Landsec scheme in Southwark set for planning approval next month

Laing O’Rourke has beaten Mace to a £195m net zero carbon scheme at a 1950s printworks near the Tate Modern for Landsec.

The firm has signed a pre-construction services agreement for the job, designed by Bennetts Associates, which will be built at 25 Lavington Street in Southwark.

The Timber Square scheme, which comprises two buildings of 10 and 15 storeys, was sent in for planning in March has now been recommended for approval with a decision due to be made by Southwark council at the start of next month.

The job features 370,000 sq ft of mixed-use space, including 350,000 sq ft of grade A offices, affordable workspace, roof terraces and improved public realm.

In a report filed earlier this week, local planners said: “Redevelopment of the site to provide new retail, leisure space and a significant uplift in high quality, modern office space is welcomed and the improved connectivity and public realm will be beneficial to the local area. The range of uses being proposed is in line with development plan policy aspirations to improve the area and maximise the number of jobs.”

A previous proposal by Allies and Morrison to build a 10-storey commercial building along with three residential blocks of eight, 13 and 21 storeys was ditched after Landsec bought the site from that scheme’s developer Gaterule in 2018.

The Timber Square scheme will retain around 90% of the existing building and use a hybrid steel frame and CLT timber structure, which the contractor said will reduce embodied carbon, construction traffic, demolition waste and local air pollution. Low carbon and recycled materials will also be used across the development. All floors will have access to terraces and roof gardens.

O’Rourke said much of the scheme will be manufactured offsite at its Explore factory in the East Midlands.

Others working on the project include structural engineer Heyne Tillett Steel, QS Alinea, M&E engineer Hoare Lea and principal designer Gardiner & Theobald.

The existing printworks building dates back to 1959 and was used by magazine publisher IPC which was based in the nearby King’s Reach Tower for nearly three decades before moving to the Blue Fin building in 2007. But the site, designed by Ellis, Clarke & Gallannaugh, has since been turned into office space for the TSB Bank.

No start date has been confirmed for the Timber Square job.