Report of the Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director.
The Committee considered a report of the Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director regarding 70 Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 0HR, specifically, demolition of all existing buildings and the erection of a new building comprising basement levels and ground floor plus 33 upper storeys (15mm AOD), including office use (Class E), flexible retail uses (Class E, drinking establishment (Sui Generis) and hot food takeaway (Sui Generis)), a public viewing gallery, cycle parking, servicing, refuse and plant areas, public realm improvements, and other works associated with the development including access and highways works.
The Town Clerk introduced the item. The Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director presented the application and began by highlighting that a very late addendum had been circulated to the Committee yesterday evening containing a direct response to a very late representation received yesterday which had to be addressed. He added that the addendum report also contained some fine tuning of conditions and points of clarification.
He went on to report that today’s proposals involved the total redevelopment of the building at 70 Gracechurch Street , replacing it with a 35 storey, 155m tower. Members were informed that the existing building dates from 2001 so therefore a fairly recent building and it was reported that the applicant had explored refurbishment and extension options in great detail but these were not considered to be viable options.
The Committee were shown an aerial view of the site with Offciers highlighting that it was not in a conservation area but did have the Leadenhall Market Conservation Area to the north and east of it and, to the south-west, the Eastcheap Conservation Area. The site did not sit in an area that was suggested as inappropriate for tall buildings and sat within both the Eastern Cluster Policy Area identified within the adopted Local Plan and the City Cluster Policy Area and Renewal Opportunity Area identified in the replacement City Plan 2036.
Officers reported that the existing floor plan showed a rather large block with no permeability whatsoever and very little to offer in terms of public realm. The proposed scheme would, however, open up a very generous north-south route on the west side of the site which would also serve as a new, southern gateway to Leadenhall Market, intended to work as a catalyst for the future success of the Market. In addition, there would be an area to the east which would allow for servicing at night and new public realm with a pop-up street market during the day. Members were informed that the new north-south route would be a new, generously scaled, 9m wide alleyway to the north which would be open 24/7 and clad in Yorkstone to allow for a seamless transition with the surrounding public realm. It was reported that one of the major benefits of the scheme was the substantial uplift in public realm which would be accessible 24/7, with 40% of the site given over to this both in terms of pedestrian routes and new public realm in the eastern corner featuring a pop-up market and curated area with no stopping-up of public highway proposed.
Members were informed that much work had been done around pedestrian comfort levels around the site and the Committee were shown images comparing the current comfort levels with the proposed levels. These demonstrated that very good pedestrian comfort levels would be achieved throughout with significant improvements made in some areas as a result of enlarging areas of public highway and the provision of new routes.
Members were shown a plan of the existing ground floor plan which was currently home to a large Marks & Spencer store occupying a significant amount of retail floor space. It was noted that these proposals involved a very significant loss in retail floorspace which was mainly due to the creation of the new pedestrian routes and, here, Members would need to balance the public benefits against the protection of the quantity of retail floorspace. The amount of retail frontage would, however, marginally increase and the proposals were considered by Officers, on balance, to be acceptable given that the retail offer would be both flexible, vibrant and complimentary to the retail uses of Leadenhall Market. It was also felt that the retail offer would respond to the rapidly changing retail patterns in the City – in particular the pop-up street market which would form an integral part of the character of Leadenhall Market. It was also noted that the site was situated on the location of a Roman Forum which was always a place of gathering and street markets and that the area to the east of the site would include a Cultural Implementation Strategy to ensure that the legacy of the Forum is represented. It was reported that there would be conditions attached to any permission granted to ensure that the Class E and Sui Generis uses proposed under the new Class Orders will be for retail use.
Officers went on to talk further about the new passage and public realm, with Members shown artists impressions of the space underlining the generosity of scale both in terms of the height and the 9m width which it was felt would create a very prominent southern gateway to Leadenhall Market and the alleyways beyond.
Members were informed that, in common with the scheme at 55 Gracechurch Street which was approved by the Committee at their last meeting, this scheme also featured a very innovative retractable vehicle lift for servicing purposes. From 23:00-07:00 the lift would be in use but, thereafter, the lift would drop down and become and indivisible part of the public realm. Officers heralded this as a real gamechanger in terms of the way that large City buildings were serviced and a welcome move away from rather baron and large servicing bays. Members were assured that a lot of research had been carried out into these lifts and informed that there were working examples already in operation in Britain and elsewhere. It was also reported that there would be a very robust Maintenance Strategy conditioned as well as a Service Level Agreement that would require any breakdown of the lift to be resolved quickly.
The Committee were informed that, at basement level, there would be a turntable so that vehicles would enter the area frontward facing and leave the same way. The site would be off-site consolidated with deliveries capped at 60 per day and no servicing at all between 07:00-23:00 with any planning permission granted accompanied by Section 106 provision for a Delivery and Servicing Plan to ensure that this was the case.
In terms of cycle provision, it was reported that the number of long-stay cycle spaces exceeded the draft London Plan requirements by 17 with a total of 1,002 long-stay cycle spaces provided. These would be accessible via a gullied staircase and two lifts to ensure that cyclists can gain access rapidly without the need to queue outside onto areas of public realm. Members were informed that there would, however, be a significant shortfall in short-term spaces in terms of the London Plan requirements (102 spaces). Officers commented that the London Plan requirements were applied across London but highlighted that targets were very difficult to achieve in a dense urban setting such as the City. It was highlighted that this scheme would provide 28 short-term spaces on stands situated throughout the site and Officers felt that this was acceptable as it balanced out the need to ensure that pedestrian permeability and public realm was maintained and there was an overprovision in terms of policy requirements for long-stay cycle parking spaces.
Members were shown various visuals of the proposed pop-up market on the south eastern corner of the site which would become a seamless part of Leadenhall Market with a very vibrant mix of curated uses in a very prominent part of the scheme. Officers used the view of this area from Fenchurch Street looking west to highlight wind where they highlighted that, because of the modest height of the existing building, wind conditions around it were particularly tranquil. The increase in building height proposed here would inevitably bring windier conditions with areas to the south and west of the site experiencing this. Members were informed that the scheme had been through an extensive amount of wind modelling to ensure that the architecture (curved edges, recesses, open areas and tree planting) was able to mitigate this as far as possible and to ensure that wind conditions were fit and proper for the intended use of the public realm. Officers underlined that the proposals were in accordance and compliant with the Wind Microclimate Guidelines and that there were no areas where wind conditions would be unacceptable. It was also highlighted that the addition of 55 Gracechurch Street (approved by this Committee at its last meeting) would help to improve wind conditions around 20 Fenchurch Street. The Committee were informed that a Section 106 post-construction wind audit would also be undertaken to see if further improvements were subsequently required should permission be granted.
Officers went on to focus on façade materials and detailing, reporting that the base of the building would be terracotta and therefore have a more robust masonry appearance in order to tie it into the foreground streetscape of Gracechurch Street which was characterised by masonry buildings. A cross section of the proposed building depicted the generosity of scale of the new market hall proposal at ground floor level with escalators taking visitors up to the second-floor lobby/office reception area. Officers ran through some of the flexi office floor space that was proposed for levels 1-4 within the podium, levels 4-7 and levels 9-14. In its entirety, the scheme offered 72,000 square meters of flexible, sustainable, Grade A office space which was an increase of 55,000 square meters over the existing building and a very substantial contribution to the supply chain for office floor space in the City to meet anticipated demand. The building would accommodate 4,300 City workers which had been accounted for within all of the pedestrian flow analysis undertaken. The office floor space was able to be subdivided and accommodate a range of occupiers with a Section 106 agreement securing incubator spaces for start-ups which would be ideal for co-working and with a particular emphasis on SMEs whilst not excluding larger multi-national companies. The office floor space would also be naturally ventilated with external terraces which would be particularly attractive in the post-COVID era. Officers went on to report that levels 29 and 30 would host a free public viewing gallery/winter garden. There would be dedicated lift access to this space from ground level with sufficient space at ground floor to also allow for security clearances and queuing that would not impact upon the public realm. Members were shown images depicting the applicant’s aspirations for the dedicated lift experience which would rise from ground floor to level 29 where visitors would be able to take in exceptional views of the City, particularly to the west and north of the site. The space at level 29 would be a tranquil space with seating and verdant planting - a welcome addition with health and wellbeing at the forefront of the minds of many at present. The area would also feature a small retail kiosk to compliment the area. The space would be free to access 7 days a week from 10:00-19:00 or nautical dusk (whichever is the latest) aside from Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. There would be no pre-booking and no closures for private events and this would be supported by a Visitor Manager Plan as part of the Section 106 agreement. It was also intended that the area be curated with an emphasis on culture, artwork, performance, educational events and perhaps Sculpture in the City. A Cultural Strategy was proposed and this would be enforced under the Section 106 agreement. Officers reported that they were very excited about these plans which it was felt would create a socially and economically inclusive space and prove to be a real catalyst for activity in the City, particularly at weekends. Finally, Members were informed that the Public Viewing Gallery would be naturally ventilated with fresh air.
The Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director reported that, going up the proposed building, there would be external terrace areas for the building tenants which would address key issues such as the need for natural ventilation and the ability to escape the work environment.
It was commented that Officers felt that the design of the proposed building was of a very high quality that would add another dimension to the architectural diversity of the existing cluster. Members were shown visuals of the South, West, East and North elevations of the proposed building with Officers reporting that its design had been influenced by Brancusi sculpture with a robust masonry base leading up to three tall, elegant, slices of the building with deep notches of urban greening set between these.
Comparisons were made between the new and existing buildings with Officers noting that a substantial increase in height was proposed. This was not, however, considered to be unacceptable on the site in question. With regard to urban greening, the Committee were informed that the proposals exceeded the urban greening factor on this site and Officers noted that there was additional urban greening proposed at street level. This was successfully integrated into the architectural design of the building but, importantly, it was also built into a maintenance regime which would be underpinned by extensive conditions to ensure the continued maintenance of this.
The Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director went on to speak about the principle of a tall building in this location, highlighting that it did lie within the Eastern Cluster Policy Area of the existing Local Plan where tall buildings were deemed to be appropriate. It was noted that it also fell within the emerging City Cluster Policy Area and within the Renewal Opportunity Area. The site was not in an area that had been deemed inappropriate for tall buildings. Members were informed that the proposed height of the building, at 255m, had been specifically informed by the procession route view. The Committee were shown images of the proposed building in context, surrounded by the other consented schemes in the Eastern Cluster with the exception of 55 Gracechurch Street which was still to be added. Members were shown visuals depicting how the proposed building would step away from the Bank Conservation Area, upwards towards 20 Fenchurch Street and towards the apex of the Cluster at 1 Undershaft and 22 Bishopsgate. Members were shown images of the location of the proposed building from along the Processional Route with Officers reporting that they had worked very collaboratively with the applicant to ensure that there was no visibility at any point along the nationally important Processional Route of St Paul’s. This was marked as a key driver for the building and had been achieved by amendments to the scheme at a very early stage.
Members were shown visuals of the Eastern Cluster Composition from Waterloo Bridge, with the Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director referring to the area where 20 Fenchurch Street had a very strident presence as ‘the missing tooth’. He added that the site in question today was key in terms of bringing 20 Fenchurch Street into the cluster of tall buildings creating a more coherent and legible form.
Members were informed that there were some views where certain stakeholders had raised concerns and objections. Officers turned firstly to the view from Waterloo Bridge where Historic England had raised an objection on the impact of the proposal on St Paul’s, visible to the extreme north of this view. Members were shown an image of the existing cluster from this vantage point as well as images of the cumulative impact featuring all of the consented schemes. Here, the proposed scheme was depicted to the right of the view with the Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director commenting that he could not personally see any logic in arguing that this proposal harmed the setting of St Paul’s which sat to the north of the Cluster. He added that, if anything, it served to pull the existing cluster together as a unified form which simplified its dynamic relationship with the Cathedral which very much sat as a singular statement in its own right. Similarly, images from the South Bank showed how the proposed scheme would pull the existing cluster together. Images from London Bridge depicted Billingsgate and Custom House in the foreground and the addition of the consented schemes alongside today’s proposals showed how the cluster would step up from this view. Views from the Golden Gallery and Tate Modern further depicted how the proposed scheme would create a much more legible and visually coherent integrity to the cluster.
Officers went on to highlight that Historic Royal Palaces had not raised any objections to the scheme in terms of its impact on the Tower of London but stated that Historic England had identified harm to a number of views in the World Heritage Site. Officers disagreed with this view and did not feel that there would be any harm caused. The Committee were shown images of the existing situation from the Tower of London Inner wall and inner ward and also of the consented schemes of the cluster and this newly proposed scheme which would be slightly visible to the north of 20 Fenchurch Street from this view. Images of the view from Tower Bridge showed the proposed building being largely concealed by 20 Fenchurch Street. An alternative view from the inner ward where Historic England had registered objections on the basis of harm caused showed the proposed scheme as being just visible to the left of the tower of the Chapel of ad Vincular. The proposal was also depicted in the context of all of the consented schemes from this view, where Officers remarked that the tall buildings behind the Chapel created a juxtaposition. It was also highlighted that the inner ward was an interesting, kinetic experience because, to the south, the entire cluster could be seen as a very dominant backdrop to the chapel, but as you moved to the north, the tall buildings diminished and it was possible to view the chapel against open sky. Officers presented a series of other views and reported that they had not been able to identify any harm in any of these. In terms of more localised views, the Committee were shown images of the existing and cumulative views from Fish Street Hill where it was demonstrated that 55 Gracechurch Street would effectively obscure the proposed building from view. The same was true of the view from King William Street where two thirds of the proposed building would also be concealed. The view from the Leadenhall Market Conservation Area showed that the proposed building would become a very prominent part of the backdrop here with Officers reporting that they had assessed the impact of this on daylight and sunlight and views from within Leadenhall Market and did not think that it would compromise these. It was noted that the market was largely roofed and a unique space.
The Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director summarised by stating that this development was located in a strategically important part of the City – in both the Eastern Cluster Policy Area of the adopted Plan and the City Cluster Policy Area and Renewal Opportunity Area of the emerging, replacement plan. It was highlighted that this was therefore a key part of the City in terms of delivering the floorspace to meet projected demand. 72,000 square meters of flexible, sustainable, high quality floorplates would be provided, representing an increase of 55,000 square meters that would accommodate 4,300 City workers. The office space offered was considered to be exceptional and designed for small and medium sized businesses with flexible and adaptable layouts allowing for subdivision and expansion with incubator and start up spaces. The building was designed with a very high sustainability standard and targeted a BREEAM outstanding rating. It adopted circular economy principles, carbon emissions reductions and a whole-life carbon strategy as set out in great detail within the report. The building was considered to be of a very high-quality design which responded both to its local context but also to distant views, particularly that of St Paul’s on the Fleet Street processionary route. There was a very substantial increase of public realm with 40% of the site to be given over to this with a new north-south pedestrian route defining a new southern gateway to Leadenhall Market with very good pedestrian comfort levels. The innovative lifting strategy for servicing and vehicles was hailed as groundbreaking. It was reported that it would be off-site consolidated and that servicing not take place between the hours of 07:00-23:00. Long stay cycle parking provision would exceed standards. Whilst there would be a significant loss of retail floorspace, this was considered to be acceptable given the flexible, vibrant and rich retail offer that would be introduced here and the other public benefits of the scheme. The public, free to visit winter garden offering exceptional views would be a genuinely socially and economically inclusive space which would be of major benefit to the City, diversify its appeal and be a real catalyst for weekend activity/economy here.
In conclusion, the scheme was highlighted as a permeable, external facing, welcoming building that would be attractive to SMEs, start-ups and co-working/incubation space. It would create vibrant public uses and a new public winter garden curated with culture at its core which would be available to visitors and workers 7 days per week. The scheme was considered to represent an exceptional, exciting new breed of City building which addresses key City challenges and, in the opinion of Officers, stood it in good stead to flourish in its future resurgence. It was therefore recommended favourably to Members.
The Town Clerk introduced Ms Meghan Allen and Ms Emma Baylis, both addressing the Committee in objection to the proposals.
Ms Allen introduced herself as addressing the meeting today on behalf of the owners of Alliance House which sat opposite the application site. She reminded the Committee that she had also addressed them at their last meeting in opposition to the proposals for 55 Gracechurch Street on the basis of the negative impact that it would have on the amenities of the existing occupiers of Alliance House and its future development potential. She added that she spoke again today to highlight her client’s heightened concerns at the proposed redevelopment of 70 Gracechurch Street which would have similar negative effects. It was felt that together the two developments, which are immediately adjacent and to the north and south, would dwarf Alliance House and, more seriously threaten the development potential of this important allocated City Cluster opportunity site. Ms Allen stressed that her client had three main areas of concern – potential development, amenity of existing occupiers and heritage. Firstly, on potential development, her clients were concerned that the future development potential of Alliance House, an important and prominent corner plot, would be seriously jeopardised by these proposals, particularly when considered in conjunction with the proposed development at 55 Gracechurch Street. The cumulative impact of the 29 and 33 storey buildings either side of this modest 8 storey building would clearly be significant and it was felt that the applicants had not considered the effects in sufficient detail so as to confirm no adverse impact. Ms Allen highlighted that her clients site sat at a prominent junction at the heart of the Renewal Opportunity Area which was clearly identified in the City’s emerging Plan. It was within the City Cluster and crucial to the regeneration of the area. Whilst her clients supported this emerging policy classification, they were concerned that such large developments on immediately adjacent sites either side of their property would miss a wider opportunity to maximise the development potential of the Renewal Opportunity Area to the detriment of the objectives of the City Cluster Policy. It was felt that further consideration needed to be given as to how these sites could evolve together to ensure that sensitive uses and views to and from the buildings do not prevent opportunities at Alliance House. Secondly, with regard to amenity, Ms Allen reported that her clients objected to a development of this scale in such close proximity to Alliance House as it had the potential to reduce the amount of light received to existing office space. Officers had acknowledged that the proposed development would result in a reduction of daylight and sunlight to surrounding commercial properties and her client objected on the ground that these impacts had not been considered sufficiently. The application proposal would also significantly limit opportunities for natural light to any future development which could limit the form and function of it and may well make it less viable - this was at odds with the City Cluster Policy S21 and further emphasised these objections on the basis that this site should not be considered in isolation. There was a need for a more holistic approach to the regeneration of these allocated sites, particularly where the development of one, or in this case two, adjacent sites had the potential to hinder development opportunities of another perhaps more important site. The proposed public viewing galleries were intended to enable long views over London, but if these views were to become established, they had the potential to constrain the height, orientation and future use of the client’s site, contrary to emerging renewal and regeneration policies. Thirdly, on heritage, Ms Allen noted that Historic England and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets had raised concerns on the grounds of harm to heritage assets in this unique heritage context and the impact of the development on daylight into Leadenhall Market and that she was not aware that these issues had been satisfactorily resolved. There were therefore concerns that a determination of the application in advance of this would be premature.
In conclusion, Ms Allen stated that her clients objected to the application on the basis that it would hinder the future development potential of their allocated renewal site. The cumulative impact of the development of 70 Gracechurch Street and 55 Gracechurch Street without due consideration to impacts on Alliance House fail to maximise this opportunity for comprehensive planning contrary to the objectives of City Cluster policies. It would have an adverse impact on the amenity of existing and future occupiers and cause harm to heritage assets. Ms Allen therefore requested that the application be refused or deferred to fully consider these impacts.
Ms Baylis introduced herself as the owner of Flat B, 4 Bulls Head Passage and underlined that she was speaking today both on her own behalf as well as on behalf of her fellow owners at Flats A and C – residential properties at Leadenhall Market purchased on varying dates since 2013 and occupied since then. The Committee were informed that these properties sat in a historic building at the back of the Market and enjoyed unmodified characterful windows with views over the back of the Market. Ms Baylis reported that residents were only recently notified of the proposed development at a time when many neighbouring properties were unoccupied because of the pandemic. As residential owners, it seemed that the applicant had an assumption that all neighbouring properties were commercial and that therefore due consideration had not been given to the impact on residential neighbours. She added that they had serious concerns that had not yet been adequately addressed and could be summarised into four categories - daylight and rights of light more generally, connectivity and the potential loss of satellite television and radio signal, health, safety and quality of life during the development phase and financial concerns as to the value of their properties. Taking each in turn, Ms Baylis spoke first on concerns around light underlining that this was a key issue for residents. She stated that the construction of a 33 storey skyscraper just meters south of their properties would inevitably result in the flats falling under its shadow and it was felt that inadequate consideration had been given to this fact. It was noted that a report was prepared by GIA dated 13 January addressing the potential impact on these properties, however, this was clearly an afterthought and had not been considered previously. Following the resident’s advisors letter, a further letter was received from Mr Webb of GIA at 19:00 yesterday evening, just a matter of hours before this meeting, allowing residents inadequate time to take proper advice. Ms Baylis stressed at this point that the representation that this letter was addressing was not a new representation as these had been made to the Case Officer promptly with communication only made late because these had still not been adequately addressed. In effect, however, Mr Webb’s letter confirmed the earlier concerns of residents that the properties at 2-3 and 4 Bulls Head Passage had been confused and that it was not possible for them to reconcile the windows referred to either individually or collectively without further explanation. This reinforced concerns around the report having been hastily prepared without a site visit to these residential properties and residents therefore had no confidence in its findings. Ms Baylis stated that the letter from Mr Webb also raised a new and serious concern for residents in that he stated in his analysis that it ‘does not recognised curved glassing’ whilst these properties featured an historic curved window. As such, she reiterated that residents require a more detailed assessment to be shared with their advisors. She stressed that these were their homes and it was not acceptable that residents were being asked to accept the findings of a firm that had been instructed by the applicant, particularly when their initial report has been show to be hastily prepared from old plans and was lacking in precision. Whilst Mr Webb’s insistence that there would be a negligible impact on these properties was noted, both e and the report made reference to the already low light levels in the passageway due to the proximity of neighbouring buildings. As a consequence of this, even a modest reduction in these light levels could be damaging. Ms Baylis reported that the windows in the flats had been in existence since the property’s construction in 1830 and underlined that residents would pursue their rights of light as a civil matter if their concerns were not adequately addressed.
With regard to concerns around connectivity, Ms Baylis stated that the proposed development would have a serious impact on this and was likely to result in the loss of satellite television and radio signals – basic needs in the digital age and a key pillar of the London Plan and yet there was no evidence of this having been considered. It was noted that residents would not have access to expensive infrastructure that might be enjoyed by their commercial neighbours. With regard to wider concerns about the development, residents had seen no analysis of the impact of the development and construction itself in terms of health and safety and the quality of life of residents. Concerns here included serious noise pollution, significant impacts on air quality, vibration from drilling, construction site traffic and wind effects – all of which would impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of residents. Finally, with regard to the financial impact on residential properties, Ms Baylis commented that being so centrally and uniquely located meant that these properties were expensive to buy in 2013 and reported that they had since been carefully maintained at great cost to ensure that they retain their character and continue to enjoy the benefits of their historic location. The shadow cast by the proposed development over both these properties and Leadenhall Market would undoubtedly have a serious impact on the desirability of the area and the properties and would, in turn, reduce their financial value. She noted that the GLA’s report confirmed that the development would result in a degree of harm to heritage assets including Leadenhall Market.
In summary, Ms Baylis reported that residents considered that the application had not given due consideration to the impact on them and therefore requested that the Committee postpone its decision on it pending further consideration of these issues. She added that their advisors had offered to liaise with the applicant in order to facilitate this.
The Chair thanked Ms Allen and Ms Baylis for their contributions and invited any questions that Members might have of them.
A Member asked Ms Baylis whether residents had been informed of any pre-application consultation on the design of the building that the developer had held prior to the application being submitted. Ms Baylis reported that the only notifications received had been just before Christmas in November/December and that, at this stage, residents had voiced their concerns via an email to the Case Officer and questioned how they could make further, formal representations. Ms Baylis added that she believed that the lodging of these representations had prompted the GIA report to be commissioned by the applicant on 13 January and that, prior to this, there had seemingly been no acknowledgement of any residential dwellings in the area.
The Member stated that the first notification that residents had received of the development was therefore form the City of London and also noted that the public notices had been erected during national lockdown when City residents were not generally about and about to view these.
Ms Baylis reported that the freeholder of her building who owned the business premises on the ground floor had failed to see the notices on time for this very reason and his representation had not therefore been considered today.
The Town Clerk introduced those speaking in support of the application.
Patrick Wong introduced himself as founder and CEO of Tenacity Group, the owners of 55 and 70 Gracechurch Street. He reminded the Committee that he had addressed them last month speaking of his confidence in the City and the future of the office and that he could think of no better demonstration of that commitment than to return to their very next meeting to discuss his vision for a second development in the City at 70 Gracechurch Street. Mr Wong reported that he had worked closely with the City Corporation on both of his projects for over 3-4 years and that, whilst 70 Gracechurch Street was very different to 55, both had the same overarching principles around sustainability, visitor and occupier experience and making a positive contribution to both the City streetscape and skyline. Mr Wong added that it was in relation to the streetscape that Tenacity could deliver significant benefits for Citygoers of all types and he explained that one of the key elements of his proposals was permeability at ground floor level which would tie in with the new routes in already approved scheme at number 55 and transform the pedestrian experience in the City. More than this, the proposals for 70 Gracechurch Street could help revitalise Leadenhall Market. Mr Wong stated that it was clear from the first meeting with Officers in 2017 that the Market is a jewel in the crown of the City but that it had suffered in recent years and, even more so now, in the pandemic. By creating a new route through the building directly into the Market, the plans could make Leadenhall more accessible and create a ground floor anchor for the Market, driving additional footfall to help sustain this key City landmark.
Mr Wong commented that he had also spoken previously on the need for the right type of space inside and outside and he believed that 70 Gracechurch Street delivered this, embracing a new, hybrid office model that he felt would increasingly emerge post-pandemic and become more important as people began to return to their places of work. In essence, the whole office and City eco-system will need to work harder and be more innovative to adapt to this change. Mr Wong underlined that 70 Gracechurch Street would do just that and provide flexible floorplates for both large and SME companies at various stages of their life cycle, but also create a dynamic destination in its own right that reflects the Corporation’s vision for the future of the City and its recovery from COVID. Mr Wong highlighted that 70 Gracechurch Street sat on the site of the original Roman Forum that once dominated this part of London and was historically a hub for exchange, social interaction and discourse and the applicant wanted it to be exactly this once again. Whilst they had reflected and considered the site’s rich heritage in their proposals, it was important to always look towards the future – a future for the City that was bright and one which, working with the Corporation, they hoped to shape.
Richard Ward, DP9, began by highlighting that the site in question was situated within the adopted Eastern Cluster and the emerging City Cluster where significant growth and office floorspace was required to be accommodated. The site was also allocated as one of two renewal opportunity sites within the City Cluster, both of which had been specifically identified as being suitable for tall buildings. Mr Ward stated that the proposed scheme would transform the existing, outdated office building into a modern, world-class addition to the City Cluster, creating a dynamic destination in its own right and opening up the ground floor with a new street through the site, creating greater permeability and a new link to Leadenhall Market. The proposals would significantly increase the amount of publicly accessible space on the site and would improve pedestrian comfort levels on the pavements around the site. The ground floor layout was capable of adapting to a changing retail environment and the night-time servicing strategy would enable the proposed servicing area to be given over to pop-up retail and public realm during the day. Mr Ward continued by reporting that the proposals included a multifunctional public viewing gallery on levels 29 and 30, comprising a spatially dynamic and flexible internal space enabling a wide variety of public activities - a mixture of informal uses and curated events contributing to a vibrant public life in the building. Members were informed that the developer was also committing to an overarching Cultural Strategy for the development with the aim being to maximise the public offering at ground floor and up on the public viewing gallery level.
In terms of sustainability, Mr Ward reported that developers were targeting a BREEAM outstanding rating, would deliver integrated urban greening, had adopted circular economy and whole-life carbon principles and were committed to a route to net zero carbon. The proposed development would create up to 4,300 jobs and deliver over £30million of Community Infrastructure Levy and Section 106 contributions.
Mr Ward stated that, in terms of the late representation received yesterday morning, it was acknowledged that the three residential properties in 4 Bulls Head Passage were mislabelled as 2-3 Bulls Head Passage in the developer’s previously submitted daylight and sunlight assessment. He went on to comment that the mislabelling did not change any aspect of the assessment, nor did it change the overall conclusion which is that the impacts arising from the development proposed were minor and would not result in any noticeable harm to the daylight or sunlight amenity currently enjoyed by residents. In terms of public consultation, it was reported that the developer ran two exhibitions prior to the submission of the planning application - a traditional public exhibition in December 2019 which had been attended by 60 people and a virtual exhibition held in August 2020 with over 1,000 local businesses and residents notified of both in advance.
Mr Ward concluded by stating that he hoped that Members would vote in line with the Officer recommendations and approve this application today.
John Chapman introduced himself as one of three Common Councillors who, alongside their Alderman, represented Langbourne Ward within which 70 Gracechurch Street resides. Mr Chapman stated that he believed that 70 Gracechurch Street signified an important opportunity for both the Ward and the wider City. The proposals were to develop the building with its juxtaposition to the historic Leadenhall Market and, in doing so, provide a complex building arena within a 200 square meter radius, using a mixture of ultra-modern and Victorian architecture that was successfully replicated throughout the Square Mile in places such as 1 New Change, St Paul’s Cathedral and new office developments along the length of Lombard Street. Mr Chapman stated that this was exactly the kind of considered development that was needed in the City – a sustainable building that interacts with and enhances its surroundings rather than cutting itself off from them.
Mr Chapman went on to report that Leadenhall Market had a special place in his hearts and that, over the many years that he had visited the site daily, he had seen it thrive as a bustling and energetic hub within his Ward, drawing visitors from far and wide but had also seen it wain and become less welcoming in more recent times. He added that it was clear that the current challenges were some of the Market’s greatest. Mr Chapman reported that the Ward of Langbourne had been at the forefront of the fallout of the pandemic given that it had a largely business-based electorate and this once vibrant area had therefore turned into a ghost town overnight with the onset of various lockdowns and businesses keeping their employees at home on the advice of central government. In the absence of footfall, many local businesses in the Leadenhall area had not survived and some of those that had had faced having to mothball their premises and hope for better days ahead. Mr Chapman commented that he was of the view that projects such as this sent a positive and never more message that a recovery was underway and would provide people with confidence to return knowing that the City could endure challenges (as it always had done), adapt to change and come back bigger and stronger. Mr Chapman felt that the proposals for 70 Gracechurch Street could help overcome these challenges – the new route would draw more people inside the Market with the whole ground floor effectively becoming an extension of it with a permanent market hall and pop-up spaces and breathing new life into the Market and the Ward more broadly. Mr Chapman therefore concluded by commending the application to Members today.
The Chair thanked the speakers for their contributions and welcomed any questions that Members might have of them.
A Member asked the applicant about the pedestrian comfort levels, commenting that Members were very familiar with the very busy crossing and awkward pavement space at the corner of Gracechurch Street and Fenchurch Street. She noted that the report referred to the inability to widen the pavement here and that the Mayor of London’s response contained within the addendum report circulated yesterday evening also made reference to this. The Member stated that her question was therefore, with an additional 4,300 people working in the newly proposed building and the desire to attract visitors, had the applicant explored any other possibilities as to how they could possibly achieve this at this busy junction for safety purposes. John Mulhaire of Momentum, the applicant’s transport consultant, reported that a detailed Pedestrian Comfort Level Assessment had been undertaken in consultation with the City of London and TfL and that a bespoke assessment had been undertaken for this location. It was reported that the north-south link through the scheme (one of its primary benefits) had the ability to divert trips that are currently accommodated on Gracechurch Street and Fenchurch Street. The assessment had taken into account the diversion of these trips at a rate of 10% through the site and it also took account of the fact that, for anyone approaching from the north, the shortest route to the office lobby was through this central location. The assessment therefore assumed a reduction in the number of trips that were currently accommodated on the existing network. Mr Mulhaire added that the key question that the Member had asked related to Gracechurch Street and the corner location at the junction with Fenchurch Street and he reported that the possibility of widening the pavement here had been discussed and investigated alongside the City of London but stressed that plans here were confined by the curvature and the radius for any vehicles turning left from Gracechurch Street to Fenchurch Street which was designed to accommodate an articulated vehicle. It was reported that the applicant was, however, aware that TfL had identified this specific junction as an improvement opportunity and would therefore be looking into its operation which could feasibly lead to an increase in the pavement width here and improve pedestrian safety at the location. Notwithstanding this, the Pedestrian Comfort Level analysis undertaken (accounting for the mitigating route through the site) indicated that levels here would operate satisfactorily. John Bushell of KPF added that, at the junction of Lime Street to Philpot Lane with Fenchurch Street, pavements wild be realigned to create a wider pavement on the eastern side of Lime Street and the western side of Philpot Lane and that the two routes therefore align in a much more comfortable way with improvements to the pedestrian comfort levels in both locations.
Another Member questioned whether, having mentioned that this development would be built on the site of the Roman Forum, the applicant would seek to explain this history within the proposed public realm space surrounding the building. John Bushell commented that this was a very exciting part of the applicant’s due diligence at the beginning of the project and that the applicant were hoping to incorporate the plan configuration of the Forum into the paving of the public realm on the ground floor. This would be set out in terracotta as some beautiful blue clay terracotta had been found on the site and it was felt that it would be good to reflect this in the design at the bottom of the building and also to have information on the Roman Forum communicated here and also at the top of the building where a Cultural Strategy negotiated with the City would be put in place.
Another Member noted that the existing building was only just 20 years old and therefore asked if the applicant could provide any further detail as to why it could not therefore be refurbished considering the amount of embodied energy in the building and the fact that it was clearly not at the end of its design life. Secondly, the Member noted that the proposed building’s materials and service life would not meet the GLA’s carbon zero net target, with the report noting that there were various potential reductions in terms of operational energy. She sought further clarity on the possibility of meeting targets from the applicant. Mr Bushell, reported that the existing building was, in every respect, ‘wrong’ for the things it was felt that the site should achieve with staircases and escalators all very fixed objects along the southern, Fenchurch Street boundary of the site, creating a wall that meant that the large market halls could not be opened up. The main core of the building was in the western section of the building with the office provision above therefore constricted to the north part of the site. The big ambition on this site was to compliment Leadenhall Market with large market halls which had led to the success of other large markets in London. The market halls here would be 9m high (the equivalent of 2-3 storeys of space) and would be a huge transformation for the market. Under these plans all of the current restrictions from the core and the bulky nature of the existing building would be addressed. The proposed podium would halve the mass of the existing core to attune to the conservation area surrounding the site.
Oliver Morris reported that the scheme did actually meet the current GLA benchmarks for whole life carbon and underlined that his team had worked through options to further reduce the scheme’s embodied carbon in an attempt to move towards the aspirational targets that the GLA have set out. It was reported that the operational and construction emissions for the scheme would be aligned with the UK GBC’s framework definition in terms of achieving net zero carbon. With regard to the serviceable life of materials and building services, it was reported that amongst the initial work that the team had considered was a bespoke façade design to extend the serviceable life of this element of the building alongside using low embodied carbon and raised access flooring tiles, to reduce the recurring emissions as a result of the replacement cycles for those systems. In line with the UK GBC, the applicant reported that they were very much committed to reducing the embodied carbon and operational carbon from the scheme but, as the Member had already referred to, there would be an element of offsetting as the applicant wanted to exhaust every other avenue possible for reducing the embodied and operational carbon. Members were informed that all of the energy supplied for the scheme would be via a green or renewable procurement supplier and the applicant had looked to reduce the operational energy to below that of targets set out by LETI and the RIBA 2030 challenge.
Another Member referred to the loss of retail space within the building and questioned why it was not proposed to utilise more of the podium level space for this purpose. She added that the existing Marks and Spencer flagship store here was an important magnet for shoppers to the rest of the retail offering in the Fenchurch Street area. She went on to talk of the pavement space, noting that the Walkie Talkie building had been set back to allow for more pavement space as the opposite side of the street was very narrow. Likewise, she noted that the opposite side of this proposed building was also incredibly narrow with pedestrians having to walk in the road to avoid pavement congestion during peak times. Whilst she appreciated plans to widen Philpot Lane and lead pedestrians down to the applicant’s other development at 55 Gracechurch Street she stated that she felt it would have been better to see the proposed building line pulled back to create additional pavement space around this busy junction. Finally, the Member sought some assurances around the safety of the urban greening that was proposed to run the length of the building and on the top level. She commented that this was an incredibly windy area because of the Walkie Talkie building. She also questioned how sustainable the green planting was likely to be and how this would be accessed and maintained for the life of the building.
With regard to loss of retail, Mr Ward highlighted that the City’s adopted and emerging policies were placing emphasis on the primary business function of the City and on providing public access through and at the top of tall buildings. Mr Ward added that the proposed scheme would actually deliver more active retail frontage than was offered at present and the applicant was also very keen to ensure that the proposed retail space that had been designed was appropriate for the changing retail environment and was flexible and adaptable in its layout. The space on the eastern side of the ground floor which would allow access for servicing during the night would also provide pop-up retail during the day. The applicant considered that the right balance had been achieved in terms of activating the lowest floors of the building.
In terms of pavement space, Mr Ward reported that on, the eastern side of Lime Street and the western side of Philpot Lane, the applicant had managed to use the proposed public realm works to widen the pavements in the most sensitive areas where current comfort levels were ‘F’(very poor).
Giles Charlton of SpaceHub design commented on the landscaping of the building. In relation to the viability of the greening, he commented that the urban greening on this project had been a fundamental part of the design and was therefore integrated with the architecture and engineering proposals. In order for the greening to be viable, robust and sustainable in the long term, it was important to achieve the right conditions. The planters going up the height of the building would therefore be approximately 1.5m deep and 1.5m wide allowing for very good soil volume which would also be irrigated and promote the flourishing and good survival of the planting. In addition to this, it would be important to consider how these were planted and a layered approach using different species of plant from the ground level was intended to prevent any lone planting being susceptible to the wind conditions. Working with the different microclimates both on the south side of the building and on the north side would involve having different species selections. These approaches had been very carefully thought through and it was felt that all of the conditions to be attached to the planting were very robust. It was hoped that this would be seen as an exemplar of urban greening.
A Member commented that she had listened with interest to the comments made around the aspirations of the applicant and being committed to reducing construction emissions and the residual offsetting. She questioned whether the applicant could be any more specific about this as she had concerns that a decision today may be made based on such aspirations without having anything firmer to judge. In terms of reducing carbon, Mr Ward stated that he hoped that Members would take some comfort from the comprehensive conditions suggested by Officers requiring the applicant to submit further detailed reports at the relevant points prior to, during and after the construction and development and ensuring that targets were met.
Seeing no further questions of those speaking in support of the application, the Chair asked that the Committee now move to questions of Officers and the general debate.
A Member thanked Officers for such a detailed submission which would allow the Committee to make a well-informed decision. He wanted, however, to explore the sustainability and energy aspects of the proposals further from the perspective of Officers – specifically around the GLA’s benchmarking. He understood that current targets would be met but that the proposals were some way away from achieving the aspirational targets set for 2030 and questioned if this was quantifiable given that 2030 was just 9 years away. Next, the Member noted that the report set out that there were a number of very good steps being taken by the developer in terms of using low carbon alternatives in the construction phase but, again, he asked if this could be quantified and what impact this would have on the overall project. Finally, the Member questioned what quantum of the existing building would be recyclable, whether there were any targets assigned to this and whether the developer would be held to account on it.
Another Member noted that the report stated that a strategy to achieve further reductions of Whole Life Cycle carbon emissions to achieve more ambitious targets would be required by condition. He asked whether Officers could be more specific on this. He added that he accepted that the applicant had done a lot in this area and was clearly taking the matter seriously but commented that offsetting was not sustainable in terms of getting to net zero. He noted that the City of London Corporation had made a commitment to working with people across the Square Mile to get to net zero carbon for the Square Mile by 2040 and so these accelerated and additional requirements would be extremely important.
The Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director noted that Members clearly wanted further reassurances that Officers would be rigorous and ambitious in terms of both circular economy and whole life carbon and he highlighted that this was exactly why there were specific conditions in place which would require a quantifiable and calculable assessment to ensure that the GLA’s aspirations could be met as closely as possible, working in collaboration with the City of London. Members were informed that these conditions had been further tightened as a result of the queries raised at their last meeting and that they now applied for the entire life of the development. Officers went on to report that a huge amount of design development happened between the planning stage and the detailed design stage and it was for this reason that the planning conditions had been drafted to take account of detailed design stage improvements to the scheme. There was one pre-commencement condition that allowed for the detailed design development to be fully explored and the details to assessed and approved and post-completion conditions for both circular economy and whole life cycle carbon were there to ensure that all of the proposed measures had been implemented or improved upon to see how the scheme benchmarked against the GLA guidance. At present, the planning stage assessment for this scheme indicated that it would comply with the GLA benchmark and that it intended to comply with, come very close to or exceed the aspirational benchmark for whole life cycle carbon. In terms of circular economy, the scheme also committed to achieve more than the GLA’s guidance and Officers wanted to allow for improvements through the detailed design stage which could take a number of years and where new measures or technologies may well emerge. Officers reported, for example, that the applicant proposed to use PV coating on the terracotta facade panels which was a technology that was not yet widely marketed but was an innovative and suitable measure that Officers would like to allow the applicant the opportunity to explore further and could achieve further significant carbon emission reductions.
In terms of operational energy, the scheme scored very highly on energy efficiency measures, utilising a combination of mechanical and natural ventilation. The overall BREAAM rating was ‘outstanding’ at pre-assessment and, to allow for further improvements to the scheme, Officers had asked for a post-completion statement detailing all of the improvements that can be incorporated.
A Member commented that the permeability at ground floor level was a positive feature of this application and that linking the site with Leadenhall Market by facilitating pop-up stalls was clever but, in his view, contrived. He went on to state that he felt that this feature had been added to secure planning consent and intended to distract from a concern raised by Historic England that this proposed tall building would result in a loss of natural light to Leadenhall Market. The Member went on to highlight that the Market was a Grade II* listed structure and part of the unique historical fabric of the City and that this ought to therefore set alarm bells ringing. He went on to state that the City Corporation had a policy to protect heritage assets and should apply it firmly but the report stated that ‘the market’s covered spaces are artificially lit to ensure adequate lighting. The day light levels are not considered to be a contributor to the significance and special architectural or historic interest of the listed building. A change in daylight levels would not harm the setting and significance of the listed building’. It also went on to state ‘between 13:00 and 16:00GMT the roof of Leadenhall Market is partially overshadowed by shadow cast from the proposed development’. The Member questioned whether, if a building were proposed that would block natural light to St Paul’s for a significant part of the day and the Committee were told that artificial lighting would adequately light its interior, they would accept that this loss of light did not affect its significance as a listed building. The Member went on to state that other heritage concerns about this application were articulated in the objections and he pointed out that the fact that Historic Royal Palaces had not objected to this application was not a card that could be played to trump heritage concerns as heritage was much more than just the view from one historic building. The Member surmised that the reason that Historic Royal Palaces had chosen not to object was because the view of this development would be almost entirely obscured by the Walkie Talkie building. The Member commented that it was the Walkie Talkie that was at the heart of what was wrong with this application and that the Committee had made a mistake in granting permission for this in 2006 – something which the applicant seemed to agree with given their use of negative language in describing this building in a prior presentation. They did so to persuade Members that their developments would fill the gap between the Walkie Talkie and the Eastern Cluster. The Member commented that he felt that this was an irrational response as it was important to learn from past mistakes and not repeat them. The Member commented that, whilst he believed that this application would be supported by the Committee today, he would urge those who cared about the City’s heritage to not lose hope as the inevitable decision about this application and 55 Gracechurch Street could be called in by the Secretary of State who had, only last week, criticised the City Corporation on these grounds in another context.
A Member commented to state that she was extremely concerned about the lack of short-term cycle parking spaces, particularly as there had also been a lack of spaces provided by the previous scheme at 55 Gracechurch Street and both buildings had large public viewing galleries that would attract additional visitors. A total of 212 short stay spaces should have been provided by the two Gracechurch schemes combined but instead just a quarter of these would be introduced (52 spaces). The Member highlighted that this Committee had applauded previous schemes for providing more short-term cycle parking spaces than required. She went on to state that she also worried about the size of this building in terms of its impact on the heritage of the City and on the City as a tourist attraction. With regard to the proposed conditions, the Member stated that she was of the view that these should include targets. The Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director commented that the short stay cycle parking standard was applied throughout London and was difficult to achieve in very constrained sites such as this where there was an overriding need to provide pedestrian flows and public realm. The short fall at this site would be 78-80 stands which would be unachievable with the floorplan of this site.
Another Member questioned deliveries to the building, noting that these would utilise the delivery lifts, be from 23:00-07:00 only and that there was a condition stating that no more than 60 deliveries per day would be permitted. She asked what level of deliveries would be realistically required to service the building and wherever it was felt that the stipulated delivery timeframe would be adequate. With regard to public access to the viewing gallery, the Member noted that it was intended that this would be possible from 10:00-19:00 which would not allow those who work in the City much of an opportunity to visit during working hours and thereby diminished the public benefit that the scheme purported to provide. She questioned whether this then became a private space after 19:00. She noted that the Cultural Strategy left a lot to be determined via conditions. She noted that this was a novel building and questioned what safeguards would be put in place should things fail as had been the case with the Walkie Talkie. Finally, the Member commented that she felt it was disappointing that the Chair had not used his discretion to allow the freeholder to speak given the ongoing pandemic and the fact that he would not have seen the notice in good time. She added that it was disappointing to learn that residents had not been fully consulted on these plans given that they would have the biggest impact on them.
In terms of servicing and the lifts, the Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director reported that a huge amount of work had been undertaken to understand their operation and efficiency. In terms of deliveries for the scheme, Officers were very confident that the proposed hours and numbers were fit for purpose and would not spill over into peak hours. A Servicing Management Plan would be required to secure all of this.
With regard to the Cultural Strategy, Officers reported that they did need to build in some flexibility as there might be some providers/schools or opportunities arising that would not benefit from a prescriptive Strategy which could fetter creativity. The space was intended to be an evolving, curated area but would be reviewed by Officers.
Officers underlined that the viewing gallery would close at nautical dusk which, on Summer evenings would be way beyond 19:00. The hours proposed were intended to strike a balance between appealing to workers, tourists and families and Officers were of the view that these were reasonable and proportionate. Officers added that they were also very mindful of the issue of signage and the need to make this prominent and this was acknowledged within the addendum report.
A Member spoke to state that, as a lover of culture and heritage, she believed that these things made people want to work in the City and encouraged people to visit the area. She added that she did not believe that the plans would cause harm to Leadenhall Market and that, if she did, she would vote against them. She went on to comment that she had found the addendum report very helpful in terms of commenting on the delivery of healthy and inclusive streets and improving public realm and access. She had also found it interesting that TfL had accepted the proposal to use some of the long-term cycle parking spaces for short-term use although commented that signage highlighting this would be very important. The Member went on to comment that she found the permeability proposed at ground floor level very exciting and felt that this would create a sense of vitality around and open up access to Leadenhall Market which was situated within her Ward. The Member felt that these plans would reenergise the Market and noted that pop-up stalls had been used here previously and could help to reintroduce footfall and a sense of energy to the area where so many businesses had been struggling and were likely to continue to do so for some time to come. The Member added that the fact that the applicant wanted to develop two sites in this area and the fact that 1 Leadenhall was already half let was very encouraging in terms of the future of the City. The Member noted that Historic England had chosen not to address Committee today and that Historic Royal Palaces had chosen to make no objection at all.
A Member spoke to commend the Officer’s comprehensive report which enabled focused and informed debate and the correct considerations. Secondly, he commented that the City desperately needed this kind of renewed confidence that was being shown here by this innovative, flexible and sustainable scheme that would benefit small and medium sized businesses. He welcomed the holistic approach which saw streets as open spaces and not as thoroughfares as vehicles alone. Finally, he spoke to remind Members of the remarkable history of this site and added that he hoped that this application would be approved to help bring it back to life.
A Member sought clarification as to whether those who had registered objections but had not registered to address the Committee should be afforded less weight than those who did appear to speak. She underlined that she did not think that this was the case and that their objections still stood regardless. The Chair underlined that all objections received – whether written or verbal – would be taken into account. The Comptroller and City Solicitor agreed that both were given the same weight.
Another Member commented that the representations made by organisations such as Historic England and Tower Hamlets on heritage grounds seemed to present points that should be taken into account with Historic England arguing that permission should not be granted unless the Committee were persuaded on certain things and the Committee had seen the applicants and Officers responses to these. On the scheme itself, he commented that he had been impressed with what had been presented and felt that this was the kind of trailblazing building that should be encouraged in the City as it was innovative both inside and out. He added that he was also impressed with the sensitivity to the local area and the Market site with the proposed retail frontage set to respond to changing circumstances in the retail environment.
A Member commended this second application from the applicant as another imaginatively and well-designed building that would be an attractive addition to the cluster. He spoke favourably on the proposals around permeability which, in this case, would have a huge added public benefit to Leadenhall Market which, in recent years, had lacked some vibrancy and did need to be rejuvenated and regenerated. He added that he had been particularly encouraged today by the supportive comments made by both of the Councillors and the Alderman for the Ward in which this site resided. He added that, given the hybrid working plans that were emerging in the City post-COVID, this building would be most appropriate. He therefore hoped that the Committee would support this application.
Another Member commented that he was disappointed and very concerned to learn that the applicant had not held proper discussions/consultation on their plans with local residents. A Member commented that some local residents were not currently in their homes as these were not their primary residences.
The Committee then proceeded to vote on the recommendations before them within this report. The vote was conducted by rollcall led by the Town Clerk with those Members present and eligible to vote asked to also confirm that they had been present for and able to hear the entirety of this item.
Votes were cast as follows: IN FAVOUR – 25 Votes
OPPOSED – 4 Votes.
There were no abstentions.
The application was therefore approved.
RESOLVED – That:
(1) The Chief Planning Officer be authorised to grant planning permission for the above proposal in accordance with the details set out in the attached schedule, subject to:
a) The Mayor of London being given 14 days to decide whether to allow the Corporation to grant planning permission as recommended, or to direct refusal, or to determine the application himself (Article 5(1)(a) of the Town & Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2008);
b) Planning obligations and other agreements being entered into under Section 106 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 and Section 278 of the Highways Act 1980 in respect of those matters set out in the report, the decision notice not to be issued until the Section 106 obligations have been executed;
(2) Your Officers be instructed to negotiate and execute obligations in respect of those matters set out in ‘Planning Obligations’ under Section 278 of the Highway Act 1980.
(3) Your Officers be authorised to provide the information required by regulations 29 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017, and to inform the public and the Secretary of State as required by regulation 30 of those regulations.