Plans to redevelop one of London’s busiest train stations are being rejected in the “strongest possible terms” by heritage body Historic England and other campaign groups.
The £1.5 billion redevelopment would see a huge high-rise built on top of the Grade II listed station, which would need to be partially demolished. It would also see the rebuilding of the neighbouring Andaz hotel, which is also Grade II listed.
A planning application was made to the City of London last week by Sellar, the developer behind the Shard, and backed by National Rail and MTR.
Sellar has said the changes will cost £1.5 billion of private investment, of which £450 million will be used to double the station’s concourse and add more lifts and escalators to deal with “significant overcrowding” and “poor accessibility”.
But multiple groups have opposed the proposal, with Historic England calling them “grossly disproportionate” and “fundamentally misconceived”.
A spokesman said the demolition of the concourse would “sever the fine 1870s trainshed from the Victorian ensemble that still characterises this special place”.
They added: “The architectural harmony and heritage significance achieved by the last redevelopment would be destroyed, and the natural light over the concourse lost. The proposed tall buildings above are of grossly disproportionate scale and would trample on the station.
“Its picturesque silhouette and proper grandeur would be radically compromised by the scale and bluntness of the new structures. And it would severely damage the Bishopsgate Conservation Area, to which the fine Victorian and Edwardian buildings on Liverpool Street are essential.
“It also harms the extraordinary historic character of the City of London as a whole. It would encroach on celebrated views of some of London’s great landmarks, including those of St Paul’s Cathedral.”
The Victorian Society has been campaigning against the redevelopment and has slammed the new plans.
The organisation’s president and comedian Griff Rhys Jones said: “The great rail terminus stations and their terminus hotels encapsulate the engineering and technological achievements of the Victorians. They are some of the most important Victorian buildings. And the hotel is the last historic hotel in the City of London.
“It is unacceptable that Network Rail has ignored the 22,363 people who have signed the petition against the plans and the experts who say not to do this.
“These plans are insensitive, unnecessary and traduce a famous gateway to London, a listed working part of our history. I know all the heritage bodies combined are appalled by the precedent it would set.
“It must be rejected. We will fight to ensure that it is. I urge the public to donate to our fundraiser to ensure we can match the developer’s deep pockets.”
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This notice was published: 2023-11-07 19:48:00