Stanhope, the developer behind a substantial mixed-use project near Waterloo station, has defended its plans in response to the government’s decision to temporarily halt the proposals.
Last month, Michael Gove issued an Article 31 Direction, requiring special authorization from the government for the Royal Street scheme to proceed.
The scheme, a collaboration between Stanhope and US funder Baupost, envisions the construction of five blocks encompassing office, retail, and residential spaces on the site. The design, led by AHMM and involving practices like Henley Halebrown, Morris & Co, and Piercy & Co, has garnered approvals from both Lambeth council and Mayor Sadiq Khan.
However, local opposition has been widespread, with nearly 45,000 people signing a petition against the plans. Many objections on Lambeth council’s planning portal cited concerns about the buildings’ height, which could reach up to 16 storeys, and the scheme’s proximity to the Westminster Unesco World Heritage site.
Historic England also raised heritage-related concerns, requiring final approval from Gove before proceeding. Stanhope, in response, asserted that the Royal Street project would bring significant benefits to the community and borough, with minimal impact on the World Heritage Site and the surrounding neighborhood.
Stanhope highlighted that the Lambeth Council’s planning committee and the GLA had approved the project, emphasizing that the positive impacts it would bring, including job creation, workspace, retail space, and new homes, would outweigh heritage concerns.
Former Lambeth MP Kate Hoey praised Gove’s Article 31 Direction and called for a public inquiry. Meanwhile, Historic England expressed concerns about the project’s impact on the Westminster World Heritage Site and its setting, particularly its adjacency to Archbishop’s Park, a public park linked to Lambeth Palace’s historical grounds.
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