TfL now planning office development that would retain Jubilee line ticket hall

Richard MacCormac’s celebrated Southwark Tube station could be saved from the wrecker’s ball if TfL manages to acquire the land around it.

The Jubilee line station’s circular ticket hall was under threat of demolition after plans were floated to build a 30-storey block of flats above it. The station was always intended to be built on, but structurally could only support about a dozen storeys.

The new plan, also proposed by TfL, is to build an 11-storey office development on the station and its surrounding land. This would be about the same height as TfL’s headquarters across Blackfriars Road, the cantilevered Palestra building designed by Will Alsop.

TfL says its new plans would leave the ticket hall untouched, a move welcomed by campaigners who fought in vain to list the 1999 station – part of the architecturally feted Jubilee line extension.

The height of the development will be limited by the load-bearing capacity of the existing foundations of the retained ticket hall, it said.

TfL’s finance committee will decide on Wednesday whether to attempt to acquire the necessary land in a land swap involving developer U+I and Southwark council.

The briefing papers say that the earlier plan, for 300 flats, was dropped after market conditions changed – and because of the “complexity of funding the reprovision of station facilities”.

Graeme Craig, director for commercial development at TfL, said: “Our proposals for an over station development at Southwark Tube station include office, retail and cultural space.

“In order to start this process, we first need to acquire a portion of land and are seeking approval from the TfL finance committee.

“Any changes would preserve and protect the iconic elements of the station and would sensitively consider the impact on the local area. We would also publicly consult before any final decision on the design is made.”

No architect has yet been lined up for the work.

The original station was designed by the late Richard MacCormac’s practice MJP. The architect said to have been working on the 30-storey tower was AHMM.