The £1.3 billion Shell Centre redevelopment is finally set to go ahead after a legal challenge from campaigner George Turner was thrown out by the Court of Appeal
Turner launched his original claim against Eric Pickles’ approval for Squire and Partners’ Shell Centre redevelopment project almost a year ago in July 2014 (see AJ 22.07.14).
He called the then secretary of state’s decision ‘flawed’ and argued the planning inspector’s statement that the Thameside development would not be ‘visually intrusive’ in views set out in the London Views Management Framework was ‘irrational’.
However his initial legal bid was thrown out and Turner subsequently took his claim to the Court of Appeal.
In its decision made earlier today (11 June), the Court of Appeal ruled that the planning inspector showed no bias in awarding the scheme planning.
Turner said the decision was ‘devastating’ but that he knew the campaign would be ‘an uphill struggle’.
He said: ‘This is of course devastating news for all of us who believe that London desperately needs a better, fairer and more inclusive planning system based on the rule of law.
‘From day one of my involvement in the Shell Centre case I knew we were facing an uphill struggle. The developers, Europe’s largest company, Shell, together with the Qatari Royal Family and property giant Canary Wharf Group had limitless resources to dedicate to their campaign.
‘We were a small group who cared passionately about the area and wanted a development that met local need and respected the historic and natural environment.’
A spokesperson for the site’s developer Braeburn Estates, the joint venture between developers Canary Wharf Group plc and Qatari Diar, said: ‘We are pleased that the appeal against our proposed redevelopment of the Shell Centre has been dismissed.
‘It had already been through an exhaustive planning process and we now look forward to commencing works on site in the near future and, in so doing, to bringing many benefits and much regeneration to this important part of London.’
The decision paves the way for work to begin on the proposals which will see acluster of eight new buildings for shops, office space, restaurants and homes built around the original 1961 Shell Centre tower.
The scheme – which features buildings designed by Squire and Partners, KPF, GRID, Patel Taylor and Stanton Williams – replaces most of Howard Robertson’s 1961 Shell Centre complex apart from the landmark 27-storey, river-facing skyscraper.
The project, which was initially expected to start in late 2013 is now scheduled to complete in 2019.