Plans for a landmark new student accommodation tower in Southwark, popularly known as the “Quill” because of its unusual shape, have won the backing of the Court of Appeal.
Lord Justice Pill refused neighbouring landowners permission to appeal against a High Court ruling which upheld the London Borough of Southwark’s grant of planning permission for the 31-storey tower on the site of Capital House, at 40-46 Weston Street, London SE1, owned by Bilford Ltd.
Zurich Assurance Ltd, freeholders of adjacent Becket House, at 60–68 St Thomas Street, London SE1, and their site managers, Threadneedle Property Investments Ltd, had argued that a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) should have been carried out before permission was granted. They attacked the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government's failure to direct the Council to consider whether an EIA was required.
However, Lord Justice Pill ruled that the appellants’ case had no reasonable prospect of success, freeing the developer to start work.
The Council had decided that the proposed tower did not require an EIA because its footprint would fall beneath the 0.5 Hectare threshold contained in the EIA Regulations 1999. The Council also said that the proposal was not likely to have significant effects on the environment.
The appellants’ counsel, Peter Village QC, argued at the High Court hearing in February that the Quill will replace Capital House, which is only 10 storeys high, and tower over his clients' six-storey building. He also argued that the development would have an impact on the setting of surrounding sensitive sites, including the Tower of London.