Shard developer’s Liverpool Street station plans: What’s proposed and what are the concerns?

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A new upper concourse and increased gate capacity are included in the plans, which have come under fierce criticism from heritage campaigners.

Depending on who you speak to, the plans to redevelop Liverpool Street station are either necessary or monstrous.

Submitted by the property development company Sellar, best-known for similar mega-projects including the Shard, alongside Network Rail and MTR, the plans propose transforming the station to provide more lifts, an upper concourse, and increased gate capacity, all for the princely sum of £1.5bn.

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The proposed scheme has not been without serious opposition. The Liverpool Street Station Campaign (LISSCA), a coalition of eight heritage groups, claims it will demolish much of the 20th century trainshed, something the group says is “unprecedented over a Grade-II listed building”.

Let’s take a look at what is in the plans.

What is being proposed?

According to a website dedicated to the project, the redevelopment will deliver a range of benefits to what is London’s busiest train station, with up to 135 million annual passengers.

The plan’s webpage says visitors to the station “already experience overcrowding, poor accessibility, and limited connectivity”.

“As passenger numbers continue to increase, these conditions are expected to worsen,” it says. “The proposed transformation of the station will deliver greater accessibility and a world-class passenger experience at no cost to passengers or the taxpayer.”

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A collection of station improvements are noted, from step-free access to increasing the number of escalators from four to 10.

One of the major changes would be a new upper concourse, shown in several images provided, from which passengers can descend to catch their train.

The proposed new upper concourse at Liverpool Street station. Credit: Sellar.The proposed new upper concourse at Liverpool Street station. Credit: Sellar.
The proposed new upper concourse at Liverpool Street station. Credit: Sellar. | Sellar

The designs include 800,000sqft of offices and a host of new public spaces, such as a new rooftop garden, a lido, and the pedestrianisation of Liverpool Street.

A spokesperson for Sellar told LondonWorld: “The original Liverpool Street station was largely demolished in the 1980s and replaced with the current concourse and facilities which were designed for far fewer travellers than are using the station today.

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“Our plans prioritise protecting and restoring the remaining Victorian elements, while delivering £450 million of vital station improvements to address severe accessibility and overcrowding issues, at no cost to the tax or fare payer.

“Our proposals are essential in helping London maintain its status as a world-class city and encouraging people back to the capital by significantly improving the experience for the station’s millions of commuters and other users.

“The transformation will create a sustainable transportation hub, fit for future generations.”

A new lido is proposed in the plans for Liverpool Street station. Credit: Sellar.A new lido is proposed in the plans for Liverpool Street station. Credit: Sellar.
A new lido is proposed in the plans for Liverpool Street station. Credit: Sellar. | Sellar

What are the concerns?

The LISSCA, led by its president - the comedian, writer, actor and television presenter Griff Rhys Jones - has opposed the proposal as it argues the work will demolish historic sections of the station, and set a “terrible precedent” for other listed buildings in London.

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The Victorian Society, for which Mr Rhys Jones is also the president, recently included the station in its list of the most endangered buildings for 2023.

The group has called on Levelling Up, Housing and Communities secretary Michael Gove to call in the plans once submitted, and to make the decision himself, rather than the local authority, City of London.

Commenting on the entry of Liverpool Street Station and the former Great Eastern Hotel on its most-endangered list, Mr Rhys Jones said the forming of the LISSCA by multiple heritage groups “reflects how seriously we all view the threat to these glorious buildings”.

“The society won the fight to save Liverpool Street Station in the 1970s, and it also saved St Pancras Station too,” he said. “We have to win this time because all listed buildings are at stake if the proposals to build so cavalierly on top of the station and hotel go through.”

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