Campaigners have attacked a move to bulldoze the former ITV studios on London’s South Bank and replace them with three “controversial” office blocks. Developer Co-Re has submitted a planning application to Lambeth Council to knock down what was ITV’s London headquarters.
Hundreds of residents have objected to the move with one campaign group labelling the planned buildings as a “grotesquery on steroids, a swollen deformity for the South Bank”. Historic England has raised concerns about the building blocking views of the South Bank towards St Paul’s and residents have complained they will suffer because of a reduction in natural light.
Campaigners are also worried about how close the building would be to the Grade-II listed National Theatre and IBM building. The buildings at 72 Upper Ground would replace the ITV London Studios tower with two 26-storey office towers and two 13-storey blocks joined together by a six-storey podium.
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The development would have twice the floor space of the existing studios and would cost up to £400million. Lambeth’s planning officer report has recommended the proposals for approval but added the plans were “controversial and extremely unpopular”.
The council is set to make a decision on the scheme on Tuesday night. A spokesperson for 72 Upper Ground told the Building Design website the project would give a “real boost” to the South Bank, bringing new jobs and investment to the area.
The spokesperson added: “We have worked hard throughout the planning process to reflect on feedback from local residents and Lambeth Council and have made adjustments, including significantly reducing the building mass and further opening up the route through to the riverfront, while ensuring the building maintains its high-quality design and enables the delivery of key benefits such as affordable workspace and cultural spaces.
“The whole community will be able to enjoy the new open spaces, public routes, retail uses and arts and cultural offerings that will be unlocked by the proposed redevelopment.” Developer Co-Re has been contacted for comment.