Row over 'oversized' hotel development plans at London Liverpool Street
Plans to build a £1.5b hotel and office development at London's Liverpool Street station have been criticised as "oversized and insensitive" by heritage groups.
Sellar, the developer behind the Shard skyscraper, unveiled the proposals this week in partnership with Network Rail and Elizabeth Line operator MTR.
The plans include a new multi-storey development above the station, including up to 10 floors of office space and a new Andaz hotel, to be operated by Hyatt.
The developers said the façade of the existing Grade II listed Andaz London Liverpool Street hotel, which is adjacent to the station and originally opened as the Great Eastern hotel in 1884, will be "sensitively restored".
But Historic England, the conservation watchdog, said the proposed tower block would be so large it would "trample" the Victorian station and hotel.
It warned the development could disrupt the view of nearby London landmarks such as St Paul's cathedral and described the scheme as "fundamentally misconceived".
Conservation charity the Victorian Society has already started fundraising in anticipation of legal costs in fighting the development.
Joe O'Donnell, director of the Victorian Society, said: "Given Sellar's previous developments of the Paddington Cube and the Shard, this development is likely to overwhelm the listed building. The few images provided hint at the sky above the concourse being totally blocked out by a view of a new tower."
Sellar said the plans would address "significant overcrowding" at the station, which welcomes around 135m passengers each year.
Liverpool Street station opened in 1875 and underwent a major upgrade in the 1980s.
James Sellar, chief executive at Sellar, said "poor commutes" were a "barrier to London's growth" and the plans would "future-proof" the station.
He added: "London is at a pivotal moment post-Brexit and post-pandemic and we need to show a willingness to commit to infrastructure improvements."
James Francque, global head of transactions at Hyatt, said: "The greatly enhanced new Andaz London Liverpool Street is expected to be an exceptional component of this pioneering development, enhance our hospitality offering and deliver long-term value to our colleagues, guests, and stakeholders."
Initial proposals for the project will be shared with the public on 21-23 November at the Andaz London Liverpool Street hotel ahead of formal planning permission being sought in 2023.