Tower of London charity set for disappointment as Make scheme poised for approval

Planners recommend green light for 36-storey office block, despite concerns from Historic Royal Palaces and Victorian Society.

City of London planners have come out in support of Make’s proposals for a 36-storey office-led tower despite concerns over its impact on views of the Tower of London and nearby Leadenhall Market.

Officers are recommending members of the authority’s Planning and Transportation Committee give their backing for the tower – which Make founder Ken Shuttleworth is understood to have led the design on – for developer Brookfield.

The building, named 1 Leadenhall, is earmarked for a 0.3 ha site at the junction of Leadenhall Street and Gracechurch Street, adjacent to the grade II* listed Leadenhall Market and Richard Rogers’ grade I listed Lloyds Building.

It would replace a seven storey 1980s office building with ground floor retail as well as 28 floors of office space, two floors of retail space and a second-floor public viewing terrace.

Historic Royal Palaces is objecting to the proposals because of their impact on views of the Tower of London, when seen from the east.

It said it was “extremely alarmed by the steady build-up in both density and height” of the City’s eastern tall buildings cluster, which it said was becoming “visually dominant in iconic views of the Tower”, which is a World Heritage Site.

The Victorian Society, meanwhile, objected to the application because of the building’s impact on the neighbouring market building, the grade I listed St Peter’s Cornhill, and the setting of the Lloyds Building, as well as on two conservation areas.

Planning officers said the Make tower would only represent a “peripheral feature on the skyline” when seen from key Tower of London viewing points, while the setting of Leadenhall Market was “already characterised by the close proximity of large modern buildings”, including the one the proposed tower would replace.

Recommending the scheme for approval, they said the proposals would deliver 48,511 sq m of new office space – an increase of almost 34,000 sq m on the current building, as well as 4,187 sq m of retail space, a five-fold increase on that offered in the current building.

“The proposal accords with the strategic objective to ensure that the City maintains its position as the world’s leading international financial and business centre and with the strategic objective to focus and promote a significant increase in office floor space in the eastern cluster,” they said.

“The design of the proposed building has been the subject of much discussion to reduce its impact on the character of the surrounding streets.

“The appearance of the building and its impact on local townscape views are considered to be acceptable and are of an appearance that can be recommended for approval.”

Officers added that the incorporation of a free-of-charge public viewing gallery was an “important contribution to the public benefit of the scheme”.

If Planning and Transportation Committee members approve the development tomorrow (Wednesday) it will be subject to final approval from London mayor Sadiq Khan.

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