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The Collective Gets the Green Light for Cultural Destination on Borough High Street

The Collective has received a resolution to grant planning permission from the London Borough of Southwark for the transformation of an underutilised site on Borough High Street, into a new cultural destination including a 14,000 sq ft community and employment incubator that will include subsidised workspace and accelerator programmes to upskill local young people, community space available free of charge, and subsidised creative space for local artists.  Plans for The Collective Borough High Street were developed following extensive consultation and the creation of a ‘Shared Vision’ for the project working with the local community around Borough High Street and the Elephant and Castle area. 

In partnership with the landowner Southwark Homes Limited, The Collective will develop, manage and operate the scheme.  Construction of the project is expected to commence in summer 2020, with completion due in summer 2022.

The Collective Borough High Street is designed by award-winning Southwark-based architectural practice Allies and Morrison, and comprises a 175,000 sq ft ground-up development including short stay accommodation for creatives, entrepreneurs and business travellers. The project includes a new public destination for the area in the form of a 14,000 sq ft community and employment incubator space across the ground, lower ground and basement levels inspired by Makeshift’s Peckham Levels project in Peckham town centre. Makeshift is a subsidiary business of The Collective. The space will include:

  • 4,198 sq ft free-to-use community and flexible events space for local residents
  • 3,336 sq ft of small and medium enterprise business units available at subsidised rental levels for local start-ups and businesses
  • 1,453 sq ft of artist studios and maker space available at subsidised rental levels
  • 4,305 sq ft of co-working and shared workspace

The development also comprises 20 new homes of which 50% will be affordable. The homes will be accessed through their own entrance and include amenity spaces for residents, including a garden and children’s play area.

To further support the local community, The Collective Borough High Street will offer an accelerator programme which will upskill local young people through a digital and entrepreneurial skills programme and provide five financial grants of £10,000 a year to seed new local businesses, along with broader support including mentorship and affordable workspace.

In addition, three students per year from the nearby Rockingham and Tabard estates will be offered financial grants of £9,250 per annum as part of the Southwark Scholarship Scheme for the next eight years.  The Collective Borough High Street will also host regular support and study space for local university students aspiring to start a business. 

Forming a new community hub for the neighbourhood, The Collective Borough High Street will be centred around a 3,200 sq ft landscaped public plaza which will provide space for the local community to relax and socialise, with regular events and activities organised by The Collective Foundation.  The scheme will also benefit from a publicly accessible rooftop terrace and adjoining café and bar.

James Penfold, Global Planning and Communications Director at The Collective, said: The Collective Borough High Street is a great example of how we are adopting a ground-breaking approach to urban planning in city centres across the globe.  By engaging meaningfully with the local community and integrating their views and needs into the project, we unlocked an underutilised site in Borough High Street with a challenging local context.

“This project is an exciting opportunity for The Collective as we plan to create a new, innovative and dynamic destination which supports the community and local businesses through the shared economy, as well as delivering affordable housing.”

With the approval of The Collective Borough High Street, The Collective has now secured planning consent for four purpose-designed co-living schemes in London already this year, as well as a further approval in Chicago in the United States.