A local councillor has explained why a multi-million pound plan to build a giant office in the centre of London’s Old Street roundabout never got off the ground, Techworld reports.
In 2012, the UK government announced a £50 million plan to build a giant office in the centre of Old Street roundabout — also known as “Silicon Roundabout” due to the close proximity of many London technology companies — to house a group of tech startups. The “civic centre” would also contain classrooms for students, 3D printers, and have exterior walls used as a giant advertising screen, Wired reported in 2012.
But funding for the project was pulled in 2014, seemingly without explanation.
Now, local councillor Guy Nicholson, who looks after regeneration for Hackney Council, has revealed to Techworld that the project was doomed from the start due to engineering obstacles.
“The ambition was in effect to put a building on top of a roundabout, quite literally, which proved to be, engineering wise, totally impossible because of what’s going on underground with railway lines and an all manner of things,” Nicholson told the publication.
“It was one of these ideas that I’m sure was developed with the best of intentions initially but it was done in isolation of the community,” he added.
Old Street London Underground station is located right beneath Old Street roundabout. Therefore, the proposed site of the new building wasn’t feasible because it was placed on top of a “big electricity substation,” the Mayor of London’s office told TechCrunch in 2014, when the investment was initially axed.
The money that was originally set aside for the project was ultimately reallocated to general government spending, TechCrunch reports.