City of London planners OK Wood Street proposal

Proposals to redevelop the nation’s only listed post-war police station to upgrade its facilities and provide additional space have been approved by the City of London.

Seven Architecture’s scheme for Wood Street Police Station (pictured), near the Guildhall, would see the addition of a new nine-storey tower to the side of the early 1960s building, the creation of an infill block in its courtyard, and the use of basement areas for additional office space.

Designed by McMorran and Whitby, the original Italianate structure incorporates a four-storey police station in the main block and a 13-storey tower that originally housed offices and flats. It was given a grade II* listing by English Heritage in 1998.

Planning officers said Historic England advised the proposed extension would cause “serious harm to the aesthetic value of the existing building”, but suggested that the harm could be “partially mitigated through carefully detailed design”.

The Twentieth Century Society also said serious harm would be caused to the buildings by the proposals, and added that City of London Police had not been able to demonstrate that its plans would deliver a benefit that outweighed the harm they would cause.

Recommending the scheme for approval, planning officers said it considered that Seven Architecture’s plans would result in “less than substantial harm” to the special architectural and historic interest of the building.

After the meeting, the City of London Corporation said committee members had voted to approve the application by 16-4, adding that the scheme aimed to give City police “fit-for-purpose facilities” that allow them to respond more effectively to today’s modern policing needs.