Agenda item

85 Gracechurch Street

Report of the Planning & Development Director.


The Sub-Committee considered a report of the Planning and Development Director concerning partial demolition of existing building (Gracechurch Street frontage adapted) and the erection of a 32 storey (155.70m AOD) building plus basement levels including office use (Class E(g)(i)); flexible retail use (Class E(a), Class E(b), drinking establishments and hot food takeaway); Public Hall (sui generis); and Heritage Garden and Cultural Space at level 5 (sui generis), with 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 referred to those papers set out within the main agenda pack as well as the Officer presentation slides, and two addenda containing additional/late representations plus amended conditions that had been separately circulated and published.


Officers presented the application, explaining that the site was bounded by Gracechurch Street to the west and Leadenhall Market to the north-east and south-east and by Bull’s Head Passage to the south. It was located within the Leadenhall Market Conservation Area and was bounded to the north-east and south-east by Grade 2* listed market buildings as well as the Grade 2 listed buildings 81-82 Gracechurch Street. Further to the east, there was the Grade 1 listed Lloyd’s Building and to the west there was Bank Conservation Area and its listed buildings. The application site was also within the City Cluster Policy Area which was the City’s outlet for strategic growth.


Members were shown a visual of the proposal in the cumulative scenario of existing, under construction and consented schemes. Members were informed that 1 Leadenhall was currently under construction and had a height of approximately 180m. To the south was the consented 70 Gracechurch Street which was 155m in height. The proposal being considered was for a tower of 155m.


The Sub-Committee were shown a visual of the existing western elevation showing the 1930’s architecture, the upper parts and modern shop fronts. An Officer advised that this elevation would be retained as part of the development, with the remaining building behind being demolished and redeveloped.


Members were shown visuals of the elevations to the east and south of the existing building. An Officer stated they were utilitarian with a cluttered, untidy roofscape. The Officer stated that the application could be seen to nestle within the market buildings.


Members were informed that the application was for a 32-storey office tower which would take the form of a podium block behind the retained Gracechurch Street façade with a new public hall for the City at ground to fourth floor levels. At fifth floor level, there would be a new cultural attraction about the Roman Forum Basilica on the site with office floor plates rising above it.


The Sub-Committee were shown the existing ground floor plan showing the impermeable nature of the existing building constructed in the 1930s with entrances off Gracechurch Street to the west and Lime Street Passage to the east. It extinguished a through route east-west which once ran through the site and the proposal would reopen that east-west connection between Gracechurch Street and Lime Street Passage in the form of a public hall. Members were shown a visual of the proposed floor plan which included areas of flexible retail space, office lobby and reception space.


Members were shown a proposed diagram that showed how the plan would look in context with the lanes and alleys that characterised the Leadenhall Market Conservation Area. Members were also shown how the footprint of the proposed public hall would act as a complementary adjunct to the spaces in the market.


Members were then shown a proposed visualisation of the west elevation from Gracechurch Street standing in front of the building and looking through the sympathetically altered retained facade, to increase its permeability, both actual and visual, to the public hall.


Members were informed that the public hall would be a new destination for the City as much as a space for flexible retail, events and other associated uses possible under arrangements to be secured through a Section 106 agreement.


The Sub-Committee were informed that the public hall would be comparable in scale to the Guildhall.


Members were shown a visual of the proposed east elevation flanked by the Grade 2* listed market buildings and a proposed ground floor plan showing the proposed pavement widening to Gracechurch Street which would be between 1.55m and 2.6m in dimension.


Members were advised that servicing would take place via an innovative servicing lift pioneered at other schemes in the City. An Officer informed Members that it would be seamlessly integrated into the public realm when not in use. Servicing would take place between the hours of 11pm and 7am and vehicles would descend into the basement level where there would be space to unload in the loading bay and exit the site in forward gear. The development would have ample amounts of short and long stay cycle parking, predominantly at Ground Floor Level for the short stay and Level 3 for the long stay parking.


Members were informed that the site sat on a site of archaeological significance, the Roman Basilica Forum and provision had been made for the basements to be redesigned and to preserve the remains in situ, should significant remains be found during excavation works. If feasible, they should be interpreted to public view and this would be secured through condition. Members were advised that the western third of the site was thought to be the first Forum Basilica.


Members were shown the proposed ground floor plan showing the lifts to the Level 5 cultural space and heritage walkway. These would be free for the public to use and access seven days a week between the hours of 8am and 10pm. The public hall would be open 24 hours, 7 days a week. The public would exit the lifts at Level 5 into the Forum Basilica exhibition. There would also be a learning centre dedicated to outreach about the wider archaeology profession. It would also provide opportunities for other learning and events functions which would be curated in partnership with the Museum of London.


Members were shown visuals of the proposed heritage walkway cantilevering out over the market buildings and looking out to the east over the rooftops of the Victorian Leadenhall market complex, the wider conservation area and the tall buildings of the modern City beyond, including the Grade One Listed Lloyd’s Building.


The Sub-Committee were informed that the proposal would create new public realm in the City with two new destinations in the heart of the City Cluster.


Members were shown an image of the proposed Level 5 of the Forum Basilica exhibition space which would exhibit and interpret artifacts, not just from this site but from sites within the vicinity currently held in the Museum of London’s collections. An Officer stated that the museum would be a key cultural content partner in devising and promoting and displaying this work. Members were shown images of the types of artifacts which could be shown in the Museum’s collections telling the story of the place where London’s mercantile trade began.


Members were shown an existing Level 5 plan showing the light wells around the existing building and a proposed visual showing how the development would be built up to its site boundary. An Officer stated that arrangements for securing the details of party wall treatments would be secured via condition.


Members were shown proposed visuals of Levels 1-4 showing the spaces created above the public hall. An Officer informed them that there would be flexible retail space at First Floor Level and a series of configurations of office space above. Clear street windows to the south would light the entire space in a dramatic fashion. Moving up through the scheme, there would be a series of floor plates with greening at the west and east facades with cutaway and stepped terracing towards the southeast corner reaching the rooftop. The series of green terraces to the building would not be accessed by building users only by maintenance staff and the cutaways and the form of the building were ultimately defined by the views from the processional route from Fleet Street along to St Paul’s Cathedral.


Members were shown a visual of the scheme being concealed behind the cathedral, an existing elevation of Gracechurch Street façade and a proposed image showing how the scheme would sympathetically alter the façade in the spirit of its original design to increase the permeability.


Members were shown proposed elevations from the west, south, east and north and a proposed visual of a part of the scheme showing the architectural detail with fluted columns, planted terraces and cranked horizontals with the cues taken from the architecture of the conservation area.


Members were shown visuals of strategic and local views, looking south down Gracechurch Street with 6-8 Bishopsgate in the foreground and west over the conservation area where the scheme would appear behind Leadenhall Market with its planted green terraces. Members were informed that 70 Gracechurch Street, which was recently granted planning permission could be seen in the images as could 1 Leadenhall Court. Members were shown a view looking northwest out of Lime Street Passage at the existing market buildings with the proposed scheme rising above the market buildings and joining 1 Leadenhall Court as a backdrop of tall buildings to the market.


Members were shown a number of visuals of the view looking north including the existing, proposed, consented schemes and cumulative situations showing the characteristic of the conservation area setting. Members were also shown visuals looking north at Gracechurch Street at the existing building and the proposed building with 70 Gracechurch Street to the south, prominently framing the proposal. Looking north and looking back at the City Cluster from the Inner Curtain Walls South, the cumulative situation acted to bring the proposed building back into the cluster.


Members were shown visuals of how the scheme would look in comparison with other nearby buildings and the cumulative effect once other consented tall buildings were built. Views were shown from the Tower of London Scaffold Site, where the scheme was shown behind St. Peter ad Vincula, through Butler’s Wharf back at the cluster, from Tower Bridge where the scheme would appear at some distance to the west of the world heritage sites in the gap between 20 Fenchurch and the cluster.


Members were also shown visuals of how the scheme would look looking west with the scheme appearing in front of The Scalpel and helping to consolidate the cluster form overall. Looking from within the Bank Conservation Area at the backdrop of tall buildings in the City Cluster, the proposal rose over Cornhill and was joined by 1 Leadenhall Court and 6-8 Bishopsgate. The scheme rose behind St Michael’s Church, Cornhill, along with emerging forms of the Cluster. From St Paul’s Golden Gallery, the scheme would appear with pale masonry form and a sculpted silhouette as a diversification from the glazed geometry of the existing towers, those under construction and those consented.


The Sub-Committee were informed that the consented scheme would achieve a very high urban greening factor between 0.8 and 1. The proposed development would also achieve exemplary sustainability credentials, would be very energy efficient, would target BREAMM outstanding and would achieve, by the nature of its masonry facades, optimal thermal performance and solar shading.


Officers concluded that the proposed scheme would deliver a strategic contribution of floorspace to the City Cluster and the office floorspace would be flexible and of a standard design to meet the needs of current and future occupiers. The scheme would also deliver an outstanding new destination for the City in the form of the public hall of unprecedented size and scale at ground floor level. It would act as a complementary agent to Leadenhall Market and would deliver an important new visitor attraction. An educational facility at Level 5 would be devoted to the Roman Forum Basilica outlining the City’s history to more diverse audiences as well as those within the City. The scheme would achieve exemplary sustainability credentials, target BREAMM outstanding and score a very high urban greening factor. It would sit comfortably within the City Cluster and architecturally help to consolidate the cluster, diversify it and add high quality architecture. The application for planning permission was therefore recommended for approval.


The Chairman explained that there were two registered objectors to address the meeting and he invited the objectors to speak.


Ms Emma Baylis stated that she, along with the other objector, were two of the three owners of the residential flats at 4 Bull’s Head Passage and they had lived there for over 10 years. Ms Baylis asked Members to listen to the objections imaging that they were in the objectors’ homes feet away from the construction of a 32-storey skyscraper. She stated that this situation was unprecedented in the City cluster as there were no comparable cases of development which had taken place so close to residential property. Ms Baylis stated that several of the reports commissioned, assessed the impact on the residents as severe in relation to noise, vibration and the other impacts of living next door to a building site. Ms Baylis stated that adequate consideration had not been given to the appropriate safeguarding of the residents.


Mr William Ryan stated that he had been a resident of Bull’s Head Passage for over 10 years. He informed the Sub-Committee that when he had first moved to the City, there were only two skyscrapers in the neighbourhood, namely Tower 42 and the Gherkin. The core of the Walkie-Talkie was only a couple of stories high at that point. Mr Ryan stated that being within the Leadenhall Conservation Area, the objectors did not foresee that 10 years later they would be objecting to skyscrapers feet away from their homes. They also did not expect the City and the area around their homes to change so dramatically.


Members were shown images and were advised that 4 Bull’s Head Passage was a small, residential building. The proposed skyscraper would sit to the north of the property, would be attached to the entire North façade of the residential building and shared a party wall.


Mr Ryan showed the Sub-Committee a video of his home. Out of the window there was a wall to which the proposed building would attach and at that point the building would extend over a hundred meters upwards. The video also showed a skylight which currently looked out onto sky but would look onto the proposed building if built. He stated that the proposed development would change the character of the Victorian property. The development would create a feeling of claustrophobia in his home and there would be a material impact on the light entering his living room. Mr Ryan stated that bathrooms to Flats A, B and C would be materially darker without windows.


Mr Ryan advised that the background level of noise in Bull’s Head Passage was quiet as it was a pedestrian alleyway and the City was quiet in the evenings and at weekends. This meant out of hours works would have a real impact. The scale of the development was unprecedented. It was very unusual to build a 32-storey skyscraper next to a 4-storey residential building.


Mr Ryan raised concerned about extreme noise, dust and vibration and did not consider that the effects of the development could be mitigate reasonably. He stated that objectors believed their homes would become uninhabitable for many years. He informed Members that he worked from home five days a week running a small software company, he would struggle to concentrate during the construction of the development and it would be impossible to hold professional virtual meetings. Mr Ryan stated that the idea of trying to exist in his property was unimaginable and he was uncomfortable with the idea of steelwork and windows over 100 metres above his bedroom and living area. He stated that there had been instances of materials falling when other tall buildings had been constructed. Concern was also raised about the mental health of residents, who had already had to deal with a large amount of documentation and engage in the objection process.


Mr Ryan reiterated that his flat was his home and he was not an absent landlord or an international investor. He stated that the proposal would be to the extreme detriment of the residents and the management plan was not adequate to safeguard them. Mr Ryan asked the Sub-Committee to allow more time for consideration to be given to the health impact on residents and how this could be better mitigated. He stated that the developer had not engaged with residents until they had registered for a public webinar. Mr Ryan also asked that an appropriate agency be commissioned to consider the position of the residents and then consider measures such as further restricting working hours e.g. to five days a week. He stated that a standard construction management plan, which would not take into account the close proximity of residential properties to the site, would not be appropriate in this case where residential properties were in such close proximity.


The Chairman invited Members to question the objectors.


A Member asked how close the proposed building would be to the objectors’ homes. Mr Ryan stated the party wall would be the entire length of the north façade of the building. Mr Ryan stated that the new building would be attached to his living room wall. He currently had a small void which looked across gardens used by the current occupiers. He outlined that if the proposed building was constructed, within about 3ft of his window, there would be a building extending over 100m upwards. This would change the character of the property. The proposed building would also block two bathroom windows and the ventilation to three rooms which, he had been informed, was not deemed to be a material planning consideration because they were not deemed to be habitable rooms. Mr Ryan stated they were still bathrooms and a utility room, all of which would need alternative ventilation.


A Member expressed empathy for the residents and stated that he had lived next to a development site for six years. He clarified that the delivery hours would not be between 11pm and 7am during the construction phase and that they would take place in normal construction hours. He advised that there would also be quiet hours during the construction and construction would not take place at night. Mr Ryan stated that he was on a mailing list that regularly received requests for evening and weekend work to take place. He therefore was concerned that evening and weekend work would take place on this site. Mr Ryan also stated that even if the construction hours were the proposed 8am-6pm Monday – Friday and 8am-2pm hours, this would be a lot of time for residents to deal with the disruption over the many years that construction would take.


A Member asked the objectors if they had suggested amendments to the conditions in the report. Ms Baylis stated that there must be better protections for residents as there was no comparable situation within the City Cluster. She stated that the issues the residents were most concerned about were noise, vibration, drilling and dust.

The Chairman invited the applicants to speak.


Chris Shaw, Shaw Corporation, spoke on behalf of the applicant. He stated that the applicants believed the proposal represented a unique, once in a multi-generational opportunity to radically improve this part of the City. He stated that the applicant’s aspirations directly aligned with the City’s Destination City objectives to drive positive change and sustainability, generate a much wider user demographic and create long term economic growth on a seven day a week basis to enhance the City’s reputation as the world-class destination for business, culture, education, the arts and leisure.


Mr Shaw stated that the scheme would deliver substantial public benefits creating engaging, publicly accessible retail and cultural spaces. It would also deliver best-in-class category, sustainable, flexible and adaptable offices and workspaces in a building of exemplary architectural design with high sustainability credentials, abundant greenery and an exceptionally high urban greening factor compared to other modern buildings in the City.


Mr Shaw stated that all informed studies showed that offices were in short supply in the City and a result were readily let and occupied. Members were informed that at ground floor there would be a civic-scale warm, welcoming, well-lit space, free to access by the general public to visit, eat, engage, meet others and be entertained.  Members were informed that there would also be a Level Five exhibition that celebrated the importance of the location in the foundation and development of the City, through to the modern day. The exhibition would also provide an important education and cultural facility using modern visual media to engage and demystify.


Mr Shaw stated that a cycle hub would be introduced in an area largely devoid of cycle parking, the pavement width would be increased along Gracechurch Street to improve comfort levels for pedestrians and this approach had been developed through a process of extensive public consultation which included a pop-up exhibition in Leadenhall Market. Mr Shaw informed Members that the traders, Leadenhall Market, neighbouring residents and the general public were all aware of the proposals and there was support from important local stakeholders including the EC Business Improvement District which represented the major businesses locally and the Leadenhall Market Traders Association, plus individual retailers, pubs and traders, the nearby church of Saint Peter as well as the Museum of London.

Mr Shaw advised Members that the applicants had worked with adjoining residential neighbours and listened to their concerns. They would continue to work closely with them during the construction phase to reduce and mitigate their concerns. Mr Shaw stated that the proposal would embrace, celebrate and complement the adjacent Leadenhall Market.


Members were informed that an economic study had shown how Leadenhall Market currently operated and assessed the wider economic impacts of the proposals, specifically on the market. Mr Shaw stated that there was a need for positive change in the area for this area to be successful. He reported that the study had shown the positive benefits of the scheme and how they would revitalise the market as well as focus the uses of the public areas of 85 Gracechurch Street to create a destination. Mr Shaw stated that currently, approximately 80% of the public passing through Leadenhall Market did not stop and did not spend money. 85 Gracechurch Street was the only immediately adjacent space that was physically linked to the market. This space would be very different in size, flexibility, feel and range of uses to the existing Leadenhall Market. Mr Shaw stated, that if successful, the applicant would continue to work with the City of London Property and Destination City teams in curating events and activities. There was also a formal partnership with the Museum of London to curate the unique Level 5 space. The day-to-day operation of this facility would be funded and provided by the building owners.


Kat Stobbs, Senior Development Manager, Museum of London, informed Members that she was attending on behalf of the Museum, in support of the proposed cultural officer at 85 Gracechurch Street. She advised Members that the Museum of London had partnered with the applicant to help curate the cultural offer at 85 Gracechurch Street including a significant space on Level 5 that would offer the opportunity to celebrate the historical significance of the site, which was once home to the Roman Forum, through the display of artifacts from the Museum’s own collection as well as the use of virtual and augmented reality to allow visitors the opportunity to experience the site as it once was. Ms Stobbs stated that the benefits of such a partnership to the Museum’s audiences and the wider public in both the short and the long term were exciting. The Museum was enthusiastic and supportive of the cultural offer and the positive contribution it would make to its immediate neighbourhood, the Museum’s future home in West Smithfield and to the City of London as a whole.


Richard Ward, from DP9, the agent for the application, stated that the London Plan and the adopted and emerging City Plans sought to ensure that there was sufficient office space to meet future demand. Policy S1 in the draft City Plan sought to deliver 2 million square metres of new office floorspace in the period between 2016 and 2036. Mr Ward stated that the site was located within the adopted Eastern Cluster and the emerging City Cluster, where significant growth in office floorspace was required and the proposals were in accordance with this policy. The site was located at the heart of the designated Leadenhall Market principle shopping centre. Mr Ward stated that the existing building failed to make any meaningful contribution towards vitality or viability. However, the creation of new retail and cultural floorspace together with the creation of a new public route through the site would transform the Leadenhall Market principle shopping centre in accordance with policy. Mr Ward advised that the pedestrian experience would be further enhanced through the widening of the pavement adjacent to the site along Gracechurch Street. Mr Ward informed Members that the applicant welcomed the confirmation from Officers in their report, that the proposed scheme represented a highly sustainable approach to development that met or exceeded all GLA and City of London sustainability policy requirements. He advised that the development was targeting BREEAM excellence, would deliver a best-in-class urban greening design, had adopted circular economy and whole life carbon principles and was committed to a route to net zero carbon.


Members were informed by Mr Ward that the planning application submission included a comprehensive assessment of potential environmental impacts to neighbouring properties, including residents. The applicant considered that compliance with the proposed planning conditions, the City of London’s Code of Construction Practice and a detailed Construction Environmental Management Plan would ensure acceptable amenity levels. Mr Ward confirmed the applicant’s agreement to the City’s Reduced Impact Hours which restricted noisy works such as demolition piling to 10am-12pm and from 2pm-4pm Monday to Friday. These Reduced Impact Hours were put in place to give nearby occupiers at least four hours without noisy working from construction sites during the working day. Mr Ward stated that the proposed development would create up to 2,200 new jobs and would deliver over £10 million worth of Community Infrastructure Levy and Section 106 contributions. He added that the proposal represented a world-class addition to the City Cluster on the basis of its high-quality design, the significant range of public health benefits and the absence of any material harm to designated heritage assets In addition, the proposed development complied with the development plan when considered as a whole.


The Chairman invited questions from Members of the Sub-Committee to the applicant team.

A Member asked if the applicant had secured air rights as the heritage walk oversailed many rooftops. The applicant stated that discussions had taken place with the City of London and TfL. There was an agreement in principle, and this would be documented if planning permission was granted.


A Member commented that the applicant had suggested there had been extensive engagement with residents, but the residents did not feel this was the case. He suggested that a good relationship could be built up by having monthly meetings and a hotline if things went wrong so that residents felt confident that disturbance would be minimised. He requested that the applicant improve engagement with residents. The applicant confirmed they would do this and would work closely with adjoining residents and positively involve them in the construction management plan process.


In response to a Member’s question as to the estimated construction time, the applicant stated that it would be approximately 3.5 years.

The Chairman suggested that the Sub-Committee now move to any questions that they might have of Officers at this stage.


The Chairman asked how the applicant was complying with the Statement of Community Involvement, how they engaged in consultation and were engaging with the Whole Life Carbon Optioneering Planning Advise Note. Officers confirmed that they were satisfied that the applicant had carried out the obligations set in relation to the Statement of Community Involvement. In terms of Whole Life Carbon Optioneering, Officers were satisfied that the application was in broad compliance with the Planning Advice Note and stated that a rigorous and comprehensive approach had been taken.


A Member referred to the development at 120 Fleet Street which was a tall office building very close to residential flats where extensive measures had been put in place to monitor vibration and noise during demolition and construction. He also referred to new piling methods which significantly reduced noise and dust. He asked Officers whether similar methods could be used on this development. An Officer stated that this would be a challenging build and the site was in close proximity to commercial and residential uses. The Officer confirmed that 120 Fleet Street was an example of where there was a construction site in close proximity to residents. As with that scheme, there were robust conditions and a scheme of protective works to be prepared for the demolition and the build. Officers would work closely with the appointed contractors and a Noise, Dust and Vibration Plan would be required.

Officers would also look at monitoring residential sites and other neighbouring buildings, there would be an extensive Officer presence and there would be a 24/7 noise phone number. Proactive work would also be undertaken around the site and there was an expectation that the applicant would be part of the Considerate Contractor Scheme. It would be expected that the scheme of protective works would be discussed with residents and Officers would meet with residents and the applicant.


A Member asked Officers to comment on the viability of using Gracechurch Street for construction traffic without the need for extended hours. An Officer stated that hours would be restricted to standard construction hours including quiet hours. Further restrictions on hours could be drawn up nearer the time, in order to protect residents. It was possible that some early evening extended hours might be required for some deliveries onto Gracechurch Street e.g. cranes, which could not be delivered during standard hours. Gracechurch Street was the only viable alternative to receive deliveries, particularly once the superstructure work began. Strict hours would be applied in terms of how deliveries were managed to and from the site. Officers would work in conjunction with TfL as this was part of the Strategic Road Network. Construction traffic would be managed and deliveries would be timed to minimise disruption and this would be conditioned within the Construction Logistics Plan. The developer would have to comply with these hours.


A Member asked for more details about the party wall and was advised that there could be further restrictions on party wall work to protect residents. An Officer stated that the party wall interfaced with the existing party wall to both the market and 1-4 Bulls Head Passage which would be to the height of the existing property so on 1-4 Bulls Head Passage there would be approximately four storeys. Details were required by condition for the interfacing with the party wall.


A Member asked Officers how long this area had been earmarked for a cluster of tall buildings and was advised that it had been earmarked for at least 15 years. It had been through various plans and had been included in the Draft Replacement Care Area as well as the Local Plan review.


A Member commented that there was partial compliance with the new whole life carbon assessment process and asked when applications would begin to fully comply. An Officer responded that as this was a guidance note, there was an element of discretion as to whether it was necessary to strictly comply with all the provisions. If compliance with the other elements of the guidance was robust, third-party verification of the proposal might not be required in every application. The Member commented that a third-party view on this case would have been helpful to the Sub-Committee especially in relation to the optioneering. He also raised concern that third-party verification of proposals might not be undertaken with future proposals. An Officer stated that Officers had worked with the applicants on options and had discussed extensively the parts that could and could not be retained and that had been well-reflected in the whole lifecycle carbon assessment. The option study included detail about the existing structure and the opportunities and constraints of each option and Officers were satisfied that the study was rigorous and comprehensive.


A Member asked how bathroom ventilation would be achieved with the loss of bathroom windows. An Officer confirmed that there was a condition to secure details of ventilation and extraction arrangements for the existing windows on the party wall.


A Member commented that the applicants had stated that they were willing to continue liaising with the nearby residents and the residents had stated that they were not properly equipped to state their exact requirements of the liaison. He suggested imposing a condition to equip residents during the community liaison to mitigate the construction impacts on them. An Officer stated that compliance with the Code of Construction Practice would be required. This was a Category A site which meant there was an expectation of the highest levels of community consultation. A construction levy would be applied to this site to enable funding from the developer to the City to pay for Environmental Health Officers to be available to assist the residents with their concerns.


A Member requested that the applicants confirm that their intentions regarding CHP and standby generators were in accordance with best practice and guidance. An Officer stated that the back-up energy supply was secured through a condition on air quality. The Member stated that the words, “Encourage and advise” were used in the report in relation to CHP and changing this to “Required” would strengthen the wording and make it more specific. The Officer confirmed that Officers could address this by adding a condition.


A Member informed the meeting about a similar scheme where a hotel was built on a party wall next to a residential block. Acoustic measurements were taken to ensure that the noise from piling was not above a certain level, and these were shared with residents. On the couple of occasions they had exceeded the level, a message was sent to the supervisor and residents so they all knew the noise level had been exceeded and action would be taken to reduce the noise. This had helped to re-establish goodwill. An Officer stated that this could be included in the scheme of protective works.


A Member raised concern that the oversail was not mentioned in the report. She stated that the applicants had said they were content for a condition that work could not start until the air rights had been agreed and she asked that this be added. An Officer advised that this was a private civil matter rather than a material planning consideration and therefore this could not be conditioned.


A Member raised concern about the proposal being below the GLA whole life carbon benchmarks. An Officer stated that the GLA targets were benchmarks based on a small number of case studies. The GLA was now monitoring all schemes, and in particular the post completion results, to be able to create proper benchmark targets. The case studies did not include towers and these had much higher structural requirements so there was more embodied carbon. The benchmarks did not account for this or large infrastructure structures. The Officer stated that in this application, the whole life cycle carbon assessment came close to the standard benchmarks, which was positive for a tower of this size and with its structural requirements. In addition, the applicants were working through detailed design stages to optimise the structure further and the façade treatment was masonry which had an impact on the frequency of replacement and over time this would have a positive impact on the embodied carbon. The carbon benefits of larger developments would only be seen in the long term but should also be balanced against other factors such as climate resilience and wellbeing. The low intervention option had very high energy costs. The Member requested that a graph to show energy use be included in future reports. An Officer stated that, in the table in Paragraph 655 of the Officer report, there was a row entitled Operational Energy’. This showed carbon emissions of the options considered.


A Member asked how the planning application would be affected if there were Basilica findings in the basement. An Officer advised that there was a condition which meant that final details of the basement designs and the piling arrangements would need to be submitted and approved in writing. In addition, Historic England’s archaeology service would have the opportunity to help shape the way that any remains which were found were treated, stabilised, conserved, displayed and interpreted.


A Member asked whether the City should be building tall towers as they contained so much embodied carbon. An Officer stated that three quarters of floorspace requirements came in the City Cluster as there were heritage constraints elsewhere. Towers were necessary to maintain an international standing.


A Member asked how many people would benefit from the Heritage Garden. An Officer advised that a visitor management plan would give a better idea of the numbers and how the facility would be managed.

A Member asked how many residential landlords were adjacent to the site and would be affected during the construction period. An Officer stated that four had presented objections and, although it was not possible to give an exact number, there were very few residential units in this area.


A Member asked how much of the pavement space on Gracechurch Street was being widened and the impact on pedestrian flows and pedestrian comfort levels along Gracechurch Street. An Officer stated that the proposal sought to introduce footway widening from the northernmost point of the site to a point approximately 40 metres to the south to tie in with existing footway widening that had been carried out by TfL. The proposed widening would widen the footway by between 4.6metres and 5.5metres. Currently the footways were rated for pedestrian comfort levels under TfL guidance as between B- and C-. The widening would result in a rating of B+ which was the recommended rating for footways in the City. There would be two small pinch points where there would be a B rating and a C rating where the building line could not be changed. Officers were satisfied that the footway had been widened as far as was possible whilst maintaining two-way bus traffic which was a condition from TfL. As TfL was the Highway Authority, they would be working with the applicant to agree the final design details but had agreed in principle that the proposals were satisfactory.


A Member asked how this space would complement the Leadenhall Market space and how proportionality the space would fit into the Leadenhall Market space as a whole. An Officer stated that the proposed hall was a much larger space than any one unit or place within the market so it offered a capacity for events and other forms of activity which the market could not accommodate. This meant there was a sympathetic relationship with the existing listed market building and equally the market could provide a type of space which the public hall could not as the two spaces were very different in design and would complement each other.


A Member queried the reference in the Officer report which stated that as the proposal was in a conservation area, it was deemed inappropriate for tall buildings under current and emerging policy. The Member also highlighted the concerns of Historic England. In addition, she asked whether residential use had been granted for the adjoining building as it was believed tall buildings would not be developed in the area. An Officer stated that residential use was not granted for the adjoining building because it was in a conservation area. He also stated that the current policies were worded in a binary way and suggested that any tall building within a conservation area would be refused. However, harm to the conservation area would have to be found and in this case no harm had been found. Officers had found that the proposal protected and enhanced the conservation area.


A Member asked about the measures that would be put in place during the 3-4 year construction phase to mitigate the impacts on the mental health, wellbeing and safety of residents. An Officer stated that mitigation of noise, dust and vibration would take place. The length of exposure, vibration, noise levels and construction methods would all be considered, and quieter, cleaner and greener alternatives would be suggested where appropriate.


A Member suggested that rather than response received from the Department of Digital, Cultural, Media and Sport, UNESCO and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) being considered by the Planning Director under delegated authority, the final decision should be made by the Sub-Committee once these responses had been received. An Officer stated that the responses being considered under delegated authority followed standard procedure. If matters were raised in response which had not been raised at the Sub-Committee, this could be brought back to the Sub-Committee, following standard procedure.


In response to an earlier question, a Member stated that there were four flats in Bull’s Head Passage and a cluster of other residents towards St Michael’s Church, Cornhill.


Seeing no further questions of Officers, the Chairman asked that Members now move to debate the application.


A Member stated that he was impressed with the cultural offer, sustainability credentials and how the proposal would enliven Leadenhall Market. He stated that Officers should be praised for their engagement.


MOTION - A Motion was put and seconded that the applicants were to fund professionals to equip the residents with the knowledge to go to the community liaison prepared.


The Motion was put and passed unanimously with 16 votes.


A Member commented that the complexities of the build were reflected in the proposed construction being expected to last at least three years. Although it was a complex scheme, it fitted with policies and therefore should be proposed.


A Member commented that the proposal would have a positive impact on Leadenhall Market and would transform the building next door.


A Member commended the thoroughness of the application and stated that it fitted within the context of other approved high-rise buildings in the area. He stated that there would be a positive impact of a public hall and public space and commented that currently many of the difficulties with Leadenhall Market related to access as it was surrounded by office space. The public hall, the public space and the new access from Gracechurch Street would have a beneficial effect and would make the new building part of a destination. In addition, the Member stated that the Sub-Committee would need to take a view on the residents’ objections and the impact on them during the construction phase. Officers had outlined how the condition process could reduce the impact and a number of Members had outlined experience of collaborative working between developers and residents. The Member stated that the motion which had been passed would further reduce the impact.


A Member commented on the importance of putting strong safeguards in place for the residents. He commented that the application would have a positive impact on the Victorian Grade One and Grade Two* listed buildings in Leadenhall Market and that the new public hall and improved pedestrian permeability would enable the market to flourish commercially. He added that this would result in more people enjoying the market buildings. He considered that the new main entrance on Gracechurch Street would preserve and enhance the façade and the street level view of the market and visitors and nearby workers would be encouraged to dwell rather than just walk through. The Member commented that the support of the EC Business Improvement District and the Leadenhall Market tenants showed that local stakeholders who knew the area and the market, agreed with the proposal. He also stated that the garden and cultural space on the fifth floor were additional benefits which reinforced the positive impacts of the application.


A Member commented that some people had raised concern about the historical impacts of the proposal and that these had been discounted due to the public benefits to Leadenhall Market. She raised concerns about the impact on the Bank Conservation Area and stated that she considered that the scheme was in the wrong location. She suggested that it was with the City of London Corporation’s gift as the owner of Leadenhall Market to make it a successful place. She stated that she was in favour of the public hall and the lower floor but was concerned about the impacts of the height of the scheme. The Member added that office space was being proposed in an area that policy stated was not appropriate for tall buildings when recently other uses had been granted in areas that required office space. She stated that the Local Plan and policies should be aligned and used to enhance the City and its heritage.


A Member stated that he was in favour of the cultural aspects of the proposal and that his only concern was disruption to residents over the 3 ½ year construction period. He was reassured that that developers had explained how they would minimise the disruption. He also stated that there would be benefits for future generations.


The Chair summed up the points made. He stated that there were clear policies in place on the suitability for office, residential and other uses so there were no policy questions on the use of this particular redevelopment. He stated that this area in Langbourn Ward would benefit from the activation on the lower floors of the building. In addition, the development would help fulfil the City’s Destination City strategies by drawing in education through work with the Museum of London and cultural and heritage aspects through the archaeological works. It would also satisfy many overarching City policies. He stated that there was clear demand for more high-quality workspace in the square mile and the whole life carbon auctioneering and the sustainability aspects balanced out in the overall scheme.


Having fully debated the application, the Committee proceeded to vote on the recommendations before them.


Votes were cast as follows: IN FAVOUR – 15 Votes

           OPPOSED – 1 Vote

There were no abstentions.


The recommendations were therefore carried.


Deputy Fredericks requested that her vote against the recommendations be recorded.


Alderman Masojada and Deputy Pollard had not been in attendance for the whole discussion on this item and therefore were not present for the vote.




1.     That planning permission be granted for the above proposal in accordance with the details set out in the attached schedule subject to:


a)    The application be referred to the Mayor of London 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)    The application being referred to the Secretary of State pursuant to the Town and Country Planning (Consultation) Direction 2021 and the application not being called in under section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990;


2.     That the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) be notified of the application and advised that the City Corporation intends to grant planning permission and that the Planning and Development Director be given delegated authority to consider any response received from DCMS, UNESCO or ICOMOS.


3.     That Officers be instructed to negotiate and execute obligations in respect of those matters set out in "Planning Obligations" under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and any necessary agreement under Section 278 of the Highway 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; and;


4.     That 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.


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