Save London’s South Bank from a monstrous new office block!

by Save Our South Bank

Save London’s South Bank from a monstrous new office block!

by Save Our South Bank
Save Our South Bank
Case Owner
The SOS Save Our South Bank Action Group consists of residents and their allies campaigning against Mitsubishi Estate’s ‘Slab’ office scheme designed by Make Architects for 72 Upper Ground, SE1.
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Save Our South Bank
Case Owner
The SOS Save Our South Bank Action Group consists of residents and their allies campaigning against Mitsubishi Estate’s ‘Slab’ office scheme designed by Make Architects for 72 Upper Ground, SE1.
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Latest: May 9, 2024

We’re going to court!

We’re delighted to let you know that the Honourable Mrs Justice Lang DBE has granted Save Our South Bank permission to apply for planning statutory review.

Barristers for the Secretary of State …

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Grassroots campaign, SOS Save our South Bank will challenge the Government’s decision to approve a monstrous eyesore development on London’s iconic South Bank. We need your help to prepare for judicial review.

What’s the campaign about

London's South Bank, cherished by locals and visitors alike, faces an imminent threat. Plans for a vast office development, ominously referred to as "The Slab," will loom over the skyline, poised to irreversibly alter the character of this beloved area. We urgently seek your support to combat this egregious development and preserve the beauty and heritage of our community.

SOS Save Our South Bank is a grassroots movement comprised of concerned residents and over 6,000 allies who united nearly three years ago to oppose Mitsubishi Estate’s reckless plans for 72 Upper Ground, the old ITV Studios site right on the River Walkway alongside the Thames. Renowned critics have denounced the proposed development, with Simon Jenkins in The Guardian labelling it an "aggressive eyesore," Rowan Moore in The Observer describing it as "a brute of a building," and Richard Morrison in The Times deeming it "a grotesque monstrosity."

We know this site needs to be redeveloped. However, in such a treasured area of London, neighboured by listed IBM and National Theatre buildings, the design must protect and enhance rather than dominate its surroundings. We also believe that by building only offices in this space, a key opportunity for much needed housing is being missed. Instead, this block will steal daylight from the social housing directly behind it.

The campaign so far

Decision-makers Lambeth Council failed to take onboard the impact this build will have on local people. They have ignored suggestions for a smaller design that complements the surrounding area and adds value, for the local community and London as a whole.

Our voices were heard when the Secretary of State intervened, triggering a Public Inquiry in late 2022. However, despite widespread opposition, on 9 February 2024 the Secretary of State Michael Gove gave the greenlight to “The Slab”, leaving us at a critical juncture.

Given his reservations, particularly regarding the impact on London's iconic skyline, Mr. Gove's decision is puzzling, especially in light of his recent announcement prioritising housing on brownfield sites and repurposing disused office blocks for housing. This contradiction underscores the urgency of our cause and the need to hold decision-makers accountable for their actions.

The legal action

We firmly believe that Gove's decision is legally flawed and are prepared to challenge it through judicial review. But we cannot do this alone.

We urgently need to raise £15,000 to initiate the next phase of our legal battle. The proposed development threatens not only to overshadow the most visited portion of the River Thames but also exacerbate London's housing crisis and harm the environment, emitting over 100,000 tonnes of CO2 unnecessarily.

In our David versus Goliath struggle, every contribution—no matter how small—counts. Your support will empower us to represent our case effectively and halt this destructive project in its tracks.

By standing with us today, you are safeguarding the heritage of the much-loved South Bank, protecting vital green spaces, and defending the very essence of London's iconic skyline. With your support we can ensure that future generations inherit a South Bank worthy of its rich legacy.

Please donate generously and share our campaign with your networks. Together we can make a difference.

For more information contact [email protected] 

Thank you for your unwavering support.

Jenny O'Neill for SOS Save Our South Bank

Update 2

Save Our South Bank

May 9, 2024

We’re going to court!

We’re delighted to let you know that the Honourable Mrs Justice Lang DBE has granted Save Our South Bank permission to apply for planning statutory review.

Barristers for the Secretary of State and Mitsubishi stated that we didn’t have a case, but the Judge disagreed and ruled that we have an arguable case which should proceed to a full hearing.

This means our case against Michael Gove’s decision to approve “The Slab” will be heard in full at the High Court!

First of all, thank you so much for your support and donations. None of this would be possible without you and all the people who have been tirelessly campaigning against “The Slab” for three years now.

But we need you and new supporters now more than ever.

It’s fantastic that we will have the case against 72 Upper Ground heard in court, but with that comes mounting legal fees. That’s why we have two asks of you:

1) We would be incredibly grateful if you could continue to donate to help us reach our new £20,000 target to cover the cost of going to court.

1) Share our CrowdJustice crowdfunding page far and wide to help us drum up more support across all the people who care as passionately as us about the future of London’s South Bank.


A reminder of our challenge

Heritage

From the outset, Historic England was concerned about the impact of “The Slab” on protected views of St Paul’s Cathedral.

In February, Michael Gove, Secretary of State, published his decision agreeing with the Inspector’s recommendations, but disagreeing with and expressing strong reservations about the scale, massing, materials, and townscape impact of the proposals.

He considered the development would dominate views and cause heritage harm to the South Bank conservation area, Roupell Conservation area, and to the setting and significance of 3 listed buildings - Somerset House, National Theatre, IBM.

However, he did not give his views or reasons as to the impact on protected views of St Paul's, Waterloo Bridge and five other Conservation Areas. This is the first ground of our legal challenge.

Planning

We believe the Secretary of State misinterpreted planning policy and failed to recognise the requirement to deliver housing as part of the development. The site is allocated for mixed use including housing, and the previous consent included 213 homes.

We also assert that the Secretary of State misinterpreted planning policy when it comes to the circular economy and the requirement to consider whether the existing building on site could be retained to deliver residential uses. The construction of the development would generate 103,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Thank you from the Save Our South Bank Action Group [email protected]

Update 1

Save Our South Bank

March 21, 2024

Application for judicial review now lodged!

Thank you to everyone who has donated so far to help us challenge the Secretary of State's decision to grant planning permission to the Mitsubishi Estate development on London's South Bank, disparagingly known as "The Slab". 

We're excited to let you know that Save Our South Bank has now lodged its application for a judicial review! Read on for more about the details of our challenge and please keep sharing this page far and wide to help us reach our target.

Our challenge - heritage

From the outset, Historic England was concerned about the impact of “The Slab” on protected views of St Paul’s Cathedral.

In February, Michael Gove, Secretary of State, published his decision agreeing with the Inspector’s recommendations, but disagreeing with and expressing strong reservations about the scale, massing, materials, and townscape impact of the proposals.

He considered the development would dominate views and cause heritage harm to the South Bank conservation area, Roupell Conservation area, and to the setting and significance of 3 listed buildings - Somerset House, National Theatre, IBM.

However, he did not give his views or reasons as to the impact on protected views of St Paul's, Waterloo Bridge and five other Conservation Areas. This is the first ground of our legal challenge.

Our challenge - planning

We believe the Secretary of State misinterpreted planning policy and failed to recognise the requirement to deliver housing as part of the development. The site is allocated for mixed use including housing, and the previous consent included 213 homes.

We also assert that the Secretary of State misinterpreted planning policy when it comes to the circular economy and the requirement to consider whether the existing building on site could be retained to deliver residential uses. The construction of the development would generate 103,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

How you can help this legal action

We are still reaching for our £15,000 target to maintain the next phase of our legal battle. In our David versus Goliath struggle, every contribution—no matter how small—counts. Your support will help us to represent our case effectively and halt this destructive project in its tracks.

Please donate generously and share our campaign with your networks. Together we can make a difference.

Thanks from the Save Our South Bank Action Group

[email protected] 

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