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ITV Studios tower on South Bank to be flattened after new massive blocks approved – South London News

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By Robert Firth, local democracy reporter

Plans to bulldoze ITV’s former headquaters on the South Bank and replace it with office blocks – the highest 25 floors high – have been approved.

Lambeth council greenlit plans for the huge development including restaurants, shops and a new gallery brought by developers Mitsibishi Estate London and CO-RE at a planning meeting on March 29.

The planned development is near to the Grade-II listed National Theatre and inside the South Bank conservation area. Conservation charity Historic England previously raised concerns that the building could block views of the South Bank.

A planning meeting on March 29 heard noise levels would be monitored during construction to ensure vibrations from building work didn’t disturb performances at the theatre. A Lambeth Council planning officer said the offices would create up to 4,500 jobs in the borough once finished.

Businesses will be able to rent affordable workspace for 15 years at the offices. Prices will start at £10 per sq metre.

Supporting the plans, Cllr Mohammed Seedat said: “It’s obviously a Marmite design. Pretty much every building on that shoreline there has had negative comments including the National Theatre. It’s very clearly trying to distinguish itself from its newer glazed glass neighbours by trying to build upon heritage from [the] 60s and 70s. I remain on the bench about if it is a good or not good design.

“What swings it for me is that there is a workspace for creative industries. Creative industries is one of Britain’s biggest exports. If we are to maintain that world leading talent there needs to be face to face meeting spaces for creative industries. It’s affordable workspace which lends itself to be open for more companies. I do recognise the negative impact but on balance I agree with the recommendations.”

Plans for ITV Stuidos by developer Co-Re has submitted a planning application to Lambeth Council to knock down what was ITV’s London headquarters.

But residents speaking at the meeting said the new buildings would block light to their homes. Local resident Dearbhla Molloy said: “The living room where I spend most of my time has one window. The development will reduce the light to my living room. I would be left with 7.5 per cent daylight. Light deprivation causes depression.

“If I lost this much amount of light from my eyesight I would be living blind. Light deprivation causes great changes to the immune system. Light deprivation causes depression.”

Another resident, Tom Keller, added: “I’ve been lucky enough to live in social housing for 40 years. We are not nimbys. We would like development of the site [but] families will have their daylight affected. It’s possible for the committee to form a different view to officers. The benefits [of the development] are slight and fleeting. The harms are serious and permenant.”

Principal planning officer, Ben Oates, said the 1970s ITV studios were unremarkable. He said: “The site composes of a 25-storey office block with an attached four storey podium. [The] existing ITV complex provides an unattractive elevation to Queen’s Walk and Upper Ground.”

But Cllr Scott Ainslee from Lambeth’s Green group asked whether planning officers would suggest constructing a building of a similar size next to the Notre Dame. Speaking at the meeting on March 29, he said: “Would we be bringing this building right next to the Notre Dame? The South Bank is our cultural centre. It’s our offer to the world. I don’t think you would be putting that sort of building to upstage the Sydney Opera House. I would argue that the National Theatre should be a World Heritage site.”

Stephen Black, a director at developer CO-RE, said the development would enhance the area. He said: “We want to bring forward world class workspace with creative and cultural premises. Our proposals provide much needed office space. This will allow businesses of all sizes to work together. We are commited to ensuring that 25 per cent of jobs created are for local residents.

“We are trying to bring together the local community to create a vibrant and dynamic destination for Lambeth on the South Bank. We’ve been delighted to receive over one hundred letters in support.”

Councillors approved the plans by majority vote of 6-1 at the meeting on March 29.

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