Charity Waterloo Community Development Group (WCDG) and social enterprise Coin Street Community Builders want the Secretary of Communities to use his planning powers to select the application for the 2.5-acre site himself, which could lead to a public inquiry.
The Twentieth Century Society also wrote to Clark to express its objection to the proposal, which it says would be an “overdevelopment” of the site. She says the scheme would “significantly damage” the National Theater setup at Denys Lasdun’s Grade II* and Grade II listed IBM building, and would have a “very detrimental effect on the special character and appearance of the river site”.
The action comes after it emerged that the Mayor of London decided not to get involved in the matter earlier this month.
Sadiq Khan delegated his planning powers to Deputy Mayor Jules Pip, who said he was content to allow Lambeth Council to decide the case, subject to any action the Secretary of State might take.
In March, the local authority approved Make plans Developers Mitsubishi Estates to demolish the London Television Center on the top floor and replace it with a 25-storey office tower, which will connect to two 14- and 6-storey buildings.
However, Michael Gove, the former Secretary of State for Settlement, Housing and Communities, issued a memorandum Article 31 Notice in April. This halted the demolition while ministers considered whether to summon the request.
The decision as to whether Clark will attempt to decide on the application himself is expected in due course.
Lambeth Council received 258 objections to the scheme after consulting with the neighborhood, while there were four neutral responses and 46 expressions of support.
Issues raised included the height and appearance of the project, loss of daylight and sunlight, sustainability, and the impact on local heritage assets.
The Greater London Authority (GLA) report points to concerns from Historic England about the “damage” that the scheme could cause to many nearby buildings.
A spokesperson for Historic England told AJ: “The former ITV headquarters in London’s South Bank is a highly visible riverside location with several listed buildings nearby. We are concerned about the height and bulk of the proposed 14- and 26-storey new buildings.
In particular, we believe it would cause damage to the Rubble Street Conservation District with its primarily Georgian architecture, and significant river views of the Grade II listed, Grade I IBM Building Somerset House and Grade II National Theater*.
“We continue to encourage developers to improve the design, particularly by reducing the height and mass of buildings.”
However, GLA officers considered the proposal to have been “designed to be sympathetic to its historic neighbors and preserve the ability to appreciate their settings.”
Recognizing that the development “would alter views within protected views and certain river horizons,” the GLA report said officers felt the “high-quality design of the scheme” meant it would not compromise the specific views.
The report added: “With regard to the reallocation of the existing building, the applicant provided sufficient details to demonstrate that the existing building could not be adapted to meet the needs of modern offices and cultural spaces. It should also be noted that the site benefits from existing consent that previously allowed the demolition of existing structures.
WCDG’s Michael Ball said: “Sadeq Khan made a lot of mistakes in this decision and he needs to urgently reconsider.
He has failed to consider the guidance of his strategic views and uses excuses for massive emissions of carbon dioxide. He is oblivious or erroneous to the colossal objections of the National Theatre, Twentieth Century Society, and Historic England.
“He had a chance to act but he buried it in the ridiculous August season.”
More than 4,000 people have signed a petition, SOS: Save our South Bank, which originally called on Lambeth Council to reject the plans and is now used to urge Clark to “recall” the request.
The mixed-use scheme, which the developer says targets net zero carbon in operation along with a premium BREEAM rating, has a target completion date of 2026.
Stephen Black, Director of Development CO-RE, said: “Our proposals will transform a closed idle site on a popular part of the Thames into an open and welcoming building that prioritizes high-quality workspace and the provision of new workspace, arts, culture and green public spaces. It will be a well deserved addition to the South Bank.
“We are very pleased that the GLA and the Lambeth Council have recommended approval for a building that will bring investment, more than 4,000 new jobs, and new workspace to one of London’s most popular destinations.”
He said the development will benefit the local community with London Studios, a multi-level hub that will provide 40,000 square feet of affordable space designed for the creative industries including rehearsal space, soundproof studios, exhibition space, riverside cafes and restaurants.
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The Mayor has only the authority to intervene in a request where there are sound planning reasons for doing so.
In the case of this proposed development, action has been taken on the issues raised in the first planning report and therefore no such basis for the intervention has been found. The Deputy Mayor for Planning and Renewal has made a decision, under delegated authority, that Lambeth Council decide the case itself.