Griff Rhys Jones calls for ‘massive public outcry’ over Liverpool Street redevelopment plans
Actor and comedian Griff Rhys Jones has called for a “massive public outcry” against plans to redevelop Liverpool Street station.
Eight conservation groups said they were uniting in opposition to the £1.5bn scheme from Shard developer Sellar, Elizabeth Line operator MTR and Network Rail, which would result in a 16-story tower block being erected on top of the Grade II-listed station and the five-storey former Great Eastern hotel, now the Andaz hotel, which is Grade II* listed.
The campaign echoes a battle to preserve the Victorian station in the 1970s, involving luminaries such as the Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman, the architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner and the writer and comedian Spike Milligan.
Mr Rhys Jones, president of the reformed Liverpool Street Station Campaign, said on Friday: “All the major heritage sector bodies are appalled by what is proposed. They all want to try to preserve a superb London landmark.
“We believe the people of London will be with us too, if they are properly informed.
“This great station and hotel are not only important listed buildings, they are part of the living story of London, just as much as Westminster Abbey or St Paul’s. Let’s hope that a massive public outcry will lead to Sellar dropping these plans.”
A petition has been set up on the change.org website. The campaign is being led by the Victorian Society and involves Save Britain’s Heritage, The Twentieth Century Society, Historic Buildings & Places, The Georgian Group, The Spitalfields Trust, Civic Voice and London Historians.
A planning application is due to be submitted to the City of London Corporation by the end of March. The aim is to start construction work by mid-2025.
Campaigners believe that allowing the development, which would fund capacity improvements to the mainline station, would “set a terrible precedent” that would mean no listed building was “safe from harm”.
The Spitalfields Trust said Liverpool Street station was “one of the great railway termini in the capital” and an “excellent example of a Gothic train shed, filled with light”. It added: “The proposals are overbearing and will cause huge damage to the character of this historic building.”
Henrietta Billings, director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, said the development would “stamp” on the station and hotel and block out light. “So bulky is this scheme, key views of St Paul’s Cathedral would be interrupted,” she said.
A spokesperson for the developers said: “The station that the Victorian Society campaigned to save in the 1970s no longer exists, as much of it was demolished in the 1980s.
“Our approach prioritises protecting and enhancing the remaining heritage elements, both within the Andaz hotel and the station itself. The Victorian elements of the station are not being demolished.”