Tools downed on Old Kent Road’s biggest redevelopment last year amid viability concerns

Berkeley has outlined its strategy to restart work on its stalled 1,300-home Malt Street redevelopment, the biggest single residential scheme on the Old Kent Road.

Construction of the Bermondsey Place development commenced in September 2021 but ground to a halt in May last year as sharp increases in material costs hit the scheme’s viability.

Malt Street 1

Plans for the Bermondsey Place scheme include towers up to 44 storeys in height

Consented plans designed by architect Rolfe Judd currently consist of 12 buildings, including towers up to 44 storeys in height, more than 8,000 sq m of commercial space and 7,000 sq m of public realm.

The only works undertaken at the site so far are enabling works for six of the blocks and the basement and the partially completed superstructures to two of the smaller blocks.

Berkeley is now planning on reviving the scheme by shifting its affordable housing to later phases “in order to create the right economic conditions to kick start delivery”, according to Rolfe Judd.

The changes also include switching the scheme’s energy strategy from gas boilers to air source heat pumps, bringing forward the construction of a pedestrian and cycle link to Malt Street, and reducing the size of a portion of the basement.

The new energy strategy will mean added plant to the top of the towers, slightly increasing the massing of the buildings.

In a non-material amendment to the original consent submitted to Southwark council last week, the scheme’s planning consultant Savills said the changes would “resolve the commercial restraints on the further development of the site”.

It said work on the scheme had stopped last year “in response to a number of external factors that had an impact on the viability of the scheme such as Brexit, covid-19 and market forces”.

“These influences have had a profound effect on the deliverability of development schemes across London and the challenges facing the Malt Street Regeneration were too great to accommodate,” Savills said.

Also on the project team is structural engineer Walsh, services engineer Buro Happold, landscape architect MRG Studio, fire safety consultant Introba and townscape consultant The Townscape Consultancy.

Berkeley has been approached for comment.