A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs
Architects Journal reports that Camden Council has approved an architect’s ‘flamboyant’ self-build forever home – a fairytale-inspired scheme dubbed the Cloud House. The local authority’s director for supporting communities used delegated powers to approve Peter Morris’s plans for a pair of houses with elaborate pink façades at 20 Vicar’s Road in north London.
Property Week reports that Singaporean investor Sun Venture has bought One New Oxford Street for an undisclosed sum. The 110,000 sq ft freehold was sold by Nuveen Real Estate on behalf of Central London Office Fund and British Airways Pension Trustees. One New Oxford Street is fully let and generates a total average annual rent of just over £7.7m. Fashion retailer H&M has pre-let six floors for its UK headquarters and Amazon subsidiary Twitch has taken the remaining three floors.
City of London
Property Week reports that South African commercial bank Nedbank has signed a lease for the 8,685 sq ft seventh floor of 12 Arthur Street in the City of London. Nedbank has taken the space on a 10-year lease with a break clause in its fifth year.
The Evening Standard reports that Actor Timothy Spall and his wife Shane have made an emotional objection to the “constant cacophony” of building work close to their City of London apartment. In an objection co-signed by the five-times Bafta award-nominated star they said they and their neighbours “deserve peace in our homes, and the freedom to open our damned windows”. It is one of more than 100 lodged with the City of London Corporation in opposition to plans to modernise, extend and add three storeys to an early Nineties building at 150 Aldersgate Street.
With the gradual re-opening of the London’s hospitality sector Alastair Moss, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee, has stated that “During the weekend and in the days that follow, my colleagues and I are looking forward to bars, pubs, cafés and restaurants reopening in the City, thereby, seeing a degree of normality returning to the area. As long as we continue to follow Government guidelines and maintain social distancing, the safe, sustainable and gradual return of people to the Square Mile is to be warmly welcomed and encouraged.”
City of Westminster
EG reports that landlords in the West End are devising plans to protect their businesses and support those of tenants as the shopping and entertainment destination emerges from lockdown to face low tourist numbers. A key issue will be embracing flexibility. James Cooksey Director for Central London at The Crown Estate stated ‘flexibility in terms of lease length and time is one thing but use is also really important. From a Westminster perspective, they see that the old dynamics are shifting and certainly appear willing to have a much freer conversation over use than perhaps they would have done previously. I think policy is moving towards that.’
On Saturday 4 July, up to 60 temporary schemes to create ‘pedestrian-friendly, al fresco dining zones’ were put into action. Bars and restaurants were given the opportunity, on a scale unseen anywhere else in England, to reopen and welcome back customers in an outdoor environment. While not all schemes launched at the weekend it was hoped the plans would help support the city’s hospitality sector. Cllr Rachael Robathan, Leader of Westminster City Council, said “After months of quiet streets and shuttered doors, some of our City’s most famous areas are today able to become hubs of safe, al fresco dining and enjoyment.”
Hammersmith & Fulham
My London reports that the temporary home of Fulham Boys School in West Kensington looks set to be demolished and turned into 100 homes. The school building, which was formerly Gibbs Green School, is being used by Fulham Boys School until September when its new classrooms in Fulham Road will be complete. Beyond that, land owner Hammersmith and Fulham Council has agreed a strategy of redeveloping the old school buildings in Mund Street.
Kensington & Chelsea
The Guardian reports that the builders behind the Grenfell Tower refurbishment are finally set to face public questioning over the June 2017 fire that killed 72 people, as the delayed public inquiry resumes on the 6th with strict social distancing rules that have angered the bereaved. Hundreds of survivors, families and residents are among those who will be prohibited from attending the hearings, which will be conducted with only the inquiry panel, led by Sir Martin Moore-Bick, witnesses, their lawyers and cross-examining inquiry counsel present in the Paddington hearing room. Everyone else is being invited to follow proceedings online.
PBC Today reports that Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust chose Linkcity to deliver the Triangle site on the St Thomas’ campus. The project will see the delivery of an innovative new generic shell and core building that enables fit-out flexibility for healthcare and potentially co-located complementary research and teaching facilities. The Triangle development will provide increased capacity for the existing Evelina London Children’s Hospital (ELCH). The new hospital will offer much-needed facilities, including surgical theatres and imaging suites, for children and young people from across south London and south east England.
Architects Journal reports Adjaye Associates has revealed images of a memorial in Brixton to Cherry Groce, who was wrongfully shot in her home by police in 1985, sparking the Brixton riots. The practice designed the installation for Windrush Square to act as a pavilion for the community as well as a place to remember Groce’s life.
EG reports that Southwark Council is to invest £138.5m to develop 581 social-rented homes in the first development site for its Aylesbury estate regeneration.
The Evening Standard reports that the Mayor last month proposed abandoning the GLA’s current home on the South Bank of the Thames, between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, to save £55m over five years. He suggested converting The Crystal, a small conference centre in the Royal Docks beside the Emirates cable car and renaming it City Hall. Under questioning from the London Assembly, Mr Khan’s most senior aide admitted the Mayor would also have an office at the Palestra skyscraper building in Southwark that is currently home to Transport for London. David Bellamy, the Mayor’s chief of staff, said this would make it easier for the Mayor to attend regular meetings in central London, such as at Scotland Yard.
Building reports that details have begun to emerge of a Foster & Partners tower planned for a site directly opposite the Shard. The 108m tall tower will replace a 1960s building called Colechurch House which, although in Southwark, is actually owned by the City of London Corporation. The mixed-use scheme will be split into four elements providing a total of 46,200 sqm of space, most of which will be for offices with some retail space. A restaurant will be located on a corner plot on Borough High Street opposite London Bridge station, where Renzo Piano’s Shard is located. A four-storey basement will also be excavated to house a theatre, a bar, bicycle storage and affordable workspace while a large public realm area will be created at ground level.
IPE Real Assets reports that UK affordable housing investor Funding Affordable Homes (FAH) has bought a £28.5m (€31.5m) development in London. The social impact company has invested in the Island Point development south of Canary Wharf in London’s Docklands from City Pride. Island Point, located close to the River Thames at 443-451 Westferry Road, comprises 173 affordable homes, made up of 109 social rented, 33 Affordable rented and 31 shared ownership homes.
Building Design reports that PLP has been asked to work up detailed designs for Westferry Printworks despite planning consent being quashed after housing secretary Robert Jenrick admitted his decision could have appeared biased. Northern & Shell, the lottery and property company owned by former tabloid publisher Richard Desmond, said in its annual accounts this month it was confident the infamous 1,500-home scheme would finally win approval before the end of the year. As a result it said it was taking the financial risk of asking the architect to plough ahead with detailed design in order to “lose as little time as possible in the development and sales programme” of the £1bn east London project.
London News reports that Wandsworth’s Town Hall could be transformed with a new public entrance, gardens, walkways, housing and flexible working space. An emerging masterplan for the site was discussed at last week’s finance and corporate resources overview and scrutiny committee. While still in its very early stages, with no design or planning application yet, a few key changes have been discussed. These include improved access across the site and into the town centre, new and improved public spaces, a new rear entrance to the town hall and a new customer contact centre. New public spaces are proposed between the rear of the town hall and the proposed development of Ram Street, and should be pedestrian friendly.
EG reports that WiredScore has brought together some of the leading landlords, developers and tenants from across the globe to launch the world’s first smart building council in preparation for certification fro smart buildings. The council will work with WiredScore to establish criteria and standards that properties must meet to be certified smart in advance of launching a new smart certification. Smart Council Members include Allainz Real Estate, British Land, Deliveroo, Derwent London, Great Portland Estates and Legal and General.
EG reports that Sports Direct owner Frasers Group has told landlords that it intends not to pay rents until trading ‘reaches a level ‘ that parties would have ‘envisaged’ when the lease was agreed. According to a letter seen by EG the retail group is ‘willing’ to enter further discussions with landlords on its proposal. However it told landlords that it will not make any rental payments until the group is ‘fully able to freely trade as a business’ at affected locations.
Property Week reports that research conducted by Savills has ranked London as the most resilient investment market during Covid-19. London scored 74.2 out of 100, while other cities in Savills’ top five included Paris (72.7), Berlin (63.1), Stockholm (57.9) and Frankfurt (56.5). The scores were based on metrics including the Covid-19 Government Response Stringency Index from the University of Oxford; retail and tourism GVA; growth forecast; five-year investment volumes; five-year average share of office / multifamily / cross-border investment; post-GFC investment volumes and recovery.