Historic stables in Bermondsey could be turned into workspace for locals, according to a report going before Southwark’s cabinet on Tuesday (June 15).  

The council is planning to buy the Old Southern Railway Stables at the junction of St James’ Road and Catlin Street to “preserve their heritage” but also to “make them productive and useful work spaces for local businesses and start-ups”.  

The Stables were originally used as a horse hospital for the Bricklayers Arms Depot of Southern Railway.  

Southwark owns land behind the Stables and adjacent Forge site, and if the purchase goes ahead the council also plans to build flats.

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In a foreword to the report, Cllr Helen Dennis, cabinet member for the climate emergency and sustainable development, said: “The purchase of the Stables land allows vehicular access to the council’s landlocked adjoining land to the north, which together with the Stable land can be used to provide some 50 to 60 residential flats over commercial business space as proposed in the Old Kent Road Area Action Plan.  

“This will enable the opening up of the rest of the council’s land as accessible public space that without the purchase of the stables land would not be possible.” 

The flats planned by the council would be 50 per cent ‘affordable’. 

The council acted to block the current land owners from knocking down the Old Stables and Forge in 2018 with an article 4 direction, which meant planning permission would be required to demolish the buildings.  

Southwark News reported last month that the council had offered to buy all the adjacent land, but quoted the owners less than half of what they were quoted in an independent valuation. 

The Forge is not included in the council’s planned purchase.  

The report going before cabinet on Tuesday states that “negotiations on the sale have progressed to a stage where an offer has been provisionally accepted by the owners of the Old Stables”.  

“The council instructed independent valuers who have confirmed that the agreed price represents good value to the council,” according to the report.  

Cabinet is set to back the purchase at the meeting on Tuesday.