Decision on controversial £1.5bn overhaul expected next year
Sellar and Network Rail’s controversial proposals to build an office development above Liverpool Street station have been submitted for planning.
The Herzog & de Meuron-designed scheme’s developers have sent in the £1.5bn plans to the City of London, with a decision expected next year.
It comes a week after a group of heritage campaigners led by TV comic Griff Rhys Jones asked communities secretary Michael Gove to call in the plans, which were fully unveiled in April at a consultation held at the station.
The developers said the tallest part of the scheme will be 16 storeys, around 108m, above the station.
The proposals would see the demolition of much of the existing station, built in Victorian style in the 1980s after a successful campaign against its destruction the decade prior, to make space for more than one million sq ft of mixed-use space.
When plans were initially unveiled last autumn, heritage groups came together to reform the seventies Liverpool Street Station Campaign (LISSCA), which is now calling on the secretary of state to refer the plans to a public inquiry.
LISSCA, which is chaired by the Victorian Society and includes 10 other heritage groups, has claimed that the new tower would set a “terrible precedent” for the treatment of listed buildings in conservation areas and for views of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Rhys Jones, who is president of the campaign group, said the final version of the scheme was “as bad as we expected”.
“It is insensitive and unnecessary and traduces a famous gateway to London, a listed working part of our history,” he said.
“I know all the heritage bodies combined are appalled by the precedent it would set. It must be rejected and we will fight to ensure that it is.”
But defending the proposals, Sellar chief executive James Sellar said today that the plans will ”create one of the most sustainable destinations in the Square Mile”.
“Our entire approach prioritises protecting and enhancing the historic elements of both the Great Eastern Hotel and of the station itself. The original Victorian railway sheds at Liverpool Street station will not be touched but will be celebrated by opening up new views to and through them,” he said.
“The office, hotel and leisure components above the station will be designed with the highest environmental and wellness credentials and will enable the £450m of vital station upgrades at no cost to passengers or the taxpayer.”
He added that the scheme is essential in helping London “maintain its status as a world-class city” and would encourage people back to the capital by significantly improving the experience for the station’s millions of users and commuters.