Planners will decide whether 1950s block with links to 70s punk band should stay or go

AHMM proposals to redevelop a 1950s office building in Marylebone with a new seven-storey building that that will more than double the amount of floorspace are set to be given the go-ahead by Westminster City Council.

The practice’s plans for Lisson Grove would see the demolition of a Job Centre that formed the backdrop for one of the earliest meetings of key members of The Clash, when vocalist Joe Strummer feared his future bandmates were planning to attack him.

Purpose built as a labour exchange, the four-storey structure is still home to a Job Centre Plus, as well as a Tesco convenience store. Neighbouring 18 Hayes Place, which is currently in use as a yoga studio, would also be demolished to make way for the new scheme, designed for Viridis Real Estate.

Lisson 5 GM

Source: Google Maps

Looking north up Lisson Grove with the Job Centre on the right

A report to the council’s planning committee describes the existing four-storey building – which was one of the capital’s largest labour exchanges when it opened in 1960 – as “generally unwelcoming”.

AHMM’s proposals would deliver 10,201 sq m of new office space and a new shop unit, which would be slightly larger than the current Tesco branch. There would be no replacement facility for the yoga studio.

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The practice’s designs will reuse the current building’s basement. But Westminster planning officers said the project team had been asked for further justification to support its claim that substantial demolition was required to meet energy and floorspace requirements for contemporary office space.

A report to tonight’s planning committee meeting said: “The applicant confirmed that the existing structure is inefficient and substantial demolition is required to allow for the new building services and plant space in the basement to be provided.”

Lisson Grove 4

Source: AHMM

AHMM’s Lisson Grove proposals

The report added that AHMM is proposing a hybrid cross-laminate and steel structure for the new block.

The Job Centre was where Clash founder member and lead guitarist Mick Jones and bass player Paul Simonon spotted Strummer, then in a rival band, in a queue.

“We saw him in the dole office and we were in the other queue,” Jones told the BBC in 2011. “He was looking at us and we were looking at him. We were looking at him because we’d just seen him play and we thought – oh wow, it’s Joe Strummer. He thought we were going to have a fight with him.”

Others working on the job include project manager Gardiner & Theobald, structural engineer Campbell Reith, services and fire engineer Sweco and façade engineer EOC.