Pressure is piling on planners to reconsider the proposed redevelopment of Liverpool Street station, with the formation of a 'supergroup' of heritage societies.
In the winter of 2022, Londonist reported that Sellar (developer of The Shard) is plotting to demolish part of the current station building, and build a high-rise tower above part of the concourse. Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, also wrote a piece for us, damning the plans as "misconceived" and saying they'd "ruin Liverpool Street station's character."
Now, the Liverpool Street Station Campaign (LISSCA) has been reformed, composed of a consortium of heritage groups, and chaired by Restoration presenter and architectural enthusiast, Griff Rhys Jones.
We say 'reformed' because the LISSCA was originally established in 1974, in a (successful) bit to halt the total demolition of the Victorian train terminus. The fact it's had to reconvene just shy of its 50th birthday is testament to the tenacity of both those who want to do unspeakable things to our heritage, and those who fight to stop them.
Rhys Jones said: "I use Liverpool Street Station a lot. I know it very well. It's my London station. I love it. It is a great and distinguished, working monument. This campaign is very personal to me but I am only adding a voice to an extraordinary uniformity of concern. All the major heritage sector bodies are appalled by what is proposed. They have joined together. They all want to try to preserve a superb London landmark. I have seldom seen such uniformity."
The groups in question are Save Britain's Heritage, The Twentieth Century Society, Historic Buildings & Places, The Georgian Group, The Spitalfields Trust, Civic Voice, London Historians and The Victorian Society.
Although the plans are a lighter touch than those of the 1970s, the consortium says that the demolition of the newly-listed 1990s train shed linking the Victorian train shed with the Victorian hotel would "place the station concourse into shadow and destroy the impression of a cohesive Victorian space".
It would also, says the group, set a "terrible precedent", meaning no listed building is safe from developers.
Continued Rhys Jones: "This great station and hotel are not only important listed buildings, they are part of the living story of London, just as much as Westminster Abbey or St Paul's. They should be safe from part demolition and what is intended to be a huge, 16 storey, cantilevered tower, stuck directly above them, blacking out the daylight and virtually burying the original buildings. "
Rhys Jones's presidential LISSCA predecessor was the poet John Betjeman, who also had a hand in saving St Pancras station, and is honoured with a statue on the concourse there.