Weekly planning news from the central London boroughs

A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs


Property Week reports that Kings Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP) and flexible workspace provider The Office Group (TOG) have entered into a management agreement for a new 170,000 sq ft office building at King’s Cross. The building was designed by London-based architecture studio Piercy&Company to meet the needs of small businesses. King’s Cross chief executive Robert Evans said: “This is a major investment for King’s Cross; it represents a step change in the way that we create and deliver workspace and how we meet the changing needs of our customers. It will ensure that King’s Cross sets the standard for a new era of work, offering greater flexibility, service and sustainability. Construction of the flexible workspace is under way and is due for completion in 2024.

City of London

Architects Journal reports that Fletcher Priest Architects looks set to win planning approval for a 13-storey office building near Chancery Lane in the City of London. The practice submitted two applications for 100-108 Fetter Lane: one including a redevelopment of the White Swan Public House and another which leaves the pub in-situ. The applications are almost the same in every other respect: they propose a building with roughly 13,000m² of flexible office space over 11 storeys, with rooftop plant and a ground-floor retail unit which could be used as a shop, café or restaurant. Both applications have been recommended for planning approval at the City of London’s planning committee.

Architects Journal reports that The City of London Corporation has fired the starting gun on an international competition for a major £50-to-150 million renewal of the Grade II-listed Barbican Centre. The local authority is inviting ‘multidisciplinary teams who have the skills, experience and ambition’ to compete for the high-profile commission to transform the Brutalist-style arts centre ‘to meet the needs of 21st-century artists, audiences and communities’. The latest project will cover all aspects of the building ‘from upgrading venues and transforming underused areas into new flexible spaces, to improving the welcome, navigating and wayfinding’ while also looking at ways to embed digital technology and upgrading environmental performance in line with the corporation’s aim to be carbon neutral by 2027. The deadline for applications is 21 October.

Property Week reports that Qatari family-owned investor Regis Fleet Street (RFS) plans to spend £90m redeveloping Peterborough Court at 133 Fleet Street, the former headquarters of The Daily Telegraph and former European headquarters of Goldman Sachs. It will also offer 600 cycle spaces, EV charging points, showers, lockers and changing rooms. The building will deliver 300,000 sq ft of office and ground-floor retail space, with flexible floorplates of between 16,000 sq ft and 34,000 sq ft. RFS has submitted a planning application to redevelop the property and subject to planning approval, construction is scheduled to start in Q4 2021 and be ready for occupation from Q2 2023.

Property Week reports that British Land has sold Wardrobe Court in central London to Gem Hotels for around £70m. Wardrobe Court is a freehold collection of interconnecting town houses totalling 92 serviced apartments. The asset is in the City of London near St Paul’s Cathedral. The property was sold with vacant possession. CBRE, which ran the sales process exclusively, said the site generated strong interest from European, North American and Asian investors, with a sale price in the region of £70m.


Architects Journal reports that Hackney Council has approved Studio Egret’s plans to turn a canalside storage facility in east London into 139 homes. The AJ100 practice submitted the Sturt’s Yard scheme on the Regent’s Canal in 2018 but had to revise it following concerns over its impact on the nearby Arlington Conservation Area. Councillors approved the scheme last week (1 September) after the practice reduced the maximum height to six storeys along the canal frontage and seven towards Eagle Wharf Road. In addition to 139 homes, the project includes a self-storage business, offices and a café. The scheme will only provide 14 affordable units and 10 per cent affordable workspace (at 60 per cent of the market rent). Hackney Council said that while it had a ‘low level of provision’ for affordable homes, it approved it because of the ‘very particular circumstances of the site’ and because affordable workspace is a priority for the area.

Kensington and Chelsea

Architects Journal reports that Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has submitted a second round of amendments to its controversial plans for development around South Kensington Station. The development would provide 50 homes and commercial space above and around the station.According to joint developers Transport for London (TfL) and Native Land, the latest tweaks include a different floor level and treatment of the residential and office buildings as well as reducing the height of the overall elevation. As of June, the planning application had received 1,900 comments of objection and was opposed by 22 local groups, five councillors and the local MP. However, it also gained 689 supportive comments, with several local museum and universities backing the plans. The plans will go to committee by the end of the year.


Property Week reports that Cain International has agreed a £109m development loan with Barings and LBS Properties for a 146,334 sq ft, environmentally friendly office scheme at 135 Park Street in London’s Southbank. Barings and LBS Properties have planning consent for the demolition of existing buildings next to the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe and development of 146,334 sq ft of grade-A office space over 11 upper floors, as well as ancillary retail. Designed by architects Squire & Partners, 90% of the floor space will be designated for traditional office use, with the remaining area to be used as affordable workspace.


Architects Journal reports that Southwark councillors have unanimously approved Fathom Architects’ part 22-storey office and part 15-storey almshouse development near Blackfriars Bridge. The new tower will be erected by Southwark Charities on the site of Edward Edwards’ House, a two-storey residential building which has been home to elderly people of limited means. Fathom’s building will almost triple the number of elderly people able to live on the site, while also providing 20,000m2 of office space.  There would be 62 one-bed flats for elderly residents, plus three flats for visitors and one flat for an onsite caretaker. Planners at Southwark Council recommended the scheme for approval, saying: ‘This results in a building that would not only stand out from its more glassy neighbours, but also provide an elegant and highly articulated design that is inspired by the history of the site.’.

Tower Hamlets 

Architects Journal reports that the first images have been made public of plans for a new 3,000-capacity venue on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park designed by Stufish Entertainment Architects, which will host ABBA’s virtual comeback tour. he London and Hong Kong-based entertainment and concert specialist has drawn up proposals for a mainly timber temporary theatre on a car park site in Barbers Road, next to Pudding Mill DLR station, east London.According to the promoters, the ‘breathtaking’ London arena will create ‘the perfect setting for ABBA Voyage, offering a live music experience like no other’. As well as this main space, the development will feature a box office, backstage facilities and storage, shops, food stalls, bars and a covered concourse.

Architects Journal reports that the UK chief executive of Bouygues has said repurposing buildings will be a huge area of growth for construction as the industry looks to decarbonise. Bouygues is aiming to reduce its carbon by 40 per cent by 2030,  and Bradley said there was a need for common-sense approaches in construction that best achieved reductions. For the past two years, AJ’s RetroFirst campaign has been calling for a circular economy approach and has highlighted the high carbon cost of demolition and rebuild. While he acknowledged that such work often costs more than demolishing buildings and starting again, he said his firm was focusing ‘very heavily’ on the environmental benefits and the opportunities to make more of existing premises, especially in the residential sector. Bouygues’ current schemes include the £105 million revamp and extension of the former Grade II-listed Royal London Hospital in east London, to create a new town hall for Tower Hamlets Council.


Pbctoday reports that Homes of Lambeth has launched its new sales brand, Addition by Homes for Lambeth and unveils its first scheme for sustainable housing in the borough. Addition is about improving what already exists in the borough – from homes to community spaces – for a better future for Lambeth. Sustainability and future-proofing are at the heart of the design of the schemes to meet Lambeth’s high environmental and energy standard and the council’s net-zero carbon targets. By May 2022, almost 600 homes are projected to start on site and 150 homes will be complete and the first development being built, called ‘Chapter by Addition’, is scheduled to complete in Autumn 2022. Chapter will offer 12 apartments, comprising one and two-bedroom homes and a standout three-bedroom penthouse. The exterior architecture by Fraser Brown MacKenna multi-use green spaces and landscaped communal gardens all enhance the local environment.


Skate the Strand’, a new free, temporary pop-up skate park located on the Strand outside Somerset House, marks the start of the longer-term vision for the Strand Aldwych area. This new ‘Skate the Strand’ project is part of the wider Westminster Reveals campaign and kicks off ‘September on the Strand’, inviting people to return to the city’s streets and enjoy the capital’s famed cultural scene, connecting celebrated talent and communities. Westminster City Council has ambitious plans for Strand Aldwych, which will see this ancient route adapted to become a pedestrian-focused destination, transforming this historic gateway to the West End into a world-class and contemporary traffic-free public space.


Property Week reports that the capital’s real estate market breathed a sigh of relief this week as thousands of workers returned to their offices after the summer break, fuelling hopes of a swift recovery for London’s commercial property market. Charles Begley, executive director of London Property Alliance, told Property Week there had been a surge in physical workplace attendance in recent days. “The return of workers to City and West End offices is gathering pace as we anticipated, with many of our members reporting occupation rates of up to 40% to 60% in recent days,” he said. “It is clear from the level of deals and ongoing confidencecin the development pipelinecthat prime office space across central London continues to be in high demand.”