KATHERINE JOHNSTON 29 January, 2020
A “social regeneration charter” has been published by Southwark Council, outlining a series of commitments to reduce inequality and make sure development works for everyone in new “high-density areas”.
The council also suggested that four new council estates could be built as part of the Old Kent Road regeneration scheme.
Informed by “thousands of conversations” with residents, business owners, and charities living within the boundary of the planned redevelopment, the charter lists a series of bold promises, including meeting – if not exceeding – the entire housing need for the area; creating the largest “living wage” community in London, doubling existing green space, and providing free youth services and a “cultural offer”.
Given the history of previous regeneration projects encountering widespread opposition and long-running campaigns and legal challenges over affordable housing and business space it would seem Southwark Council is acknowledging, however opaquely, that mistakes were made in the past and is endeavouring not to repeat them.
One line, in the draft document, explains: “The regeneration of Old Kent Road will take place over almost two decades. In order to ensure that this major change works for everyone and that we improve the livelihood of existing and future generations, we will work differently and better with developers…”
The project has been led by Bermondsey councillor Leo Pollak, who has overall responsibility for Tooley Street’s new homes programme. Old Kent Road is the largest regeneration site in his portfolio – 20,000 new homes in two decades.