London mayor Boris Johnson has ‘called in’ an 11 storey office scheme by Duggan Morris which was rejected by Islington Council due to its potential impact on the Grade I listed Bunhill Fields Burial Ground
The plans, submitted by developer Derwent Properties, include 13,000m² of commercial space and ground floor shops opposite the developer’s under-construction White Collar Factory on the corner of City Road and Featherstone Street.
Set to replace the 1960s Monmouth House, the scheme features two buildings of 10 and 11 storeys and another pair of five storey blocks.
In the last two years Johnson has overturned a number of local authority planning refusals, most recently allowing British Land’s controversial Blossom Street proposals which also featured designs by Duggan Morris (see AJ 18.01.16).
The mayor’s call-in letter said: ‘Failure to promote appropriate development on sites such as this could potentially impact upon the economic health of the City Fringe Opportunity Area, the Central Activities Zone, the City of London and London as a whole.’
However the council attacked Johnson’s decision, claiming they were right to throw out the plans because the site was unacceptable for a tall building and because the design could cause ‘significant harm’ to the setting of Bunhill Fields. More than 120,000 burials took place at Bunhill Fields including the artist and poet William Blake and author Daniel Defoe.
The council’s executive member for housing and development James Murray, said: ‘Once again, the mayor has ignored local decision-making for a major planning application.
‘He has also disregarded our concerns that the applicants have not provided the evidence needed to properly assess how this proposal will affect local residents.’
It is the third time in two years that Johnson has called in a major planning application in the borough.
In 2014, he approved plans by Allies and Morrison, Wilkinson Eyre, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and AHMM to redevelop a former Royal Mail sorting office at Mount Pleasant – a scheme the council refused for the lack of affordable housing.
The latest application is due to be considered by the mayor at a hearing at City Hall next week.https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Thomson+Reutersemail@example.com,-0.0878879,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x67eca3684667e363
Monmouth House [existing] - corner of Featherstone Street and City Road