The City of London’s landmark Broadgate complex is unlikely to be listed according to bookmaker William Hill
English Heritage last week recommended that the entire 1980s development, designed by architect Peter Foggo, be given statutory protection at Grade II* level, dealing a major blow to British Land’s plans to tear down 4 and 6 Broadgate to make way for a new £340 million “groundscraper” building at the site.
Although the law states that listing decision should be made on the basis of architectural and historic factors alone, William Hill is offering odds of 4/7 that culture secretary Jeremy Hunt will ignore his official advisor and choose not to list it.Observers have pointed to the strength of the lobbying from the City which argues that the new scheme – a new European headquarters for Swiss bank UBS – is vital to maintain confidence in it as a banking centre.
A spokesman for William Hill said this was the first time it had offered odds in a listing case. “We believe this decision will be as difficult to call as a photo-finish but that English Heritage needs to upset the odds to come out on top”, a spokesman said.
Catherine Croft, director of heritage group The Twentieth Century Society – which is campaigning in favour of listing – expressed surprise at the odds.
“I think it is fairly extraordinary because it suggests that William Hill thinks factors other than the accepted criteria [for listing] may affect the minister’s decision,” said Croft.
“City boys do like gambling of course but Hunt needs to make his decision on the basis of architectural and historic interest. It would be very wrong for him to be affected by any other factor.”
Croft added that she believed there were many other locations in the City suitable for the proposed UBS building designed by Make Architects.
The proposed building, at 5 Broadgate, would boast four trading floors each capable of holding 750 traders and has been described by practice founder Ken Shuttleworth as an “engine of finance” with a design resembling an immense machine-tooled block of aluminium.
A spokesman for Hunt’s Department of Culture Media & Sport, noted that it was responsible for regulating both heritage and gambling.
“It is always good to see two areas of DCMS come together but, as we always say when it comes to gambling, don’t bet more than you can afford to lose,” he said.
Hunt’s decision on Broadgate is due later this summer.