Consultation for
British Library Extension

Illustrative view of scheme from Midland Road.  

Planning application for British Library extension approved

We’re delighted to announce that Camden Council has resolved to approve the planning and listed building consent applications for the extension of the British Library at the planning committee hearing on Monday 30 January.

These proposals will deliver much needed new space for the British Library, significant areas of new public realm, and new lab-enabled commercial space for businesses and organisations wanting to locate in the Knowledge Quarter, especially those in the Life Sciences sector. It will also provide a significant number of benefits and opportunities for the local community.

The next step is for the GLA to consider the application and to finalise the necessary legal agreements. Construction works – once given the go-ahead – are anticipated to start between late 2024 and early 2025.

Get in touch

SMBL were selected by the British Library as their development partner to bring forward the plans for the site. SMBL have spent several years working with the British Library and TfL getting to know the Somers Town area and community leaders, resident groups, schools, and other organisations.

We want to hear your views to make sure this project delivers for everyone in the local community. Find out more on how you can be involved here.

The British Library is home to one of the most important collections of books, manuscripts, newspapers, maps and sound recordings in the world.

Now, a once-in-a-generation transformation is being planned to extend the British Library’s site in London to make it the most open, creative and innovative institution of its kind anywhere in the world, which is an important part of the British Library’s “Living Knowledge” vision.

The project to take this vision forward is a partnership between the British Library and SMBL Developments (a joint venture between Stanhope Plc and Mitsui Fudosan UK Ltd).

find Out about:

The British Library extension and the aims of the project
History of the British Library
The team
The site today
Our vision for the British Library Extension
How you can have your say and next steps

Visualisation of the British Library Extension.

The British Library extension

The British Library extension will provide a wide range of benefits for the local community. It will completely open up the British Library to the north east and west. New publicly accessible spaces, squares and routes will be created to connect the Library to Somers Town and St Pancras.

The British Library extension would also become a meeting place where everyone can visit and enjoy the Library and the new opportunities created, and will provide a new headquarters for The Alan Turing institute, the UK national centre for data science and artificial intelligence.

There are three main aims to this project:

1. Growing the library

Creating more capacity for Camden residents, visitors, schoolchildren, students, researchers, workers and businesses as well as new spaces for exhibition galleries, an events space, and additional facilities for learning and business.

Improving the public realm and connections to Somers Town, through opening up the site and providing new entrances to the British Library Extension at the north which will be accessible from both Midland Road and Ossulston Street, closer to Somers Town, to improve access for the local community.

2. Creating the heart of the Knowledge Quarter

This site is located at the heart of the Knowledge Quarter, one of the greatest concentrations of knowledge-based cultural and scientific businesses anywhere in the world.

A significant part of the extension will comprise commercial space to be leased to those who want to work and collaborate with businesses and communities in the Knowledge Quarter, joining other research-based institutions near the Library such as the Francis Crick Institute and The Alan Turing Institute.

3. Unlocking London’s largest transport hub

The site will support the future creation of a new underground station for Crossrail 2 by connecting Euston and St Pancras. This will mean that the area is the most important transport interchange in the UK.

The Library’s new spaces and the Station Works infrastructure for Crossrail 2 beneath the site would be funded by new commercial space (c 600,000 sq ft). This will also create more job opportunities within the Knowledge Quarter.

Foyer view looking east towards Midland Road.

benefits Of the Project

Approximately 100,000 sq ft of new space for the British Library
New northern entrances to the British Library on Midland Road and Ossulston Street
Connections to the existing British Library, creating new north-south and east-west routes through the site
A series of new, large public and civic spaces for all to enjoy
Ground floor uses that will enliven Dangoor Walk
A sustainable building that has been designed to reflect the vision of the UN Sustainable Development goals.
A new headquarters for The Alan Turing Institute
New employment opportunities from the additional commercial space
For more information on the benefits, please visit the Our Vision tab here.

Please do take the take the time to look through this website, read more about the project and provide us with your views and ask any questions you may have here.

Get in Touch

Let us know any feedback or any questions and a member of the project team will get back to you:

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