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Chipperfield’s triumphant Waterloo redevelopment 'impossible to refuse'

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David Chipperfield Architects (DCA) has won planning permission for its £600 million redevelopment of Elizabeth House near Waterloo train station in London

The high-profile regeneration scheme was approved by four votes to two at a meeting of Lambeth Council’s planning committee last night (6 November) despite the concerns of English Heritage, Westminster Council and UNESCO.

In a statement, the council said its substantial benefits to the area and local economy made the scheme ‘impossible to refuse’.

The approval comes three years after Allies and Morrison’s previous redevelopment vision for the site was thrown out by former Secretary of State John Denham following claims it could cause ‘significant harm’ to the Westminster World Heritage site.

Councillors however argued Chipperfield’s scheme was an improvement on previous designs and would not harm views from Westminster.

Lib Peck, cabinet member for regeneration and strategic housing said: ‘We feel the scheme supports our vision for the regeneration of Waterloo – new jobs, affordable homes, a greater variety of shops and substantial public realm improvements.

‘Better access to the train and tube will improve the interchange; a new Central Square, re-landscaping Victory Arch Square and a new pedestrian-only public space in front of the former Eurostar terminal will open up the area making it an exciting destination.

She added: ‘This scheme can unlock regeneration in this run down area of central London, including the international terminal, and is a stone’s throw from the South Bank. It can restore Waterloo’s status as an employment centre and encourage further investment in the area - which is good for Waterloo, good for Lambeth and good for London as a whole.’

Chipperfield’s planning victory will send a positive signal to developers behind the Squire and Partners-masterplanned  vision to redevelop the Shell Centre next door. The scheme, which features a 122 metre-tall tower visible from protected views in St James’ Park and Parliament Square, is expected to be submitted for planning shortly.

In April this year, Chipperfield revealed revised plans for its Elizabeth House redevelopment scheme which had been reworked following feedback from English Heritage and Cabe.

The 132,000m² scheme for developers Chelsfield and London & Regional Properties replaces the 1960s Elizabeth House with two new buildings – a 29-storey, mixed-use office tower and a residential block.

The proposed north building, next to Waterloo’s Victory Arch, will be 123m tall and house 62,000m² of office space on its lower floors together with 142 new homes above.

The 10-storey south building, at the opposite end of the site at the corner of York Road and Leake Street, will feature 23,700m² of office space and 1,500m² of small shops and cafés at ground floor level.

At the heart of the plans is a new 10,000m² square - Victory Arch Square - billed as ‘a new seamless, step-free public space in front of the station’.

The scheme will feature a minimum 20 per cent affordable housing, comprising on-site intermediate and off-site affordable rent units.

Approved schemes in the South Bank area include Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ 43-storey Doon Street tower and Ian Simpson’s 52-storey One Blackfriars skyscraper.


DCA Elizabeth House redevelopment: English Heritage’s concerns

  • The proposal would cause substantial and unacceptable degree of harm to the OUV, setting and views from Westminster World Heritage Site. English Heritage has advised that new development on the site should not be visible in the gap between Portcullis House and the Tower of Big Ben if it would cause harm. By virtue of its massing, bulk and deposition, appear visually attached to the North face of the Big Ben Tower. Such an impact would be difficult.
  • The proposals would reduce an awareness of the dominance and architectural form of the Big Ben Tower. English Heritage are unable to support any proposals which would appear to weaken its architectural form or ability to read against the sky.
  • The impact the development would have on the setting and views of the Royal Festival Hall are also a serious concern to English Heritage. It is a building of national importance and safeguarding its setting should be a very high priority.
  • When viewed from Waterloo Bridge, the proposed new development would by virtue of it height, massing and disposition, overwhelm the Festival Hall to an extent which would seriously harm its setting and be unacceptable to English Heritage.
  • The development would be seen from Blue Bridge in St James Park where it would appear visually attached to the tower of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This would lessen the architectural form of the Grade I Listed building and is unacceptable.
  • There would be some harm to the settings and views of County Hall, Victory Arch and the National Theatre.

Source: Lambeth Council’s planners report



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