Weekly planning news from the central London boroughs

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

City of London 

Property Week reveals that competitive socialising operator Clays has signed a 15-year-lease for a 10,400 sq ft basement space at Kajima’s 77 Coleman Street development at Moorgate in the City of London. Spanning two floors, the experiential venue will offer a digitised clay pigeon target shooting experience using state-of-the-art technology. Tim James, investment director at Kajima, said the growth of competitive socialising looked set to continue “with consumers keen to spend more on experiences”. He added: “In these challenging times for the hospitality and leisure sector it is great to see an occupier like Clays looking to the future.”

Property Week reveals that Generali Real Estate is returning to the London property market with the acquisition of Times Square, an office building situated in London’s Queen Victoria Street. Located at 160 Queen Victoria Street, close to St Paul’s Cathedral and the London Stock Exchange, the Times Square building comprises seven floors, two underground levels and features large terraces. It is currently under refurbishment with completion expected at the end of 2022 and hosts the headquarters of BNY Mellon as the main tenant. Aldo Mazzocco, head of private markets and real assets said: “As part of our investments strategy in the most interesting and dynamic cities across continental Europe and beyond, we confirm our conviction about London as one of our main investment targets of our strategy.”

Property Week reports that Social media giant Snap Group has completed the deal to move to HB Reavis’ office block Bloom in Farringdon. Snapchat’s parent company will let 115,000 sq ft in Clerkenwell as part of its office expansion. Snapchat currently occupies the whole of Columbia Threadneedle’s 7-11 Lexington Street – 12,570 sq ft across four floors. Its parent company Snap Group took around 20,000 sq ft at 77 Shaftesbury Avenue on a 10-year lease in late 2016 for its international hub.


Islington Tribune reports that planners are set to approve designs for a new building at a popular adventure playground. The 1980s-built timber framed hut at the Cornwallis Open Space in Upper Holloway is being wrecked by rot and now faces demolition. In its place, Islington will build a metal-clad alternative. “The erection of a new building would be less financial cost than prolonging the lifespan of the existing building and the new build can efficiently facilitate more events and meetings for the local community such as councillor’s surgeries.” a council report said.

Kensington and Chelsea

Kensington and Chelsea Council’s planning committee voted last night (18 November) to deny permission for Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ controversial designs for shops, offices and 50 homes around South Kensington Station, despite planning officers recommending its approval. The planned redevelopment of land around and within the Grade II-listed station included office and retail floor space and 50 homes, 17 of which would be for Discount London Living Rent, all housed in a series of buildings up to five storeys in height. It would also have provided step-free access from the street to the District and Circle underground lines. The project, a joint venture between Native Land and Transport for London (TfL), had attracted 2,197 objections including from the local MP Felicity Buchan and five councillors. Critics had attacked its proposed density and massing and had argued that RSHP’s contemporary designs were ‘bland’ and not in fitting with the local streetscape.


Brixton Blog reports that Lambeth council’s planning sub-committee tonight (23 November) unanimously agreed, for a second time, plans to demolish part of the Cressingham Gardens estate and build new housing there. Committee chair Joanne Simpson summed up the feeling of the councillors on the committee, saying that the public benefit of the extra affordable homes the plan would produce “outweigh the heritage harm”. The new block will be built by the council’s wholly owned development company, Homes for Lambeth. According to the application, they will replace an existing 59 rooms in the Ropers Walk block on the edge of the estate with 70 new ones. Some 49 0f these will be rented at low cost levels and 21 at intermediate levels. Some of the homes will be available for shared ownership schemes.


Architects Journal reports that Southwark council has granted planning permission to Waugh Thistleton Architects for this 21-home council housing block, which could be built from timber. The practice said most of the new homes are triple aspect so as to provide natural cross-ventilation and heating from the sun, while deep recessed balconies are designed to mitigate overheating. The new building will be clad in light-coloured brick with a design inspired by the pinwheel plan used by the two neighbouring seven-storey blocks: Forbes Court and Gould Court. Residents of those blocks with housing need will have priority for the new homes before they are offered to people on the council’s housing waiting list.

Construction Enquirer reports that the developer British Land has signed the first major building contracts for the vast Canada Water regeneration scheme in London. Alongside British Land, Wates, Mace and McAleer and Rushe 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.

Architects Journal reports that a team led by dRMM and featuring emerging practice Okra has won Southwark Council’s competition for a mixed-use regeneration scheme on Old Kent Road. The duo was selected through the south London council’s new framework for the ambitious net zero carbon project to deliver 200 homes and 1,900m² of commercial space on a former industrial estate. Located at 711-717 Old Kent Road, the post-industrial site – formerly the Folgate Estates – will be transformed to feature new housing and light industrial spaces to better serve the local community. Key elements will include new pedestrian routes from Old Kent Road through to a planned future ‘Livesey Park’ and ‘vibrant yard space’ tailored to the employment needs of local businesses.

Tower Hamlets 

Architects Journal reports that in January 2020, Gove’s predecessor Robert Jenrick approved PLP Architecture’s design for 1,524 homes at the Westferry Printworks site, despite a planning inspector’s strongly worded recommendation to block it. But the government agreed to reopen the planning inquiry after Jenrick admitted he had ruled swiftly on the plans in order to save developer Northern & Shell £45 million in community infrastructure levy charges. Now Gove has ordered the Westferry Printworks plans to be thrown out, following a planning decision made by his colleague Eddie Hughes, the minister for rough sleeping and housing. The planning inspector provided a new report on the PLP application with updated advice on factors such as viability, a new Tower Hamlets and London plan and a new CIL charging schedule. Prentis reiterated many of his previous concerns with the scheme, saying that PLP’s design ‘seeks to maximise capacity, resulting in a proposal of excessive height, scale and mass which would fail to respond to the existing character of the place.’


South London Press reports that Tooting’s former police station could be turned into 68 new homes. Plans will be submitted to bring the unused police station back to life. The developers Telereal Trillium bought the Grade II listed building earlier this year and have been working on plans to protect, restore and enhance the building to provide new homes and a space for the community. There will be around 68 one, two and three bed rooms and wheelchair access for about seven new homes. Telereal Trillium want to maintain and restore as many existing internal features as possible from the structure which was built in 1939. This includes a main staircase, former gym, communal corridors and walls with terrazzo flooring.


Property Week reports that CBRE has unveiled its new UK headquarters at Henrietta House in London following an extensive redevelopment programme. The redesign for the entire site was developed by MoreySmith and includes a 40,000 sq ft new-build extension to the rear of the building, taking the total footprint to around 144,500 sq ft. The new design will also facilitate hybrid working patterns for CBRE’s London-based 2,000 employees. The human-centred design prioritises employee wellbeing by maximising natural daylight throughout. New amenities include two professionally run onsite wellness studios, more than 260 cycle spaces and outside terraces on the first and seventh floors.

The mayor of London has called in Berkeley Homes’ plans to build 556 homes on the site of the former Paddington Green Police Station after they were refused by Westminster council in September. Berkeley had proposed three buildings of 15, 18 and 32 storeys, providing 38% affordable housing on site and 40,000 square feet of offices. Westminster councillors rejected the plans, despite approval from its planners, on the back of concerns about the scheme’s height and its heritage and amenity impacts. Under delegated plans from the mayor, the deputy mayor for planning, regeneration and skills Jules Pipe has now written to Westminster to say the plans have been called in.


Property week reports that Apache Capital has joined forces with investment giant KKR to back Moda Living’s build-to-rent (BTR) platform. The investment firms will invest £610m to fund the delivery of BTR projects in cities across the UK that will be developed and operated by Moda. Site have already been identified in Birmingham, Brighton, and London. The developments will deliver over 4,000 apartments that are purpose-built and designed for rent as part of a £1.7bn development pipeline. Tony Brooks, managing director at Moda Living, added: “With the backing of Apache Capital and KKR we will deliver the next generation of build-to-rent neighbourhoods that will set new standards for style and service while meeting the growing demand for high quality rental housing that is responsive to modern lifestyles.”

Architects Journal reports that Ab Rogers Design has won this year’s Wolfson Economics Prize of £250,000, which sought concepts to ‘radically improve’ NHS hospitals. The winning concept proposed a new generation of smaller, 200-bed hospitals with redesigned common areas and workspaces imagined as a ‘third carer’, supporting patients alongside medical staff and friends and family. The prefabricated, modular design of 12 storeys features a rooftop social space for staff and volunteers and an internal shell of cross-laminated timber so that wards can be easily partitioned into isolation rooms. Each tower would also sit above a podium featuring a community marketplace, allowing the hospitals to act as ‘anchor institutions and centres of wellness’.