BY TOBY PORTER
A museum about refugees is to be given a permanent home next to an immigration enforcement centre.
Developers Greystar want to build a 45-storey block of flats for students and a base for the Migration Museum below it.
The plan is to redevelop Capital House, where there is currently a 10-storey office block, yards from Guy’s Hospital and London Bridge railway station.
The scheme was the subject of a consultation last month and Greystar is expected to submit a planning application this month for 1,025 student rooms on the site – at the corner of St Thomas Street and Weston Street.
Building work could begin in less than a year and would take three years.
A previous owner had planning permission for a £20million 31-storey tower of 470 flats dubbed The Quill in 2011 but sold the plot to Greystar last year for an undisclosed sum.
The Migration Museum is currently based at The Workshop at the old fire brigade HQ in Lambeth. If the plan is approved, it would put the centre next door to the Home Office immigration reporting centre at Becket House.
A spokesman for Greystar said: ‘We provide a unique living experience with professionally managed accommodation, amenity and event spaces. As the demand for high-quality student accommodation rises in London, we are seeking to create a flagship student development with a permanent home for the Migration Museum.
“We believe there is a huge opportunity to bring this part of St. Thomas Street to life as a connection between Borough Market and Bermondsey Street. Through our proposals, we seek to complement the unique Bermondsey Conservation Area.
“Our proposals will ensure that this site no longer detracts from the local area.
“Instead we will replace Capital House with a design that respects, reflects and enhances this world-renowned part of Southwark.
“We will also enhance the area immediately around the site and open the building up to local people and visitors alike.
“The position of the application site opposite the new station entrance provides a fantastic opportunity to design a landmark building which complements the new station.
“The design we are proposing is both modern and innovative, and we believe it will add to the local area’s unique status as a destination for tourism and business alike, while also proving the local community with a building that will last for the long-term.”
Architects KPF said: “The current commercial building at 40-46 Weston Street is tired and does not represent a good use of space. Its design adds little to the current street scene and it is currently a missed opportunity in an otherwise modern and vibrant part of Southwark.
“We are proposing to demolish the current building and to replace it with a modern design that significantly improves the site’s impact on the surrounding streets, while bringing new student residences, private amenity space and a permanent home for the Migration Museum.
“We believe there is a huge opportunity to bring this part of St Thomas Street to life as a connection between Borough Market and Bermondsey Street.
“Through our proposals, we seek to complement the unique Bermondsey Conservation Area.
“Our proposals will ensure that this site no longer detracts from the local area. Instead we will replace Capital House with a design that respects, reflects and enhances this world-renowned part of Southwark.
“The new home for the museum will enable it to carry on providing students of all ages with interactive workshops and resources, exploring themes and issues related to its exhibitions and events, and to deepen existing links with schools, colleges and educational groups in Southwark and neighbouring boroughs.
“The museum is also working with exam board OCR on its brand-new migration modules within the newly revised GCSE history curriculum.
“Communities are the Migration Museum’s driving force.
“All of its work is created in partnership with the people whose stories it represents, and it strives for accessibility and participation in all that it does. Basing the museum at Capital House will create an inclusive national cultural and educational destination with clear local relevance.”
Greystar have also offered affordable housing on a different site.
Details of the plan are on greystar-capitalhouse.com