Building Magazine reports that plans for HS2’s Euston terminus have been pared back further with the reprieved station to feature just six platforms. The original decision had proposals for 11 platforms in order to cope with capacity for the now-abandoned route to Manchester. However, the terminus at Euston will now be delivered with just six platforms, almost half of its original scope. Rishi Sunak yesterday confirmed that the job – mothballed since earlier this year – would be completed, albeit under new management and with a downsized scope.
City of London
The City of London Corporation has appointed Bhakti Depala as its Assistant Director of the City Development and Investment Unit. Ms Depala has taken up the post from 1 October 2023. Bhakti has been the Head of Planning Delivery for The City Corporation for the past 18 months. Prior to this, she has been working within the City’s Planning Development Team for 10 years, before working at the London Boroughs of Camden, Lambeth and Wandsworth. At the City Corporation, Bhakti has lead on high profile tall building and major complex schemes in the Square Mile, from pre-application to delivery, providing strategic oversight on major development schemes and has been involved in the development of the City’s award-winning Wind and Thermal Comfort Guidelines.
Building Magazine reports that LOM Architecture and Design has completed its retrofit of NatWest Group’s 250 Bishopsgate headquarters building in the City of London.The practice’s transformation of the 11-storey steel-and-glass structure – designed by EPR Architects in the late 1990s – was carried out over multiple phases during and after the covid-19 pandemic, with the building remaining in use throughout.
Property Week reports that hospitality group Whitbread has acquired the freehold interest in New London House in the City of London from unnamed clients of Orchard Street Investment Management for £56.5m. The firm said it planned to seek planning consent to repurpose and extend the 89,722 sq ft office, retail and restaurant building at 6 London Street into a hotel-led, mixed-use development with a mix of complementary uses on Crutched Friars and London Street, together with new public spaces.
City of Westminster
Property Week reports that Footwear brand Dr Martens has chosen London’s Oxford Street for its newest store amid an uptick in activity on London’s premier shopping street. The brand’s newest store at 184-188 Oxford Street comprises more than 6,000 sq ft of retail space over three floors, located on a corner at the north side of east Oxford Street. Dr Martens has signed a 10-year lease with landlord The Langham Estate, which was advised by Savills.
Westminster City Council has approved plans for a new MOCO Museum to London’s Marble Arch on 3 October. MOCO Museum was established in 2016 in Amsterdam, with a second opening in Barcelona in 2021. MOCO is famed for its wide range of modern and contemporary art, with 60% of MOCO visitors being museum first-timers. MOCO will take space in the refurbished building at 1-4 Marble Arch on the corner of Marble Arch and Great Cumberland Street, recently completed by The Portman Estate.
EG News reports that smaller investments dominated a slow summer for real estate dealmakers in London’s West End.Savills tracked £248m of deals during August, half of the £482m recorded a year ago and less than a third of the £821m from August 2021.
Islington Council has appointed Victoria Lawson as its new Chief Executive. She is currently Executive Director of Environment, Culture and Customer Services at the London Borough of Hounslow, where she has held senior leadership positions for the last seven years. She is also Chair of the London Environment Directors Network.
Kensington & Chelsea
In Kensington and Chelsea, controversial proposals for an office scheme at the former M&S building on 81-103 King’s Road are set to go to committee. The plans, which have received over 1,300 objections to date, would the existing four-storey building with retail units knocked down in favour of a new office block and roof terrace. However, M&S said it had managed to agree with the landlord its shops would be allowed to remain in retail space at the new development at 81-103 King’s Road. Concerns have been raised by nearby residents’ associations over noise, overlooking, and loss of light to their properties.
Building Magazine reports that Michael Gove has delayed a decision for a second time on plans to redevelop ITV’s former South Bank studios. The communities secretary had been due to make a final call on the controversial demolish and rebuild scheme by tomorrow (6 October) but has now said he will issue his decision on or before 6 December. A decision had originally been due by 8 August, with the scheme having been called in by Gove’s predecessor Greg Clark last August. The office led-proposals, drawn up for developers CO-RE and Mitsubishi Estate, would replace ITV’s 24-storey former studio headquarters at 72 Upper Ground with two blocks of 26 and 13 storeys.
Property Week reports that British Land has secured planning consent for a 140,000 sq ft, multi-level last-mile logistics scheme in Southwark. The scheme, on a site close to the junction of New Kent Road, Old Kent Road and Tower Bridge Road, is the latest in British Land’s 2.9m sqft pipeline. The former Southwark Council car pound will be redeveloped to feature four floors of logistics space serving Southwark and central London, which will be available to a range of prospective occupiers.
Property Week reports that Landsec has committed to delivering its 380,000 sq ft Timber Square development in Southwark in full in a show of the confidence in London’s prime office market. Landsec had put main works on the scheme on pause, along with other office developments such as the refurbishment of Portland House in Victoria, but has now confirmed it will press on with plans to complete Timber Square before the end of 2025, having appointed Mace as construction manager.
EG News reports that Merlin Entertainments, the company behind leisure attractions including Alton Towers, Legoland and the Peppa Pig theme park, has signed for new office space in London. The company will take a floor at the Arbor building, 255 Blackfriars Road, SE1.
The Telegraph reports that offices vacancies in Canary Wharf have reached a 30-year high, with the district already preparing for the next phase of its history as HSBC and other big-name businesses desert the district. A new lifestyle hotel (Tribe), an immersive art space (Illusionaries) and the arrival of some of London’s best food offerings like Dishoom and Mercato Metropolitano, hint at a future – much like in the City – where the experience economy could take centre stage.
Wandsworth Council has announced a partial review of its Local Plan, with ambitious targets to increase affordable housing provision on new developments from 35% to 50%. The Council is now launching a public consultation on the revised plan, which it claims will radically improve affordable housing delivery for families and help tackle housing waiting lists in the borough. The proposed increase will apply to all new developments in the borough, not just large ones.