First of seven new towers set to rise from Waterloo site

Construction of the first phase of the controversial £1bn Shell Centre scheme on London’s South Bank has begun.

Foundations for the first of seven towers has been laid after part of the existing Shell Centre was demolished to make way for the development, which is being spearheaded by Braeburn Estates, a joint venture between Canary Wharf and Qatari Diar.

Designed by Squire and Partners the new tower is divided into four tiers, with a number of apartments decreasing as the structure ascends.

When the apartments were first put on the market a one-bedroom apartment cost £685,000, with a two-bed costing a minimum of £1,000,000. Over 2,000 parties registered interest in the new apartments in the first week of registrations launching.

The start of construction marks a turning point for the controversial development which was subject to one of the lengthiest legal battles in London for decades.

Local campaigner George Turner took his claim against the then secretary of state Eric Pickles’ decision to approve the project all the way to the High Court and the Court of Appeal before it was defeated.

The Shell Centre project was called in by former communities secretary Eric Pickles but approved by a planning inspector who was later heavily criticised by the Hight Court judge presiding over Mr Turner’s case.

Construction of the Shell Centre project will be built in phases and complete in 2019.