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Hopton Street: House of Lords rejects residents' appeal

London SE1 website team

The House of Lords has rejected a petition by a group of Bankside residents to appeal against the Court of Appeal's decision in July dismissing objections to planning permission for London Town's planned Hopton Street tower.

tate tower
Computer generated image of the planned tower

A statement from the developers said that the Lords' decision "means that London Town now has an uncontestable valid planning permission to build a 20-storey, mixed use building at Hopton Street in London's Bankside district. This brings to an end a two year struggle
since the local planning committee refused to grant planning permission for the Hopton Street site. The decision vindicates the advice consistently given by the Company's professional advisers that planning permission would be obtained. London Town will now consider its options.

"The Hopton Street site is owned by London Town's wholly owned subsidiary,
Bankside Developments Limited. The carrying value of the Hopton Street site in
London Town's accounts has always been on the basis that planning permission
would be obtained."

The case was brought by members of Bankside Residents for Appropriate Development (Broad), who had argued that the whole planning procedure was so flawed that objectors did not get a fair hearing, and that planning permission for the block should now be quashed.

They had also argued that their right to the enjoyment of their property under the European Convention on Human Rights would be breached if the tower is built.
The scheme involves a tower block with 28 apartments, plus shops and restaurants on the ground floor, at 44 Hopton Street.

It was argued that it would significantly affect residents at Bankside Lofts, opposite Tate Modern and residents at Falcon Point, which contains 110 low-rise flats north of the proposed tower block site.

The site, once a paper warehouse, was sold to developers London Town for £7.6 million in December 2000, after the Tate had tried and failed to buy it.

Developers first hoped to erect a 32-storey block some 127 metres high, but withdrew that plan after local opposition.

The current scheme was submitted in June 2002. It is 63 metres high and nine of the 28 apartments would be "affordable".

Planning permission was refused by Southwark Council in October 2002. But the developers appealed and an inspector held a public inquiry and overturned the council's decision.

Tate Tower protest
Sir Nicholas Serota demonstrates with local residents in July 2003

Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota has been a prominent supporter of the campaign to prevent the building of the tower. At a campaign event last year he said "In any other country the area would be kept as a lung within the city. The site should be part cultural and part community use".

Dean of Southwark Colin Slee, who also lives alongside Tate  Modern, said: "This scheme will benefit a few and deface the environment for millions."

Writing last year in the Evening Standard, architecture critic Rowan Moore said that "developers are treating the Tate's boost to the area as a Klondike, to be mined for all it is worth" and adds that the tower will "blight the approach to the museum, and will obstruct the views and daylight of people who live nearby".

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