Who knew planning permission could be so exciting? Plans for London's UPC courtroom

View of the new UPC court
taken a few days ago on the AmeriKat's
walk home..in the rain.
As anyone who has had to renovate or remodel a house before will know, planning permission is often required (and often a pain).  Therefore, when news came that London's UPC site was confirmed and planning for building works under way the AmeriKat decided to take a casual glance at the relevant council's website to see what she could find.  Low and behold, she discovered that a full planning permission application for change of use for the 8th Floor of Aldgate Tower had been lodged on 20 July 2015 with the exciting title "Change of use of the eighth floor from Class B1(a) (Offices) to a mix of Class B1(a) and Sui Generis (Courtroom), personal to the Unified Patent Court."  In England, planning permission has to be obtained where you change the use of a building (i.e. from residential to commercial use). 

The AmeriKat has reviewed the documents and summarized the most interesting bits of the application as follows:

General details
  • The floor space on the 8th floor is a 1809 square meters or 19,472 square feet.  As a comparison, getting 20,000 square feet in the Upper East Side of Manhattan will set you back a cool $80 million.  However, you will get a Beaux-Arts style home on Fifth Avenue across from the Met for that price tag... ["Where do I sign?" hastens Merpel.]
  • Further to the AmeriKat's post on the location's transport links, the site is graded a 6B on the Public Transport Accessibility Level scale (the highest grade).
  • The plan (below) shows that there are four court rooms of approximately 115 square meters each and 17 meeting rooms/office spaces ranging from 12- 56 square meters.   

Change of Use

The change of use is from Class B1 (offices) to a mix of offices, meeting spaces and courtrooms.  Interestingly, in the covering letter from the UK Intellectual Property Office's agents, JLL, state that
"The proposed change of use is personal to the IPO. Therefore, should the IPO decide to relocate in the future, the use of the eight floor will revert automatically to full Class B1(a) offices." 
The AmeriKat interprets this as meaning that if the UPC doesn't happen (pending a UK referendum on membership of the EU) or is somehow delayed than the IPO or, indeed another governmental body, can make use of the space.

Support for the application

In support of the application, JLL's letter states that:
"The IPO will initially provide 10 permanent jobs, with additional permanent and temporary positions created once the facility is established. Its office and meeting rooms will be rented to legal professionals on an ad hoc basis ["How much will this fee be?", wonders Merpel], providing supporting facilities to the legal sector. Therefore, the eighth floor of Aldgate Tower will retain a proportion of formal office floorspace whilst providing an additional employment generating area: the proposal is considered in line with policy DM16.

In addition to creating the above jobs, the IPO will bring a regular stream of international business leaders and top legal firms to the area, offering income opportunities to local businesses, including the food, hospitality and business services sector. This demonstrates that the proposed mix of uses will support a good level of employment opportunities whilst creating a valuable legal facility for London and the UK."
The application is still open, but according to the website, the consultation ended on 10 August 2015 (where interested members of the public can write in approving of or criticizing the application).  According to some helpful guidance on the process, once the planning case officer has reviewed the application and the submissions from the consultation (if any), then he or she will make their decision.  No word on timing of that decision.  

But on the assumption it all goes through on the nod, the AmeriKat would like to get her suggestion in early on the chairs that she recommends the judges sit in (click here).
Who knew planning permission could be so exciting? Plans for London's UPC courtroom Who knew planning permission could be so exciting? Plans for London's UPC courtroom Reviewed by Annsley Merelle Ward on Thursday, August 13, 2015 Rating: 5


  1. I note that none of the rooms are specifically set aside for the judges' chambers although my guess would be that the four larger rooms shown top left on the plan might be for that purpose.

  2. The toilet looks a little close to the judge's bench in Court No. 1. Opportunity for suitably timed distracting flushes.

  3. Top right Andy because they have the open plan staff space in front of them. More gentlemen expected as usual with the Gents taking more space.Nice piece of detective work and very encouraging progress

  4. I don't see any booths for interpreters overlooking the court rooms, as found in EPO hearing rooms.

  5. I must be terribly naive. I didn't realise that the point of a court was to get top business leaders and lawyers to buy food in the locality.

  6. Yes, you are naive. The court is there to support businesses with their IP disputes, thereby protecting their ability to 'do business'. Said businesses employ people, pay wages, purchase goods and services from others etc. The benefit of all this business is a sustainable economy that houses and feeds its people. The local food-providing services are part of this economy.


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