Planning miscellany

Planned conversion of 45 Beech Street from office to residential use

The BA received a letter recently from HUB which indicated that HUB and Bridges Fund Management have recently purchased 45 Beech Street. We are at the very earliest stages of exploring options to sensitively refurbish and repurpose the building as residential accommodation and so would welcome the opportunity to introduce ourselves properly in the coming weeks. By way of background, HUB is a London-based developer, set up over 10 years ago to deliver residentialled schemes in London and, more recently, cities across the UK……We will be delivering this project through our new investment vehicle, HUBCAP, which was set up specifically to deliver low carbon building reuse schemes. Our aspirations as a business in this regard are closely aligned with that of our partner, Bridges, the UK’s largest social and environmental impact fund, which for 20 years has invested in projects that seek to transition the UK to a more sustainable and inclusive economy.

The full letter can be read here. We are still awaiting confirmation of a date to meet the HUB representatives. In the meantime, this marketing brochure gives details of the building.

You may well have also read about the proposal in the 15th May edition of the Evening Standard in an article headed “£30 million City office block to be converted to ‘low-carbon’ flats”…….45 Beech Street ….set to be transformed into green housing…..” The full article can be read here.

There is also an interesting and detailed thread emerging on BarbicanTalk on this topic which can be viewed here.  

1-8 Long Lane – hotel project still ongoing

By way of background, back in June 2022 the BA and interested parties were invited to meet with the owners and architects involved with the site at 1-8 Long Lane. You may recall that the site at 1-12 Long Lane had already been granted planning permission for the demolition of the site and its replacement with a new office development. However, the changing nature of working practices post the pandemic led the owners to reconsider this proposal and they had come to the conclusion that the site at 1-8 Long Lane would be better converted to a boutique hotel. A meeting was held with interested members of the BA back in June 2022 where these ideas were put forward, with more detailed thoughts and proposals expected by the end of the year.

Nothing has been heard subsequently and an update was therefore requested. Whilst not particularly forthcoming, the response was “Following our meeting last year, the project team has been working with the City Corporation to work through a number of planning issues for the proposals. I believe these issues are almost resolved and so we will be looking to host a full round of public consultation to update everyone on the plans. We hope the be able to conduct this over the next few months”.

So it appears that the plans are still going ahead and that further details should be available in the summer.

The City of London signs up to the LUCI declaration

The City of London has recently announced that it has signed up the LUCI (Lighting Urban Community International) declaration to tackle light pollution. The accompanying release states that “the scheme will….commit the governing body of the Square Mile to use its planning powers to compel developers to cut the use of artificial light and save energy“. The international network of major cities known as LUCI includes 68 cities across the globe alongside City of London, including Paris, Seol and Shanghai.

The seven objectives of the Declaration support the City Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy, which supports the Square Mile as a whole to reach net zero by 2040. These include:

1.        Embracing Net Zero Lighting 

2.        Minimising light pollution

3.        Supporting health and well-being

4.         Progressing through public-private dialogue

5.         Increasing public engagement in development projects

6.         Integrating more light art into the public realm

7.         Greater consideration for lighting across urban planning policies

The City Corporation recently consulted on its Lighting Supplementary Planning Document, which will require developers to submit a detailed strategy for how buildings are lit. The City Corporation’s Considerate Lighting Charter will also ask existing property owners and occupants to make a commitment to turn lights off when not in use. A campaign to encourage local businesses to sign up to the charter will be launched in the coming months.

Let us hope that these words translate into firm actions!

The full press release can be read here.

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