Weekly planning news from the central London boroughs

A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs



Property Week reports that a collection of eight freehold hotel properties in London’s Bloomsbury is on sale for £37m total. Prices for each property range between £1.75m and £10m and predominantly have planning consent for use as hotel or hostel accommodation, but also offer development potential subject to planning permission, according to agent Colliers. The Bloomsbury portfolio spans a total of 250 beds and was most recently used as staff accommodation by a London hotel operator. Colliers has been appointed by the private owner to sell the entire portfolio or individual properties.

City of London

Architects Journal reports that Danish architectural practice 3XN and British Land have submitted an application for a 36-storey tower scheme in Broadgate. The proposals will see the demolition and replacement of the two existing 1980s buildings, which currently occupy the 2 and 3 Finsbury Avenue Square site. The new building would feature a 20-storey west tower and 36-storey east tower, connected by a 12-storey podium and would provide 85,000 sq m of office space, as well as a further 15,000 sq m of retail, storage and bar space. In line with British Land’s sustainability commitments, the development will be net zero carbon. The latest application supersedes an application for a 32-storey office tower, designed by Arup Associates, which was given the green light four years ago but never taken forward.

Property Week reports that Derwent has exchanged contracts to sell its 192,700 sq ft freehold interest in Johnson Building, 77 Hatton Garden and 5-7 Cross Street EC1 to Eurazeo Patrimoine. The headline price is £170m before rental top-ups of £2.4m for incentives and vacant space. Derwent acquired the space in 2000 for £29m, and in 2006 completed a significant refurbishment which increased the lettable area by 53%.Total rent for the multi-let buildings is £7.3m with around 40% of the income expiring in 2021.


Bdaily reports that the online money transfer service TransferWise has agreed to expand and extend its headquarters and lease at the Tea Building in Shoreditch. Once occupied by the Lipton Tea factory, the Tea Building was originally a block of early twentieth century warehouses, which have been redeveloped by Derwent London to provide a number of open spaces for businesses. TransferWise currently occupies 31,700 sq ft on a lease due to expire in December 2023 with a tenant break in May 2021 and has committed to a new five-year lease on 48,950 sq ft – an increase of 54 per cent. Darren Graver, office expansions lead at TransferWise, commented: “TransferWise is continuing to grow, and making sure we have the right space for our people is crucial for our future plans.

Hammersmith and Fulham

The Evening Standard reports that the £1.3b overhaul of the exhibition centre at Olympia London is set to include a 4,400-capacity live music venue. Olympia London owners Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International said they have signed a deal with live entertainment company AEG Presents, which promotes events such as British Summer Time at Hyde Park, and the Coachella festival in California, as well as artists such as The Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran and Elton John. The new venue will be built above the existing west exhibition hall and will be the biggest in west London, overtaking the Eventim Apollo, which has a seated capacity of 3,341. The development will also have a four-screen arthouse cinema, a 1,500-seat theatre, restaurants, shops, cafés, hotels and 550,000 sq ft of office and co-working space. The operators of the two hotels at the complex have also been named as citizenM and Hyatt Regency.


 Camden News Journal reports that Peabody, the developer behind the overhaul of the former Holloway Prison site, has confirmed that it is committed to providing 42% of new homes at social rent level, after securing a deal with the Mayor’s office for grant funding. This move comes after a spokesperson for Peabody previously appeared to backtrack on social rent promises, suggesting that only 35% of homes would be available at social rent – a 7% decrease from their initial pledge. Peabody has promised that 60% of homes will be “genuinely affordable.” Subject to planning, the scheme is set to provide around 1,000 new homes, with work on the first homes expected to be started in 2022 with the development completed by 2025.


South London Press reports that nearly 500 new homes are expected to be built above Nine Elms Station, which is part of the new Northern Line Extension. The extension of the Tube Line from Kennington is expected to open in autumn next year and will include two new stations at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station. Lambeth council first approved the original plans for 332 homes above the station in May 2016; since then the applicant has increased the number of homes to 479 and moved to a build to rent scheme with Connected Living London. The new scheme will include three residential buildings of 21 storeys, 16 storeys and 17 storeys, with 40% of habitable rooms classed as affordable. The scheme will also include new public realm and retail space. Last week, Wandsworth Council, a member of the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea regeneration area, voted to inform Lambeth that they have no objection to the proposed development. The scheme will now go to Lambeth Council for a final decision. 


 Property Week reports that Whitbread has announced its intentions to open a new London flagship hotel in Southwark. Working with partner Frogmore, Whitbread will open a 274-bedroom Premier Inn and Bar + Block restaurant off The Cut in Southwark. Whitbread has also created a new public park and courtyard as part of the development. The new hotel, trading as Premier Inn Southwark (Southwark Station), is located between Ufford Street and The Cut in Southwark. The development has been designed with sustainability in mind, achieving a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating. Derek Griffin, head of acquisitions at Whitbread commented: ““Premier Inn has a bright future in London and this latest opening is testament to our confidence in the city, the market, and our product.”

Tower Hamlets

 Property Funds World reports that Areal Bank AG has provided a three-year financing of approximately £54m for Scape London Canalside, a dedicated 400-plus student accommodation facility near Queen Mary University. The accommodation was built by Scape, an international developer and operator of student accommodation, and opened in September 2019. It offers a range of facilities including a fitness centre, cinema and study rooms as well as lounges. Christof Winkelmann, a member of Aareal Bank’s Management Board, said after the announcement: “Aareal Bank is increasingly focusing on financing student accommodation. Having financed various attractive properties around the world already, we are planning to further grow our exposure to this segment.”



 Property Magazine International reports that Brunswick Property Partners has acquired Carlson Court in Putney from the international business of Federated Harmes for £23m as part of its Akoya workplace venture. Carlson Court, located on Wandsworth Park, is a 45,000 sq ft vacant office building with views over the Park and the River Thames. BPP will carry out a comprehensive refurbishment and extension of the property to deliver a high-quality neighbourhood workspace campus. The campus will include a restaurant, café, gym, extensive parking and cycle facilities, in addition to a “park-scaped” courtyard and terraces overlooking the river. Jamie Acheson, Senior Director of BPP, said: “Carlson Court is a natural extension south of the river for our Akoya venture. This project provides an exciting opportunity to create a sustainable neighbourhood workplace that will appeal to local businesses and occupiers wishing to relocate from central London.” 


 The Evening Standard reports that KPMG’s restructuring practice have been appointed the administrators to Redcastle (214 Oxford Street) Limited, a property-owning subsidiary of Arcadia Group, which collapsed into administration this week. The company holds a long leasehold interest in Arcadia’s flagship Topshop and Topman store at 214 Oxford Street. Ed Boyle, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, today said: “Following the company entering into administration, we intend to work with the company’s creditors to assess options to protect and then realise the value in the 214 Oxford Street store.” KPMG is understood to have been lined up by creditors of the company, notably senior lender Apollo Global Management. Apollo provided a four-year senior loan secured against the building in December, at which point it was valued at around £400m.

The Evening Standard reports that Covent Garden Capco has revealed a number of new lettings despite current difficulties facing the retail sector. The companies that have inked deals include trainers retailer Kick Game, Belgian chocolatier Neuhaus and coat maker Mackintosh. Capco added that there are openings from jewellery brand Vashi and restaurant business The Big Mamma Group on the estate in 2021. The news comes as the property firm announced that it had received £105m from selling most of its interests in the Earls Court redevelopment scheme last year. Capco’s debts currently stand at around £700m.

Property Week reports that The West End is anticipated to be the fastest recovering area in London for commercial office space. According to research from bespoke managed office platform Kitt, West End offices are set to recover with figures revealing a 132% increase from the 50 enquiries made in January 2020. The figures show that Southbank has the second-best recovery rate at 56%, while the City and midtown areas including Holborn, Clerkenwell and Farringdon are slower to recover at 38%.