on the proposals as well as a full debate of the application’s individual merits.

Minutes of Southwark Planning Committee’s and the reason for refusal  can be found here; the Committee stated:

The proposed development by virtue of its excessive height, scale and massing would result in the loss of 9 Fenning Street and have an adverse impact on the Horseshoe Inn, both of which are undesignated heritage assets which make a positive contribution to the Bermondsey Street Conservation Area. The proposed development would therefore fail to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area. The heritage harm would not be outweighed by the public benefits. The proposed development is therefore contrary to Policy 3.15 Conservation of the Historic Environment: 3.16 Conservation Areas; 3.18 Setting of Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas and World Heritage Sites of the Saved Southwark Plan 2007; SP12 – Design and Conservation of the Core Strategy 2011 and Policy 7.8 - Heritage Assets and Archaeology of the London Plan 2016 and paragraphs 196 and 197 of the NPPF

In addition, during the Planning Committee there was discussion regarding the following:

  • Request for more urban greening / green space for local use;
  • Reservations about the potential disruption created by a music venue;
  • Not providing all of the affordable workspace on site;
  • Mitigation of the visual and environmental impact of a taller building; and,
  • The relevance of a new building in a world with altered working patterns.

Anticipated timeline

The timeline below sets out how the proposals for the site have been developed and the different stages of consultation on the project.

Consultation on plans for the Vinegar Yard site

CIT works with three other major landowners to develop St Thomas Street East Design Framework - a coordinated approach to physical and social regeneration 

December 2018
Planning application submitted

for the development of the Vinegar Yard site

Meanwhile use opened

to bring a new and exciting meanwhile use to the site ahead of development happening 

Social regeneration plans developed

CIT and other major landowners develop and consult on their approach to social regeneration to meet Southwark Council's St Thomas Street Social Regeneration Charter. Partnerships founded with Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. Southwark Studios and GoodPeople to bring this ambition to life.

June 2020
Southwark Council planning decision

Southwark Council's Planning Committee resolves to refuse planning permission contrary to officers' recommendation.

August 2020
Mayor recovers planning application

The Mayor of London recovers the planning application. The Mayor will now be the local planning authority responsible for the scheme.

Autumn 2020 to Spring 2021
Adjustments to the scheme

worked up and agreed with the Greater London Authority, subject to statutory consultation

May 2021
Community Update #1

This ran for four weeks and comprised CIT hosting two public webinars updating neighbours and local groups on the focused adjustments made to the scheme. Individual briefing sessions were also offered to local groups and stakeholders.

November 2021
Community Update #2

This will run for approximately  two weeks and will comprise CIT updating the community on the further adjustments made to the proposals in response to the feedback received during the first community update and following further discussions with the Greater London Authority and London Borough of Southwark .

Late 2021
Statutory Consultation by the Greater London Authority
Early 2022
Greater London Authority Public Hearing (date to be confirmed)

expected in Q1 2022 before a decision by the Mayor of London whether or not to grant planning permission.