Huge 18 Blackfriars Development Gets Go-Ahead

By M@

Last Updated 14 May 2024

Huge 18 Blackfriars Development Gets Go-Ahead
An orange tower for Blackfriars Road
View looking east from Stamford Street. Image: Foster + Partners

More tall towers are coming to Blackfriars Road, as Foster + Partners scheme gets the nod.

It's taking some time, but Blackfriars Road is gradually becoming a new hub for tall buildings. The streetscape is currently dominated by One Blackfriars, the residential tower whose angular form is often likened to a boomerang, or the Kardashian posterior.

Thanks to newly approved plans, it should soon be joined by a trio of new towers, all part of the same development called 18 Blackfriars Road.

The centrepiece of the development is a 191 metre office tower. To put its height in context, that's loftier that Tower 42 in the City, once Britain's tallest building — and 25 metres taller than the neighbouring One Blackfriars. The tower comes with two smaller sidekicks, both residential towers, of roughly 150m and 90m. These include 433 new homes, 40.5% of which will be "affordable".

Four towers at Blackfriars Road
18 Blackfriars shown in context with other tall buildings. Bankside Yards is currently under construction. Image: Foster + Partners, with labels added by Londonist

The scheme is designed by Foster + Partners, and was green-lit by Southwark Council in late April 2024 after a unanimous vote. It will also include new public realm, a children's playground and other local amenities.

The development will finally fill a yawning gap that has blighted Blackfriars Road for almost a decade. Numerous buildings were swept away in 2015 to make way for a previous, unbuilt proposal that resembled a stack of Jenga blocks. Among the lost buildings was a 1930s sausage factory, and the Upside-Down house, an art project by Alex Chinneck.

Upside-down building by Alex Chinneck
Gone but not forgotten. Image: Matt Brown

Plans for the site never quite seemed to come together, and the scheme was dropped a few years back. The new plans by developers Hines also stalled when Historic England raised objections (a listed building, the Mad Hatter pub, is adjacent).

The developer has now made changes to address various concerns, leading to council approval. Unless the scheme is called in by the Mayor of London, work should get underway soon. Finally, one of the largest voids in central London will be filled.