Lambeth council to vote on controversial complex tomorrow evening
A local MP has criticised Make’s proposals for a major redevelopment of ITV’s former London headquarters on the South Bank a day before the scheme’s planning application is to be decided.
Vauxhall MP Florence Eshalomi, in whose constituency the site is located, said the scheme would cause a “substantial degree of unnecessary harm” and called for the application to be reconsidered.
The plans would see ITV’s London Studios tower flattened and replaced with two 26- and 13-storey office towers connected by a six-storey podium.
Lendlease, Sir Robert McAlpine and Laing O’Rourke are all looking at the job, known as 72 Upper Ground.
The work is believed to have a price tag of between £300m and £400m meaning it will be one of the capital’s most significant new builds in the coming years.
Others working on the deal include QS Alinea, landscape architect Grant Associates and engineer Arup.
But the new development, which would include more than double the floorspace of the existing complex, has received hundreds of objections from locals due to its scale and concerns about overshadowing.
Objectors include Coin Street Community Builders and the Waterloo Community Development Group, which led the campaign against the Garden Bridge, who described the proposals as “grotesquery on steroids, a swollen deformity for the South Bank”.
Historic England and the Twentieth Century Society have also raised concerns about views along the South Bank towards St Paul’s Cathedral and the impact on nearby listed buildings.
It has also stirred controversy due to its proximity to two Denys Lasdun landmarks, the grade II*-listed Royal National Theatre and the grade II-listed IBM Building.
While Lambeth’s planning officer report has recommended the proposals for approval, it admitted that the plans are “controversial and extremely unpopular”.
The council is due to make a decision on the scheme tomorrow evening.
Eshalomi said she did not believe the merits of the scheme outweigh the “significant number of negative consequences”, and that this was a view supported by the “overwhelming majority of the large number of public representations made”.
She added: “I therefore hope that this application will be reconsidered in favour of one which utilises this key strategic site for local benefit without such a substantial degree of unnecessary harm”.
A spokesperson for 72 Upper Ground said the project would give a “real boost” to the South Bank, bringing new jobs and investment to the area.
The spokesperson added: “We have worked hard throughout the planning process to reflect on feedback from local residents and Lambeth council and have made adjustments including significantly reducing the building mass and further opening up the route through to the riverfront, while ensuring the building maintains its high-quality design and enables the delivery of key benefits such as affordable workspace and cultural spaces.
“The whole community will be able to enjoy the new open spaces, public routes, retail uses and arts and cultural offerings that will be unlocked by the proposed redevelopment.”
The officer’s report said the scheme would have a “low degree of less than substantial harm” to the settings of nearby listed buildings but would have “minor to major adverse impacts” to flats in the neighbouring 95-97 Upper Ground building.
The plot was bought by developers Mitsubishi Estate and CO-RE for close to £150m in November 2019.