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Fresh doubt over Chipperfield’s Elizabeth House plans after site is sold

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Uncertainty hangs over David Chipperfield Architects’ designs for a 29-storey tower to replace the Elizabeth House office block near London’s Waterloo Station, after the site was sold

According to reports last week the new owners, Slovakian developer HB Reavis, paid London & Regional and Chelsfield £85 million for the site.

Chipperfield was appointed to the scheme in 2010, seeing off competition from Grimshaw and Hopkins. It is working with West 8 on the landscape element.

HB Reavis said that it had not yet made a decision on which architects it will use for the project nor the exact future of Chipperfield’s plan, which includes two new buildings, one part 29-storey and part 14-storey, and another of 11 storeys.

A spokesman for HB Reavis said the developer was ‘fully committed to delivering a design-led, user-focused scheme’, adding: ‘HB Reavis has just completed on the purchase of Elizabeth House and is getting up to speed on all aspects of this complex site.’

The contested Chipperfield scheme, approved by London Borough of Lambeth in 2014, proposes 132,000m² of new space, including 142 new homes and a range of office and retail space.

In 2014, English Heritage and Westminster City Council lost a High Court bid to stop the scheme. Although judge Justice Collins refused the legal challenge, he urged Lambeth to reconsider the scheme’s impact on the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

In the same year, House of Commons speaker Betty Boothroyd accused the Government of failing to protect the heritage of the Palace of Westminster by failing to call the scheme in.

Tomas Jurdak, chief executive of HB Reavis UK, said: ‘The development provides a unique opportunity for us to deliver a building that will transform the area through our considered approach to development and placemaking.’

It is understood a number of architects have looked at how to rework Chipperfield’s plans recently, though no revised scheme has been made public.

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