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City takes stake in £300m Lendlease tower over right-to-light

The City of London has taken a stake in Lendlease’s £300m Mitsubishi Tower to resolve right-to-light issues. 

The local authority has approved plans to take a stake in the scheme to address right-to-light concerns that threaten to halt the development.

It is understood that the City of London’s involvement will allow the project to proceed despite outstanding objections, though affected parties will be able to claim compensation.

The City of London initially approved the plans for a tower at 6-8 Bishopsgate in December 2015. However, the size of the scheme was increased by 10 storeys in October last year to 51 storeys.

According to a City of London report, the client has faced right-to-light issues relating to more than 80 properties close to the proposed tower. 

Owner MEC London Property has agreed terms with 46 neighbouring properties; however, outstanding issues remain with 40 other “potentially injunctionable” interests.

Of those, 19 properties owned by six parties have been listed as “particularly slow to resolve”, leading MEC to ask the City to take an interest in the scheme to support its progress. 

The City of London said it was able to take an interest under powers set out in the Housing and Planning Act to ensure the project can be delivered.

Those powers allow the local authority to take an interest in sites “for the purpose of facilitating development”.

According to the City’s chief planning officer, it decided to support the scheme after it was concluded that the new tower would “make more efficient use of the redevelopment site compared to the disjointed existing buildings”.

They added: “The size and configuration of the new office space would be of benefit to the business community generally.”

Under government guidance, the authority may acquire the land “if the authority thinks that the acquisition will facilitate the carrying out of development / redevelopment or improvement on or in relation to the land”.

The City of London report stated: “The developer has come to the conclusion that the timely delivery of the development will only be possible with the City’s assistance in overcoming these potentially injunctable restrictive covenant and rights-of-light claims.”

Affected owners who have rights or interests infringed will be entitled to compensation, the report noted.

CN revealed in September that Lendlease had fended off competition from Mace and Sir Robert McAlpine to land the construction contract for the tower

The 71,510 sq m tower has been designed by Wilkinson Eyre and will include a public viewing gallery on the top floor and restaurants and commercial space at ground level.

Mitsubishi Estate is Japan’s largest developer and is behind many of its largest buildings, including Tokyo’s Marunouchi skyscraper.

 

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