Michael Gove puts London Wall West on hold


Similar to his intervention on the Marks & Spencer Oxford Street store redevelopment, levelling up secretary Michael Gove has put the London Wall West on hold
@London Wall West

Similar to his intervention on the Marks & Spencer Oxford Street store redevelopment, levelling up secretary Michael Gove has put the London Wall West on hold

Secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities Michael Gove issued a Article 31 notice on the planned London Wall West development, preventing it from gaining further approval.

Set across 140 and 150 London Wall, the planned development has been the source of significant local complaint.

London Wall West will offer “flexible space for cultural use, an elevated public space with outstanding views including of St Pauls and public access to the remains of the Roman wall”. The current plans include 56,000 square metres of office space, accomodating up to 3,100 jobs, according to the City of London Corporation.

First presented for public consultation in Spring 2021, the London Wall West plans have undergone multiple changes. The 1970’s-building Bastion House and former Museum of London buildings will be demolished and replaced with 13 and 16-storey towers.

Plans are now on hold, but the City remains committed

A City of London Corporation spokesperson said: “The City of London Corporation Planning Application Sub-Committee has resolved to grant planning permission for the London Wall West Proposals.

“We acknowledge the Section 31 Holding Direction issued by Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and will await the secretary of state’s final decision.”

The Marks and Spencer redevelopment at Marble Arch became subject of a furore in March after concerns were raised about the carbon footprint of the new site.

Gove refused planning permission, but was later found to have  “relied on a meaning of the national planning policy framework which is simply not open to him,” in a legal challenge brought by M&S.

Demolition of the existing site is expected to begin in 2028, with completion scheduled for late 2033.

“Highest levels of scrutiny” are needed on London Wall West

The Barbican Quarter Action group, who have strongly opposed the planned museum demolition, said: “We are obviously disappointed at the decision taken today, but not surprised given that this came from a local authority whose officials restated at today’s meeting that the City of London does not recognise the climate emergency.

“The Chair of the Committee chose to close down the debate so members were not allowed to discuss the application amongst themselves. A number of members requested that numerous conditions should be properly applied to the application to safeguard residents, heritage and the townscape, but these requests were rejected and will be agreed separately with the developer if the developer chooses to accept them.

“We hope that the SoS will now move to call this application in. The City is both applicant and the local planning authority and as such this complex and contested scheme must be subject to the highest levels of scrutiny.”

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