The distinguished Victorian ‘leather warehouse’ in Vinegar Yard, just off St Thomas St and in a ‘Conservation Area’, has been under threat since Shard-developer Sellar bought it a decade ago for £6.8m. Now they are looking to make enormous profits by destroying its fabric and building a 17-floor tower block through the middle of it. By this heritage destruction they hope to generate a £50m+ gross profit. Sadly, where there are huge profits for Southwark Council to share, money trumps heritage and the Council is encouraging the proposal along with 3 others along St Thomas Street. With one scheme already gaining permission for £33M (Greystar’s Student Tower), the four may benefit the council to the tune of over £100M in exchange for the right to destroy the local environment.
Vinegar Yard Warehouse The original interior including features like the columns and the rare victorian hydraulic chain and derrick hoist should be preserved. Both the interior and the exterior contribute to the distinctive character of the area.
Apart from sheer greed there is absolutely no reason for the destruction of the warehouse and the grievous harm to the Conservation Area that the domineering tower will cause. It is entirely commercially viable to fully restore the building for studio offices – there is huge demand. But this will only produce an ordinary profit margin, not the fast, lottery-jackpot profits which Sellar and the Council are eyeing from a pre-fabricated glass tower.
Decisions are likely to be made on these applications in early September. Please take this opportunity to join with the likes of Historic England, SAVE Britain’s Heritage, and the Victorian Society in opposing these brutal schemes and saving the unique character of this historic environment.
The heritage settings of St Thomas Street will be totally destroyed if the current high-rise proposals are granted. Left to right: 19/AP/04004 (Sellar), 18/AP/4136 ( Threadneedle), 18/AP/4171 (CIT), 18/AP/0900 (Greystar)
“ We cannot support the proposals due to the harm caused to Bermondsey Street Conservation Area by the proposed tall building above the historic warehouse at Vinegar Yard.
We would welcome a revised design for a less intensive development within the conservation area that also retains the integrity of the warehouse building as a separate structure. ”
“ The proposed plans would render the remains of the warehouse as wallpaper to the plinth of a glass office block... It is important that despite its proximity to London Bridge, Bermondsey maintains its own historic individuality, and any development should be sympathetic to the area and its character. ”
“ ..a particularly apposite example of local character, which also possesses heritage significance in accordance with Historic England guidance retaining architectural, aesthetic and historic merit through strong association with the development of the area. We believe the successful retention, repair and reuse of the building could be achieved with sympathetic additions that do not harm the heritage assets. ”