New 32-storey building to tower over iconic Leadenhall Market and showcase City of London’s Roman past
Plans to build a 32-storey tower over the City’s iconic Leadenhall Market have been given the green light by city planners.
The City of London Corporation’s planning applications sub-committee approved plans this week for the new tower that will house 27,000 sq m of new office space and will look to boost the Square Mile’s “tourist appeal”.
The development will also include a ground-floor public hall including food, retail and event spaces and will also see the reopening of a “historic pedestrian” route between Gracechurch Street and Lime Street Passage.
It will also feature a fifth floor heritage garden and free public exhibition showcasing the history of Roman London, at the Museum of London.
The exhibition will be a celebration of the history of the site where the Forum and Basilica once stood – the heart of Roman London. There will also be provision to display significant Roman remains in-situ in the basement.
“The plans, drawn up by architects Woods Bagot for developers the Hershten Group, will retain and restore the 1930s facade of the existing nine-storey building, with the new structure around three times as high built behind,” Shravan Joshi, chairman of City of London Corporation planning applications, said.
He continued: “Developments such as this are a vote of confidence in the City as a global business hub and will help us meet the continued demand for high-quality office space in the Square Mile.
“This scheme sets a high bar for others to follow. It will create a major new public hall, a pedestrian route and a cultural space showcasing the rich history of this part of London, supporting our Destination City vision of the Square Mile as a seven-day-a-week visitor destination.”
It comes as historical architecture groups have expressed concerns that the tower’s development could overshadow the 1881 Grade II listed Leadenhall Market.
Guy Newton, adviser at Victorian Society Conservation, said: “The sheer scale and bulk of the proposed tower will comically dominate Leadenhall Market.
“Combined with towers outside the conservation area it will plunge the light filled market space into shadow. What is the purpose of the City’s conservation areas if what is special and important about them is not actively protected?”
He continued: “Allowing such towers in conservation areas will, over time, irreversibly harm the City’s historic character that still makes it stand out from its financial rivals worldwide. There is a danger the City will become a monoculture of glass towers, its conservation areas and heritage assets diminished and disrespected.”
However, the City of London Corporation said it “worked closely” with Historic England to ensure it was “preserving and showcasing the archaeology of the location”.