A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs
Property Week reports that cinch, an online used car marketplace, is opening a headquarters in London. The company has taken 20,400 sq ft of space at the Fjord Building in London’s King’s Cross. Avril Palmer-Baunack, executive chairman of Constellation Automotive Group, said: “We’re excited about our move to King’s Cross, which offers a fantastic location for our new headquarters and will support our rapidly growing business.”.
Ham&High reports that the UK’s main network provider of 5G internet, Three, has put proposals to Haringey Council for a 52-foot mast and three cabinets on a section of pavement in Archway Road. Around 15 objections have been lodged to date (June 18). Three says the plans offer the community ‘reliable’ internet network, increasing speed. TFL said they will not support the plan if the footway width is reduced to less than 3 metres. Cllr Paul Dennison (Lib Dems, Highgate) said “Highgate is a conservation area, so applications that detract from that cannot be justified”.
City of London
Architects Journal reports that Morris+Company and Freehaus have won £19 million to revamp the City of London School. The redevelopment masterplan will reconfigure and upgrade facilities within the campus and create new ‘flexible, inviting and inspiring’ learning spaces. Morris+Company founding director Joe Morris said: ‘The brief called for a project that would be net-zero carbon in construction and in use, as well as providing students with autonomy in their learning environment’. The development will include new courtyard buildings, single-storey extensions and improved circulation spaces.
Bisnow reports that the Canadian firm, Brookfield, completed the largest single-asset London deal, where it paid £635M for Plantation Place in the City of London. Brookesfield is also completing a deal to buy a portfolio of business parks for £720M. Brookfield is buying Arlington from TPG. Arlington is a business parks company that owns four assets totalling 1.6M SF in London and the South West. Brookfield is also buying Milton Gate, another office in the City of London, for more than £200M, which would take its London and UK office spending past £1.5B this year.
Kensington & Chelsea
Property Week reveals healthcare provider Babylon Healthcare has taken a new 65,000 sq ft office at 1 Knightsbridge in Central London. The company is set to relocate by moving into the 1st and 4th floors of WPP’s building, which it will lease until 2021. Mark Kleinman, director at James Andrew International, said the space had recently been fully refurbished to a “high standard” and that Babylon had been provided with a turnkey solution.
Property Week reports that Kajima Properties has signed Loomis Sayles, a global investment manager, as tenant at 77 Coleman Street, in the City of London, on a 10-year lease. Loomis Sayles has taken 8,115 sq ft of the 83,000 sq ft BREEAM ‘Excellent’ site, which offers a 4m-high, 3,200 sq ft reception space, coffee shop, shared workspace and three terraces. Kajima Properties managing director John Harcourt said: “More than ever, occupiers are demanding exceptional quality: after a year of remote working, offices now need to be worth the commute, and we are proud that 77 Coleman is clearly hitting the right note.”
Hammersmith & Fulham
Property Week reports that broadcaster ITV is moving to the BBC’s Broadcast Centre in White City, west London, bringing its 2,000-strong London staff together for the first time. ITV will take 120,000 sq ft on a 13-year lease at the Broadcast Centre from the BBC and said the move will also contribute towards its previously announced cost saving target. ITV’s London staff are currently split between two central London locations – Waterhouse Square, Holborn and 200 Gray’s Inn Road – and WestWorks in White City, where its daytime teams are based.
HammersmithToday reports on Sir Howard Davies casting doubt on the economic viability of Heathrow expansion of a third runway. Initially, Mr Davies, concluded that it would provide more local employment and boost the economy. However, in a recent interview, he said “I would have to redo the numbers to see if the economics made sense”. Paul McGuinness, Chair No 3rd Runway Coalition said, “ the leading advocate of Heathrow’s expansion now doubts that an economic case can even be made for the project. This is before one considers the noise, air pollution and carbon impact the project would have…the time has surely now come for the government to rule out Heathrow Expansion, once and for all.”
BrixtonBuzz reports on Homes for Lambeth eyeing up Larkhall Park in Stockwell as its next site to build more housing in the borough. The Council’s property development company is hoping to push 78 private apartments, and 45 at council rent level around Larkhall Park. Improvements to the Larkhall Park, a popular space for locals, is also referenced in the early plans. However, there is no sign how parts of the park may be placed in shadow once the new apartments are built. A planning application is expected by the end of June. A final decision will then be made by the Planning Applications Committee before October.
Property Week reports that the secretary of state for housing has refused planning permission for U+I and the London Fire Brigade’s £500m mixed-use scheme at 8 Albert Embankment in Lambeth. Robert Jenrick called in the application this time last year and has now decided to refuse planning permission. He said that “overall, the heritage harms are not outweighed by the public benefits of the scheme” and that there is “significant” harm to existing residents from loss of daylight and sunlight.
Wandsworthsw18 reports further delays for Wandsworths proposed pedestrianisation. Under the proposals drawn up by TfL’s highway engineers, traffic would be re-routed away from Wandsworth High Street onto Armoury Way, which would become two-way. The works would be part of the town centre regeneration to boost local business and the local economy. Work was originally scheduled to commence in 2017, and was then delayed until 2021, but is now expected to be put back further. Leader Ravi Govinida said the delays were brought about by TfL furloughing staff for much of 2020 as a result of the pandemic, including the team working on this project.
Heart of London Business Alliance is championing public realm investment for the Piccadilly, St James’s, Leicester Square and Charing Cross parts of the West End. This includes transforming the public realm of Charing Cross Road and St Martin’s Lane to create new pedestrian priority routes, widened footways, safer cycling routes, a pedestrian priority diagonal crossing at the Leicester Square station junction and safer junctions across this the West End. The proposals include creating a new public square in front of the National Portrait Gallery (NPG). St Martin’s Lane can be transformed into a pedestrian priority space from midday to midnight.Heart of London is also backing investment in:
- Sackville Street to complete a key pedestrian link between Piccadilly and Regent Street and the final piece of the East Mayfair programme of public realm schemes.
- Creating a new Arts Quarter on Panton Street, Whitcomb Street, Oxendon Street and Orange Street. Working with Placemaking London, Publica, NRP and Futurecity to develop placeshaping proposals for these West End lanes.
- Piccadilly Green Park Gateway – completing the remaining section of the 2012 Piccadilly two-way scheme, to create a spectacular arrival for visitors to the West End.
Property Week reports that The Crown Estate’s chief executive has warned that the business has another “difficult year ahead” after the value of its London portfolio fell by £700m year on year. Unveiling its full-year results, Dan Labbad said: “What the pandemic has thrown into sharp relief is that challenge and uncertainty are the new normal and there is no doubt we will face another difficult year ahead, but with the progress of the vaccination programme and our collective resilience as a society, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic.” He added: “What the last 12 months has taught us is that stability is something you have to really fight for. We were living under the illusion of control and stability, but the pandemic has taught us that it’s not there.” The results showed that the value of its London portfolio fell from £8.4bn to £7.7bn and the void rate rose from 4.7% to 8.2%.
Building reports that the future of the Holocaust Memorial, set to be located in the shadow of the Palace of Westminister, will be decided by the housing minister next month. Christopher Pincher will make a final decision over granting it planning permission before the end of next month, a year and a half since it was called in for ministerial approval in November 2019.
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland has opened its first fully serviced office 25 EP in Victoria at 25 Eccleston Place.Able to accommodate a total of 600 members, the 30,000sqft building will offer private offices and open plan co-working spaces for 2 to 50 people. Charles Howard (Director of Offices at Grosvenor Britain & Ireland) stated that “the pandemic has accelerated demand for agile office space and flexibility from landlords. We’ll continue to meet the changing needs of customers and their staff by increasing the range and flexibility of our office spaces and leases. If current demand for 25 EP continues, we will scale this product as we have with concepts like plug and play.”