Save Penrose Street Sorting Office

Penrose Street Sorting Office

A planning application has been made to demolish an important historic building at No 31 Penrose Street SE17 (behind Morrisons, just on your left as you come under the railway bridge).

This delightful little building was a purpose-built Victorian Sorting Office. Unfortunately the building isn't protected in any way, It's not even on the register of locally listed buildings. It was built in 1897 and it was designed by Sir Henry Tanner; a very important architect for the time, who worked in the Government's Office of Works. At the time it was designed, Henry Tanner was the Government's head architect for Post Offices and, less than a year after its completion, he was promoted to the prestigious role of the Government’s Chief Architect. 

You can read more about the history of the Sorting Office on our blog page:


We are obviously devastated at the thought of losing such an important historic building which, rather than demolishing, Walworth should be proudly celebrating. We need your help to try to save it.


What We Need To Do.

This is a live planning application so the key thing is to put in objections to it before the deadline of 28th September. Below is how you can do this.

Please email an objection to the application to: and you must state the application reference number 13/AP/2515 and your name and postal address. Please copy your objection to us (

Council planning officers have to look at official rules and policies when making decisions so some of the following should help in your objection.

Even the shortest of objections will be of real help but if you would like to send something more detailed, please think of including some of the following themes.

1. Express your sadness at the proposed loss of such a significant and historic building.

2. This is a building that is of value to the local community as it reminds people of the heritage of their area. It provides an attractive Victorian character to the area and has a façade which is built to a high quality of design rarely seen in today’s architecture.

3. The façade of 31 Penrose St is welcoming and adds to the interest for the hundreds of people who walk along Penrose St to and from the Walworth Road every day.

4. Both the Sorting Office and the Grade 2 Listed Doctor’s Surgery (33 Penrose St) are original 19th Century buildings and although of different architectural styles they combine to create an authentic historic character to this part of West Walworth. The proposed replacement buildings are of comparatively poor quality compared to the Sorting Office and would, therefore, harm the setting of the listed building at 33 Penrose St (Policy 3.18 Southwark Plan).

5. The Old Sorting Office is a historic building which clearly adds to the distinctive local character and its loss would harm this character (Para 60 NPPF).

6. The community is clear that the Sorting Office which was built in 1897 by a famous architect is an important historic building and one that should be considered as an undesignated heritage asset and as such the effect of an application on its significance should be taken into account as a material consideration (para 135 NPPF).

7. While local people very much support the creation of new residential properties in the Walworth area, this should be done in a way that respects the character and distinctiveness of the existing area. Local people note the intensity of development planned for the surrounding area including Manor Place Depot, a large number of opportunity sites identified in the Railway Corridor Character Area (figure 31 of the Elephant & Castle SPD) and more widely in the redevelopment of the Heygate Estate, Stead Street Car Park and the Aylesbury Estate. In the light of this extensive redevelopment elsewhere it is even more important to preserve those buildings and places which contribute to our local distinctiveness and which will make the area more vibrant for the many existing and future residents.

8. We request that this planning application is refused as it conflicts with local and national policy.

Once again we would stress the importance of submitting your objection before 28th September and please pass this information on to others who can support our campaign. If you would like to find out how else you can support our campaign to save this building please do get in touch.

Many thanks as always for your support. 

More gambling licences for the Walworth Road

Deptford High Street - Betting Shop Overload? Do we want this for Walworth?

{jcomments on} Deptford High Street - Betting Shop Overload? Do we want this for Walworth?

An application for a gambling licence has been submitted to the Council for number 281 Walworth Road (near East Street):

If you are one of the many local people who object to the increasing numbers of such premises on our high street and the potential negative impact that comes with them then you can object to it and it is important your views are heard.

Anyone wishing to object can do so by sending an email to:

Please note: Your application must include your name, your address, the date, the specific application you are opposed to (281 Walworth Road).

To make sure your objection is listened to, it must relate to one or more of the following areas:

  • Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime
  • Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

We understand that objections must be received by Friday 17th August

Protecting local green spaces

One of the key ambitions of the Walworth Society, written into our constitution, is to identify and protect open spaces in the area. We fear that the intense development pressure in the wider area is putting many of our valuable, and currently unprotected, green spaces at risk. 

Eglington Court - Newington



There are various ways for the community to secure green and open spaces, both now and for future generations, the most important step being to identify them. If you are aware of local green spaces which you are worried may not currently be protected and could be at risk of development, then please get in touch and let us know. You can also discuss them in our  Forum.

Thanks to the contributions of people from all over the local area, we were able to make a detailed submission to the Southwark Council Open Spaces Strategy Consultation which ended on 8th May 2012. If you would like to read what we suggestion, the submission is downloadable below.


Download this file (WalSoc-OSSResponse-08May12.pdf)WalSoc-OSSResponse-08May12.pdf489 kB

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