Approval given to demolish Surrey Quays shopping centre

Southwark councillors last night gave the green light to demolish the 1980s Surrey Quays shopping centre for a major new Rotherhithe development.

The site, also containing the Surrey Quays Leisure Park, Printworks and former Dock Offices courtyard sites will be cleared to make way for various new developments under a new masterplan approved last night after two contentious meetings.

Plans for new builds on current Surrey Quays shopping centre

British Land proposes 20,000 new jobs, 3,000 new homes (35 per cent “affordable”)and a 3.5 acre park across the large site alongside new shops.

One major point of contention has been transport provision. Rotherhithe and Surrey Quays stations are often operating at or over capacity and see closures. These plans would see a second entrance for Surrey Quays station in five years time.

Green space in new development

Canada Water on the Jubilee Line is also an extremely busy interchange station on a crowded stretch of line that will see large-scale development at nearby stations such as North Greenwich. Developer Knight Dragon have this year proposed an increase in homes by 1,750 above previously agreed levels on their sites to reach a total above 17,000.

Morden Wharf massing with 30 floor towers possible

Other Peninsula developments such as Morden Wharf are moving forward after years of inaction.

TfL have stated that capacity problems would be no worse in 3031. They credit that to an additional two trains per hour on the London Overground confirmed in August and covered here, an increase in Jubilee Line capacity and the Elizabeth Line commencing which will alleviate the Jubilee Line from Stratford.

Stratford station is extremely busy and a site of major housing and office growth

The future Jubilee Line frequency increase is smaller than envisaged since a planned new train order was scrapped in 2017. It will see existing stock worked harder to bring a smaller frequency increase than previously foreseen.

TfL said a slight dip in tube usage around 2016/17 was behind cancellation of new trains yet growth has since returned for the subsequent two years. I regularly cover passenger numbers (and did so again over the past week with new figures out continuing to show growth).

Indicative view of towers on Convoys Wharf site

Another issue for those raising transport capacity concerns at last nights meeting is large-scale development down the road in Deptford. Convoys Wharf is finally seeing planning applications and will total 3,500 homes when complete (if it isn’t revised up).

The Timeberyard is another development nearby in Deptford that will total 1,132 homes.

Timber yard tower

Buses will see investment though bus use is falling in London due to ever-slowing average speeds. More routes will not achieve much if buses crawl along.

Cycle superhighway 4 plans – click to enlarge

One good piece of infrastructure coming soon is a brand new cycle highway to central London which is now under construction. It would take 10 minutes to cycle from Surrey Quays station to Tower Bridge on safe, protected lanes when complete.

Transport forecasts

Should we have faith in TfL’s forecasts? It’s really a big unknown. Sometimes transport forecasts and modelling have been incredibly wrong, and sometimes bang on the money. They are sometimes flawed in not catering for nearby growth – and having looked at some transport planning documents and comparisons made with other “similar” developments are often interesting, to say the least.

How many people will switch to the Elizabeth Line from the Jubilee Line in places like Woolwich and Charlton given annual Travelcard costs are £616 more per year and more by the time the Elizabeth Line is running? TfL expects the vast majority of people to do so. Will they?

Future use of the tube at North Greenwich is an unknown

It’s not just homes though with the Jubilee Line; a new venue with a 10,000 capacity opened in north Greenwich last month and is ramping up use. It could reach 200 events per year in coming years.

This scheme does appear to have much to commend it. A large green space and building homes on vast car parks and low density buildings in Zone 2 makes perfect sense. As ever it’s the old issues of infrastructure and whether sufficient investment is being made. Whether that be transport, schools or health – and whether predictions are accurate.

Though whether this happens soon is another matter. London house prices are falling and many developers have cut back on building – including Knight Dragon in Greenwich. This scheme could be many years off.

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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

2 thoughts on “Approval given to demolish Surrey Quays shopping centre

  • Superhighway will slow buses, as they always do

  • In 2016, Seven Islands Leisure Centre was chosen as the Leisure Centre preferred by the residents, this choice was made as the Masterplan of 2006 had been discarded without implementing the 50 meter diving pool of its leisure centre. Further consultation as to what was to follow was avoided like the plague.
    The Seven Islands Leisure Centre choice with its multi sports swimming pool where 5 Olympic tests can be carried out because of the following fraudulent claim: “the only option is reconstruction”! The claimants led by the Councillor for Regeneration at the time were deliberately omitting the use of moveable bulkheads to obtain a valid 25 meter short course (as we would have done if the Olympic length 50 m promised pool had been built). The “consultation” ended in the public being asked to choose which convenient site did they want in order to “give” the developer £35,000,000!
    This false claim enabled the cost of Seven Islands to be comparable to the 35 million pounds of “giving” a contract to the developer “because they needed a 25 meter pool for competitions” when they could have used a moveable bulk head, so these are the costs today:
    To convert Seven Islands now to be able to provide a 25 meter short course for primary schools £ 160,000. (Movable Bulkhead)
    To refurbish Seven Islands and keep its superior multi-sports deep water pool (only one in Southwark) £ 8,000,000
    To “give” a contract to the developer for an inferior, badly located (according to Southwark planning documentation), with a primary school shallow pool of only 1.8 meters deep and 25 meters long £ 35,000,000.
    And Peter John moans about Southwark not having money but he spares no expense when it comes to his 20% partners British Land.


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