The permitted scheme with the tower raised by five floors and the Union Street wing raised from four to nine floors for the hotel. Union Street is on the principal route from Southwark tube station to Tate Modern.

Orbit House, a twelve-storey block in Blackfriars Road with long return frontage in Union Street, Southwark has been home to the Oriental section of the British Library for many years until it relocated to the new library in 1999. BWCP was instructed in 1997 by the freeholder, a private pension fund, to maximise the value of the property with a beneficial planning permission by the time the lease came to its end.

Working with engineers Whitby Bird & Partners, Vincent Wang and surveyor Carl Whayman of Lee Baron we evaluated a range of feasible options looking at structure, design, planning and values and conceived a mixed development which increased the floor area by 80,000 square feet from 130,000 in a mixed use scheme.

Full planning permission was granted early in 1999 for a 260 room hotel, a 15,000 sq ft food supermarket, up to 14 flats, a substantial area of offices and a balance of live/work units in a flexible planning permission (see Guidance). The property was sold to Blackfriars Investments for more than the agents’ guide price in March before being put on the market.