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