City Council rejects Squires Waterloo housing block | News

Squire & Partners’ proposals to build a nine-story residential block next to Waterloo Station were rejected by Lambeth City Council.

Planning officials had recommended approval of the project, but councilors voted four to one to eliminate the proposals last month.

The brick-clad building was said to have been located on vacant land in a predominantly low-rise area on The Cut, directly opposite the entrance gate to the Grade II listed Old Vic Theater.

It would have provided nine apartments topped by a double-height “crown” housing a roof garden and featuring remarkable arched openings, with one side of the building decorated with a green wall.

But the council said the “excessive height” of the project would have impacted the setting of the adjacent theater.

The scale of the plans would mean that “the eye is drawn to this building and away from the Old Vic”, while the block would also have an impact on the “townscape, local character and context” of the area, said the board.

She added that she had not “identified public benefits of sufficient weight that would outweigh this harm.”

The project had already been scaled down from proposals for a 12-story building after councilors said the lobby and roof garden levels, both of which were double-height, would amount to a building closer to 16 floors.

It had also been redesigned with arches, which Squire & Partners said were inspired by the brick facade of the Old Vic building from 1871.

The denial is the latest in a series of setbacks for Squire & Partners.

Last November, Housing Secretary Michael Gove rejected the studio’s plans for a redevelopment of 1,000 Brighton Marina homes after saying it “lacked exuberance”.

The City of London had rejected the company’s proposals to convert the Grade I-listed Custom House into a 200-room hotel the previous month, as advisers said it did not represent a high enough standard of design for the large neoclassical building.

And last summer, the Mayor of London announced plans to turn the Budweiser Brewery in southwest London into a mixed-use project because it did not contain enough affordable housing.

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