A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs
Architects Journal reports that Coffey Architects have won a competition backed by the likes of Ed Sheeran and the Irish Ambassador, to redevelop the London Irish Centre in Camden. The London Irish Centre which opened in the borough in 1955, was originally set up to provide support to immigrants from Ireland arriving in the capital. The scheme will see the site transform from a collection of buildings into a single 4,200m² flexible space. The redevelopment will also include a new community café and kitchen, large venue, wellbeing centre, therapy garden and shop. Work is set to start on the site in 2022 with the intended finish date at the end of 2023.
Construction Enquirer reports that designs for the £200m Moorfields eye hospital project at the site of the former St Pancras Hospital have been revealed. The new 39,500sqm hospital, known as project Oriel, will see the merger of Moorfields eye hospital and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology into a single unified facility designed by Aecom, Penoyre & Prasad and White Atkitekter. The scheme will go to planning committee in the coming weeks and a contractor is due to be appointed in September 2021. Current plans suggest the new facility will open to patients in 2025/26.
Property Week reports that BP has leased a 50,000 sq ft property in Fitzrovia from flexible office space provider TOG (The Office Group). The group will be the sole occupier of the building, where it will base more than a thousand employees and will be used as a custom designed innovation hub. The move is one of a number of significant deals with large corporates secured by TOG during lockdown. GSK took 35% more space in King’s Cross, while Ocado also doubled its space in Old Street to more than 8,000 sq ft.
City of London
Property Week reports that a report by Colliers has shown that half of office stock in the City of London is leased by firms occupying 50,000 sqft or less as SME’s and start-ups become increasingly popular tenants. Of this figure, 61% of tenants occupy spaces under 20,000 sqft. Whilst the banking, finance and professional services sectors consistently top the list as the city’s biggest office occupiers, Colliers also charts the growth in media and technology occupancy, which has increased from 2.3m sqft in 2009 to its current level of 7.2m sqft, a rise of 300% in just over a decade.
EG reports that Angelo Gordon and Endurance Land have put 1-5 London Wall buildings up for sale for £160m. The pair have instructed Cushman & Wakefield to find a buyer for the long leasehold over the Grade II listed property, which comes with planning permission to increase the net letable office and retail space to 220,554 sqft.
The Telegraph reports that Britain’s biggest banks, law firms and accountants have cancelled plans to bring thousands of workers back to the office following new advice from ministers – dragging the City back into shutdown and sparking fresh fears for London’s tottering economy. Some of the Square Mile’s biggest businesses have said that staff should work from home again just weeks after beginning to reopen, as the rules are changed amid a resurgence in Covid infections.
City of Westminster
Landsec and international real estate firm Hines announce the exchange of contracts on the sale of 7 Soho Square for a total consideration of £78m, reflecting strong demand for high quality office and mixed-use space in central London. The sale to the Hines Pan-European Core Fund (HECF) is expected to complete in mid-October. The sale price reflects a 4% yield.
A range of proposals to better manage buskers and street entertainers across the West End has been launched by Westminster City Council. Performances from musicians, magicians, comedians, artists and dancers are common on West End streets, but every year Westminster receives around 1,800 complaints relating to noise, obstructions and overcrowding caused by street entertainers. Following initial consultation Westminster City Council will now launch a consultation on plans that include introduction of licensing and promoting membership of the Westminster Busking and Street Entertainment Forum. Further details on the proposals can be found on the Westminster City Council website at www.westminster.gov.uk/busking
Planning Resource reports that Hackney council have approved the Woodberry Down regeneration scheme for a second time, after the application had to be revisited in light of the council’s new local plan introduced in July. The scheme was found to be compliant with the local plan, meeting several criteria on size and mix of housing, design and scale, sustainability and impact on transportation. Phase Three of the scheme is set to deliver 584 homes, with 42% affordable housing.
Hammersmith and Fulham
South London Press reports that there is consideration for building a new permanent bridge while Hammersmith Bridge is being repaired. The announcement came earlier this week during a public meeting, as council leader Stephen Cowan reported back from the first meeting of the government’s new taskforce. The council leader suggested that a permanent bridge may be more cost effective than a temporary crossing, which is estimated to cost £27.3m.
Inside Housing reports that Islington Council have accused Peabody housing association of retreating on their social rent pledge for the former Holloway Prison site. The site, which was acquired by Peabody last year, is set to deliver 1,000 homes for the borough, 60% of which will be affordable. Peabody originally promised that 42% of the scheme would be available at social rent, however purported comments made by one of the housing association’s project managers which suggest that this will instead make up 35% has led to a confrontation by the council. Peabody have said that they will continue to engage in discussions with the council and community.
Kensington and Chelsea
South London Press reports that Kensington and Chelsea Council will “not aggressively pursue rents” from commercial tenants during the coronavirus pandemic. The council, which usually receives £16.7m from local businesses per annum, received only £1.1m of the £4.1m rent that it was expecting in the first quarter of this financial year. The council has agreed that it will collect arrears no later than December 2021, although each business will be considered on a case by case basis. Without this income source, the council’s revenue account and general fund could be heavily impacted.
South London Press reports that developers Urban & Provincial have submitted a proposal to Lambeth Council to build more than 200 flats at the Norris waste processing plant between Herne Hill and Brixton. The scheme will include apartment blocks of between 5 and 11 storeys, a new public realm and private courtyard. Urban & Provincial have argued that the existing Brownfield site would provide an efficient use of space for much needed housing for the Borough. The scheme has already sparked opposition from Norwood Action Group, who have objected to plans to move the waste facility to their area.
The Evening Standard reports that Curlew Capital, on behalf of one of the funds it managers, has acquired a site on Spa Road in Bermondsey for £60m from CKC Properties where there is planning permission for a 185-bedroom student accommodation scheme. The scheme will include a cinema and rooftop terrace and is due to be complete in time for the 2022/23 academic year.
The Docklands & East London Advisor reports that the mayor of Tower Hamlets has warned anti-social tenants that they could forfeit the right to social housing. The message came this week in a housing allocation report during a cabinet meeting, which highlighted a shortage of council-owned properties. There are currently 19,000 people on the waiting list to receive social housing in the borough.
My London reports that Wandsworth Council has vowed to push ahead with plans to regenerate the Alton Estate in Roehampton in a move last week, after Welsh developers Redrow backed out last month in light of Covid-19 losses and problems with the two-tier planning system. Plans for the redevelopment include demolishing the existing buildings and replacing them with 9 storey towers which will deliver 1,000 new homes for the borough. The scheme is also set to provide a new library, health centre, children’s centre and shops. The council will now resume its search for a new development partner.
Property Week reports that Sigma Capital has launched a £1bn joint venture with Swedish investment giant EQT Real Estate to develop rental homes in London. Supported by Homes England with a £50m loan, the scheme is initially targeting around 3,000 build-to-rent homes in affordable parts of Greater London, predominantly in zones 3-6. All of the homes will be available at market-rate rents. It is expected that the homes will be completed over a period of five years.
Property Week reports that Oxford Properties Group has shaken up its European and Asia Pacific leadership team with new roles for Paul Brundage, Joanne McNamara and David Matheson. Paul Brundage, executive vice president of Europe and Asia Pacific, will move to Oxford’s parent company OMERS to take up the role of deputy chair of investments. Both Joanne McNamara and David Matheson have been promoted to executive vice president for Europe and Asia Pacific to replace Brundage. McNamara and Matheson will join the executive leadership team at Oxford and report directly to its president, Michael Turner.