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Planning application for Waterloo’s 'Three Sisters'

London SE1 website team

P&O Estates and Morgan Stanley Real Estate have submitted a planning application for the Elizabeth House site in York Road next to Waterloo Station.

Elizabeth House
Above: Allies & Morrison's competition-winning design in 2006 and below: the 2007 planning application seen from Waterloo Bridge
Elizabeth House
Elizabeth House in York Road seen from the London Eye
Elizabeth House from Jubilee Gardens
View of proposed scheme from Jubilee Gardens. Development on the Shell Centre podium site is likely to block views from Belvedere Road to York Road.
Elizabeth House
Daytime view from Waterloo Bridge

The application for three new buildings (two office buildings and one residential block with retail at the lower levels of the office buildings) totals approximately 1.425 million sq ft. By comparison the current buildings on the site include 240,000 sq ft offices and 20,000 sq ft retail.

• Building A: 28-storey commercial office building; height 117m
• Building B: 22-storey commercial office building; height 90m
• Building C: 33-storey residential building; height 107m.

Comparison Heights

Proposed Beetham Tower 180m
London Eye 145m
Proposed Doon Street tower 144m
Shell Centre 111m

The scheme incorporates 280 residential units with a mix of private, shared equity and social rented accommodation.

In 2005 P&O abandoned proposals for a sail-shaped building designed by RHWL and launched a design competition won by Southwark Street-based Allies and Morrison.

Their initial scheme – nicknamed the ''Three Sisters' – has now been revised to take account of the impact of the development on views from surrounding areas including the London Eye.

Although Waterloo is identified in the Mayor's London Plan as an appropriate area for tall buildings, P&O says that it has decided not to build much taller than the existing Shell Centre tower in York Road.

"The development at Elizabeth House will provide an exciting and attractive new place to live and work and the scheme will deliver immediate improvements in access to the South Bank and Waterloo Station," says David Hudson from P&O.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to make a lasting improvement to the appalling pedestrian environment in this area of the station and to build on the continuing success of the South Bank as the leading area of opportunity in Central London.

"The scheme follows the lead given by the Greater London Authority and the Borough of Lambeth in the Waterloo Development Framework which aims to create 15,000 new jobs and at least 500 new homes at Waterloo.

"We have been talking to local people about the scheme for the last year and have been very encouraged by the support that we have received.

"Waterloo has proven ability to attract major companies as it was once a major office location in central London. If we concentrate future offices at mainline stations we will build a more sustainable City by reducing the need to travel across central London to work.

"Having explored a range of massing options in the consultation process we decided not to seek a new precedent for height at Waterloo choosing instead to create a complementary grouping with the Shell Centre."

The scheme aims to provide better pedestrian links between Waterloo Station and the South Bank as well as new step-free access to the London Underground concourse.

Network Rail is due to select a commercial partner for the redevelopment of Waterloo Station which is likely to include high-rise office development.

And rumours persist that Shell will soon make an announcement about new plans for the redevelopment of its Shell Centre campus on the other side of York Road.

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