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 reveals that LabTech, owners of Camden Market, has announced that independent cinema group Curzon has opened its latest cinema within Hawley Wharf’s railway arches. The 6,000 sq ft landmark venue consists of five separate theatres, each with 30 seats. The cinema was designed by Takero Shimazaki Architects, which also worked with Curzon on its Bloomsbury location. The Camden cinema will also house a new dining concept, offering guests pizzas, hot dogs, small plates and milkshakes, alongside a full drinks selection.

City of London

Architects Journal reports that Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) has gained planning approval for a 24-storey office tower in Houndsditch, central London. A series of five to seven-storey buildings at the site – including Cutlers Exchange and Cutlers Court – will now be demolished to make way for the tower. The new building will have four basement levels in addition to the ground floor and 23 upper storeys, and will be topped by a ‘sky pavilion’. It will have 56,500m² office space and 85m² retail and café space. A planning report for the proposal, written by officers at the City of London Corporation, acknowledged comments from local residents who objected to the mass of the tower, its impact on sunlight and daylight and the loss of Clothier Street. But it argued the plans would ‘deliver high quality distinctive, world class architecture and would enrich and add visual interest to local townscape and Citywide skylines’.

Property Week reveals that International law firm Milbank has moved to 100 Liverpool Street. The 552,000 sq ft development in London has earned a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ certification and was designed by Hopkins Architects. Milbank opened its first London office in 1979 and is now claimed to be one of the “fastest-growing firms in the London market”. Julian Stait, co-managing partner of the firm’s London office said: “The exceptional and sustainable space at 100 Liverpool Street creates a world-class experience for our clients, our people and other friends of the firm. It is modern, collaborative and technologically advanced and reflects and supports our culture and cross-team working. I know that it will excite and inspire our people as we move into the next phase of growth in London.”


Hackney Gazette reports that Anchor’s housing project, Walrond House in Newington Green, scooped up the Best Urban Regeneration Project award at the 2021 Inside Housing Development Awards. The development was also a finalist in the Best Urban-London Development category. The regeneration project includes a new community resource centre, a public square and retail and commercial space.The resource centre provides space for social enterprises including wellbeing initiatives, employment and skills training and after-school activities. Working closely with Hackney Council, the Greater London Assembly and the local community, Anchor completed the project in August 2020.

Hammersmith and Fulham

Architects Journal reports that Baynes and Mitchell Architects has revealed self-initiated designs for a new crossing to ‘break the stalemate’ over Hammersmith Bridge. It involves a new structure being interwoven with the old, without touching it, to provide support for a new roadway. Two new cycle highways would sit either side of the old bridge, starting and ending on the towpaths. A temporary floating island beneath the centre of the bridge would provide support for cranes and incomplete structures during the build, with barges docking here with construction materials. The practice estimates the cost of construction, which would take two years, to be £110 million. A Hammersmith & Fulham Council spokesperson said: ‘When we see the detail of the Baynes and Mitchell design, we will consider it.’


Brixton Buzz reports that Lambeth Council is to spend £80,000 on a couple of feasibility studies on the Angell Town estate in Brixton. The money will be used to investigate setting up workspaces in Holes House and Newbury House, plus also the possibility of affordable housing on the site of the old boiler house. The Feasibility funding for the Angell Town Community Space Strategy report prepared for the Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Matthew Bennett, explains: Angell Town residents, voluntary and community sector organisations, tenant organisations and Council officers have identified opportunities to invest in existing underused Council-owned assets on the estate, as well as explore the need and opportunities for providing new community facilities.”


Construction Enquirer reports that the developer British Land has signed the first major building contracts for the vast Canada Water regeneration scheme in London. Wates, Mace and McAleer and Rushe have secured the first three jobs which are together worth up to £300m. Enabling works are underway at British Land’s 53 acre, mixed-use scheme in Southwark, which will deliver up to 3,000 homes. The first three buildings will be net zero embodied carbon calling for innovative new approaches. Operational carbon will be reduced by using electricity rather than gas for heating. On the largest contract, the A1 tower secured by Wates, heat will be recycled from offices into the building, which British Land said was an industry first.

Tower Hamlets 

Property Week reports that Landsec has sold 6-9 Harbour Exchange in London’s Docklands to Blackstone European Property Income Fund (BEPIF) for £196.5m. The sale price reflects a net initial yield of 3.99%. Harbour Exchange is located in the Docklands area of London, adjacent to Millwall Dock, directly to the south of Canary Wharf. It is comprised of two adjoining office buildings, originally constructed in 1989 with approximately 278,198 sq ft of datacentre and office accommodation. The space is let to Equinix UK with an unexpired lease term of almost 20 years. The deal is the latest in a number of steps Landsec has taken in recent months to support its growth strategy, including the purchase of a majority stake in MediaCity in Salford, Greater Manchester and its proposed takeover of U+I.

Construction Enquirer reports that Malaysian developer EcoWorld London and housing association Poplar HARCA have submitted revised plans for the next phase of the 20-year long Aberfeldy estate redevelopment in East London. The next phase of the Tower Hamlets scheme, Aberfeldy West, will see 1,600 homes built, alongside up to 25,500 sq ft of new retail space and up to 29,100 sq ft of new offices. The expanded development plan will also see new public realm, including a public park, Highland Park, and a new town square at the end of Aberfeldy Street. Connections will be created across the A12 to improve links to Poplar and Newham. The new masterplan is being designed by architects, Levitt Bernstein, working alongside a design team comprising of Morris+Company, LDA Design and ZCD Architects.

Property Week reveals that a planning application has been submitted for 1,600 homes plus a new high street, up to 25,500 sq ft of retail space and up to 29,100 sq ft of new offices in Poplar, east London. The masterplan is the next stage in the 20-year regeneration project in Aberfeldy Village, E14, which will create up to 1.52 sq ft of shops, workspaces and homes of all tenures, 35% of which will be affordable. The plans also include 40,440 sq ft of new public realm, including a public park, Highland Park, and a new town square at the end of Aberfeldy Street. Planning permission is being sought by the Aberfeldy New Village, a joint venture partnership between EcoWorld London and Poplar HARCA.


Property Week reports that Planning permission has been granted to refurbish and extend the former House of Fraser department store at 318 Oxford Street. The scheme will deliver a mixed-use development offering six floors of offices with two new double-height entrances in Henrietta Place and Old Cavendish Street, with flagship retail and leisure uses on the lower floors. There will also be a 17,000 sq ft rooftop restaurant which will be one of the largest rooftop venues in London. Additionally, a new health club is proposed across part of the basement, ground and first floors, including a 25m swimming pool. Works on the project will start early next year.

Construction Enquirer reports that McGee has secured the demolition, piling and RC frame for a major £150m landmark office building in the heart of Covent Garden. The Acre project is being advanced by development manager Platform on behalf of client Northwood Investors International. The existing 90 Long Acre building complex consists of a grid of blocks up to 11 storeys high built in the 1980s. The Acre project will see the existing building on a corner of this scheme replaced with a taller building that also infills a gap between the older blocks that will be revamped.

Property Week reveals that Northacre has said it will look to do more mixed-use schemes in the future as it brings its first-ever commercial space to market. The developer, which is backed by the Abu Dhabi Financial Group, is best known for luxury residential property development but is making its commercial debut with the development of Orchard Place in Victoria, London. The scheme comprises 116,000 sq ft of office space and 27,000 sq ft of retail space and forms part of Northacre’s wider development The Broadway, which also includes 258 luxury flats. JLL and Colliers have been appointed to market the office element of Orchard Place, while Bruce Gillingham Pollard has been appointed to market the retail element.

Property week reveals that London’s recovery is picking up speed as Derwent London chief executive Paul Williams hails the return of workers to the city’s offices and restaurants, while data reveals footfall and flexible workspace usage in the capital have soared to beyond pre-pandemic levels. Paul Williams said “restaurants in the West End are packed at the moment and retail is picking up ahead of Christmas – this vibrancy is key in people wanting to go back to offices in this fantastic city” and added “we think office demand is back to good levels, but it is a precise demand for better buildings, really focused on better-quality spaces.” Shorecap analyst Alastair Stewart pointed out that the rental housing market is also exceeding expectations, noting that the marking has “bounced back” after a shortfall caused by Covid and travel restrictions as a lot of London rental homes are for overseas workers, tourists and students.

General News 

Property Week reveals that British Land has reported strong half-year results as it swung back into positive territory for the first time in four years. Darren Richards, head of real estate at British Land said “Retail was struggling before the pandemic, but we flipped it around as retail parks really rebounded well during the Covid period.”. The value of the group’s portfolio rose 2.9% to £9.84bn, boosted by a 7.1% increase in value for retail parks. British Land added that its office developments in London had seen strong take-up. Canada Water and Aldgate Place Phase 2 now have 718,000 sq ft of tenant commitments, while the space at 1 Broadgate is either fully pre-let or under option.

Property week reveals that WeWork has reported a further loss of $3.83bn (£2.85bn) for the nine months to 30 September 2021, in its first results since going public last month. The flexible workspace operator’s net loss increased 43% on the $2.6bn net loss for the nine months to 30 September 2020. However, the company’s $844m loss for Q3 was a marked improvement on the $999.4m loss it posted for Q3 2020. The company also reported $661m in total revenue, up 11% on the $593m total revenue for the previous quarter.

Property week reveals that Landsec has reported improved figures across the board for the six months to the end of September. The group, which has an £11bn portfolio with around 70% of value in the Central London office market, net tangible assets rose 2.7% to 1,012p per share. The group, which announced a four-point growth strategy in October last year including diversification into mixed-use properties and disposals in hotels, leisure and retail parks sectors, said it expected customer demand to remain resilient for the remainder of the financial year. Earlier this month, Landsec bought a 75% stake in MediaCity, the UK’s biggest tech and media hub outside London, for £425.6m, just two days after announcing the purchase of regeneration firm U+I for £190m. Landsec also reveal what Allan called the real estate’s “first fully-costed” carbon reduction plan.