He says the plans could ’rob the city of a really important convening space’

Lloyd’s of London chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown has waded into a row over plans to build one of Europe’s tallest buildings opposite the world’s oldest insurance market’s Lime Street home.

The 73-storey building, called 1 Undershaft, would replace the existing 23-floor building that used to be occupied by insurer Aviva.

The proposals had been backed by planning chiefs, but a decision was taken yesterday (2 July 2024) to delay the application.

It came following an objection from Carnegie-Brown, who said that it could “rob the city of a really important convening space”.

The plans

The project has been subject of a planning application for nearly a decade and was updated a year ago to add another floor and incorporate a terrace.

It makes the skyscraper 309 metres tall, which matches the height of The Shard. It would also include an 11th-floor garden and top-level viewing gallery that will be open to the public.

It was designed by architect Eric Parry, who said back in 2015: ”1 Undershaft will create more of the quality office space that is desperately needed in the capital and will reconnect the city’s tall building cluster with the public.

1-Undershaft-London-credit Eric Parry Architects

Credit - Eric Parry 

“Most skyscrapers are used Monday to Friday, but 1 Undershaft will be used seven days a week, with the public able to enjoy the new public square, viewing platform and restaurant every day. It will be the jewel in the crown of the City of London and something we hope Londoners will be very proud of.”


Under the plans, it would sit between 122 Leadenhall Street, nicknamed the Cheesegrater, The Gherkin and Lloyd’s of London.

However, neighbours, including the owners of 122 Leadenhall Street, said the new building could subsume a large part of St Helen’s Square.

And in a letter to the Corporation of London, seen by the Financial Times, Carnegie-Brown warned that permission would fly in the face of the corporation’s “commendable record of opening up additional public space at street level” alongside new developments.

Highlighting the plan for the 11th-floor terrace, the Lloyd’s chairman added that it would be “significantly less attractive than the space it would replace”.

©DBOX_EPA_1US_Plaza Experience

Credit - Eric Parry 

After such concerns were raised, the Corporation of London said a delay had been granted to give the developer more time to explore moving the building back to allow more space in the southern square.

A spokesperson for the project told Insurance Tines: “We have listened carefully to the comments made regarding the public space at ground floor which were raised at the planning applications sub-committee.

”We will be working closely with the City of London Corporation and our neighbours in the insurance industry to consider these through minor revisions to the scheme.

”We look forward to returning to the sub-committee as soon as possible.”