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Hammerson forced to sell Paddington site for Crossrail

Hammerson has been dealt another blow after it was forced to sell one of its central London sites for use by the £16 billion Crossrail project.

The developer had been hoping to build an 18-storey office tower next to Paddington Station, a site Hammerson and joint venture partner Ballymore bought from Railtrack in 2003.

It submitted an initial planning application to Westminster City Council in 2006 – which was withdrawn – and a second last year.

But Cross London Rail Links opposed the development and will now purchase the site under a compulsory purchase order. The area, known as the Triangle site, will be used for work space and taxi access to the main line station.

A spokeswoman for Hammerson said: “In order to tunnel on Eastbourne Terrace, Crossrail needs to move the existing taxi facility and the only way to achieve this is to put a taxi deck through the Triangle site.”

Unlike many of the locations set to be served CPOs as a result of the Crossrail project – such as the Astoria theatre in Charing Cross Road – plans to serve a CPO on Hammerson’s Triangle site was not outlined in the Crossrail Bill in 2005.

The news comes just months after Hammerson had planning permission deferred on another scheme in the capital. The developer was asked to revise its plans for the £700 million Bishops Place redevelopment in Shoreditch.

Although a formal CPO has not yet been served on the Triangle site, Hammerson said it had already negotiated an agreement to buy back the land.

It added that the forced sale would benefit the site’s future development as Crossrail would be “doing work which we would
have had to do to the site anyway”.

While plans for the buy-back are not set in stone, a Hammerson spokeswoman said there was “no reason at the moment why we wouldn’t [purchase the site back from Crossrail]”.

Hammerson’s plans for the site included a taxi ramp for Paddington Station. Under Crossrail, the ramp will be completed during 2010, followed by construction of the new London Underground station for the Hammersmith & City line.

Network Rail is developing proposals for a canal-side concourse to site alongside Crossrail’s works. Hammerson has added the Triangle site to its “long-term” development category, which means plans will go forward by 2018, one year after the whole Crossrail project is scheduled to be completed.


In August, Hammerson revealed it was not planning to start work on any new major projects until at least next summer. Though the group has this year been working on six major developments across Britain, at a total construction cost of about £960 million, five of these are finished or due to be completed before the end of the year.

Going into next year, Hammerson’s books will contain only one project where work is actually occurring on site – the £250 million Union Square project in Aberdeen.

Hammerson is working on plans for four schemes it could potentially begin working on over the next two years. They are: the £600 million Sevenstone regeneration scheme in Sheffield; an £800 million joint venture with Town Centre Securities in Leeds, known as Eastgate Quarters; the £100 million mixed-use Watermark proposal for Southampton; and the £700 million Bishops Place scheme in London.

To download a map of the Paddington Waterside developments click on the resource box on the right hand side of the page