Conservationists have warned that Hopkins’ plans to redevelop ITV’s headquarters and studios on London’s South Bank will ‘seriously compromise’ the high-profile riverside site
The broadcaster submitted plans last summer to demolish CH Elsom & Partners’ 1974 London Television Centre to make way for its new home.
Under Hopkins’ plans, two towers of 31 and 14 storeys would be built on the site between Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges, providing about 44,400m² of offices, 3,600m2 of television studios, 210m² of retail space and 213 homes.
But The Twentieth Century Society has written to Lambeth Council objecting to the scheme.
Its letter stated: ’[We] consider the proposed new development will cause harm to the character and appearance of the conservation area and the neighbouring buildings.
’This is due to its greatly increased height and generic mass, which fails to correspond to the strong architectural horizontality of the neighbouring architecture; its extensive and generic use of bland glass curtain walling, and the poorly considered way that the building relates to the riverside at Queens Walk.’
Tess Pinto, conservation adviser at the society, said the South Bank was given conservation status in the 1980s in part because of the buildings within it, and also because of the spaces around those buildings
She said: ’It is important to ensure sensitive changes to existing buildings and spaces, and that any new development is of appropriate quality to the status and appearance of the area. This is not the case with this proposed new development, which we feel would seriously compromise the special qualities of the area.’
Lambeth council is due to decide on the application at a meeting on 6 February. Planning officers have recommended approval of Hopkins’ proposals.
However, it has emerged that the plans will face extra viability scrutiny from the Greater London Authority (GLA), because they only offer 10 per cent affordable housing.
City Hall is set to use recently adopted planning powers to review the scheme as it progresses, in order to get closer to the mayor’s target level of 35 per cent of new homes being affordable.
A report by the GLA said the scheme’s proposal for 22 on-site affordable units out of 213 was ‘wholly unacceptable’.
‘GLA officers will robustly scrutinise the viability assessment to maximise affordable housing provision in the context of the mayor’s affordable housing and viability supplementary planning guidance,’ it added.
‘An early stage review will be required and, if after further interrogation the maximum level of affordable provision is still below 35 per cent, a late stage review will be required.’
ITV has offered £3.7 million in funding for offsite affordable housing, but this would only raise the amount of affordable housing provided to a maximum of 16 per cent.
An independent review of the site value and construction costs, commissioned by the GLA, identified that the scheme could provide a financial surplus in excess of £50 million.
However, a report by planning officers said: ‘ITV’s offer of 22 intermediate units, together with a £3.7 million payment in lieu towards the offsite provision of affordable housing, is considered to be the maximum feasible amount that can be provided by the development.
‘Given the level of affordable housing being offered, officers have therefore balanced the development’s viability and public benefits flowing from ITV returning to occupy the site.’
The officer report praised the design of both buildings, but called for improvements to the interface between the scheme and the riverbank promenade Queen’s Walk.
In a planning document prepared on behalf of ITV, Hopkins last year said the existing London Television Centre production centre was becoming outdated.
The design and access statement said: ‘The building fabric and services are dated and no longer support the needs of ITV, nor reflect the open and collaborative way in which ITV works.’
‘A new building also has the potential to strengthen and contribute to the Strategic Cultural Area.’
Construction could begin by the end of this decade.
View the planning application in full here
The london studios itv
Source: Soloman McKenzie