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 reports LBS Properties has signed up three tenants to its Verse Building on Old Street in east London. Kaizen PR has taken 2,121 sq ft on a three-year lease, joining Telrock and Clubhouse Studios, which have also taken 2,121 sq ft each at the building. The Verse Building has 17,000 sq ft of space across eight floors. Colliers International and Cushman & Wakefield advised on the lettings.

EG reports that GPE, Helical, Landsec and Nuveen have all been linked to a potential £40million sale of the 60 Aldgate plot on the 500,00 sq ft Minories Estate scheme owned by 4C Hotels and Transport for London.

Property Week reports that Evans Randall Investors has let a floor of its Midtown office building, Bureau, to the world’s largest online gaming website. Miniclip has signed a 10-year lease for the second floor of the building at £70/sq ft, with a break clause at year seven. The business will occupy 9,500 sq ft of the building and will join anchor tenant AB Inbev, which signed for the building as it opened in 2018, and law firm Carter Ruck.

Property Week reports that AXA IM’s letting to US co-working operator Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) at 22 Bishopsgate is hanging in the balance with stakeholders questioning whether the deal will go ahead. The flexible workspace provider is under offer for space in the new City of London tower, having agreed heads of terms on a letting at the end of last year. The lease would mark its UK market debut. However, a senior industry source with knowledge of the situation told Property Week that it looked increasingly likely the operator would walk away from the deal.


Hackney Citizen reports that Holborn Studios is celebrating another victory in its legal battle for survival after Hackney Council’s decision to allow Galliard Homes to demolish it was found by the courts to be “unlawful”. Holborn argued that the Town Hall failed to publish important information on how a contribution of £757,000 by developer Galliard Homes towards affordable housing, which it says falls “well below the expectations of policy”, had been arrived at.

Hammersmith and Fulham

EG reports that Westfield London is planning to convert its 104,000 sq ft House of Fraser department store into co-working space. The move is part of a wide ranging mixed-use strategy set in motion by landlord Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. It has filed an application with Hammersmith & Fulham Council proposing a change of use for the four-level anchor store by splitting it into two separate spaces, comprising offices and some retail. Initial plans show the offices component would take up around 68,400 sq ft.

New Civil Engineer reports that designs for a temporary cycling and pedestrian structure to run alongside Hammersmith Bridge have been revealed ahead of a key planning meeting this week. As revealed by NCE in November last year, TfL tasked consultant Pell Frischmann to draw up detailed designs for a temporary cycling and pedestrian crossing adjacent to Hammersmith Bridge, while repair work is carried out to the Victorian structure. Alternative plans for a £5M temporary road and cycle bridge parallel to the 133-old-year structure were tabled by marine engineering consultant Beckett Rankine last October, but were rejected by TfL, Hammersmith & Fulham Council and Richmond Council.


Islington Gazette reports that proposals to build 1,000 new homes on the former Holloway Prison site are now up for consultation. Developer Peabody has created a draft masterplan for the Parkhurst Road development, which includes up to 1,050 new homes and the potential for 12-storey buildings and is inviting residents to leave their feedback.

Kensington and Chelsea 

Property Week reports that Ruby Group has unveiled plans for its third hotel in London. The firm will develop a 173-bed hotel in Notting Hill, in conjunction with Frogmore. The new hotel is called Ruby Zoe. This new hotel will be within walking distance of Kensington Palace and Hyde Park. It is currently is scheduled to open in 2023.


Wandsworth Guardian reports that plans for a metal recycling centre in West Norwood have received nearly 1,000 objections. Southwark Metals has submitted a planning application to Lambeth Council to construct a purpose-built 1,915sqm industrial shed for metal recycling, as well as an office building, at the end of Windsor Grove, former home of West Norwood Car Breakers. The street is bordered on one side by a residential estate and a Royal Mail delivery office on the other.

Architects Journal reports that the communities secretary has intervened on Pilbrow & Partners’ proposals to overhaul the former London Fire Brigade headquarters on Albert Embankment. Jenrick called in the application for his decision after it had been approved by Lambeth Council. The scheme would create more than 400 homes, a 200-bed hotel and some 10,000m2 of office space as well as a modernised fire station and related museum. But the government received more than 200 requests for it to call in the application and will ask a planning inspector to report on the proposals’ compliance with local and national planning policy, particularly regarding conservation of the historic environment.

Tower Hamlets 

Property Week reports that Hadley Property Group has completed the acquisition of Blackwall Yard in east London. The 4.2-acre riverfront site, which is near Canary Wharf and faces the O2 Arena across the Thames, includes 850 homes, a primary school, shops, cafés and a sustainable transport hub. Plans also include the conversion of the historic Blackwall Yard Graving Dock, closed to the public for more than 50 years, into an outdoor swimming pool. Hadley bought the site with shareholder and funding partner Peterson Group.

Inside Housing reports that the Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Committee has written to housing secretary Robert Jenrick requesting that he release all relevant documents relating to the controversial Westferry Printworks planning approval. Clive Betts, chair of the HCLG committee, has waded into the row over Mr Jenrick’s approval of the 1,500-home east London development, arguing that the ongoing controversy could lead to an “erosion of trust” in the planning system.


Inside Housing reports that contractors have re-started tunnelling work on the £5bn Thames Tideway project. All but essential and safety-critical activities on the 25km super sewer were put on hold at the start of the coronavirus lockdown. In recent weeks, a series of detailed safety reviews has enabled contractors to implement measures to protect workers and the wider community. Work is now taking place on 21 Tideway sites, including underground tunnelling from Fulham to Acton and tunnelling of the smaller Frogmore Connection Tunnel in Wandsworth.


EG has published an in-depth conversation with Cllr Rachael Robathan regarding her first 5 months as Leader of Westminster City Council. In the piece Cllr Robathan discusses her desire to foster a better relationship with the developer community stating ‘we want developers to develop her, absolutely… but it has to be development that works for our residents as well.’ Read the full interview in EG’s latest edition here.

The Evening Standard reports that men’s fashion magazine GQ signed a deal with the property developer revamping Britain’s Tin Pan Alley to display interviews on its vast screens. The Outernet, at the corner of Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road, will see vast floor-to-ceiling LED advertising screens built within a huge cube. The development also features an overhaul of musical instruments mecca Denmark Street and a 2,000-capacity music venue below ground. The exact content GQ will display has not been decided but is likely to include the magazine’s typical online content – from video interviews to tech reviews – projected.


The Mayor of London has warned that he will be left with no choice other than to make significant cuts across the Metropolitan Police, London Fire Brigade, Transport for London and the Greater London Authority. Overall, the GLA Group faces a forecast £493m budget shortfall over the next two years as a result of an unprecedented loss of business rates and council tax income, caused by Covid-19.  He has committed to take an immediate 10 per cent pay cut – and to freeze the salaries of his 15 direct appointments.

Joanna Averley, a founding director of CABE and head of urban design at High Speed 2, has been named as the government’s first female chief planner. A qualified town planner, Averley will formally take up her position at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in September.