No decision on mega-tower after Lloyd’s of London objects

Stanhope has been invited to talk to City of London Corporation officers about further revisions to its 73-storey skyscraper plans following concerns from neighbours, including insurance giant Lloyd’s of London.

The City of London’s planning committee was recommended to approve the updated proposals for 1 Undershaft, which include more than 150,000 square metres of office space, a publicly accessible viewing gallery and top floor space reserved for the Museum of London for educational purposes.

But after more than three hours of discussion, councillors voted to defer a decision on the tower over “minor issues”. The application was submitted at the start of this year to amend a 2019 approval for a slightly shorter tower. Stanhope is “development lead” for the project, which is ultimately backed by Singaporean firm Aroland Holdings.

Justin Black, head of development at CC Land, which owns the Cheesegrater building at 122 Leadenhall Street, told the committee that the revised plans would harm St Helen’s Square, the largest public open space in the City Cluster.

Revised proposals for the building would see the square lose 29.2 per cent of its space, or 710 square metres.

Similar concerns were raised by Bruce Carnegie-Brown, chair of Lloyd’s of London, in a letter to the committee. Lloyd’s is based in the iconic building at nearby Lime Street.

Alderman Charles Bowman said the proposal would “damage our insurance sector” as a result.

Concerns were also raised by panel members about the need to use lifts to access proposed public realm, rather than having it accessible at street level.

The committee agreed that officers and the developer should negotiate the “minor issues” over delivery of the ground-floor area, and a decision be taken by the committee at a future date to be decided.

The scheme would see the 1969-built 23-storey St Helen’s Building, formerly called the Aviva Tower, be demolished.

Keltbray has been appointed to carry out the two-year demolition programme on the scheme, if it gets the green light.

Construction would be estimated to take a further five years. A main contractor has not yet been named.

Among those speaking in favour of the proposal at the meeting was Museum of London director Sharon Ament.

“That the top floors have been designated from the outset as a learning space is something remarkable,” she said. Ament added that she wanted it to be a right of passage that all school pupils in London can visit the centre at some point during their schooling.

The developer would fund the museum’s costs for the space, the meeting heard.

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