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Waiting on Victoria station….

Network Rail has been consulting with local businesses and developers for at least 18 months now on plans to take the roof off Victoria Station and build a series of towers over a huge box encasing the platforms. Plus another tower in front of the station, where the buses queue up. A feasibility study from Arup has supposedly given the thumbs up. In March this year I caught wind of the tale. But promised to hold back ‘for a few weeks’ in return for a heads up on the launch of the report. In May a civil engineering magazine  made a glancing mention. So, I went ahead with the tale below. Presumably, at some point in time, Network Rail plans to come clean…

Published in the Evening Standard on May 9th.

Victoria station is in line for the biggest overhaul in its 168-year history as developers plot multi-billion pound plans to take off the roof and build a new tower above the capital’s transport hub.Network Rail is set to give the green light to the radical scheme following a feasibility study from engineers Arup showing it is possible to build millions of square feet of office space over the platforms, with a tower on the bus station island site in front of the terminus.The Standard understands the Duke of Westminster’s property company, Grosvenor, developer Landsec and Victoria’s Business Improvement District, have held secret discussions over the past 18 months.An update on the development of the station, London’s second-busiest after Waterloo, is expected this summer.The scheme would be the latest stage in the transformation of the area. The former civil service hub has seen hosts of employers flock to new buildings such as Landsecs’ Nova development.The Arup plans involve removing the roof and creating a giant concrete and steel box around the 19 platforms to allow the building of towers above.Ruth Duston, chief executive of the Victoria Business Improvement District, said: “We know there are going to be several options for funding a major redevelopment, and we look forward to working with partners in the coming months to consider which is the most appropriate for Victoria.”Network Rail’s plans include further refurbishment of the listed roof and there is likely to be opposition from conservationist groups to demolition.But businesses and property owners are urging investment. “The redevelopment of Victoria station is a pressing priority,” added Duston.Grosvenor confirmed its involvement but declined to comment further.