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Vacant/historic buildings and develop...

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Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 18 May, 2007 - 03:47 pm:   

Hopefully we can start up a separate thread on this, given the recent interest in the ' Concrete House'?
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 18 May, 2007 - 03:50 pm:   

Ooperlooper - You have given a completely one-sided (some would say totally distorted) account of the empty house on the junction of Lordship Lane/Underhill Road. For a more balanced view see: -090605.doc

However, rather than deal with one house, let's take on board your views on old buildings in general. You aren't arguing that a few BAD old buildings should be knocked down, you want to knock down ALL old buildings that are more than 50 years old. You are entitled to your opinion, but let's deal with the real world. Just like your views on roads, this would simply never achieve any degree of support either with the public or with any political party (is the Monster Raving Loony Party still in existence?).

"Think the unthinkable" all you like but urban motorways on stilts, whaling and knocking down all old buildings are activities best left to the Japanese who you clearly admire so much.
Joined 21-04-2005
Posted on Friday, 18 May, 2007 - 03:16 pm:

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'Why we should scrap summer holidays and other eureka moments.'

What exactly is the point of this thread?

Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 18 May, 2007 - 03:46 pm:

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The problem with this house is that it is too expensive to do anything with it other than knock it down and rebuild as a flatted development. It will undoubtedly have a negative valuation but the land value will still be good subject to planning. I also looked at its potential some years ago when working for a housebuilder and quickly found out why nothing was happening. If its really of such historic architectural interest, an organisation such as English Heritage or the National Trust should really be taking it on and restoring it to its former glory, or someone makes a pitch to the ' Restoration' programme. I appreciate the need to look at the empty homes statistics but I do feel some sympathy for owners who may be in this position and don't think bullying them into CPO is the answer.
Perhaps we ought to be setting up a separate thread on historic/vacant buildings on

Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 18 May, 2007 - 03:51 pm:   

Whilst we are on the subject, anyone know anything about the former Midland Bank building on Dartmouth Road, opposite (almost) Question Bar?
Joined 21-04-2005
Posted on Friday, 18 May, 2007 - 04:20 pm:   

Good move Roz.

I love that concrete house. If only .........! I also like modern architecture, but I'd hate to see it flattened. It would be great if EH or NT could do something with it.

There are some great architectural follies in the area, modern and old.
Joined 07-06-2006
Posted on Friday, 18 May, 2007 - 04:50 pm:   

at the risk of having this thread "relegated" to BeyondSE23, you might want to see what our neighbours think of this as well: ,11447,page=1
(just one of several threads discussing this).

and here: uss/72157600057876167/

It sounds like there is something seriously wrong about the way this has been handled by the owner, the council and the various heritage bodies. This is not just "one of the earliest concrete houses in the area", it is THE FIRST all-concrete house as proof of concept.

Unfortunately I don't think there is anything that can be done to restore it properly, but we cannot allow people to simply neglect or destroy heritage and get away with it. It may not matter here, but it is an important principle so as to retain some link to the past.
Joined 24-10-2006
Posted on Saturday, 19 May, 2007 - 12:30 am:   

Oooperlooper's suggestion that he'd "love to see us knocking down pretty much anything older than 50 years and putting up new buidings [sic] in their place" is clearly meant to be provocative, and not worthy of a response, but he did raise the issue of the "Concrete House", 549 Lordship Lane.

The building is grade 2 listed, and is on English Heritage's list of Buildings at Risk. Southwark Council, with support from English Heritage, is currently trying to secure a Compulsory Purchase Order on the building (I have been told that there is a potential purchaser, prepared to restore it). A major issue for both Southwark and English Heritage is that if they abandon the struggle it would send the wrong message to other developers.

The house was built in 1873 by Drake's Patent Concrete Building Company whose founder, Charles Drake, developed and patented a method of building in concrete of which this is perhaps the last surviving example. It is the method of construction that makes the building unique, not the detail, most of which has been lost.
Joined 28-06-2006
Posted on Saturday, 19 May, 2007 - 12:58 am:   

When people die, we bury/cremate them with dignity, enjoy our memories and take inspiration from them as we go forward with our lives. We don't generally pickle them in vinegar and prop them up on the couch and pretend that they still want to watch the telly. Why treat buildings differently?
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Saturday, 19 May, 2007 - 11:02 am:   

Its a shame that the Concrete House never had a high profile in the area as there may have been more public interest and hence something done a bit earlier. Having said that, I don't think the current owner deserves harsh treatment as its usually very difficult to do something economically with these types of buildings. Also there remains considerable pressure to build new homes in London and there needs to be a sensible balance between restoration and retention of old buildings and meeting housing need. I think the answer to OL's question is that some buildings are worth saving, others aren't and being an old building is not necessarily the best yardstick for this decision.

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