Borough, Bankside and Bermondsey

The Blue

The Blue is an historic marketplace and high street in the heart of Bermondsey, with a rich local history and is one stop on the Jubilee line from London Bridge, walking distance from the Thames, and at a strategic hub between the Old Kent Road, Canada Water and Bermondsey Spa regeneration areas. Close by, The Blue stands to benefit from the significant footfall and investment into the Spa Terminus, Biscuit Factory and Low Line projects.

A community-led regeneration strategy has been developed which seeks to build upon The Blue’s identity as the Larder of London, where legendary brands such as Peek Freans biscuits and Pearce and Duffs custard have now made way for a range 21st-century food production businesses, with a thriving and authentic local market hosting the cream of new makers, regular music festivals and films, and a fabulous social scene.

Good Growth Fund

Southwark Council and partners, The Blue Business Improvement District, Community Opportunity and Big Local Works, have secured £2m of capital funding from the Mayor of London’s LEAP Good Growth Fund to invest in infrastructure to revitalize The Blue town centre, with a focus on the following projects:

  1. Market Place improvements to transform the appearance of the market
  2. Improving physical connections to the Blue
  3. Improving public access to community buildings
  4. Coordinated approach to Shop makeovers

Following the award of the grant funding, a community steering group was established to oversee the project which includes the named partner above, Bede House, Millwall for All, Bermondsey Community Kitchen, Rouel Road TRA, The Arch Co, and Spa Terminus with councillors and officers from the markets, regeneration and local economy teams.

In June 2019, locally based Hayatsu and  Assemble architects were appointed as designers to transform the market and the wider town centre based on their Made in Bermondsey (pdf, 3.3mb) proposal.

From September to late October 2019, an in-depth community consultation exercise was carried out on a “shopping list” of ideas in order to find out what the local community would like to see delivered as part of the project. Over 700 local people responded to the consultation and we had strong support for most of the proposals put forward, with the exception of the suggestion of moving the lion artwork, and building a new staircase from the market square to the community hall.  The designs were changed in light of comments made and aligned with the community priorities which emerged from the public consultation. The lion will remain at ground level with a new plinth, and the new staircase has now been omitted from the designs. A further consultation event on the revised design was organised on 15 February 2020, where a “mock up” clock tower was constructed to demonstrate the scale and design of the new structure.

Planning

A planning application was submitted in June for a design which reflects the comments made by the community as set out above. You can view the planning application and insert the reference 20/AP/1874. You can click on documents tab to view any of the plans. Planning consent was granted at planning committee in December 2020.

Programme

The council has appointed landscaping experts Warwick Landscaping to carry out the works carefully in phases between January 2021 and July 2021. The works will be carried out during permitted construction hours only and phased to ensure public access to the market, shops and town centre is maintained at all times. Demolition works to 10 Market Place will be carried out in close liaison with adjoining properties. The contractor has a resident liaison officer Mike Lipscomb who can be contacted at any time during the working hours (other than emergencies) with any queries on 07703482060. 

The new clock tower will evoke the historic clock tower which stood on the Biscuit Factory and will be clad in tin can lids made locally to celebrate the history of the first tin can being invented in Bermondsey. Community workshops will be held in the market square during construction for the community to emboss one of the 4000 tin lids before they are added to the tower. To find out more information about these workshops, visit the project website.

223 Southwark Park Road

223 Southwark Park Road is a key anchor store on the market square and has been used as the “Thorowgoods” furniture store for a number of years. Following the closure of Thorowgoods, the council acquired the building and in 2019 we ran an open tender process to find an operator with the best possible business plan to bring as much footfall as possible to the town centre. The Really Local Group were appointed in early 2020 with a proposal to transform the anchor store into a vibrant cultural community hub with the creation of a three-screen cinema, coffee shop, a café, bar, informal co-working spaces and a food and craft hall featuring local artisans and vendors. The project is inspired by the recently completed Catford Mews. A planning application is being prepared now for submission in early 2021.

From November 2020 until the works start in 2021, the building is being used by the Southwark Construction Skills Centre as a temporary facility to provide an open door for the community to gain free training and access to digital skills. To find out how you can access free training please call in Monday to Friday between 7.30am and 5pm or Saturday 7.30am and 1pm. You can also visit the skills centre website or call 02036211927.

Get involved

If you're interested in getting involved in the community programme in any way, either to set up a market stall, organise a community event, access business advice or hear about the latest plans please get in touch with Dan Taylor, Programme Manager. 

Page last updated: 26 October 2021

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