Work to begin on Shell Centre on London's South Bank

The tower was constructed in 1961 and will be retained by Shell as one of its two main offices

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The Independent Online

Work can finally begin on the £1.3bn overhaul of the Shell Centre in the South Bank, London, now that a long-running planning dispute dubbed the “battle of Waterloo” is finally over.

Joint developers Qatari Diar and Canary Wharf Group will press on with their plans for the office complex after the campaigner George Turner failed to lodge an appeal against the Court of Appeal’s rejection of his latest legal challenge last month.

The battle stretches back more than two years to Lambeth Council’s original approval of the application in May 2013. It went to a public inquiry and in June 2014 Eric Pickles, who was then the Communities Secretary, 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.

The fight pitted Mr Turner against some of London’s most powerful landlords. His objections included the lack of affordable housing and natural daylight in the planned development, and its impact on views of the South Bank – as well as accusations of bias among planning staff.

Work on the scheme by the property developers’ joint venture, Braeburn Estates, will begin before the end of July. The company plans 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 tower was constructed in 1961 and will be retained by Shell as one of its two main offices. John Pagano, development director at Canary Wharf Group, said the end of the legal battle marked “a very important milestone”.

“[The project] will provide much-needed London homes, including affordable housing, and a material boost to the local economy. We shall be starting activity on site very shortly and will be closely in touch with the community around and in the Shell Centre to keep everyone fully abreast of each phase.”