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 that Brookfield Properties has completed the sale of One London Wall Place to Middle Eastern investors AGC Equity Partners for £480m, reflecting a 3.8% net initial yield. The 310,000 sq ft office building in the City is fully let to Schroders as its headquarters. Brookfield acquired the development in 2012 and unveiled the building in 2017 in partnership with Oxford Properties. The developer will retain Two London Wall Place and continue to manage and operate the one-acre public realm of the London Wall Place site.

 Architects journal reports that a competition has been launched for the £19m revamp of Square Mile’s City of London School. The competition which has been launched by New London Architecture (NLA) on behalf of the City of London Corporation, is searching for a team to deliver an ‘innovative and sustainable’ upgrade of Postmodern complex which overlooks the River Thames. The £19 million project represents the second, third and fourth parts of a multiphase masterplan to deliver an expanded capacity for 1,040 students drawn up by Tim Ronalds Architects last year. Six shortlisted teams will each receive £1,000 to draw up a technical and commercial submission in the second phase of the competition. The team selected for the latest, estimated £630,000 contract will deliver the second, third and fourth phases of the masterplan. The deadline for applications is midday, 18 December.

Costar reports that CBRE Global Investors is set to buy Atlantic House at 45-51 Holborn Viaduct from German firm DEKA for £250m, for a -3.75% yield. If the deal completes, it will mark one of the largest office transactions this year, topping off a streak of acquisitions for the investment manager. In March it completed its £330m acquisition of Premier Place on behalf of Malaysia’s EPF, which followed the £185m purchase of 280 Bishopsgate at the end of last year, which GI bought alongside Arax. Atlantic House is single-let to London and US-based law firm, Hogan Lovells. Hogan Lovells is however said to be considering relocating from the building having instructed Cushman & Wakefield to identify potential office headquarters of up to 300,000 sq ft. 


 The Hackney Citizen reports that the Britannia Leisure Centre is set to be abolished as plans to redevelop the site in Shoreditch Park proceed. The council is due to consider proposals to appoint a main contractor for the second phase of the project, which would see the demolition of the original leisure centre with a new replacement centre alongside a new school and 93 homes, of which 48 will be council social rent and 33 reserved for shared ownership. The council hopes that the scheme will “improve the ecological value” of the area, through improved landscaping and public realm, with significant reductions in carbon emissions delivered by a proposed energy centre on the Colville Estate serving the area.

Hammersmith & Fulham

The Evening Standard reports that proposals for a new temporary “double decker” crossing over Hammersmith bridge have been announced. The proposal, which has been drawn up by Foster + Partners and specialist bridge engineers COWI, would include an upper level to be used by cars and buses and a lower level for pedestrians and cyclists. This design would allow for repair and strengthening work while the bridge was in use. The plan has been drawn up at the request of Sir John Ritblat, the former boss of British Land, who was approached for help by the council’s leader Stephen Cowan after the bridge was closed to pedestrians in August. The temporary decks would be removed once the cast iron bridge is fully repaired by around 2027.


 The Islington Tribune reports that £1.6m is set to be pumped into the Caledonian Road area in a bid to “unlock its potential.” The project, which is called ‘We are Cally’ includes improvements to Bingfield Park, “people-friendly streets” and more affordable workspaces for small businesses. The rejuvenation project also includes plans to redevelop the Jean Stokes Community Centre and West Library. The council is investing £1.25m in the We Are Cally improvement programme and has secured an additional £350,000 grant from the Greater London Assembly (GLA). The council’s community chief, Cllr Una O’Halloran, said: “There is so much potential to build on the great work already taking place in the Cally, and I’m really excited by the possibilities that the We Are Cally programme could create – including these fantastic new spaces that everyone can really make the most of.”

Kensington and Chelsea

 My London reports that Kensington and Chelsea Council is continuing its campaign to keep the world-class Royal Brampton Hospital in the borough after a proposed merger with Guys and Thomas’ Hospital. The Brompton’s governors are due to vote on the merger on December 15. The council’s new planning guidance which is out for consultation until December 30 would mean any developments on the Chelsea site would have to keep and enhance medical and healthcare uses, thus minimising concerns that it could be redeveloped to provide luxury flats given the high land value.


Southwark News reports that an appeal against the Elephant and Castle regeneration scheme’s planning permission will be heard in March 2021. The appeal, which is focused specifically on the number of affordable homes and housing for social rent within the scheme, is scheduled from March 16 and 17. Jerry Flynn, a local housing campaigner, is spearheading the legal challenge on behalf of the 35% campaign, which pushes for developers and Southwark Council to uphold affordable housing commitments. Planning permission was given in 2019. A legal challenge to reverse the decision was unsuccessful later the same year.

Tower Hamlets

Costar reports that Hong Kong listed Far East Consortium International has shaved seven storeys off its plans for a £250m tower development in Canary Wharf during Pre-Application discussions, as it prepares to submit plans for its redevelopment of Ensign House. The tower, which was originally planned to be 62-storeys in height, would have been amongst the tallest in the country. The £250m residential led mixed-use development scheme is being led by Maccreanor Lavington and has a target completion date in 2023.


Property Week reports that student accommodation provider Unite Students acquired an 800-bed development from Travis Perkins in Paddington for £150m. Subject to planning approval, the scheme has a target delivery for the 2023/24 academic year. Discussions are already underway with surrounding universities for partnership to support the scheme through planning, with a view to agreeing a long-term nomination agreement. The development will incorporate design features to reduce its embodied and operational carbon, supporting Unite’s ambition to net zero development and operations. It will also include a new ground floor retail unit for Travis Perkins. Richard Smith, chief executive of United Students said “Our latest land acquisition means we have now secured £175 million of new development opportunities since our recent placing. This is a rare opportunity to acquire a zone 1 central London site in an excellent location, which will help to meet the growing accommodation needs of our London-based University partners.”

The Evening Standard reports that new images have been released showing how the Whiteleys shopping centre in Bayswater will be reborn as part of a new £1bn residential, retail, dining and hotel complex. The Grade II listed mall has stood on the site since 1911 when Whiteleys was one of London’s first luxury department stores. Under new plans designed by architects Foster + Partners it will be transformed into 139 apartments and townhouses, 20 new shops and restaurants, a cinema, a large-scale gym, and a Six Senses hotel and spa – the first in Britain – with 110 rooms, as well as its social wellness club by 2023.  The project is a joint venture between property investment firm MARK and Hong Kong developer C C Land with luxury homes specialist Finchatton acting as development manager.