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The fight for air (rights)


First it was Tesco. Then it was Sainburys. Now TfL? The challenge to monetise ‘air rights’ above large tracts of under-developed land in and around London is in full swing and whilst supermarkets alone rarely win architectural awards, meaning the challenge to build residential above them is likely to be relatively straight forward, the same isn’t true for TfL.

Recent plans to demolish Southwark tube station and rebuild the station, but with up to 300 new homes above it, have been met with concern given its glass circular ticket hall won awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust for its design.

However, plans to have the ticket hall listed by Historic England were turned down last month paving the way for a high-density redevelopment.

Redevelopment and regeneration proposals are often controversial and it’s unlikely that this will be the last set of plans to attract concern and media coverage. Early and meaningful engagement is the key, especially with sites as sensitive as this.

But when it comes to single rise buildings in prime zone one locations, the sky’s the limit.