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Google gains planning permission for vast new HQ in London

Google gains planning permission for vast new HQ in London

Google has gained planning permission from Camden Council for a £1 billion headquarters building in King's Cross. 

Planning permission has previously been granted for a different design in 2013, but that plan was replaced with a new scheme designed by Heatherwick Studios and BIG. It will be 11 storeys high and will contain one million sq ft of space. Google's 4,000-strong workforce at the site will take up 650,000, making the rest available for other firms. 

Construction work is expected to start next year, with the main contractor being Lendlease in an estimated £350 million deal. 

The location in a prime one in London, being home to two adjacent major railway stations, a Tube station serving six line - more than any other in London - and the London terminus for the Eurostar. Indeed, there may be something symbolic about Google's project taking place at a time when the significance of that link between the capital and the continent has become the subject of so much doubt.

Reflecting on this, Heatherwick boss Thomas Heatherwick said: "Strong support for an ambitious building in an important part of the city is more proof that London is not afraid of its future. We’re excited to start building."

This news comes in the wake of further evidence that commercial development has been on the wane due to the uncertain economic and political climate. This was shown by the July Purchasing Managers Index by Markit and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, which said the reduced growth rate - the weakest in 11 months - was largely due to commercial investors being reluctant to commit. 

Associate director of IHS Martin Tim Moore said of this: "Construction firms reported that clients were more reluctant to spend and had opted to take longer in committing to new projects."

In this context, the Google deal could do much to help boost construction, not just by itself, but in helping to encourage more commercial investment in a post-Brexit London.

Image: iStock


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