London’s Tower Hamlets Council has recently granted full planning permission (here) which will allow the development of the 3rd floor of the newly built Aldgate Tower to accommodate both the UK branch of the UPC central division and the UK’s local division of the UPC. The planning permission is for a change of use of the 3rd floor from offices to a mix of offices, court rooms and meeting rooms. The UK government announced last summer that Aldgate Tower would be the location of the new courts. It originally submitted a planning application for the 8th floor, but later submitted an application for the 3rd floor instead, which has a larger floor space. Now planning permission has been granted, construction can start, which should therefore be on track to be completed by the end of May 2016.
The Council’s planning decision report notes that there was originally concern that the court rooms might result in a large increase in the number of people entering and leaving the premises, but that it has been confirmed that there will be no more than two courts operational at any one time with one hearing per day, with a maximum of 6 members of the public per hearing. The report also refers to the UK IPO providing 10 permanent jobs located in the premises initially (with this number increasing) and that meeting rooms will be rented to legal professionals on an ad hoc basis.