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Breaking news: Hunt rejects Broadgate listing

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has today rejected English Heritage’s recommendation to list Arup Associates’ Broadgate Square

The contentious move paves the way for a controversial redevelopment of part of the site by Ken Shuttleworth’s practice MAKE.

British Land-backed plans for a £340million headquarters for investment bank UBS had been under threat following English Heritage’s decision earlier this month to recommend the City of London office campus site for Grade II* listing.

However Hunt disagreed with the conservation body’s opinion that Broadgate represented ‘outstanding architectural quality and historical interest’ and merited such a high listing status (see full letter attached).

Chris Grigg, British Land chief executive said: ‘I am delighted by today’s decision as it allows Broadgate to continue to evolve as a sustainable and flexible office location that will meet the future needs of occupiers whilst maintaining the sense of space and place for which it is rightly renowned around the globe. He added: ‘With the decision made today by Jeremy Hunt, the Government has also sent out a message loud and clear to the world that the UK is ‘open for business.’

English Heritage described the news as ‘disappointing’ but added: ‘Broadgate Square may not be everyone’s idea of heritage, but every decade has its architectural high points, and the 1980s are no different. The timeline for assessing our built environment moves on, and we will increasingly be asked to consider buildings of the 1980s for listing.’

Extracts from Jeremy Hunt’s rejection letter to English Heritage

After considering all the information, [I] believe that Broadgate phases 1-4 has architectural interest, is built of quality materials with impressive planning and quality artworks, and note it is praised as being a successful development of the 1980s office boom period. However, [I] also note the views expressed from other respondents that the architectural features of this site are not of special interest and there are earlier examples of some of the construction methods used.
As such [I] do not consider that Broadgate is of the outstanding quality required for listing buildings under 30 years old. [I am] persuaded that the
building’s architectural design, decoration and craftsmanship is impressive, but not to the extent that it meets the high bar of outstanding quality.

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