ITV London Studios Demolition, Mitsubishi South Bank Proposal, Television Centre Site Redevelopment, Architecture

London Television Centre Site Redevelopment, South Bank

3 December 2021

Building Back Worse – On London’s South Bank!

Design: Make Architects

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

The government’s Building Back Beautiful agenda is about to be tested

Click on this image to find see the gif – before and after:
London Television Centre Site Redevelopment London
image courtesy of Coin Street Community Builders

Building Back Worse – On London’s South Bank!

The government’s Building Back Beautiful agenda is about to be tested by a massive building proposed for one of the UK’s most visited areas.

Proposals by Mitsubishi to demolish ITV’s London Studios and replace them with a mountain of office blocks more than double their size have drawn furious criticism from local community organisations and wider interests.

Historic England, the Twentieth Century Society, and many others have raised concerns about views of St Paul’s Cathedral and impacts on Somerset House, the National Theatre and other listed buildings. Now local organisations are also raising concerns about impacts on daylight, sunlight, and the whole character of the South Bank.

Iain Tuckett, Coin Street Community Builders, says; “The scale, bulk and siting of the proposed development is excessive, overbearing and overly dominant. The impacts 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!”

Michael Ball, Waterloo Community Development Group, who led the campaign against the Garden Bridge, said: “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.”

London Television Centre Site Redevelopment, South Bank buildings
picturee courtesy of Coin Street Community Builders

London Television Centre Site Development

Background:

On 4 November 2021, Secretary of State. Michael Gove told MPs “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://www.gov.uk/government/publications/called-in-decision-8-albert-embankment-london-borough-of-lambeth-ref-3254203-23-june-2021

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.

National Theatre Grade 2* and IBM Grade 2 are listed buildings and designed by Sir Denys Lasdun, situated to the west of the site. To the south are Coin Street’s Iroko and Mulberry Housing Co-operatives and to the east are Prince’s Wharf, Gabriel’s Wharf, and Bernie Spain Gardens. See images below.

Neighbourhood planning (enshrined in the Planning Acts of 2012 and 2017) gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to plan for the types of development to meet their community’s needs and where the ambition of the neighbourhood is aligned with the strategic needs and priorities of the wider local area. Source: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2017/20/contents/enacted

South Bank & Waterloo Neighbours (SoWN) was established under the above planning acts. In its advice to Lambeth, SoWN states “the mass of the proposed building would be overbearing when experienced from neighbouring streets and public spaces. The proposed building would dominate the local street scene and the conservation area to their 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 Roupell Street conservation area. The proposed building would result in a significant loss of daylight for a number of local residents. The proposed building would result in a very significant loss of sunlight across important public spaces, primarily the Queen’s Walk and Bernie Spain Gardens”.

SoWN is the community body that represents residents, workers , businesses of all sizes and voluntary organisations in South Bank and Waterloo Neighbourhood Plan, formally approved in February 2020. SoWN was responsible for the wide consultation involved in identifying 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 Lambeth Local Plan and London Local Plan. SoWN’s 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 or areas of historic or public interest in the area of benefit

The Twentieth Century Society
“considers the currently proposed new building to be an over-development of a site within a sensitive historic environment. Compared to the existing building, the massing of the proposed new building will be further forward on the riverfront side. The new development will impact close views of the listed buildings from the Queen’s Walk and it will also impede wide views, particularly views of the National Theatre from Blackfriars Bridge to the east.

The Society’s Casework Committee believes the proposed new building in its current form would harm the setting of the listed buildings on the site and harm the special character and appearance of the riverfront site, which is both a designated conservation area and positive contributor to a strategic view in London. We therefore urge the local authority to refuse planning permission and encourage the applicant to revise the design to substantially reduce the building’s front massing.”

Historic England states in its advice to Lambeth:
“There would be harm to the Grade II listed IBM building and Grade II listed National Theatre because of the close proximity of the proposed buildings and their impact on the importance of these designated heritage assets in river views. We have identified further harm through the 26-storey tower on the Roupell Street Conservation Area, through an increase in height and massing which compete with and distract from the Georgian domestic architecture in views within the conservation area…We continue to encourage you to explore refinements to the design to minimise the harm identified, including careful consideration being given to a reduction in the height and massing of the proposed buildings.”

The Planning Application and public responses can be accessed at https://planning.lambeth.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=neighbourComments&keyVal=QVSLAKBO0FE00&neighbourCommentsPager.page=4

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

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:
London Television Centre Site Redevelopment, South Bank views
extracted from the 72 Upper Ground planning application: Environmental Statement, July 2021

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London Television Centre Site Redevelopment, South Bank images / information received 03/021221 from Coin Street Community Builders

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

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