A fairly grim concrete office block that included a covered walkway between London Bridge and the railway station is to be demolished and redeveloped.

Although in Southwark, the late 1960s building, Colechurch House is actually owned by the City of London’s Bridge House Estates, the centuries-old trust fund that manages the bridges across the Thames and gives its surplus to charity.

Colechurch House itself was built in the late 1960s and named after Peter of Colechurch who designed the first stone bridge across the Thames here.

The sale was complicated though as while the Bridge House Estates owned most of the site, some of the land was also owned by Southwark Council and by Transport for London — necessitating a joint sale by all three owners. It’s taken a long time to get to this point though, with the City first lodging plans for a replacement tower back in 1995, but until they were able to secure the sale with Southwark Council a larger building could never be fitted onto the site.

In 2007, the City secured the necessary legal powers to demolish the elevated walkway, London Bridge Walk as part of the plans to develop the site.

Then in 2013, the council agreed to work with the City of London to secure a sale of their wide pavement on Tooley Street and land on Duke Street Hill. At the time it was said that the sale of the pavement wouldn’t “hinder pedestrian use of the space, as a development is likely to retain this thoroughfare through a collonaded area whilst building over it.”

The City has now at last signed a 150-year lease with CIT Group, and while the amount is not stated, the building was being touted for sale for around £80 million.

The City of London will retain the freehold of the site and a ground rent income from a Norman Foster designed replacement building. Southwark council gets income from the sale, and can expect to receive the usual developer contributions from whatever office building is put on the site.


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  1. Sykobee says:

    That’s a very popular route to London Bridge station however, as it avoids crossing Tooley Street and stays on a nice level route. However IIRC there were plans to restrict Tooley Street to buses only.

    However the building is tired, old and ugly (as is the pedestrian bridge), and I was wondering if it would ever be redeveloped given its great location, albeit narrow nature.

    Any redevelopment plans available yet? How about a lovely glass almond shaped skyscraper to provide some vertical balance to the News Building, The Shard and that other new one next to it. OTOH I’m no Norman Foster…

  2. Simon Moppett says:

    I don’t think it is ugly. I have seen much worse. Do you know the original Architect?

  3. Mike Jones says:

    It’s the last bit of old London Bridge left (at least for commuters). Not a bad building, very much of its time…

  4. Roy says:

    Ten years or so ago, there used to be a bureau de change on that walkway that always had insanely good rates, way better than anywhere else. I used to wonder if it was a money laundering front!

  5. GT says:

    Echoing Sykobee … I do hope that a level-access pedestrian route is kept.
    Does anyone have any details, please?

  6. Matt M says:

    Boo! A beautiful building.

  7. Chris Rogers says:

    “However, there is no corresponding statutory power under which it can be demolished and not replaced without amending the Acts under which it was constructed.”

    A bit like the New York brownstone that stayed standing whilst everything around it was flattened because it didn’t appear on any town plan, and thus didnt exist, and so couldn’t legally be demolished.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The government issued a statutory instrument in 2007 permitting Bridge House Estates to permanently remove the walkway, subject to consultation, with planning permission, and for the purpose of development.

    See the Appendix page, scheme section of the following page [note: 32(3a)]


    Just in case there’s any doubt about the possibility of permanent removal, the explanatory note page for the instrument makes it quite clear:

    “The Scheme amends the City of London (Various Powers) Act 1963 by adding a power for the trustees to permanently divert or close and demolish the elevated footway in accordance with planning permission.”

    So I guess all of that is to say that whilst it’s not a cast iron guarantee the walkway will be removed, the groundwork for that outcome has been set in place.

    Special thanks to London SE1 for pointing out the existence of the 2007 SI:


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