Borough, Bankside and London Bridge

Blackfriars Road

The historic Blackfriars Road is changing. A variety of new developments are under construction, and further proposals are being submitted by developers.

This follows a wider process of change in the area, which has seen successful improvements to The Cut, the opening of a new Thameslink station at Blackfriars and thousands of visitors arriving at Southwark Tube to access the Tate Modern.

This process of change is set to continue with the completion of the nearby Tate extension, the redevelopment of a number of mixed use buildings under construction along the street and the emerging masterplan for the Elephant and Castle to the south.

In order to improve the environment, public realm and open spaces along Blackfriars Road, we're leading a project along with Transport for London, Better Bankside, Waterloo Quarter, Southbank Employers Group and landowners.

The project seeks to improve the quality of the environment for local residents and businesses, ensure the construction of various projects is coordinated and maximise opportunities for local people. 

Public realm

We're working with Transport for London and the local community to deliver the Blackfriars Mile, a mile of high quality public realm connecting the river with the Elephant and Castle.

As a first step in the process, a number of consultation events were held in early 2013 to ascertain local priorities for investment in the historic boulevard. A summary of all the comments made during the exercise and a set of ten principles for the road distilled from the consultation report (pdf, 1.9mb) can be downloaded.

Transport for London announced in October 2013 that a new public realm scheme along Blackfriars Road would incorporate a new north south cycle superhighway from the Elephant and Castle to Kings Cross. Detailed designs for the road (pdf, 12.5mb) were consulted between 3 September and 9 November 2014. A summary has also been prepared to explain how the original principals for the road have been embedded in the scheme design.

The Mayor of London decided to fund the project and commence construction on 4 February 2015, with our substantial contribution of £2.2m agreed at the planning committee on 7 October 2014. Our investment delivers high quality yorkstone paving throughout the Blackfriars boulevard, except for areas in front of development sites which will be paved in the future using the same materials once those developments are completed.

Following consultation, a number of further improvements were made to the design and the project was constructed between March 2015 and March 2016.

Open space and community facilities

In addition to investment in new public realm along Blackfriars Road, we're also investing in the parks, open spaces and community facilities in the area. A substantial budget has been secured to improve the quality of Nelson Square, a key open space in the heart of the area. We've worked with Lambeth Council to improve Hatfields Gardens, with works completed in 2015 following a detailed consultation process.

We're also working with Bankside Open Spaces Trust to improve the open spaces in the Lancaster Estate and with Peabody to improve the gardens and play spaces in the Blackfriars estate. Several other community projects have recently been completed, including the Styles House garden, the Dog and Pot statue and investment in the new Blackfriars Settlement community centre.

Blackfriars Stories

The Blackfriars Stories event programme started in 2014 and is a close collaboration between the community groups in the area, the developers and contractors building along the road, and the public authorities (including the council, Met Police and Transport for London). The community came up with the name “Blackfriars Stories” as a neat way of summarizing their desire for events which bring the neighbourhood to life, celebrate the rich history and diversity, and have some fun!

Events since 2014 have included the Trunk Road carnival - you can see a video of a huge mechanical elephant parading along the road here. An immersive production of Romeo and Juliet performed in the streets using wireless headphones, rap and dance. You can see a short video summary of the production here.

Time to be Late has brought a number of the historic Blackfriars heroes back to life, with the Bella of Blackfriars (the promoter of the famous boxing ring in a chapel where Palestra now stands), Bert Hardy the famous local photographer, Frankenstein (whose author lived in Nelson Square), the father of computing Charles Babbage (who lived on St George’s Road), Charlie Chaplin, and the pilgrims (the Dominican Friars who gave their name to the road).

Gone in 20 Minutes was a street theatre competition show-casing the latest talent from across the country in partnership with the Arts Council. You can watch a video of an urban astronaut suspended from 20 foot!

Virtually Blackfriars was an immersive hunt for pixelated characters from the past based at Platform Southwark and exploring the hidden corners of Blackfriars using a vacuum cleaner, wireless headphones and home made “hi tech” goggles

As part of Blackfriars Stories, we worked with social enterprise Ugly Duck to create City Hunt, a free and fun treasure hunt to explore Blackfriars Road and get to know the area's amazing history. Following the success of 2014 and local requests, we’ve adapted the website to make it permanently available for anyone to play anytime. It’s a great activity which takes 1 or 2 hours and can be fun for a solo mission or family at the weekend, for a company as a team building exercise or for visitors coming to the area. You can take part by signing up to City Hunt here. They give you the option of printing off a paper copy of the treasure hunt. You can also contact us and we can send you a copy so you can play without needing a computer.

A key feature of Blackfriars Stories is collaboration with the local community and with existing event programmes and funding partners. We are very grateful to following partners who have helped organise and sponsor Blackfriars Stories since 2014. Blackfriars Settlement, Bankside Open Spaces Trust, Coin Street Community Builders, Peabody, Transport for London, Better Bankside, South Bank Employers Group, Waterloo Quarter, London South, Bank University, St George PLC, Barratt London, U + I, Circleplane, Derwent London, Southwark Charities, Native Land, Ennismore, Kennedy Wilson, Ovecourt, Endurance Land, Archlane, Output Arts, Arts Council, and The Illuminated River.

Another exciting year of events in now being planned. We'll post details about these events on this webpage and on our events page.

Opportunities

We're working with developers along the road to maximise employment and training opportunities for local people to work in either the construction phase, or in a variety of roles in the completed developments.

Each of the construction sites along the road has local job opportunities available in a number of trades and roles, and there's training available to help you secure a job.

If you live locally and would like to find out more about how to access training and advice on how to get a job in Blackfriars Road, contact Southwark Works.

Find out more about two recent success stories, with local resident Brian getting a job as a trainee Quantity Survey with a sponsored degree course, and Oana working in the new hotel on the road where she's been recently promoted. The newly opened Mondrian hotel at Seacontainers house has created 68 jobs for local residents.

Construction management

We're working hard to ensure that contractors building projects in the area achieve construction excellence, and that disruption caused by redevelopment is at an absolute minimum.

A logistics group has been set up to coordinate and monitor all construction activity in the area. Regular updates on all of the projects are provided through the Dbrief newsletter - get in touch with us to receive your copy or subscribe.

If you have any issues or concerns related to a construction project, contact us.

Project coordination

A variety of different developments are being implemented by a number of different landowners along the road. A landowners forum meeting takes place in order to maximise coordination between the schemes, and advance the design of a joint public realm scheme.

You can download the most recent forum Blackfriars Road minutes (pdf, 42kb).

In addition, a steering group meets regularly to oversee the detailed design of the project. It's attended by ward councillors, Transport for London and the business improvement districts.

Planning policy

In tandem with the initiative to develop a public realm project along Blackfriars Road, we've prepared a supplementary planning document to give the local community and developers further guidance on future development sites. The document gives further detail on land uses and building heights - visit our policy page for more information.

Contact us

If you have any queries about the design of the public realm, event programme, job and training opportunities available or construction logistics, contact us:

Dan Taylor 
Programme manager
020 7525 5450

Page last updated: 10 January 2019