Bermondsey Square is a large mixed use development, delivered for Aviva Investors igloo Fund in partnership with Southwark Council, the London Development Agency and the local community. The site presented complex challenges including ensuring that the antiques market continued to operate, whilst carefully documenting and preserving the ruins of Bermondsey Abbey, which lie underneath.
A new public square now houses the historic New Caledonian Antiques Market, regular farmers markets and other community events.
The new public square quickly established itself as a great asset for the residents of Bermondsey Square and the wider community. It forms a natural destination in which to finish a stroll down Bermondsey Street, where you can rest in one of the bars or cafes, play boules, or ping pong at the outdoor table, or shop in one of the regular markets that take place.
From the square you can also appreciate the striking and award winning bike shed designed by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects.
The New Caledonian Antiques Market has been trading in Bermondsey since 1950. With up to 200 stallholders arriving from 4am every Friday morning, we made sure that dealers could carry on trading uninterrupted during the construction works. We also established a Community Fund for the local neighbourhood. Residents and businesses at Bermondsey Square contribute to the fund each year, with local people and groups being able to apply to the Fund for a grant to support community activities. The Community Fund is proving to be a great way to link the new and existing communities together and has awarded over £169,000 to 57 community organisations for events and activities, such as Bermondsey Night Markets, Resources for Autism, and Southwark Speaks.
Bermondsey Square is an igloo footprint ® ‘Best Practice’ development and has been awarded many national sustainability awards. With a ten minute walk to London Bridge and accessibility for multi-modal public transport, no additional parking is provided. In addition, cycle storage is allocated for 100% of the residents. Four car parking spaces have been provided for car club use with electric vehicles operated by Streetcar. The apartments achieved Eco Homes Very Good and EPC ratings of A for energy efficiency, with one entire block providing at least 10% renewable energy throughout the development. The scheme also benefits from a single energy centre with heat exchangers in each apartment and an adiabatic cooling system with natural ventilation delivering 60% reduction in carbon emissions and 50% lower running costs.
Our approach enables us to maximise the commercial returns for igloo partners. Bermondsey Square completed and went to market just as the 2008 recession struck. The team worked hard to remain true to our igloo footprint® policy of sustainable investment. We prioritised businesses and independent traders that added interest and value to the overall mix of uses in the square, whilst working hard to minimise voids by adding strong-covenant occupiers like Sainsbury’s to provide a diversified set of income streams.
We favoured selling homes to owner occupiers over buy-to-let investors. The result was that apartments sold very quickly, ensuring that there was life and activity at Bermondsey Square at a time when other new developments remained only partially full. Post-recession, our commitment to taking a long term view has seen assets performing very well for our investors with a successful exit being achieved in 2015.