Lambeth resolves to approve Elizabeth House redevelopment scheme for a second time

Out-Law News | 10 Dec 2014 | 4:39 pm | 1 min. read

Lambeth Council has resolved, for a second time, to grant planning permission for a controversial redevelopment scheme near London's Waterloo Station.

Elizabeth House Limited Partnership, a joint-venture between property companies Chelsfield and London and Regional Properties, has proposed to demolish 1960s office block Elizabeth House and replace it with two buildings between 11 and 29 storeys in height. The buildings would contain 142 homes and 88,649 square metres of office space under the plans, with flexible ground floor retail space also proposed.

Lambeth Council initially resolved to grant planning permission for the proposed scheme in November 2012. The Council subsequently referred the matter to the secretary of state for communities and local government, following an objection from English Heritage, which was concerned about the impact the scheme would have on the neighbouring Westminster World Heritage Site.

The SoS' decision not to call in the application for his own determination was challenged by Westminster Council and English Heritage. The challenge was dismissed by a High Court judge in Match, after he decided that the SoS' decision had not been irrational or unlawful.

The High Court judge had noted in his decision that it was open to the claimants to ask the Council to reconsider the application. The Council elected to reconsider the application and its planning applications committee again resolved this week to grant planning permission for the scheme.

A planning officer's report noted that the affordable housing component of the scheme had risen from 28 units to 35 units since the application was first considered, with 23 units to be delivered off-site. The report also noted that the SoS had granted permission for the eight-building, 37-storey redevelopment of the Shell Centre directly opposite the application site, earlier in 2014, although this decision was subject to an ongoing challenge.

Recommending that permission be granted subject to conditions, a section 106 agreement and referral to the SoS, the report said the proposed scheme "would represent a once in a lifetime opportunity to radically improve the state of the public realm in and around Waterloo, and unlock a long recognised impenetrable environment provided by the existing building".