Weekly planning news from the central London boroughs

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


Architects Journal reports that Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has unveiled designs for an extension to the British Library that will introduce significant new commercial space at its Euston headquarters. The project, backed by a joint venture developer team led by Stanhope and Mitsui Fudosan UK, includes 72,000 sq m of office space, 10,000 sq m of library facilities, and a new home for the Alan Turing Institute. The scheme involves the demolition of buildings on the site north of the library, including the Long and Kentish-designed British Library Centre for Conservation (BLCC), which will be relocated elsewhere in the scheme.

City of London

 Estates Gazette reports that Investor Wing Tai is closing in on a £259m deal to buy Deloitte’s Midtown offices at 66 Shoe Lane, EC4, with contracts due to exchange “imminently”. The offices house several divisions of accounting giant Deloitte. Wing Tai is set to acquire the offices from Henderson Park and Endurance Land. 66 Shoe Lane comprises 156,997 sq ft of office, retail and ancillary accommodation arranged over basement, ground and nine upper floors.

 Property Week reports that city deals have slumped to their lowest level since 2004, according to Savills’ City Office Market Watch. Take-up in the City had dropped by 59% in 2020 compared to 2019, with take-up recorded at 6.8m sq ft in 2019 compared to 2.7m sq ft in 2020. December 2020 recorded 301,307 sq ft of take-up, which was up sharply from November’s take-up figure of 109,313 sq ft. Some 3.7m sq ft is due to complete in 2021, 35.5% of which is already pre-let, leaving 2.3m sq ft of vacant space. Looking forward, 2022 has 2.9m sq ft in the pipeline, and 5.1m sq ft is scheduled for 2023.

Hammersmith and Fulham

 My London reports that plans have been put forward to restore Harrods Wharf and use it to provide a south-side dock for a temporary Hammersmith to Barnes ferry. Architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands (LDS) and entrepreneur and philanthropist Jamie Waller have submitted a planning application to Richmond Council for a sea container-inspired building to act as a new ferry terminal. It is estimated that 16,000 pedestrians and cyclists used to travel across the Hammersmith Bridge each day before it was closed last summer. Transport for London (TfL) is currently procuring an operator for a temporary ferry crossing, as an interim measure, while repairs to the bridge are made.


 Costar reports that Dorrington has secured law firm Leigh Day for 28,360 sq ft of offices at its Panagram development in Clerkenwell. The law firm has signed for the space over five floors on 12-year leases at the newly completed development. Moving from its headquarters in St John’s Lane, Farringdon, Leigh Day is said to be moving in recognition of the increased need for improved workspace as it invests in the future wellbeing of its staff. Panagram is a 52,000 sq ft remodelled office space across nine floors designed by architect Buckley Gray Yeoman. Located close to Barbican and Farringdon stations, it will have 22,000 sq ft of CAT A and fully fitted space remaining, over four floors.

Kensington and Chelsea

 My London reports that developer Capco have submitted plans for the first stage of its Earls Court development in West London. In the coming years, thousands of new homes are to be built in Earl’s Court, alongside shops and business premises. It’s likely the settlement, which crosses over both Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham, will be the size of a small town. The first part of the development will be located opposite West Brompton Station, in Old Brompton Road, and include a nine-storey block with 51 flats, of which 23 will be “affordable”. The planning application comes from the Earl’s Court Partnership Ltd (ECP), a joint venture between Transport for London, property giant Delancey and Dutch pension firm APG.


 Brixton Buzz reports that Lambeth council are looking to appoint a delivery partner to implement the redevelopment of International House and the Pop Brixton site. The intention is that the scheme will provide 6,500m2 of office space, with 20% being “affordable” (defined as 65% of market rates) and 235 homes of which 50% will be delivered as affordable housing (70% social rent/30% shared ownership/London Living Rent). The council is expecting a cash return for the sites from the developer, who will be granted a lease of at least 250 years on the sites in return. According to a council spokesperson, the council are looking for “prospective partner that shares the values, aspirations and priorities of the council and is committed to working with both the council and local community.”


Southwark news reports that Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals have officially joined in a merger with the Royal Brompton and Harefield. The new enlarged Trust will see the Royal Brompton forming a ‘clinical group’ within the organisation with the aim of transforming for lung and heart conditions. The longstanding plan means children’s services at the Royal Brompton will move to an enlarged Evelina in around five to six years time. Trust bosses hope to build a new centre for heart and lung conditions at St Thomas’. Both will be subject to public consultation.

 Tower Hamlets

 Architects Journal reports that early designs for a new Chinese embassy complex on the former site of the Royal Mint have been revealed in a pre-application document. The complex, which is designed by David Chipperfield Architects, will include homes, offices and a cultural centre. Under DCA’s plans, Dexter House will be stripped down to its core and redeveloped into an eight-storey residential building for embassy staff. The Grade II*-listed Johnson Smirke building, which sits in the centre of the site, is set to be turned into the main embassy building. DCA is proposing to clean and refurbish the building’s exterior. The Seamans Registry building, which sits in the north-west of the site, would be turned into modern office space for the embassy’s various departments under DCA’s designs.


Property Week reports that DTZ Investors has forward-funded The Collective’s 260-unit co-living scheme in Battersea. The scheme, which will be located on Chatfield Road, will provide 35% of affordable housing, which will be available to rent by people with starting salaries of £22,000 per annum. When completed it will be the third asset in the fund following the forward funding of The Collective Harrow (announced October 2019) and The Collective Earlsfield (announced October 2020).


 City AM reports that Property giant Capital & Counties has seen the value of its central London estate fall by around £275m in the second half of 2020, as the landlord was hit by Covid-19 lockdowns. Capco, which manages over 1 million sq ft of space in the West End, suffered a 27% yearly drop in value for its Covent Garden estate to £1.8bn. Ian Hawksworth, Chief Executive of Capco, has said he remains confident in the long-term prospects for Covent Garden and the West End, particularly given the recovery in footfall and trade following easing of the lockdown measures in the second half of 2020.

 The Evening Standard reports that Premier Inn owner Whitbread has agreed a deal to open a new 366-bedroom hotel and restaurant in Paddington. Whitbread signed the lease with Invesco Real Estate and YardNine as part of the latter’s mixed-use development at 40 Eastbourne Terrace. The site will comprise a 275-bedroom Premier Inn, a 91-bedroom hub by Premier Inn, its smaller room brand, and a Bar + Block Steakhouse restaurant. This news comes despite the pandemic’s severe impact on the travel and hospitality sectors.  Construction is due to start later this year with the hotel set to open in late 2023.

Estates Gazette reports that RDI has completed the £59.25m sale of 127 Charing Cross Road, to Japanese investor Nomura Real Estate, with planning permission in place to add three extra floors to the building. Nomura will have the option to increase the size of the property by around 41%. The disposal price reflects a net initial yield of 3.1%, based on the contracted rental income. RDI acquired the property as part of the AUK portfolio acquisition in March 2016 for £42.6m. The disposal price therefore reflects a 39.1% increase in value since acquisition.


 Property Week reports that Covid-19 has hit London’s Central Activities Zone (CAZ) more than other major cities but a rapid recovery is “possible”, according to an interim report by the Mayor of London. The arts and culture sector were highlighted as being particularly risk with more 26,000 jobs on the line, in addition to London’s night-time economy. The report into the future challenges and opportunities facing central London predicts that in the worst-case scenario, with continued repeated lockdowns, 97% of the economic output of West End arts & culture could be lost. In the best-case scenario, the sector could lose 10% of economic activity. The Mayor commissioned the research from Arup with Gerald Eve and the London School of Economics to help City Hall understand emerging trends in the capital city.