Former owner of Financial Times warned over potential change of use after it did not include offices in sale of newspaper group

Southwark council has warned Pearson, the former owner of the Financial Times newspaper, that the paper’s landmark offices must not be redeveloped into luxury flats.

The HQ of the financial newspaper on the South Bank was not included in the £844m sale of the media group to Japan’s Nikkei last month.

The decision not to include the valuable property had sparked speculation that the Financial Time’s (FT) premises would join the list of Thames riverside properties which are either earmarked for redevelopment into luxury pads or undergoing construction.

Current plans for the nearby area include Ian Simpson’s 52-storey One Bankside next to Blackfriar’s bridge as well as PLP’s £1bn plan to redevelop Ludgate and Sampson house in a cluster of nine buildings ranging in height from five to 48 storeys. Pearson retained the freehold for the premises when it sold the FT group, the firm has previously investigated the possibility of redeveloping the site a number of years ago.

However, Southwark council warned against the move. Councillor Mark Williams, cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said: “There is huge demand for office space in Southwark, particularly in the north of the borough along the river.

“The FT are in a substantial office building in an area where our policy is to retain and expand office space and employment.

“Any application for this site would need to retain or increase this space in addition to any other uses. We did have initial discussions along these lines with the FT a few years ago, but nothing was formalised and no planning application was submitted.”