Monday, 24 February 2014

Spot the difference

Huge changes are taking place all around us in Bermondsey. The latest stage of the 2,000 flat  Bermondsey Spa development is now open, with the new residents moving in (we are hoping to distribute a 'Welcome to Bermondsey' card from St James's to them), and the final two blocks in the project are now under construction.

Meanwhile 700 new flats are being built at Chambers Wharf and more will follow on the biscuit factory site and the Southwark College site.

Just near to the Salmon Youth Centre, at the junction of Old Jamaica Road and Marine Street (left) is this six-storey block of council flats from the 1950s.

On the other side of Salmon, just round the corner from where this photo was taken is the latest part of Bermondsey Spa to open (pictured right).

Can you spot the difference?

Social housing 1950s-style included plenty of grass and trees. The 2014 blocks are much taller, built more closely together, and have virtually no green space around them, unlike most of the 50s and 30s blocks in the parish.

The economics of social housing in the 21st century and the pressure of space in inner London may make this inevitable, but it does mean that the community open space that we do have, such as the Churchyard, needs to be treasured and preserved (and three cheers for Southwark Council for all they do in that regard), and the new 'public square' near to the new Tesco needs to be, well, a square for the public, and not just another car park.

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