Sadiq Khan reviewing plans for 22-storey office block by Moorgate Station

211
Tenter House CGI 2
Image credit David Walker Architects

Plans for a 22-storey office block near Moorgate Station are being reviewed by Sadiq Khan ’s team, four years after an 18-storey structure for the same location was approved.

The new Tenter House application, which was filed with the City of London Corporation in February and is with the Mayor for initial comments, includes works to the City Point Plaza and a redesign of the formerly proposed steel-and-glass building, as well as the additional office space. It is the seventh application for the site in 27 years, having first been eyed-up for redevelopment in 1997.

A resident and member of a local association has however described the submission as ‘unwelcome’, with the size and potential carbon emissions among the concerns raised.

Under applicant Metropolitan Properties (City) Limited’s previous plans, approved by the City in 2020, Tenter House was to be demolished and replaced by a new 18-storey office block, plus ground and first floor retail space.

Since then, demolition works have begun on the site, including internal strip-out, asbestos removal, and taking out façades and access steps. Guy Bransby, Partner at Montagu Evans, the planning consultants for the scheme, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) the applicant has also spent the time ‘engaging extensively’ with neighbours to bring forward plans which transform part of the City Point Plaza.

NOW READ: Hundreds object to 43-storey office block plans near UK’s oldest synagogue

The plaza, which is to the north of Tenter House, is owned by Brookfield Properties. The proposed changes featured in the new scheme included levelling the open space, removing the car park access ramp and ‘extensive’ planting.

The scheme has been referred to the Greater London Authority (GLA) by the City as the site sits within a strategic viewing corridor set out in the London View Management Framework, specifically the view from Westminster Pier.

The GLA is currently accepting comments on the scheme before it issues a Stage 1 response. It will then go back to the Corporation, which will refuse or approve the scheme via its planning committee.

The plans may end up going back to the GLA for a Stage 2 final decision, though this will not be known until the Stage 1 response is issued.

Jane Smith, a resident speaking on behalf of the Barbican Association, said the recent application is “unwelcome for a number of reasons; carbon, heritage and residential amenity”.

Ms Smith claimed the 11-storey Tenter House is being demolished under the previous consent to ensure there is little embodied carbon included in the new scheme, enabling it to sidestep the City’s ‘retrofit-first’ policy.

She continued: “The planning proposal for Tenter House is a tall building of 22 storeys which does not fit with the Mayor of London’s view on where tall buildings are suitable, nor the City’s policies on respecting heritage. It is particularly galling to see that this tower will affect two of the views of St. Paul’s that are supposed to be protected for everyone’s enjoyment.

“The location of this 22 storey tower surrounded by three conservation areas and people’s homes is unsuitable for such a tall, bulky new build. It pokes up over the historic skyline. It cuts out daylight and sunlight for people who live next door, and who will also be overlooked by roof terraces. 88 lorry deliveries are projected to arrive every day, including weekends, along a narrow residential street and strategic cycle route.”

Ms Smith added there is already a ‘glut of under-used office space’, and that Tenter House itself, which is yet to be knocked down, can still be saved. “We call on the City to make good on its promise to deliver buildings that work towards net zero and create an environment we can be proud of.”

‘An innovative and sustainable workplace’

In the City of London’s draft local plan, entitled City Plan 2040, the Corporation lists how it is projected to need 1.3 million square metres of additional office floorspace by the end of the next decade. The new Tenter House scheme is expected to deliver 8,400 sqm more than the consented application, across the part-14 storey and part-22 storey building proposed.

Mr Bransby said: “The proposed development will deliver a suite of economic, environmental and social benefits to the City, including the delivery of approximately 34,880sqm of grade A office accommodation, including a commitment to creative workspace, significant public realm and landscaping improvement works to City Point Plaza and New Union Street, and the delivery of a large range of cultural opportunities unique to the Site, including the provision of a community meeting space within the building.

“Extensive landscaping is proposed, including at ground, building and terrace level; significantly enhancing biodiversity and public amenity. The proposals also enable greater accessibility to transport hubs and improve permeability through this corner of the City.”

Tenter House was erected by BP in the 1960s as part of a three-building development, which was later split up in the 1990s. According to planning documents submitted with the latest application, the redevelopment “is conceived as an innovative and sustainable workplace that aims to reinvigorate an overlooked City precinct and complete the transformation of the local area following major developments including the new Moorgate Crossrail station”.

The GLA’s planning portal indicates a Stage 1 decision is expected from the Mayor by May 30.

For the latest headlines from the City of London and beyond, follow City Matters on TwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.