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

Dezeen reports that Architecture studio Foster + Partners has revealed updated visuals of The Tulip tourist attraction in the City of London displaying its interiors and base. Foster + Partners created the updated visuals ahead of the public inquiry into the planning application for The Tulip viewing platform, which began last week. The visuals show several spaces including The Tulip’s Sky Bar, which would be built within a glass dome at the tip of the structure. There are also images of The Tulip’s viewing galleries as well as visuals of the Aspire London Space education and community facilities. At the base of the tower, Foster + Partners plans to create a small park and a two-storey, glass-walled pavilion which would be topped with a rooftop garden. Although the structure was approved by the City of London planners in 2019, the Mayor later rejected the planning application due to its height, which violated the City’s planning policy. This led to Foster + Partners to launch an appeal in January of this year. The government will now make a final decision on whether the attraction will be built.

Architects Journal reports that Dexter Moren Associates has submitted plans to convert the Grade II*-listed Wood Street Police Station in the City of London into a five-star hotel. After deciding to build a new headquarters near Fleet Street earlier this year, the City of London Police sold the Wood Street building to Hong Kong-based Magnificent Hotels, which is behind the latest scheme. Dexter Moren’s proposals will add a two-storey extension to the north of the existing tower and will see cells become a public whisky bar and stables a public restaurant on the ground floor. A hotel ballroom will be created on the second floor. The second basement level will be turned into conference, meeting, leisure and spa facilities, with the floor above dedicated to restaurant and back-of-house areas.

Architects Journal reports that KPF has submitted plans for a 33-storey tower scheme in the City of London. The high-rise retail and office scheme for Hong Kong-based developer Tenacity is set to replace a 10-storey steel-framed block built on the site at 70 Gracechurch Street in 2002, which houses commercial space and a Marks & Spencer store. Plans for the proposed tower show that floors 11 to 32 will be entirely given over to office space with public spaces on floors 29 and 30. This is the second major tower proposal to be put forward by the developer within the City over the past few months. In August Tenacity submitted plans by Fletcher Priest for a 32-storey office skyscraper at 55 Gracechurch Street just 100m away.


The Hackney Gazette reports that a new neighbourhood in Hackney Wick’s Olympic Park has just launched its first phase. The neighbourhood, which is going to be called East Wick and Sweetwater, includes plans for more than 1,800 new homes shops, schools and community spaces. The development, which is part of the Olympic Park legacy project, promises affordable homes provided at social rent, affordable rent and shared ownership, alongside privately rented apartments, market sale apartments and larger townhouse-style homes. James Zamchick, director at East Wick and Sweetwater said: “East Wick and Sweetwater is built to be different. Our homes have been built to be lived in and we want to create a place that adds to the area’s already flourishing community.” 

Hammersmith and Fulham

My London reports that Hammersmith residents have called on Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick to halt Dominvs Group’s 23-storey hotel development on Talgarth Road. Local people have expressed their strong opposition to the scheme, citing concerns over height, traffic and visual impact to the local area. The hotel scheme is set to include 842 bedrooms, a gym and restaurant. A spokeswoman for Mr Jenrick said the Hammersmith residents’ request had been received but a decision has not yet been made. Dominvs expects the hotel to be built by 2024.


Construction Enquirer reports that Islington Council has appointed Diamond Build to construct 24 new council homes on the Harvist Estate in Hollway. The new homes will be built in two terraced blocks ranging from two to three storeys in height and will include a mix of two-bed, three-bed and four-bed houses and flats. The homes will be built on vacated land, which includes a stretch that backs onto the railway tracks next to Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. Diamond Build is scheduled to start on site this month and complete the development in 2022.

Kensington and Chelsea

The Evening Standard reports that Arrival, a UK electric vehicle start-up that recently secured funding to expand, is set to double the size of its Kensington Village headquarters. The firm has signed a deal with landlord, Schroder UK Real Estate Fund, to increase its office size at the Kensington Village site to around 80,000 sq ft from 41,000 sq ft. Kensington Village, home to former Victorian warehouses which have been redeveloped into workspaces, is already used by a number of Arrival’s teams, including leadership, HR, and software engineering. Arrival is a global business with offices across the USA, Germany, Netherlands, Israel, Russia and Luxembourg. 


Building reports that four firms are in the running to build one of first phases at Grosvenor’s £500m build-to-rent scheme in Bermondsey on the site of an old biscuit factory. The south London scheme was given the go-ahead this year after the project was called in and taken over by the mayor of London last May. The 1,548 homes development on the site of an old Peek Freans biscuit factory has since increased the amount of affordable housing after it was turned down for planning by Southwark council last year. Balfour Beatty, Multiplex, Mace and Wates are believed to have made the shortlist. The £90m first phase job involves turning the former biscuit factory building into a mix of retail, cultural and community space at ground floor, with office and residential above. The Bermondsey scheme, which Grosvenor have been working on for the past seven years, will also have new play and public spaces, pedestrian routes and 150,000 sq ft of employment space. 

Tower Hamlets

Building Design reports that Tower Hamlets and Hackney Councils are divided over the Bishopsgate Goodsyard development, which is set to go to the Mayor for a final decision on 3 December. The 10-acre mixed-use development in Shoreditch, which spans the border between Tower Hamlets and Hackney, is being masterminded by a joint venture team of Hammerson and Ballymore. The team submitted its revised proposals for the site to the Greater London Authority last July. Whilst both Tower Hamlets and Hackney have signalled that they support the project in principle, the latter has raised concerns about the project on “design and historical grounds.” In a recently published planning report, Tower Hamlets Council said it had no objections to the scheme receiving planning permission whilst Hackney’s report said it objected to the proposed works in the listed building consent application. If the scheme receives approval from the Mayor next the month, it will deliver 500 homes of which half will be affordable and 1.4 million sq ft of workspace.


Bdaily reports that Developer Avanton has completed the £120m Coda mixed-use development in Battersea, celebrating with a ‘first of its kind’ celebrity event. The site, which comprises 130 apartments, a hotel-style foyer, club lounge, gym, landscaped gardens, and a new global headquarters for the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), welcomed a range of stars for a one-night ‘test drive’. Omer Weinberger, chief executive officer at Avanton, commented: “The celebrity “test drive” at Coda was an eye-catching way for Avanton to launch and promote the newly finished apartments and penthouses at the development which are now available for buyers to move into immediately.”


The Evening Standard reports that property investment and development company Derwent London has announced that it will commit to building a £400m office development on Baker Street, despite the continuation of widespread remote working. Chief executive Paul Williams said: “The significant operational progress made in the third quarter and the group’s strong financial position give us the confidence to commit to our next major development at 19-35 Baker Street.” The £400 million project comprises 293,000 square ft of space, of which around 200,000 square ft is offices. Derwent expects construction to start in the second half of next year and complete in 2025.

Property Week reports that investment turnover in London’s West End in October reached £1.09bn, spread across 10 transactions, according to the latest research from Savills. Whilst cumulative annual turnover (which now stands at £2.97bn) remains 50% below the previous five years’ average, 2020 is the highest October volume ever recorded in the West End and represents 37% of the total annual transaction volume to date. Key deals include a 50% interest in The Nova Estate, SW1, which CPPIB sold to Suntec for £430.6m, the freehold interest in 158-159 New Bond Street, which SEB sold to the building’s sole occupier, Chanel, for £310m, and White City Place, W12, which Mitsui Fudosan / Stanhope sold to Cadillac Fairview for £235m.


EG reports that Maurice Investments is to sell four office buildings in Central London for a combined £122.5m. The firm is seeking offers in excess of £87.5m for adjoining buildings Classic House and Bentima House at 168 – 180 Old Street, EC1 and bids of at least £27m for Wool + Tailor, a 26,448sqft building in Aldgate at 10-12 Alie Street, EC1. It is also looking for around £8m for 55-66 Russell Square, WC1.