A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs
Architects Journal reports that design fees for the renovations to London Euston station in preparation for the High Speed 2 rail line have now surpassed £100m. Grimshaw and Arup landed the Euston concept design job in 2012 but were replaced by WilkinsonEyre with WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff in February 2017. The original team was brought back for the detailed design work a year later. Arup have been paid £92.2m, whilst WSP have pocketed £13.2m. The overhaul of Euston station will eventually create 11 new 400m-long platforms, a new concourse and improved connections to local Underground stations. The scheme will also include a new northerly entrance facing Camden town, as well as new east-west links across the whole station site. New ticket offices for the London Underground, better facilities for buses and taxi ranks also feature in the plans. A spokesperson for HS2 said: “Once complete Euston will be more than a station. Not only will it be one of the best transport hubs in Britain but a new place for London that will restore and enhance a piece of the city.”
EG reports that Turkish investor Esas Holdings has put 124 Theobalds Road up for sale with an £89m price tag, reflecting a net initial yield of 3.64%. The firm has appointed Michael Elliott to find a buyer for the 1950s-built property, which is let to advertising agency MediaCom and Vodafone but also provides a redevelopment opportunity.
City of London
Architects Journal reports that Architecture00 + Studio Weave (00SW) have won a competition to redesign the Finsbury Circus Gardens and Pavilion, fighting off rivals Alvisi-Kirimoto Partners, Feilden Fowles Architects, Hall Mcknight and Studio Ben Allen with Paul Archer Design. The competition invited architects to draw up a £2.8m proposal to restore and redesign the Grade II-listed 2.2ha green space, which formerly hosted a bowling green before more recently being used as a Crossrail construction site. OOSW’s winning design includes a one-storey pavilion built from natural materials such as stone and terrazzo, which will house a café and event space. The pavilion will overlook a large lawn, an ‘urban forest’ and a range of new pathways. Oliver Sells, chair of the City of London Corporation’s Open Spaces and City Gardens Committee, said: “The winning bid very successfully captured our vision for a biodiverse, 21st-century park which respects the historic nature of the site and complements the buildings that surround it.”
EG reports that the City of London has created a virtual reality map of the financial district to act as an aide to office developers. The map will include every building, lamppost, window and traffic light to within 2cm of accuracy. The virtual reality map is a collaboration between the City of London Corporation, Innovate UK, the UK’s state-backed innovation agency, New London Architecture and VU. CITY, whose software builds a “digital twin” of the physical city. Alastair Moss, chair of the planning and transportation committee at the City of London Corporation, said that “working in VR gives us, as committee members, the possibility to experience proposed change to the Square Mile before making the decisions that will forever change the future of the City”.
EG reports that New York based Alfred Equities has put One Alie Street up for sale for £98.5m. The price reflects a net initial yield of 5.24% and a capital value of £906 per sqft.
Building reports that Bishopsgate Goodsyard scheme in Shoreditch is due to be taken in by the mayor in December – six years after the developer first sent plans in. The mixed-use scheme is joint venture between Hammerson and Ballymore, which sent its revised proposals to the Greater London Authority last year. The proposals include 500 homes and 130,000 sq m of workspace. A spokesperson for Hammerson and Ballymore has said: “We believe our plans now provide a considered scheme of the highest quality that will transform this derelict site into an exciting development that provides real opportunities and benefits for Shoreditch and for London.”
Hammersmith and Fulham
South London Press reports that the task force set up to manage the restoration of Hammersmith Bridge has announced that ferries to help schoolchildren and key workers cross the Thames beside the bridge will be in place “early next year.” The announcement came from their third meeting, which took place on 1 October. This comes after the council leader Stephen Cowan said on 18 September that the council had set itself an “ambitious target of the end of October” to get the ferries up and running.
City AM reports that Islington Council has revoked the certificate of lawfulness to open an Ocado distribution centre next to Yerbury school, accusing the company’s landlords, Telereal, of providing “false and misleading evidence” and “withholding material information” to secure the licence. This move by the council marks a significant victory for local campaign group “NOcado”, who challenged the planning application earlier this year, claiming there “serious failings and irregularities” in the landlord’s application. Labour councillors in the area also welcomed the decision on Twitter. The decision could be a major setback for Ocado’s ambitions to have depots closer to shoppers to cut delivery times. Ocado has said that it will continue to consider all options with the landlords.
Kensington and Chelsea
Development Finance Today reports that Investec Structured Property Finance has provided Fairway Capital with £34.5m for the acquisition and redevelopment of nine luxury homes in Belgravia and Knightsbridge. This is the first acquisition by the Fairway Capital Property Fund. The homes include a mixture of lateral apartments on garden squares, as well as mews houses; once redeveloped they will benefit from the latest sustainable building design. Fairway Capital will utilise Leconfield Property Group, which has developed over 150,000 sq ft of London residential property with a GDV in excess of £500m.
Brixton Buzz reports that Lambeth Council have approved the first phase of their Central Hill demolition/rebuilding proposals, despite strong opposition from local residents. Those speaking in favour of the development were Savills, the architects behind the new proposed development and Homes for Lambeth, the council’s housing company. The decision means that 31 new homes will be delivered at Truslove House and Roman Rise. According to the council, these homes “will form the first phase of the rebuilding of Central Hill, and these new homes will be prioritised for local residents and contribute to the local area.”
Housing Today reports that developer Joseph Homes has received recommended approval from Southwark council for the Old Kent Road tower scheme. Known as Sylvan Grove, the 32 storey-residential tower and five-storey commercial building will provide 219 tenure-blind homes, 35% of which will be affordable with 33,000sq ft set aside as light industrial workspace for SMEs. The scheme will also include associated public realm and a new public square. The architects on the project are HTA.
East London Adviser reports that the London Assembly’s planning chief has slammed Tower Hamlets Council for approving new housing that would cut off direct emergency vehicle access to a nearby 18-storey tower block. Andrew Bough strongly criticised the decision, saying that it “should not have gone ahead.” The scheme to build 32 new homes and expand the Brunton Wharf estate next to the Limehouse Cut into a “car free zone” was agreed by the council’s planning committee last week. The scheme would house 32 new flats for social renting across two blocks of nine and four storeys respectively.
Wandsworth Borough Council reports that the new lost cost housing development at Lascelles House is now complete. The scheme, which is part of the council’s Housing for All programme and will deliver 1,000 homes for the borough’s residents and local workers, was opened last week by deputy leader Cllr Kim Caddy. Lascelles House will provide a total of eight 1-2-bedroom flats, with an additional seven houses on the same road. All of the homes are affordable, available at social rent. The development takes its name from that of local war hero, Acting Captain Arthur Moore Lascelles.
Westminster City Council has appointed Elad Eisenstein as its new Oxford Street Programme Director, a key appointment to the team that is working with local groups and partners to develop ideas and deliver on the Council’s investment in this district within the West End.Trained as an architect and urban designer, Elad is a cities and regeneration expert with two decades of experience specialising in leading, designing and delivering complex and large-scale urban projects across the globe.
Westminster City Council has this week continued the Examination in Public (EIP) for Westminster City Council’s Draft City Plan 2019 – 2040.This weeks hearings have been discussing economy and employment; connections; design and heritage; and infrastructure. You can watch all the previous sessions and keep up to date with future hearings here.
Costar reports that plans to ‘transform’ London’s Regent Street to become greener, cleaner, safer and more accessible have been unveiled by The Crown Estate and Westminster City Council. The new designs include widened pavements, the introduction of a single-vehicle lane in each direction, cycle lanes and parking and enhanced bus stops. The designs also include tree planting and greenery, which will help to improve biodiversity and air quality. Construction began this week and is due to be completed by Christmas.
Property Week reports that Singapore-based Suntec REIT has bought a 50 per cent stake in Nova Properties – two office buildings and ancillary retail space in London’s West End – from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for £430.6m. Landsec, the building’s developer and asset manager, will retain the remaining 50% stake. The adjacent buildings are well-connected, situated next to Victoria Station and have a combined net lettable area of 559,103 sq ft, with 14.1% available for retail. There are currently 17 office tenants and 18 food and leisure tenants. This deal represents Suntec REIT’s first foray into the UK, with its other properties located in Australia and Singapore.