Lambeth council to vote on controversial complex tomorrow evening
A local MP has criticised Make’s proposals for a major redevelopment of the former ITV London headquarters 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, known as 72 Upper Ground, would see ITV’s London Studios tower flattened and replaced with two 26 and 13-storey office towers connected by a six-storey podium.
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.
But the development, which would include more than double the floorspace of the existing complex, has been the subject of 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 across the Thames. It 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.
The proposal has also stirred controversy due to its proximity to two Denys Lasdun landmarks, the grade II*-listed 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 outweighed 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” on 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. The project team also includes landscape architect Grant Associates, engineer Arup and QS Alinea, with contractors Lendlease, Sir Robert McAlpine and Laing O’Rourke all looking at the job.