Neil Tomlinson Architects are delighted to announce that Planning Approval was gained in January 2022 for the redevelopment of a former Victorian underground toilet facility located in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

The project has been designed in detail and is currently out to tender with contractors and so the start on site is expected shortly over the coming weeks.

The site is part of a wider project for the office that includes the transformation of the Petticoat Lane Market, which covers the area going from the City of London boundary on Middlesex Street up to Brick Lane.

We achieved a successful permission through a considered design approach and a constant open dialogue with our client, the Tower Hamlet High Street team along with the planning authority, conservation and heritage at risk officers, the highway authority and the other stakeholders of the area.

In addition to the main constraints of the existing building, due to its underground location plus its historic significance, the project overall was designed to make best use of the Leyden Street existing traffic carriageways and include them within the overall concept of the scheme whilst allowing vehicular access if required with minimal notice. This meant that any street furniture or pergola structure was to be designed to be demountable to allow this to happen.

The project focuses on uplifting the existing area with the addition of new public infrastructures and services, trees and street furniture including the retrovision of new WC facilities as part of the project but this time at ground floor level ensuring full public accessibility.

The new structure will have a wine bar below ground, while above ground a variety of spaces will assure a lively and active street environment, connecting the structure to the Petticoat Lane market through the presence of a coffee bar (occupied by same wine bar tenant) and a kiosk.

The design complements East London’s unique urban identity, with the use of a very ‘light touch’ approach and use of a minimalist, yet elegant, steel and glass structure over the existing Victorian one.

The scheme will have a big positive impact on an area urgently asking for improvements, aiming to strengthen the identity of the town centre through this and further public realm interventions.