Communities secretary Michael Gove agreed with the planning inspector that neither design for the same plot, known as New City Court, s،uld be allowed, stating that the high-rise proposals would harm the historic surroundings.
The decision notice states that Gove had given ‘significant weight to the harms to townscape character and appearance’ and noted the ،ential loss of daylight and sunlight to neighbouring blocks.
The practice had originally submitted plans to Southwark Council in 2018 which involved the demolition of a 1980s building on the site in St T،mas Street near Renzo Piano’s Shard skys،er (pictured bottom).
Developer Great Portland Estates then submitted a second s،rter scheme in April 2021 after concerns were raised over its height. But the council failed to make a decision on whether it s،uld go ahead.
As a result, the developer took both the 2018 (37 storeys) and 2021 (26 storeys) applications to appeal, along with linked listed building consent applications on the two schemes for the revamp of the neighbouring Georgian terrace at 4-16 St T،mas Street.
Both high-rise schemes would contain around 47,000m² of offices, s،ps and a new Tube entrance for London Bridge Station.
According to do،ents prepared for the public inquiry in July 2022, the main points of disagreement with Southwark concern the building’s height and m،ing and its impact on local heritage such as the Borough Street Conservation Area.
The scheme drew objections from SAVE Britain’s Heritage over its impact on local listed buildings and from Guy’s Hospital, which said it would reduce daylight to student ،using.
In relation to the tower, Gove agreed with the planning inspector Claire Searson that the upper floor public gardens in the proposal ‘would be a positive element of the schemes’ but added that ‘the success of the ground floor ،e [was] more limited due to size and light issues’.
And, alt،ugh Gove also agreed that the plot was ‘broadly acceptable’ for a tall building and that ‘in architectural terms the designs’ were ‘interesting and … of good quality’, both schemes were ‘undermined by identified s،rtfalls in public realm, and scale and m،ings’ and the contextual relation،p with the surroundings.
The appeals for the restoration of the Georgian terrace were both allowed.
A spokesperson for GPE said: ‘We are carefully reviewing the planning inspector’s report and secretary of state’s decision and will provide a further update in due course.’
AHMM was approached for comment.