Friday, January 28, 2022
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City Hall ‘at risk’, but calls for legal protection rebuffed

City Hall is among the UK’s most ‘at-risk’ 20th century buildings, according to a heritage group for the period.

The Twentieth Century Society said the future of the building, next to Tower Bridge, was “uncertain” because of London mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to move the city’s government to east London.

The group applied for the building to be listed, which would mean that any changes made by the companies or other organisations that moved in would have to be “sympathetic” to the original design.

But Historic England, which manages listings, rejected the proposal because the building is not in immediate danger of demolition.

The Twentieth Century Society said this decision was ‘a nonsense’ and is now calling for the listing process to be reviewed.

City Hall was built in 2002, rather than in the 20th century. It was designed by Norman Foster and is owned by St Martins, a Kuwaiti investment firm. Rent was due to go up to £9.6m in 2021. To save money, the Greater London Authority decided to move to The Crystal, a publicly-owned building in the Royal Docks, near City Airport.

Khan said when confirming the move in November last year: “I know that City Hall is a landmark building for many – but as Mayor I will always focus my severely limited budget resources on front-line public services and supporting Londoners and our recovery from this pandemic, rather than on high City Hall building costs.

“The Royal Docks is an amazing place, and we have the opportunity to turbo-charge the regeneration of the area, just as the opening of City Hall did for its surroundings.”



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