Housing secretary Robert Jenrick wants second look at the U&I scheme

A £500m redevelopment of the art deco former London Fire Brigade headquarters on the Albert Embankment in central London has been called in.

The mixed-use project for developer U&I will see three blocks of flats built behind the grade II-listed Thames-side building which was the heart of the brigade’s firefighting operation during the Blitz.

It has been drawn up architect Pilbrow & Partners with the scheme winning planning from Lambeth council last December. WSP is also working on the project.

Pilbrow & Partners' London Fire Brigade museum at 8 Albert Embankment

Pilbrow & Partners’ London Fire Brigade museum at 8 Albert Embankment

But housing, communities and local government secretary Robert Jenrick wants a second look.

Opposition to the scheme at 8 Albert Embankment centred on worries that proposals to build two towers of 26 and 24 storeys as well as a 10-storey hotel would block residents’ access to light, overshadow a local park and have a detrimental impact on the surrounding streets.

The site has a long and contentious planning history which saw a previous mixed-use proposal by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands for Native Land rejected by Lambeth council and thrown out by a public inquiry in 2013 because of its impact on daylight in neighbouring properties. That scheme would have created 265 flats.

Pilbrow & Partners' proposals for the London Fire Brigade HQ at 8 Albert Embankment

Pilbrow & Partners’ proposals for the London Fire Brigade HQ at 8 Albert Embankment

Pilbrow’s proposals will create 443 new homes, shops, open spaces and 100,000ft2 of workspace. Some 40% of the flats will be affordable.

The consented proposals will include a new fire station for Lambeth and a new home for the London Fire Brigade museum.

U&I had hoped construction would start on site next year and be completed in 2025.

In a statement, the firm said: “[Jenrick’s] decision means [work] could now be significantly delayed. The plans followed extensive consultation with the local community [and] will positively transform a site that has lain vacant for almost 10 years.”