Black and white photo of the train shed at Liverpool Street Station
Train shed at Liverpool Street Station. Source: Historic England Archive OP04511
Train shed at Liverpool Street Station. Source: Historic England Archive OP04511

Liverpool Street Station

A message from Historic England Chief Executive, Duncan Wilson.

Historic England has objected in the strongest terms to current proposals to redevelop London’s Liverpool Street Station.

We have been consulted on applications from Network Rail and its development partners, Sellar and MTR, for substantial works to the nationally important Liverpool Street Station. The scheme proposes a giant new building above the existing station and the neighbouring Great Eastern Hotel, both listed buildings set within the heart of the City. It also proposes far-reaching redevelopment of the station complex. 

Liverpool Street is one of London’s great collection of important Victorian stations and forms part of an outstanding group of historic buildings at the heart of the City of London. The proposed demolition of the sensitive 1985-92 concourse extension would sever the fine 1870s trainshed from the Victorian ensemble that still characterises this special place. The architectural harmony and heritage significance achieved by the last redevelopment would be destroyed, and the natural light over the concourse lost. The proposed tall buildings above are of grossly disproportionate scale and would trample on the station and the former Great Eastern Hotel, which is now listed at Grade II* in recognition of its role as an impressive station frontage and for its lavish interiors. Its picturesque silhouette and proper grandeur would be radically compromised by the scale and bluntness of the new structures forced onto and through it.

The proposed redevelopment of the station would severely damage the Bishopsgate Conservation Area, to which the group of fine Victorian and Edwardian buildings on Liverpool Street is essential. These plans would also harm the extraordinary historic character of the City of London as a whole: the sheer bulk of development proposed above the station and the hotel would be so large that it would encroach on celebrated views of some of London’s great landmarks, including those of St Paul’s Cathedral protected under the London Views Management Framework.   

The scheme includes improvements to railway infrastructure, but these are not comparable with those secured at London Bridge, King’s Cross and St Pancras Stations. There, dramatic practical improvements were achieved and at the same time the wonderful heritage of the stations has been showcased and celebrated. The improvements offered by the scheme at Liverpool Street Station would be more modest and would only be achieved by sacrificing much of the character of one of London’s most valued historic places.

Liverpool Street Station is one of London’s great Victorian stations, with a distinctive and memorable character. While we recognise the need for upgrades to the site so that it can better serve the millions of people that pass through its doors, these oversized and insensitive proposals are not the right solution to the site’s issues.

We believe that this scheme is fundamentally misconceived and misses the opportunity to unlock real public benefits while also enhancing the station’s heritage. At Historic England we are in favour of development where it secures a sustainable future for our best public and private buildings. This scheme does not. We would like to see a better outcome for this special place.
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive Historic England