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Campaigners warn against steady destruction of Southwarks historic buildings

A planning proposal that involves gutting a Victorian warehouse to build a 17 storey glass office block in Bermondsey, South London, has been heavily criticised by a conservation charity.

The Victorian Society, who campaign for the protection of Victorian and Edwardian buildings, says the project by developers Sellar would contribute to the ‘steady destruction’ of Southwark and it is ‘crucial’ this building is protected.

Architects Renzo Piano Buildings Workshop, who also designed The Shard, have drawn up plans which would only retain the outer shell of the warehouse. The project’s website says it will be surrounded by offices designed to attract ‘makers and creators’ such as media and tech start-ups.

The Victorian Society says the new tower would ‘eradicate the integrity’ of the warehouse, which was built in the mid-1800s and still retains many of its original features.

Bermondsey played a key role during London’s industrial revolution, with several manufacturing plants as well as a busy dock. It was also the location of the world’s first food canning business.

Olivia Stockdale, conservation advisor for the Victorian Society, said: ‘The proposed plans would render the remains of the warehouse as wallpaper to the plinth of a glass office block. The proposed use of glass rather than brick would further create an extreme contrast with other buildings in the conservation area.

‘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’.

Planning News has asked Sellar to respond to the Victorian Society’s objections.

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