Actor Griff Rhys Jones leads campaign against Liverpool Street hotel development
Actor and comedian Griff Rhys Jones is leading a campaign to oppose a planned £1.5b hotel and office redevelopment at London's Liverpool Street Station.
Eight heritage societies have joined forces against the proposals, which would see a multi-storey block built above the station and former Great Eastern hotel, now the Andaz London Liverpool Street hotel, which are both Grade II-listed.
The plans include up to 10 floors of office space and a new Andaz hotel, to be operated by Hyatt.
Sellar, the developer behind the Shard skyscraper, unveiled the proposals in October in partnership with Network Rail and Elizabeth Line operator MTR.
The project team said no Victorian elements of the station were being demolished and the scheme would improve accessibility and reduce overcrowding at the station.
However, Rhys Jones, who is president of the Liverpool Street Station Campaign (LISCCA), called it an "unnecessary and destructive" development.
He added: "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.
"They should be safe from part demolition and what is intended to be a huge, sixteen story, cantilvered tower, stuck directly above them, blacking out the daylight and virtually burying the original buildings."
LISSCA is concerned the Andaz London Liverpool Street Hotel, which was built in 1884, will be shut off from the public and turned into an office space, while its historic ballroom would be knocked through to open it up to the station.
The campaign group is comprised of the Victorian Society, Save Britain's Heritage, the Twentieth Century Society, Historic Buildings and Places, the Georgian Group, the Spitalfields Trust, Civic Voice, and London Historians.
In 1974 the Victorian Society and other organisations successfully campaigned to save London Liverpool Street station from total demolition.
The group has launched a petition calling on developers to abandon the new plans.
A spokesperson for the Liverpool Street station project team, comprising Network Rail, MTR and Sellar, 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."
The spokesperson added that the proposals would ensure the station's future as a "major transport hub" and that developers were working to "sensitively integrate the commercial elements of the project".