A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs
Hammersmith and Fulham
Architects Journal reports that WilkinsonEyre and engineer WSP have won approval for the new Old Oak Common station in west London, which is being billed as the ‘best-connected rail station’ in the country. Backed by High Speed 2 (HS2), the application was waved through by the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation on the 19th May. Once up and running in 2026, it is estimated 250,000 people will pass through the 14-platform ‘super-hub’ every day.
Kensington and Chelsea
Architects Journal reports that Grenfell Tower refurbishment practice Studio E Architects Ltd has entered voluntary liquidation, owing more than £140,000 to creditors. The company, which earlier this year took the stand at the official inquiry into the 2017 fire at the west London building, appointed Alan Clark of Carter Clark as liquidator at the end of April.
EG reports that Landsec has submitted plans for a zero-carbon office development in Southwark. The REIT is seeking permission to transform 25 Lavington Street into a net-zero-carbon mixed use scheme, with some of the 1950s printworks retained and two new buildings of 10 and 15 storeys erected. The redevelopment will create around 540,000 sq ft of offices and 17,000 sq ft of shops and leisure.
Property Week reports that foreign exchange services company Argentex Group has let a 12,000 sq ft office for its headquarters at 25 Argyll Street in London. Argentex Group will move from its premises on Old Bond Street, held since 2015, to accommodate the group’s expanding workforce.
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland has pledged that the redesign of Grosvenor Square will create a more biodiverse, natural haven in the centre of London. This transformation will be delivered through the astute conservation of existing natural assets in the square and enriching new design elements. To understand the extent of existing assets in the square, and risks to them, Grosvenor are working with experts from Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.
Property Week reports that British Land has reported a £1.2bn slump in the value of its property empire as the Covid-19 pandemic takes its toll on the group’s embattled retail portfolio. For the year ending 31 March 2020, British Land’s portfolio valuation slid from £12.3bn to £11.1bn, marking a 10.1% drop. The FTSE 100 REIT said that the drop was driven by a 26.1% fall in values in the group’s retail property, which it blamed on the “ongoing structural challenges compounded by the impact of Covid-19”. Overall, the group collected 68% of the rent originally due for the March quarter (97% for offices and 43% for retail), which equates to 91% adjusting for rent deferred, forgiven or moved to monthly payments.
Property Week reports that the British government is on the hunt for 4m sq ft of industrial space for a potential electric vehicle ’gigafactory’. The mammoth requirement from the Department for International Trade (DIT) is for an electric vehicle research, development and manufacturing plant in the UK. Property Week understands that Tesla is linked to the search for the site.
Property Week reports that Gavin Barwell, who was chief of staff to former Prime Minister Theresa May, has been appointed as a non-executive director of Arcadis, the design and consultancy group for natural and built assets. Gavin will be providing strategic advice to Arcadis’ UK leadership team and further developing the company’s housing and urban regeneration plan.
Property Week report that The Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) Coronavirus will lead to a “surge” in subletting in the London and Dublin office markets. SIOR said its members had already seen a flood of enquiries from office occupiers seeking advice on subletting surplus space. SIOR said that corporate occupiers in major European cities, such as London and Dublin, will use only 25% to 30% of their offices during the coronavirus recovery period and are therefore looking to lease out the remaining space.