Leadenhall Market office tower will ‘irreversibly harm’ City of London

·2-min read
Leadenhall Market - Atlantide Phototravel
Leadenhall Market - Atlantide Phototravel

Plans to build a skyscraper in the City of London have been approved despite warnings it would cause “irreversible harm” to the identity of the capital’s financial district

The Victorian Society said that plans to develop a new 32-storey tower in the Leadenhall Market Conservation Area will leave the vicinity “diminished and disrespected”.

The heritage group added that there was “a danger that the city will become a monoculture of glass towers”.

But plans to build the tower, developed by Mauritius-based developer Hertshten Group, were approved by the City of London’ planning applications sub-committee on Monday.

Grade II listed Leadenhall Market, which dates back to 1321, was originally a meat, poultry and game market but is now home to a number of boutique retailers, restaurants and wine bars.

In the 1800s Sir Horace Jones, also the architect of Billingsgate and Smithfield Markets, redesigned Leadenhall as it appears today, with mediaeval street patterns, Corinthian columns and a cast-iron and glazed roof.

Leadenhall Market - Atlantide Phototravel
Leadenhall Market - Atlantide Phototravel

But the new building at 85 Gracechurch Street threatens to tower over the market, the Victorian Society said, and “would call into question the City of London’s protection of its conservation areas and listed buildings”.

Griff Rhys Jones, president of the Victorian Society, said: “People should not be building at the expense of historic and valuable buildings”.

Shravan Joshi, chairman of the City of London Corporation's planning applications sub-committee, said planners had worked closely with Historic England to ensure that preserving the site’s history “was at the heart of these plans”.

He added: “This development will create new jobs, boost the economy of the Square Mile and drive significantly increased footfall to Leadenhall Market, helping to boost the market’s appeal as a major visitor destination in its own right.”

The Victorian Society is also opposed to the developer Hertshten Properties’ plans to part-demolish an existing building at the site. This objection comes after the City of London earlier this month announced that developers hoping to build in the financial district would be asked to consider alternatives to demolition at the earliest stage of the planning process.

The City said developers “will be expected to carry out a detailed review of the carbon impact of development options before submitting an application”.

In response to the City’s first announcement, the Victorian Society said the plans were “contrary to the City’s new guidance”.

Hertshten Properties refused to comment.