72 Upper Ground, ITV London Studios Demolition, Mitsubishi South Bank Proposal, Television Centre Site Redevelopment

72 Upper Ground London SE1 Development, South Bank

Florence Eshalomi Member of Parliament for Vauxhall objects to planning application

post updated 12 May 2022

72 Upper Ground London SE1 Development
image courtesy of Coin Street Community Builders

Local MP demolishes South Bank redevelopment plans

Residents across SE1 welcome Gove intervention

Social housing tenants on London’s South Bank welcome the Secretary of State for Housing, Michael Gove MP issuing an Article 31 holding directive to Lambeth Council after they disappointingly approved a controversial planning application for the re-development of the former ITV studios on Upper Ground. This means that the Council are temporarily frozen from granting planning permission whilst Michael Gove considers whether to ‘call-in’ the planning application for his own determination.

Whilst this is a positive development, an Article 31 Directive does not mean that the Secretary of State has decided to call in the application. It simply prevents planning permission from being granted whilst Michael Gove and the National Planning Casework Unit, which advises him, consider the matter. The Secretary of State can call a matter in any time before planning permission is issued. This process is separate from but concurrent with Sadiq Khan, London Mayor’s consideration.

The action group #SOS Save Our South Bank of local social housing residents and stakeholders in SE1 are united in their opposition to the extremely unpopular proposals. This group has been building momentum over 12 months to bring this local issue to national attention through TV, radio, social media, press and community action petition.

People are encouraged to express opposition to the redevelopment plans by writing directly to Sadiq Khan, London Mayor mayor@london.gov.uk asking him to ‘call-in’ the planning application.

David Hopkins, Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB) said: “People across London should welcome Michael Gove’s intervention on this proposal. The much-loved South Bank is one of the world’s great public spaces. Our hope is for a fundamental re-think to protect this area of such importance to the nation, Londoners and the local community that live here”.

Michael Ball, Waterloo Community Development Group (WCDG) said: “This disastrously ugly project warrants the kind of scrutiny only a public inquiry can provide. If it goes ahead the scheme would be a permanent eyesore on steroids. We hope that this is a step toward Michael Gove truly putting into action his championing of beauty, belonging, communities and democracy by calling this grotesquery in”.

For further details about this campaign please visit https://coinstreet.org/72-upper-ground and sign the petition in opposition to the redevelopment at https://www.change.org/SaveOurSouthBank

Previously on e-architect:

24 March 2022

72 Upper Ground London Redevelopment

Local MP demolishes South Bank redevelopment plans

Florence Eshalomi Member of Parliament for Vauxhall has objected to a planning application for the redevelopment of the former ITV London Studios on South Bank. Writing to Ben Oakes, Principal Planning Officer at Lambeth Council, her letter comes after the MP visited residents in their own homes. Social housing tenants contacted the MP with their concerns about the impact of daylight being robbed from their homes by a monstrous office block 225% bigger than the current tower.

Impact of shadowing on local homes – predicted overshadowing of the riverside walkway and Bernie Spain Gardens:
London Television Centre Site Redevelopment, South Bank shadows
Images extracted from the developer’s 72 Upper Ground planning application: Environmental Statement, July 2021

Florence Eshalomi MP said: “I do not believe that the merits of this application outweigh the significant number of negative consequences. This is a view supported by the overwhelming majority of the large number of public representations made, a fact recognised in the (Lambeth Council) Officer’s report which calls the proposal “controversial and extremely unpopular”. I therefore hope that this application will be reconsidered in favour of one which utilises this key strategic site for local benefit without such a substantial degree of unnecessary harm”.

The MP is not satisfied that the type of development proposed is aligned to the needs of the area and believes that benefits could be delivered whilst avoiding the bulk of the harms that this proposal would cause to local properties and landmark heritage assets e.g. National Theatre.

Florence Eshalomi MP

Florence Eshalomi MP London UK

Florence Dauta Eshalomi (née Nosegbe; born 18 September 1980) is a British Labour and Co-operative politician serving as the Member of Parliament (MP) representing Vauxhall since 2019. She previously served as the Member of the London Assembly (AM) for Lambeth and Southwark from 2016 to 2021. Florence represented Brixton Hill on the Lambeth London Borough Council from 2006 to 2018.

Specifically, Florence Eshalomi’s MPs objections quoted below are from the formal letter to the planning application committee as follows:

Lack of housing provisionThere are significant pressures on housing supply across the Borough and an urgent need to provide quality affordable housing to meet the needs of the Lambeth’s population both now and in the future. The previously approved proposal on this site was housing-based, but this element has been lost entirely with this application. Furthermore, given the uncertain impacts of the recent Covid19 pandemic on working patterns in the long-term, I do not believe that office space on this scale is the best use of this space when the growth in popularity of home working is considered.

Affordability and local benefit I am also disappointed that the commitment to affordable workspace included in this proposal is only marginally above the minimum proportion of 10% as set out in Lambeth Council’s policy. This will mean the vast majority of offices will be vastly unaffordable for smaller local enterprises. Whilst any job creation is of course to be welcomed, it is therefore likely that the majority of new employment will benefit those living outside of the area and commuting in. This leaves the immediate community disproportionately impacted by the harms this development will cause, without being the primary beneficiaries of many of the opportunities created.

Daylight reductions I have been contacted by large numbers of concerned residents within the housing co-operatives adjacent to the site, concerned about the severe impact that this proposal will have on the levels of daylight received in properties to the south of the site. These concerns relate primarily to 95-97 Upper Ground (part of the Iroko Housing Cooperative), comprising maisonettes on the ground, first, and second floors, and 21 duplex flats above. I note with interest that the Officer’s report attached to this application acknowledges that “there would be instances of major adverse impact” for these flats. Having visited the properties myself, I support residents in their view that these reductions are unacceptable.

Heritage harms I am further concerned that both the Greater London Authority and Heritage England have identified notable harm to a number of vital cultural assets in the immediate locale of the site, caused by the scale, bulk and massing of this proposal. The buildings impacted are among some of the most important protected landmarks in this area of London, including: the IBM Building (Grade II Listed), the Royal National Theatre (II*), Pride Sculpture (II), Somerset House (I), the Royal Festival Hall (I) and St Paul’s Cathedral (I). These entities draw in significant commerce for the businesses surrounding the site, and such impacts may adversely affect this in the future.

Planning Applications Committee (PAC) FAQs

The application is due to be considered by the Planning Applications Committee on Tuesday 29 March 2022 from 7pm.

Who sits on the PAC? The Council has established a PAC, which consists of seven Councillors (elected Members).

Where and when do PAC meetings take place? In line with legislation, Committee members will attend the meeting in person at Lambeth Town Hall.

The meetings are normally held on a Tuesday evening at 7pm and are held 1 or 2 times a month and are listed on the Council’s calendar of meetings at: https://moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk/mgCalendarMonthView.aspx?GL=1&bcr=1

Can I attend PAC meetings? All PAC meetings are open to the press and public although on rare occasions the Committee may discuss a matter in private. The capacity of meetings is restricted due to Covid-19 safety considerations. If the capacity of the room is exceeded the meeting can be viewed live online. The link to the meeting can be found on the PAC page of the Council’s website.

How can I get a copy of any reports to be considered by PAC? The officer reports on applications to be considered are circulated to PAC Members and published on the Council’s website a week before the meeting. Papers for meetings can be viewed at: https://moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeId=600

Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB) is a social enterprise working in Waterloo and North Southwark: https://bit.ly/3kLSSaB. CSCB owns, manages, and maintains the riverside walkway between the National Theatre and Sea Containers, Bernie Spain Gardens, Oxo Tower Wharf, Gabriel’s Wharf, and Coin Street neighbourhood centre. It is freehold owner of the Iroko, Mulberry, Palm and Redwood housing developments which are leased to primary co-operatives managed by their tenants.

CSCB states in its advice to decision makers Lambeth Council: “The scale, bulk and siting of the proposed development is excessive, overbearing and overly dominant. The impact on daylight received by adjacent Coin Street housing co-operatives will be severe. The riverside walkway and gardens to the north of the proposed development currently enjoy sunshine throughout the lunchtime peak and afternoon but would be cast into shadow by this development. The wanton disregard of the South Bank, one of London’s most popular amenities, is unacceptable and short-sighted!”

Waterloo Community Development Group (WCDG) was founded in 1972. WCDG is a charity led by Waterloo residents to maintain and develop a healthy and sustainable community, for more land for homes and amenities such as shops and open space, for the benefit of present and future generations.

WCDG states in its advice to decision makers Lambeth Council: “The government’s Building Beautiful Commission called for an overt focus on beauty and refusing ugliness as a primary purpose of the planning system. National planning policy puts the creation of beautiful and sustainable buildings and places at the heart of the planning process. These proposals are grotesquery on steroids, a swollen deformity for the South Bank”.

South Bank and Waterloo Neighbours (SoWN) is the community body that represents residents, workers, businesses of all sizes and voluntary organisations in the South Bank and Waterloo Neighbourhood Plan formally approved in February 2020. SoWN was responsible for the wide consultation involved in identifying the key issues, for writing the plan and seeing it through to adoption. It represents the local community in monitoring how the plan is implemented, within the wider context of the Lambeth local plan and the London Plan. SoWN objectives are:

  • to promote high standard of planning and architecture in or affecting the area of benefit
  • to educate the public in the geography, history, natural history, culture and architecture of the area of benefit
  • to secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of feature areas or areas of historic or public interest in the area of benefit

SoWN states in its advice to decision makers Lambeth Council: “The mass of the proposed building would be overbearing when experienced from neighbour hurrying streets and public spaces. The proposed building would dominate the local street scene and the conservation area to the detriment. The scale and form of the building would cause harm to important local heritage assets, such as the South Bank Conservation area, IBM building, National Theatre, and the Roupell Street conversation area. The proposed building would result in a significant loss of daylight for several local residents. The proposed building would result in a very significant loss of sunlight across important spaces, primarily the Queens walk and Bernie Spain Gardens”.

The former London Television Centre site at 72 Upper Ground was secured by Mitsubishi Estate and CO-RE for £145.6m in November 2019. The application for planning consent was submitted to Lambeth Council in July 2021. The scheme is designed by Make Architects.

Public responses to the planning application have been received by the decision makers Lambeth Council. They include: 264 objections and 46 supporting can be accessed at www.bit.ly/3i9LyQb

Coin Street Community Builders are still asking the public to support our opposition to this planning application by signing the petition at: https://www.change.org/SaveOurSouthBank

Previously on e-architect:

28 February 2022

Social Housing Tenants Outraged by Daylight Robbery

Report by Anstey Horne for Coin Street Community Builders

72 Upper Ground London SE1 Development on South Bank

A damning report shines a spotlight on the damaging impact local homes will experience if the redevelopment of 72 Upper Ground is approved by Lambeth Council this month.

Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB) commissioned a report by Anstey Horne, the UK’s leading provider of specialist surveying services to report their findings.

The Anstey Horne consultancy firm identified: “drastic light reductions” for houses neighbouring the former ITV site. “Those occupants that will be affected by the development will have good reason to object to the proposed development based on the daylight injuries to their properties” the consultants said.

The report has been submitted to Lambeth Council and a response is awaited. Both CSCB and Waterloo Community Development Group (WCDG) understand that the daylight impacts exceed those which were a key factor when the controversial development at 8 Albert Embankment in Vauxhall was refused recently after a public inquiry.

Numerous residents who will be overshadowed by this building have objected to the decision makers, Lambeth Council. Many have reported their anxiety about being cast into darkness with no option to move because they are social tenants. Mitsubishi Estate and the CO-RE developer’s own revised Environmental Statement cites the daylight effects from the building’s massing as “significantly adverse”.

Mary Lincoln Todd, a local co-op resident said: “To say I am ‘disappointed’ regarding the height and width of the new building is an understatement! My light will be seriously affected. Lights would have to be ON all day. I’m of an age now wearing glasses to read and having the lights on all day reflect and disturb my reading. Natural daylight is essential. I have lived here for 34 years and seen many changes. This is the worst proposition ever. Too high.Too big.Too much!!!”.

Click on this image to see the gif – showing before and after views:
72 Upper Ground London Development
picture courtesy of Coin Street Community Builders

Dearbhla Molloy, a local social housing tenant said: “As someone who lives directly opposite the proposed development, I would ask Lambeth Council to reject this application on both aesthetic and light grounds…in my case the daylight in my living room, where I spend most of my day, will be reduced by 75% and I would find this profoundly depressing.”

CSCB and WCDG demand that this planning application not be reported to the decision makers Lambeth Council Committee until all the outstanding technical points on daylight have been resolved; to do otherwise would mean that Officers would be reporting, and Members would be determining an application without accurate information on the impacts and without being able to weigh the planning balance correctly.

Predicted overshadowing of the riverside walkway and Bernie Spain Gardens. Images extracted from the 72 Upper Ground planning application: Environmental Statement, July 2021.

Anstey Horne as the UK’s leading provider of specialist surveying services pride themselves on providing relevant expert advice that truly adds value to their clients’ schemes. Anstey Horne is one of the most experienced and dedicated specialist consultants and building surveying teams in the UK https://www.ansteyhorne.co.uk

Lambeth’s Design Review Panel review (pg.4) references this in their comments: “There are concerns that the quantum of the site results in a bulky building which is overly dominant in its context. The panel suggests looking at options to reduce the quantum of floorspace – as a reduced mass would be beneficial in terms of both the impact on the setting and significance of designated heritage assets, townscape, and on neighbouring residential properties opposite the site”.

This advice was not taken by CO-RE the developers. The volume of the proposed development remains 224% greater than that of the current site. The minor design changes introduced during the application meant no reduction in the overbearing nature of the Riverside Walkway frontage, and no reduction in the daylight impacts on neighbouring Coin Street co-op residents.

The result will be an unacceptable loss of daylight for social housing tenants neighbouring the site, severely impacting the quality of lives of families who have no option to move elsewhere.

Impact of mass on views from local homes – views from Stamford Street (left and middle) and Upper Ground (right) – computer generated images of the proposed development:
72 Upper Ground London SE1 Development, South Bank views
extracted from the 72 Upper Ground planning application: Environmental Statement, July 2021

The Secretary of State, Michael Gove told MPs on 4 November 2021: “We want to have a planning system where people can feel confident that beauty is taken seriously, confident that the environment is benefitting, confident that the money will be there to support infrastructure, and confident that the community has a role ultimately in determining what is right”. He added, “We want to be in a position where communities accept and welcome new development”. [Source: Planning Resource 12 November 2021].

The Secretary of State recently upheld the protection of residential daylight and sunlight afforded by the British Research Establishment (BRE) standards in his decision on nearby 8 Albert Embankment, see https://bit.ly/3xC2s5e

A Petition is available for the public to support opposition to this planning application: https://www.change.org/SaveOurSouthBank

For further details about this campaign please visit https://coinstreet.org/72-upper-ground

72 Upper Ground Development – London Television Centre Site Redevelopment, South Bank images / information received 280222 from Coin Street Community Builders

Previously on e-architect:

Architects join campaign to protect London’s unique open space

London Television Centre Site Redevelopment on South Bank

72 Upper Ground London SE1 Development, South Bank buildings
picture courtesy of Coin Street Community Builders

London Television Centre Site Redevelopment on South Bank

For further details about this campaign please visit https://coinstreet.org/72-upper-ground

Background to these London South Bank buildings


Denys Lasdun

Location: London Television Centre site, 72 Upper Ground, South Bank, London, England, UK

London South Bank Buildings

Bernie Spain Gardens Transformation, South Bank
Design: West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture
Bernie Spain Gardens Renewal, South Bank
image courtesy of West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture
Bernie Spain Gardens South Bank by West 8

Doon St Tower
Architect: Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands
Doon Street Tower – controversial Southwark skyscraper building design

Oxo Tower Refurbishment
Architects: Lifschutz Davidson Architects (now LDS)
Sea Container Building Oxo Tower, River Thames London
photograph © Nick Weall
Oxo Tower Building

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London Architecture Links – chronological list

London Architecture Tours – bespoke UK capital city walks by e-architect

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Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme
Palace of Westminster building viewed across the River Thames
photograph © UK Parliament
Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal

The Nest, Wapping
Architects: Gensler
The Nest in Wapping London
image from architects
The Nest in East London

make architects

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