Communities secretary Eric Pickles has decided not to call in David Chipperfield’s controversial plans to replace Elizabeth House office block near London’s Waterloo Station
Pickles has once again confirmed that the project will not be called in – effectively giving the go-ahead for work on the £600 million development to start.
Lambeth Council approved the plans to replace Elizabeth House with a 29-storey tower for the second time last December (AJ 10.12.14).
The long running saga surrounding the building follows an earlier planning decision after which English Heritage and Westminster Council went to the High Court in an attempt to stop the scheme - but lost the judicial review which had asked Pickles to call in the decision (AJ 21.03.14).
A spokesperson for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), said: ‘It is only in very rare cases of national significance that planning applications are decided centrally, and having carefully considered the proposals ministers are satisfied this case should be decided by the local council’.
The proposals from developers Chelsfield and London & Regional Properties plan to demolish Elizabeth house and replace the 1960s block with two new buildings - one part 29-storey and part 14-storey, and another of 11 storeys. The 132,000m² scheme will provide 142 new homes alongside office space and shops.
When Lambeth planning committee approved the scheme back in December they conceded that it would result in a ‘noticeable’ change to the setting of the Westminster World Heritage Site - but not one that was ‘significant’ or ‘comprehensive’. They argued that the benefits of the scheme would have a positive impact on the local area.
Leader of Lambeth council, Lib Peck welcomed the news that the scheme would not be called in.
Peck said: ‘This is great news and I hope, means an end to costly and lengthy delays to a once in a generation opportunity for jobs, homes and investment in the area.’
‘Lambeth Council has always believed the Elizabeth House development is absolutely consistent with the government’s National Planning Policy Framework, it is fully supported by the Mayor of London and will bring considerable economic, social and cultural benefits to the area.’