Roots in the Sky scheme due to be built by Mace and include over 100 trees on top of former court complex

The developer behind a £180m scheme in London that will see a mini forest built on top of the former Blackfriars Crown Court in Southwark is rethinking the project because of affordability issues, Building understands.

The seven-storey building on Pocock Street had been due to be carried out by Mace, with 385,000 sq ft of office and community space to be built alongside the rooftop green space.

This work involves planting a forest of over 100 mature trees along with 10,000 mature plants with around 1,300 tonnes of soil needing to be lifted to the rooftop ahead of planting.

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The scheme will include planting more than 100 trees on the top of the former Blackfriars Crown Court

But developer Fabrix is now understood to be taking a second look at the project amid concerns about the cost of the scheme, with the job believed to be facing a nine month delay as a result.

One source said: “At the moment, it’s unaffordable. They need to make it more commercially viable.” Fabrix declined to comment.

As well as office and community space, the job will also include a rooftop bar, restaurant and swimming pool.

The scheme, designed by Sheppard Robson and Studio RHE, was given planning towards the end of 2020 with others working on the job including M&E consultant Atelier 10, project manager Gardiner & Theobald and QS Quantem.