PRESS RELEASE: SAVE urges councillors to reject ‘alien’ redevelopment of Angel Square

Islington planning committee will decide future of prominent gateway building on Monday

2nd September 2022

SAVE Britain’s Heritage is urging councillors to throw out bland “anywhere architecture” proposals to replace a characterful landmark building which serves as the gateway to Islington in north London.

The plan to redevelop Angel Square, a high-quality post-modern building barely 30 years old, will be considered by Islington council’s planning committee on Monday.

SAVE has written to members of the committee making the case for retaining the existing building, which stands above Angel Tube station, advising that they have more than enough evidence to refuse the application on heritage and townscape grounds.

We believe the proposal, drawn up for US property giant Tishman Speyer by architect AHMM, would cause significant harm to the area.

It would see the building’s lively polychromatic brick façades, campanile-style clock tower and sundial replaced with a monolithic presence that makes no attempt to engage with this important civic corner. The publicly accessible central courtyard would also be filled in and two additional storeys added.

The original 1992 building, designed by Rock Townsend, addresses this pivotal location with imagination and flair. The massing and volume are reduced by presenting the building as three different entities and the clock tower, decorative facades and large openings respond to the surrounding historic buildings.

SAVE’s letter says: “The bland glass and steel corporate style block proposed is of a considerably larger size and bears no relationship to or respect for the historic character of this sensitive location.”

SAVE believes Angel Square, also known as 1 Torrens Street, should be considered a non-designated heritage asset of high architectural value and significance, with its distinctive cream and terracotta band brickwork and curved corner silhouette.

Henrietta Billings, director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, says: “We believe this great civic location at the gateway to Islington deserves a building of commensurate landmark quality, not bland ‘anywhere architecture’. It’s totally unjustifiable to partially demolish a perfectly good building barely 30 years old. New development here should be capitalising on the merits of the existing building – and using it as an exemplar retro-fit project to provide high-grade office space and other uses.”

SAVE’s letter also argues that the application fails to comply with national and local policies and that the council has failed to properly recognise the significance of the existing building. These concerns are echoed in many of the 30 letters of objection against this application including a formal objection from the Twentieth Century Society.

Read SAVE's letter to the committee here

Notes to editors:

1/ For more information contact Elizabeth Hopkirk: / 020 7253 3500.

2/ Read SAVE's letter to the committee here

3/ Find our previous press release on this case here

4/ SAVE Britain’s Heritage is an independent voice in conservation that fights for threatened historic buildings and sustainable reuses. We stand apart from other organisations by bringing together architects, engineers, planners and investors to offer viable alternative proposals. Where necessary, and with expert advice, we take legal action to prevent major and needless losses. 

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