New London Architecture

City of London unveils Fleet Street court and police complex plan

Friday 24 July 2020

David Taylor

David Taylor

Editor, NLQ

Eric Parry’s impressive hit-rate on projects in the Square Mile continued this week as The City of London Corporation unveiled plans for a new court and police complex on Fleet Street. 
 
The proposals will see a flagship 18-courtroom facility and a new headquarters for the City of London Police, along with a commercial development to help fund it. The masterplan and design work is being undertaken by a team led by architects Eric Parry Architects, also behind the 73 storey 1 Undershaft, The Garden at 120 at Fen Court, and 50 Fenchurch Street, with many observers suggesting the project is a key one in London maintaining its pre-eminence as a centre of law. 
 
Speaking as initial consultation around the proposals was launched, Courts Minister Chris Philp MP said: ‘London is the global leader in law. People the world over choose English law for their contracts and London’s courts for dispute resolution. Our legal system is an essential part of our economy. 

This new court will strengthen our justice system and help us crack down on fraud and economic crime. It will enhance our global reputation, attracting even more of the world’s most dynamic companies to conduct their business here. I encourage you to have your say on the consultation for this new court centre in Fleet Street.’
 
The masterplan for the site proposes three individual buildings, the position of each responding to site conditions, constraints, and opportunities. The new court facility will have its main entrance on Fleet Street and aims to create ‘a high-quality civic frontage on this important London thoroughfare’.  It will house significantly improved facilities for users and staff and ‘be equipped to deliver justice in the modern age, focussing on but not restricted to, economic crime and fraud’. HM Courts and Tribunal Service will take a long lease from the City of London Corporation for a peppercorn rent.
 
Catherine McGuinness, Chair of the Policy and Resources Committee at the City of London Corporation said:
 
‘Maintaining London’s position as a world leading centre for legal services is essential as we lay the foundations for our economic recovery. This project aims to deliver a new civic hub that will house a state-of-the-art combined court and a new headquarters for the City of London Police in the heart of the Square Mile’s legal and financial services cluster. 
 
It will serve to reinforce our reputation as a place to do business and ensure we are able to adapt to the changing demands placed on the justice system. It will also be transformational for the Fleet Street area, opening up new vistas and public spaces by rejuvenating a tremendously historic area.’
 
Ian Dyson QPM, Commissioner of the City of London Police added:
 
‘As the UK’s lead for policing economic crime, a new state-of-the-art operationally effective headquarters will meet the needs and challenges of the City of London Police’s fast evolving brief to protect all the communities it serves, in the City of London and nationally. 

Designed in close consultation with officers, the new HQ will allow the force to be as efficient and effective as possible, embracing technological advancement and smart working practices to better serve and protect the public.’
The City of London Police will be provided with a headquarters to support modern policing and the CoLP’s local and national remit and designed in close consultation with officers and staff. The force is currently housed in four sites across the City and some of its buildings are old, inflexible, and costly to maintain. Having a purpose-built headquarters at the very heart of the Square Mile will maximise operational effectiveness, the project backers say.

 
The sale of the vacated courts and police buildings, which are deemed no longer fit for 21stcentury justice and policing, will offer options for restoration and uses more fitting to their historic locations. 
 
A commercial building is planned for the rear of the site providing office accommodation and space for retail, bars, or restaurants at ground floor level, creating ‘a vibrant street scene on the route down towards the river’. 
 
The masterplan has been devised to improve all the routes through the site, which is impermeable with a large 1970s office block cutting off pedestrian movement.  A new east-west link will provide a natural walking route, whilst an enlarged and pedestrianised Salisbury Square – currently an underutilised roundabout – will provide citizens and visitors with a vastly improved public space . The proposed new connection will frame the magnificent spire of the Grade I listed Wren-designed St Bride’s Church.
 
‘Our masterplan for this landmark new civic quarter at Fleet Street restores the fine grain of pedestrian-friendly streets, courts and alleys that are so characteristic of the historic City of London, and which make it such an attractive place to both work and visit’, said Eric Parry. ‘In preparing this first stage of design we have placed enormous emphasis on the experience of space around these three new buildings, seeking to unite new and old and create a sense of place that is definitively part of the City of London. 
 
‘London’s legal and financial services are counted among the best in the world. This investment in facilities will provide those business sectors with a first-class centre for security and governance that will further the global reputation of the City, and the wider UK, as a place to conduct business.’
 
Early public consultation on the Fleet Street scheme has just been launched with the aim being to submit a planning application towards the end of 2020. 


David Taylor

David Taylor

Editor, NLQ


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