Plans for a London office redevelopment project are set to go ahead, following Communities and Local Government secretary, Eric Pickles’ decision not to order a public enquiry into it.
Situated next to the Waterloo rail station, the redeveloped Elizabeth House will measure 29-storeys in total.
However, the project has sparked a considerable amount of controversy, with some sections arguing that it could prove detrimental to Westminster’s status as a UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage site.
Designed by David Chipperfield, the Â£600 million building will provide 132,000 sq m of London office space, residential properties, and glass-fronted galleries. The project will coincide with a wider attempt to regenerate the nearby Southbank Centre – a hub of art venues.
Co-owners of the development, Chelsfield Partners have previously outlined the importance of the project.
It said: “The regeneration of the site will be a pivotal moment in a pivotal location for the arts world, for the local community and for Londoners.”
Deputy leader of Westminster council, Robert Davis, said in light of Pickles’ decision: “This news is very disappointing because UNESCO has threatened to put the Westminster World Heritage Site on their ‘in danger’ list if the setting is not protected from insensitive development.
“It looks like the government has failed to do this and we will await news from UNESCO. Loss of World Heritage Site status would signal that we are falling in our duty to protect our heritage,” Mr Davis added.
However, he went on to add that the council wasn’t opposed to the regeneration of the area, providing that the structures are designed with the area’s heritage in mind.
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