The Site Today

The site for the emerging proposals is largely undeveloped. It is 2.8 acres and currently houses the British Library Centre for Conservation (BLCC), the Library’s loading bay, some staff parking and access roads. It has also been used as a worksite for contractors’ accommodation during the construction of the Francis Crick Institute.

The British Library and extension site are not part of a conservation area but are close to the King’s Cross Conservation Area, as well as the Regent’s Canal and Bloomsbury Conservation Areas.

The site is also close to a number of important listed buildings such as King’s Cross Station (Grade I Listed), the roof of St Pancras. Station and St. Pancras Chambers (both Grade I Listed) and the Ossulston Estate (Grade II Listed). The original British Library Building is also Grade I Listed.

Four Key Site Constraints

The height and scale of the proposed extension would need to work in the context of the surrounding listed buildings and conservation areas including the BL.

The British Library needs to be kept operational at all times throughout construction, including the conservation centre and operational loading bay.

Crossrail 2 infrastructure works need to take place below the site before construction works can take place above ground.

The site has many homes nearby, mainly to the west and north-west, and any extension would need to respect these neighbours.

Cutaway of the proposed site and the Crossrail 2 works that will take place underneath.

Cutaway of the proposed site showing the spaces that will be dedicated to office and lab-enabled in relation to the existing British Library space.


The British Library and SMBL Developments have entered into an agreement to progress their proposals for the site. The British Library and SMBL have also signed agreements with Transport for London (TfL) to design and deliver future Crossrail 2 infrastructure. Both agreements are subject to securing planning permission and other approvals.

SMBL, the British Library and TfL have been working together to develop a joint solution to ensure the deliverability of the project and the Crossrail 2 works within the site.

Now that these agreements have been made, the project is underway to develop proposals for a future planning application.

Previous – About us

Next – Our vision

Skip to content