‘Outdated’ 1960s block could be bulldozed for eight-storey offices with terraces

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An ‘outdated’ 1960s block on a popular London high street could be bulldozed for eight-storey offices with terraces.

Alpha House on Borough High Street would be flattened, except for the basement and foundations, and replaced with a new office building with shops on the ground floor under plans submitted to Southwark Council.

The six-storey building minutes from Borough Tube station was constructed in the late 1960s as a warehouse but later converted to offices. It is described as an ‘imposing modernist building’ which is a ‘perfect work base for entrepreneurs’ in an advert online.

But documents submitted to the council in support of the redevelopment say the 50-year-old block is ‘outdated’, ‘of low design and construction quality’ and ‘disliked’ by people in the local area.

They read: “It is poorly organised, highly inefficient, and unsuited to modern occupier office requirements. The building was not originally constructed for office use and its conversion and construction does not provide the necessary standards and accommodation of a layout and configuration which is suited for continued office use.”

They added: “Adaptations to introduce lifts and some modern facilities have resulted in a clumsy and unsightly addition to the rear of the building, further detracting from its setting. […] Although notionally ‘serviced offices’, the building has little capacity to provide the shared facilities associated with co-working premises and is no longer fit for purpose.”

The documents go on to argue that redeveloping the block would improve the look of the local high street and help meet the need for modern workspace in the area.

“The vision is for a new office building that enhances the immediate setting whilst capturing the character and energy of Union Street in order to appeal to smaller businesses seeking opportunities to establish and expand in Southwark.”

Southwark Council will make a decision on the application brought by Citylake Investments Ltd at a later date.


Alpha House on Borough High Street as it looked today. Credit: Southwark Council planning documents

CGI of the new office block proposed for the site of Alpha House on Borough High Street (looking south). Credit: Southwark Council planning documents


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