By Marcus Leach

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has approved plans for a crucial new development of offices, homes and commercial space in the heart of London’s West End.

At a public hearing in City Hall the Mayor gave his consent for the redevelopment of 80 Charlotte Street & 65 Whitfield Street in Camden - known as the ‘Saatchi block’ after the world famous advertising agency, which currently occupies the buildings.

The project will deliver more than 35,000 square metres of office space, 4,500 metres of commercial space and 57 new homes, 16 of which would be affordable.

The Mayor believes the site and its location, part of what is an internationally renowned creative commercial centre, is vital to the prosperity of this part of the capital and to London’s wider economy. He used powers granted to him in 2008 to ‘take over’ the application, which had previously been refused planning permission by Camden Council.

Conditions attached to the application will see the developers agree to a number of provisions, including affordable housing units and a £1.6 million contribution towards Crossrail, the high frequency rail service that will link east and west London.

The application will also see more than £120,000 being channelled into education and local community facilities. A further £150,000 will be invested into street improvements and highway works - including better signage and 226 cycle parking spaces.

“For decades these buildings have been the locus from which some of the most eye-catching and memorable British advertising campaigns have sprung," Mr Johnson said.

"The capital's adland, centred around Charlotte Street, has developed an international reputation for creativity and I have no doubt that its redevelopment can only be good news for both the West End and the wider London economy.

"As well as providing a vital contribution to Crossrail and a boost to the construction industry, I welcome the fact that there will be considerable investment into the local community as a result. I can find no reason to refuse permission and am of the firm view that this ambitious and important redevelopment should go ahead.”

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