The developer behind the 22 Bishopsgate tower has asked the City of London to step in over rights-to-light claims that could threaten the scheme.
The City’s planning and transportation committee is to decide later today whether to use emergency powers to acquire part of the 278 m-high skyscraper, effectively overriding the rights of neighbouring property owners to block the project in the courts.
Those with rights to light that are infringed would be entitled to compensation, Construction News’ sister title the Architects’ Journal reports.
The 62-storey skyscraper, a replacement for the mothballed Helter Skelter, was approved by the City of London last November and the tower had been scheduled to complete in early 2019.
Developer Lipton Rogers said the lack of certainty over the rights-to-light claims posed “a significant threat to progressing the scheme [because it needed to place] substantial pre-construction orders for materials, and procure the main build contract”.
The report to the City’s planning committee reads: “There are large number of affected owners who have rights-of-light interests and may wish to maintain actionable claims.
“There is therefore concern that the development programme is at risk due to the inability to settle remaining rights-of-light claims, with the prospect that those with relevant interests may be able to pursue injunctive relief.”
22 Bishopsgate developer in rights-to-light battle
The authority’s officers are recommending approval for the move, which would see it engage the provisions of section 237 of the Town and Country Planning Act.
22 Bishopsgate will provide 185,000 sq m of office space for about 12,000 people in 100 companies. It will also feature a restaurant and bar, retail space and a public viewing gallery.
A spokesman for Lipton Rogers told the AJ: ‘We are committed to developing the scheme, and we are working with all our neighbours in an open fashion, as well as with the City to bring forward the development within the intended timetable.’