120 Fleet Street office development gets planning approval

The City Corporation’s planning and transportation committee supported the plans by CO-RE for a new 21-storey office development at the former Daily Express building on Fleet Street which will transform this building into a place for social and educational outreach, opening it up as a free landscaped public roof garden. The scheme will provide enhanced pedestrian accessibility, pavement widening and more space for tree planting. It will also deliver improved ground floor retail floorspace in the Fleet Street Principal Shopping Centre.

 

Martha Grekos, Chair of Public Realm and Environment Group of FSQ, said: “120 Fleet Street demonstrates a commitment to substantial improvements to the public spaces around and within River Court and the Daily Express building, with a new publicly accessible open arcade being created that connects Fleet Street and Shoe Lane. Together with the open arcade, the new active frontages of the building will enhance the pedestrian experience and permeability of the site. Fleet Street by planning definition is considered a ‘Principal Shopping Centre (PSC)’, however, results from out recent perception analysis survey indicated that the offering in the area is somewhat limited and lack variation (this has only been heightened by the pandemic ;leaving behind a casualty of empty units). The increased permeability through the site provides additional frontage for retail area that, in turn, activates the ground-floor and enhances the pedestrian experience, a catalyst for the revitalisation of Fleet Street and the wider neighbourhood. The proposed scheme stimulates opportunity to create a more mixed-use area, accepting that the public realm and buildings must adapt to post-Covid-19 economic and social trends.

 

While the FSQ area is rich with intimate and historic networks of streets, lanes, and enclaves, there is a remarkable deficiency of greenery and green spaces with few places to sit and dwell, and no key ‘anchor’ public space. We very much welcome the schemes proposal for introducing greenery on the publicly accessible roof terrace of the Daily Express Building and on the stepped terraces of the new River Court building. The developers have considered that the increased urban greening across the two buildings will improve not only the local biodiversity, but it will also enhance the outlook for nearby residents and commercial neighbours. The developers also highlight environmental best practice through a commitment of c.44% carbon reduction for the developments, aiding in global, national, and local sustainability targets.

 

The Fleet Street Quarter is supportive of the development of 120 Fleet Street. The proposed development celebrates and preserves the rich history of the former Daily Express building, while simultaneously creating a dynamic, exciting, and forward-looking scheme. As stewards for the area, we are confident that the scheme will produce a reimagined (and much needed) enhanced public realm, exciting retail, hospitality, and cultural offering and most importantly, a commitment to environmental best practice – very much aligning with the ambitions of the Partnership and its members.”