Hamiltons has won a battle to design a mixed-use scheme next to the Inns of Court in London. The firm beat Eric Parry, Make and Squire and Partners to the £120m project

The development, at 190 The Strand, will be a residential-led scheme covering 40,000m2 of space. It will replace the existing Abbey Life House buildings, between the Inns of Court and Land Securities’ Arundel Great Court. The Royal Courts of Justice are to the north, with Temple underground station to the rear.

Hamiltons’ proposal includes creating public spaces and a crescent block made of loadbearing limestone next to the grade I-listed Mary-le-Strand Church.

The site had planning permission for a commercial office development by Capital and Counties, designed by American practice Kohn Pedersen Fox, but this scheme was one of the first casualties of the credit crunch, being dropped by Capital in October 2007 as a result of rising construction costs.

The new client is Strand Property Unit Trust, a joint venture between a group of developers who have not declared their identity. A planning application will be lodged later on this year, with work scheduled to start on site in March 2010.

Craig Casci, director of Hamiltons, said that it was too early to talk of “green shoots”, but that the appointment was indicative of an emerging trend in central London for developers to seek planning permission for future projects.

He said: “We’re seeing applications trying to be in by the end of the year so that construction can begin in 2010. Big jobs like this one take so long to go through the planning process, and have a two or three year build time, so developers are thinking get planning permission now if they want to complete by 2012 or 2013.”