Developers to rebuild Shell Centre as activist loses 'battle of Waterloo'

A legal challenge by the writer George Turner against plans for a redevelopment of the Shell Centre was rejected by the Court of Appeal

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The Independent Online

A long-running planning dispute dubbed the “battle of Waterloo”, in which an activist has gone head to head with some of London’s most powerful landlords over a £1.3bn property development, has come to an end.

A legal challenge by the writer George Turner against plans for a redevelopment of the Shell Centre, on London’s South Bank near Waterloo station, was rejected by the Court of Appeal.

Following the dismissal of the campaign – which objected over issues such as the lack of affordable housing and natural daylight in the planned development, and its impact on views of the South Bank – Qatari Diar and Canary Wharf Group can go ahead.

The property developers’ joint venture, Braeburn Estates, is looking to redevelop much of the 27-storey Shell Centre and build up to 950 homes and 800,000 square feet of offices, shops and restaurants. The original tower was constructed in 1961 and will be retained by Shell as one of the oil giant’s two main offices.

A spokesman for Braeburn said: “We now look forward to commencing works on site in the near future.”

The battle stretches back more than two years, with Lambeth Council having approved the application in May 2013. It went to a public inquiry and in June 2014 the then Communities Secretary Eric Pickles upheld the decision. Mr Turner applied to the High Court , but although he had some support from local residents, his challenge was dismissed in February.

Mr Turner said: “This is devastating news for all of us who believe that London desperately needs a better, fairer and more inclusive planning system.”

There could be scope for a further appeal, but he said he was unlikely to pursue that option. “For now the battle for Waterloo is over, but the fight for justice continues.”