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Stephen Fry Joins List of Celebrities to Oppose Liverpool Street Plans

Stephen Fry Joins List of Celebrities to Oppose Liverpool Street Plans
10 May 2023
 

Stephen Fry is the latest public figure to lend his support to the opposition to a £1.5 billion upgrade to London’s Liverpool Street Station.

In a letter published in The Times, the plans were called “insensitively designed” and “grossly opportunistic”. Signatories of the letter include broadcaster Stephen Fry, artist Tracey Emin and comedian Griff Rhys Jones.

 

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The letter reads: “The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities must call in the planning application for Liverpool Street Station and its terminus hotel.

“To plonk 15 storeys of insensitively-designed tower directly on top of the Grade II listed former Great Eastern hotel, thus partially demolishing the listed station and overwhelming the Victorian train sheds, is grossly opportunistic and wrong.

“The claim that a cantilevered building directly on top of a heritage asset somehow ‘preserves’ that asset is nonsense, and sets a dangerous precedent.”

 

Historic England and The Victorian Society Opposition

 

In October 2022, initial plans for a new mixed-use commercial development above the station’s concourse were revealed by Sellar, MTR and Network Rail. The extension includes ten floors of workspace and a new retail and leisure district. More lifts and escalators were also proposed to ease congestion, as well as a public roof garden with 24/7 access.

The station hasn’t been upgraded since the late 1980s, and with around 135 million passengers passing through it annually in recent years, some argue the station is no longer fit-for-purpose.

Plans for the project have been beset with opposition from heritage groups including Historic England and The Victorian Society.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive at Historic England said: “While we recognise the need for upgrades to the site so that it can better serve the millions of people that pass through its doors, this oversized and insensitive development is surely not the answer.

“We believe that this scheme is fundamentally misconceived and misses the opportunity to unlock real public benefits while also enhancing the station’s heritage. At Historic England we are in favour of development where it secures a sustainable future for our best public and private buildings. This scheme surely does not. We will work collaboratively with Network Rail and developers Sellar in the hope that together we can achieve a better design outcome.”

Picture: a photograph of the concourse at London Liverpool Station. Image Credit: Pixabay

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 10 May 2023

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