Tower set to be tallest in City of London, 1 Sub-axis held up by planning dispute

Tower set to be tallest in City of London, 1 Sub-axis held up by planning dispute

Tuesday, July 2, 2024 4:32 p.m.

The chairman of Lloyd’s of London has opposed plans to build a new Shard-scale skyscraper in the City of London (Visuals: DBOX)

A decision to approve a skyscraper that will be the city’s tallest – towering over the Walkie Talkie and Cheese Grater buildings and matching the height of London Bridge’s Shard – has been delayed by the Square Mile’s planning committee, despite planning officers recommending its approval.

The Eric Parry-designed 1 Undershaft building, which would rise 309.6m tall and provide 154,000sqm of flexible office space and around 9,500 new jobs, was expected to be given the green light for construction in the city’s world-leading insurance cluster hub after a lengthy eight-year planning process.

However, the City of London Planning Applications Sub-Committee voted to defer its decision, claiming that the current design infringed too much on the adjacent common space of St Helens Square.

The motion for “minor adjustments in relation to the public domain on the ground floor” was approved by nine votes to six, with two abstentions.

Most of the objections raised during the committee were related to how his project would affect the plaza, where people gather for lunch, the committee said.

The decision comes even though a planning officer’s report, published ahead of the committee meeting, recommended approval for the 74-storey building. The subcommittee is expected to give the green light to 1 Undershaft after adjustments are made.

The building’s developers, Aroland Holdings, are now expected to submit a plan containing structural adjustments to the building to ensure it takes up less of the square’s surface area.

The decision was made after several big names spoke out against the state-of-the-art skyscraper in a last-ditch attempt to stop it from being approved.

This morning, the chairman of Lloyd’s of London – which is based in the iconic Richard Rogers-designed Lloyd’s building, also located in St Helen’s Square – Bruce Carnegie-Brown, wrote to City of London officials that 1 Undershaft would “rob the city of a truly important meeting space”.

And CC Land, which is the lead investor in the neighboring Cheesegrater building, has filed an objection.

The company’s head of development, Justin Black, told the hearing: “We believe these plans are flawed, resulting in unnecessary damage to the public realm streetscape and heritage asset landscape.”

A spokesperson for Aroland Holdings said: “We have listened carefully to the comments made regarding the ground floor public space, which were raised at the Planning Applications Sub-Committee today.

“We will work closely with the City of London Corporation and our neighbours in the insurance sector to consider these minor revisions to the scheme.

“We look forward to returning to the Subcommittee as soon as possible.”