SELLAR Property Group, MTR and Network Rail (NR) have submitted a joint planning application to the City of London Corporation for a £1.5bn “sustainability-led regeneration project” to transform London Liverpool Street station.
Liverpool Street is an important hub served by the Elizabeth Line, London Underground (LU) and mainline and commuter services to Essex, Cambridge, Stansted Airport and other parts of East Anglia.
For some time the busiest London terminus due to its major commuter traffic, in 2021-22 Liverpool Street had an estimated 32.2 million passenger entries and exits, according to statistics compiled by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), making it the fifth-busiest station on Britain’s national network.
Sellar, MTR and NR say the £450m of station upgrades included in their regeneration plans will address accessibility, capacity and overcrowding issues at the terminus.
The developers say that when the last station upgrade was completed in the 1990s there was no expectation of significant growth in passenger numbers. However, the opening of the Elizabeth Line and other transport improvements have resulted in the station concourse becoming increasingly overcrowded at peak times.
“Despite being the capital’s main transport hub, significant changes are required for the station to become fully inclusive,” says MTR. “It is one of the most difficult to access for people with disabilities and offers a poor passenger experience for those with small children and luggage, with only one accessible lift serving the mainline station and no step-free access to most London Underground platforms.”
The station upgrades contained in the new plans include expanding the station concourse to twice the area of the current one, partly through creating an upper level. There will also be a 60% increase in the number of ticket barriers and installation of six new lifts to improve accessibility.
Sellar is leading the project and was previously the developer of major London projects including the Shard and Paddington Square. It says that the office, hotel, retail and public recreation elements of its plans for Liverpool Street will allow these station improvements to be achieved without recourse to public funds.
The plans for the station and its surroundings have been developed in collaboration with the Swiss architectural practice Herzog & de Meuron and aim to “create a world-class transport hub and landmark seven-days-a-week destination, with new retail and leisure facilities for visitors, passengers and the local community.”
The regeneration plans have undergone a number of design changes as a result of consultation with heritage organisations and other stakeholders critical of the modern office and hotel tower blocks that will flank the heritage buildings. The developers say that only buildings dating from the redevelopment of the station in the 1980s will be removed while the trainsheds will remain untouched and their appearance will be enhanced by opening up new views towards St Paul’s Cathedral and other City of London landmarks.
Ornately decorated rooms within the heritage Gothic station and hotel buildings will also be opened to the public and repurposed. However, some non-original areas of glazed concourse roof will be removed and some structures around the station entrance will be demolished.
As for the new-build elements of the project, they include a new public rooftop garden, an open-air public swimming pool, sports facilities and areas for the generation of renewable energy.