Developers behind 22 Bishopsgate skyscraper win "rights to light" battle

Kasmira Jefford
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The developers had warned that the row posed significant risks to the scheme (Source: Axa Investment Managers)

The developers behind City skyscraper 22 Bishopsgate have won a controversial battle with neighbouring landlords over the scheme blocking their "rights to light" after City planners used special powers to override opposition.

Members of the City of London Corporation Planning & Transportation committee this morning voted overwhelmingly in favour of temporarily acquiring the site under a Section 237 agreement, so that plans to build the 62-storey tower can go ahead without the threat of an injunction.

AXA Investment Managers - Real Assets and Lipton Rogers had been facing fierce opposition from neighbours and campaign groups, who argued that the skyscraper would overshadow their buildings and encroach on their so-called rights to light.

The developers warned that the threat of an injuction could seriously jeopardise progress of the 1.4m square feet scheme, which has stood still since the crisis after previous proposals for the site under it former owners collapsed.

The Corporation last month delayed a decision over whether to invoke the rarely-used Section 237 so that it could give information "from interested parties" further consideration.

A spokesperson for AXA IM – Real Assets and Lipton Rogers, said: “We remain committed to working with all our neighbours in an open fashion, as well as the City of London, as we progress this important scheme and today’s decision is a positive step forward in allowing us to bring forward the development of 22 Bishopsgate within the intended timetable.”

The so-called vertical city will have space for more than 12,000 people once finished, with 1.3m sq ft of office space, restaurants, a viewing gallery and parking space for 1,500 bikes as well as 100 showers.

Last month, the Corporation approved using the same powers to effectively buy Land Securities' 510,000 sq ft mixed-used scheme at 21 Moorfields, which was also embroiled in a rights to light battle.