I was reassured to read that the legal challenge to the planning consent on the Shell Centre, SE1, brought by local activist George Turner has finally been dismissed.
He still has the option of the Court of Appeal, but anyone with an interest in the continued rejuvenation of the South Bank will be hoping that this saga is now over and redevelopment can commence.
South Bank has become Central London’s most dynamic office location. The past two years has seen take-up rocket, doubling the long-term average, which underlines the intensity of demand from occupiers. For investors and occupiers alike, the challenge is to combat the lack of office stock, just 20m sq ft currently, most of which is concentrated at London Bridge and Bankside.
The supply/demand dynamics make it surprising that the Shell Centre, as well as Elizabeth House, have been mired in the planning system for so long. Delays to both have stymied the growth of the South Bank market west, with Waterloo a location that can unquestionably support development on a large scale.
Given the quality and sympathetic design of the scheme and its contribution to the surrounding public area, this ruling should be seen as a victory for common sense and one that was long overdue.
Jules Hind, partner, Union Street Partners