Shadows loom over Burgess Park

View of St George's Church from Burgess Park

We have objected to the 10-storey development proposed for Burgess Business Park in Camberwell primarily because it is too tall, and will overshadow Burgess Park, harming the new wildlife area and the enjoyment of the park by local people. Burgess Park is both ecologically important and a vital breathing space for people living in densely built up areas of Southwark along the Walworth Road and Old Kent Road. This is only one of several schemes planned for Parkhouse Street. If passed, this development would set a precedent for other inappropriately tall buildings along the boundary of the park.

Overshadowing newly planted wildlife areas

Burgess Park is designated as Metropolitan Open Land and a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation, and under Southwark Council’s Core Strategy should have protection from inappropriate building. The height of this proposed development raises serious concerns, given its location adjoining the park, and in particular the wildlife area of the park (which has recently been replanted at significant public expense).

The proposed development is sited with insufficient set-back from the boundary of the park and will adversely affect biodiversity, causing damage to tree roots during construction work, impacting on nesting birds and other wildlife, and overshadowing trees and other planting.

Protect mature trees as part of the response to the Climate Emergency

The tree survey commissioned by the applicant and undertaken in June 2016 fails to give sufficient consideration to the ecological value of the trees within or adjacent to the site, which form part of a green corridor linking the park with the church and surrounding streets. In March 2019, Southwark Council Assembly voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency, committing Southwark to becoming carbon neutral by 2030. To meet this target, it is essential that mature trees such as those adjoining 21-23 Parkhouse Street are protected from inappropriate redevelopment.

Breaching the aims of the New Southwark Plan

Southwark Green Party is not opposed in principle to the redevelopment of Burgess Business Park. However, we object to this proposed development, which – at 10 storeys high – fails to preserve the character of the existing area, in breach of the stated aims of the New Southwark Plan. The surrounding conservation area is comprised mainly of two-storey Victorian and Georgian houses, in some cases grade 2-listed, and includes St George's Church (1824).

The proposed development will be obtrusively visible from within Burgess Park, destroying the special character of tranquillity and tree-lined horizons found in the park now.

Southwark Green Party welcomes the increase in social rented housing to 50% in this revised planning application, and recognises that this exceeds the minimum 35% affordable homes under Southwark Council’s planning policies. However, we note that density is higher than the maximum 700 habitable rooms per hectare set out in Southwark’s Residential Design Standards Special Planning Guidance (2015). We are also concerned that the workspaces available for artists to rent will be smaller and more expensive than those in the building currently occupying the site.

The Burgess Business Park site has the potential to deliver much-needed affordable housing and workspace but redevelopment must not come at the expense of the existing community, green spaces and the council’s own Biodiversity Action Plan. We therefore object to this planning application.


Southwark Green Party made a formal response to the planning application for 21-23 Parkhouse Street, SE5 (Planning reference 19/AP/0469) making the above points.

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