Hawkins\Brown’s £60 million revamp of a former mill complex in London’s King’s Cross has been blocked by a planning inspector over heritage concerns
The practice’s 14,710m² Regent’s Wharf scheme for five adjoining warehouses alongside Regent’s Canal was rejected by Islington Council’s planning committee in 2017, but went to appeal.
In rejecting the scheme, the local authority had raised concerns that the project, which involved extending locally listed warehouses on All Saints Street and replacing existing 1980s offices, would harm the conservation area.
Going against planning officer’s advice, councillors decided that the ’visually prominent’ new roof and ‘inappropriate dormers’ would impact on the 1890s buildings and the local conservation area.
This was despite London Mayor Sadiq Khan telling the local authority he backed the ‘well-designed’ scheme and the principle of intensifying office uses on the site.
Developer Regent’s Wharf Unit Trust later appealed the decision, but the challenge has now been thrown out following a public inquiry.
In his decision, planning inspector David Nicholson said the ‘rather bold’ design of the replacement dormers would detract from the building’s historical significance.
Islington had also complained the project would block light to neighbouring properties but the inspector gave less weight to these concerns.
The inspector acknowledged that the scheme would provide a ’substantial increase’ in office floorspace, but ruled that the harm to the site’s heritage outweighed the ’significant design skill’ that had gone into the scheme.