New flats offer Mayor Boris as a neighbour

London Mayor Boris Johnson is getting new neighbours - 400 of them
New flats near Tower Bridge
Southward council has approved the plans for 400 new homes at Potters Fields
Smart new riverside flats have been approved for parts of Potters Fields, the open space between the Greater London Assembly building and Tower Bridge.

After years of wrangling, Southwark council has given the go-ahead for an “architecturally ambitious” housing project with nine low-rise apartment blocks. Some of the 400 new homes will be set aside for first-time buyers who are priced out of London’s general housing market.

There will be shops at the ground floor and a currently unspecified “cultural space”. The centrepiece of the development is a 20-storey tower inspired by the design of St Mark’s in Venice. It is hoped that work will start on the site later this year.

The scheme has been designed by architects-du-jour, Squire and Partners, who are currently producing new plans for the Chelsea Barracks site. The firm was hired for Potters Fields after an earlier scheme was dropped by developer Berkeley Homes because of the fierce opposition it attracted from Southwark. The council was particularly worried about the original proposal’s lack of affordable housing on the site.

The new scheme is further evidence that, after years of artistic regeneration, the South Bank is becoming an increasingly hot ticket property wise.

NEO Bankside - a £400 million development overlooking Tate Modern - sold three quarters of its flats off plan in five months, after being launched in 2010. Meanwhile, Bermondsey Spa, near London Bridge, has sold more than 300 properties since 2008 and will release 300 more in September 2011.

There will be 43 affordable homes on the site, and developer Berkeley Homes has also agreed to contribute £10m towards affordable housing elsewhere in the borough.

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